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Five steps toward greener grilling

Summer is here and the grillin' is easy — and energy efficient! Whether you're an expert grill master or just beginning to barbecue, here are five ways you can do your part to green your grilling routine.

Pick a greener grill

When it comes to the environment, there's a clear winner between gas grills and charcoal ones. Natural gas or propane powered grills use less energy overall and are the better choice when it's time to buy a new grill. They're more energy efficient and produce fewer pollutants than burning charcoal. The gas options also heat up faster and don't produce any soot — plus there aren't any ashes to dispose of after grilling.

Choose better charcoal

If you already have a charcoal grill that's working well — keep it! Why send it to the dump if you don't have to? And, there are ways to make it greener. It all starts with shopping for the right kind of charcoal. Avoid self-starting ones and look for additive-free or all-natural lump charcoal. They won't release the toxic additives that regular charcoal does.

Lose the lighter fluid

Lighter fluid can also release toxins. A better choice is using a chimney starter. You can find ones for less than $10 at most home improvement stores and they will get your coals hot in just a matter of minutes with no toxic fumes.

Focus on the food

With all the focus on the type of grill you have, don't forget about the food. When shopping for beef or chicken, organic choices are healthiest. You can spot them because of the USDA Organic label. This label verifies that the animals were given only organic feed and were not injected with growth hormones or antibiotics. Another eco-friendly option is local meats, which keeps money in your community and cuts down on the miles your food travels to get to your table. For seafood lovers, there are easy-to-find sustainable seafood guides that tell you which seafood is best to buy and which to avoid. And, if fresh vegetables are on the menu, visit farmers markets for local crops and avoid the so-called "dirty dozen" fruits and veggies by buying organic options.

Clean without toxic chemicals

After you're done cooking, a baking soda and water

paste is an all-natural alternative that works just as well without any potentially dangerous chemicals.

Five steps toward greener grilling 08/30/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 4:30am]
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