Let’s face it. The act of tailgating isn’t always the most eco-friendly pastime on the planet. The very nature of a tailgate party needing to be put up and broken down in a short period of time compared to other parties, convenience gives way to a harmful impact on the environment. In today’s society convenience is associated with disposable items. Then again, we all know that “disposable’ is not always the best thing for Mother Earth. With the football season rapidly approaching here are a number of changes you can make to help make your next tailgate party a little more “green”.
Tailgate with a hybrid vehicle – We all know consuming less gasoline on the way to the stadium reduces our dependence on foreign oil and reduces the amount of pollution in the air. Hybrid vehicles reduce both the impact on the environment and our dependence on $4.50 a gallon gas. Check out the article I published on Earth Day entitled Tailgating Green With Hybrid SUVs for a list of environmentally friendly ways to get to the tailgating parking lot.
Cook with the Flamedisk – The two most popular ways to grill while tailgating is either on a charcoal or gas grill. Both have their merits but both are harmful to the environment. By using the Flamedisk, you are cooking using ethanol which is a renewable biofuel made from corn. It lights quickly, burns for an hour and the container can be recycled when finished.
Use a reusable fabric shopping bag – Okay, so you may not feel uber manly loading up your canvas shopping bag with cans of all-meat chili or Johnsonville brats but you are helping the environment. Paper or plastic, it does not matter. Both types of bags either kill more trees or clutter up landfills.
Use a hand cranked radio – Show me a tailgate party that is fun to attend and I will guarantee you that tailgate has some great music playing. Why not get a radio that is powered up by elbow grease rather than batteries? Many hand powered radios are so efficient you only need to spin the crank for about 90 seconds to get 30 minutes of playing time.
Recycle your cans and bottles – This is a no brainer and is one of the easiest ways to be a green tailgater. Normally there are people roaming the parking lot willing to recycle your can for you. (Sometimes they’ll ask for your can before you are even done with your beer.) Separate your recyclables from your trash and make sure to drop it in the proper canister on your way into the game.
Make Shish Kabobs using Fire Wire Skewers – Most of you are probably making shish kabobs using those wooden skewers. There is a more environmentally friendly way to make shish kabobs. Fire Wire brand skewers are stainless steel skewers that are dishwasher safe and will never rust. Wooden skewers are made for a one time usage and then you throw them away. Fire Wire can be used over and over and thus creates less trash.
Buy in bulk – If you are going to a tailgate where there will be quite a few people, buy your food at a discount warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club. Not only will you save a little money but the larger packaging cuts down on waste. A large package of hot dogs from a warehouse store uses less plastic than four or five packages from the super market for the same amount of food. Fewer wrappers equal less trash.
Use Tupperware instead of resealable plastic bags – Rather than package everything into Ziploc baggies why not transport everything in plastic yet reusable containers? When the tailgate is over, pack them in your car and wash them when you get home.
Open your Bottles With a Cap-Trap – Did you know that over 250 billion steel crown caps are removed from bottles of beer, soda and other beverages each year? I am sure you have seen a lot of wayward caps littered around the parking lots. The Cap-Trap is a revolutionary bottle opener in that the removed cap is collected in a hallow compartment within the bottle opener. After opening around 25 bottles, simply press a button and the compartment door opens up for easy disposal. Steel bottle caps can be recycled so place them in a bag and recycle them when you are done.
Send electronic invitations – Rather than mail a printed invitation, send an email or use Evite or SlyReply to invite your tailgating guests. A great way to coordinate your entire tailgate party group is to use Tailgate Haven.
Use a power inverter instead of a gas generator – By using a 12 volt power inverter to power up some of your tailgating electronics you are using your car’s battery to run them instead of burning gas in a generator. The electricity you use through your power inverter will be replaced on the drive home from your car’s alternator. There is no need to burn even more fossil fuels to power up your portable TV when a power inverter can do the job just fine.
Tailgate Keg Party with no ice – Keeping a keg cold with bags and bags of ice is not the best way to be a “green” tailgater. Instead, consider using the Kegbag to keep your beer cold. KegBag is a tough, lightweight, insulated, collapsible nylon sleeve that is like a giant beer koozie built for a keg. Simply gather the drawstring snugly around the tap and Kegbag will keep beer cold for up to 10 hours without any ice, saving water and electricity.
Keep in mind that if you use just one of these tips at your next tailgate party, you are helping to lessen your carbon footprint on our planet. You don’t have to be harmful to the environment to still have a fun and convenient tailgate party.