Life in the Green Lane

Environmental journalist Candice Batista shares video clips and eco-savvy advice from her TV show, A Greener Toronto.

As the coals heat up your BBQ this summer, are they heating up the planet as well? Here’s what you need to know before you fire up the barby. First, lets start with the BBQ itself. Make sure it’s a better-built grill, this will ensure it lasts longer and therefore creates less environmental waste because you won’t need to replace it as often. Using gas is best way to power your grill. Although gas won’t add much flavor to your food, it also won’t add as much CO2 to the air. Gas barbecues produce about half as much CO2 as charcoal grills, and about 1/3 as much as electric grills.

Now if you just can’t do without coal and the flavor it provides, make sure you buy charcoal made from either recycled scrap wood or sustainable forests, look for the Forest Stewardship Council logo. Whole Foods for example offers coal made from discarded furniture and wood flooring. There is no need to feel bad, you CAN grill in an environmentally friendly way. If you are really green, look to the sun. Solar BBQ’s are a great an alternative and they emit zero CO2. Also, keep in mind that charcoal grills also emit volatile organic compounds through smoke, and so does lighter fluid. Using a gas grill, you’ll avoid the liver, kidney and nervous system risks associated with VOCs. Stay away from traditional paper plates. They’re usually made from virgin tree pulp and are often coated in petroleum based wax. Which makes them impossible to recycle or compost. Go for eco-friendly options; when you clear your table, clear conscience as well. Look for biodegradable plates, cuttlery and cups. When you throw them out, you don’t have to worry about where your garbage is landing.  For napkins, use cloth and get rid of the paper all together. Now when it comes to the food, think local and organic...of course! Follow these simple tips to get your green grill on.

Eco Candy.