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Feed Your Body While Saving the Environment

July 15, 2008

By AMANDA GOLD, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

Here are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint when cooking or eating outside this summer or any other time:

Grilling green

* Although many prefer the flavor of charcoal grilling, a cleaner- burning electric or propane-gas grill can be better for the environment. Think about the differences before you buy a grill.

* If you opt for charcoal, try to use natural charcoal (see Cowboy Charcoal, below) or environmentally certified wood briquettes. Regular charcoal or soaked briquettes can contain additives or coal dust.

* If you’re grilling over charcoal, use a chimney starter to light the coals instead of lighter fluid or briquettes soaked with fluid, which can emit smog-forming volatile organic compounds into the air.

* Buy local ingredients as often as possible, which means less fuel has been used to transport food items. Also, eat responsibly: Buy organic and hormone-free meat, poultry and wild fish when possible.

* Clean up promptly. Scrape the grill with warm water and baking soda to avoid having to use harsh chemical cleaners to pick up burned food once it has cooled.

Picnicking green

* Pack your picnic in a reusable grocery tote bag it’s another way to cut down on extra paper or plastic bags. Better yet, look for a picnic basket made from bamboo or other natural materials.

* Think about your garbage. Limit the amount of disposable plastic and paper plates, opting instead for regular, reusable dishes. Rather than using Ziploc bags, which are not biodegradable, store your picnic food in reusable Tupperware or bento boxes.

* If you must use disposable dishes and flatware, look for recycled-paper dishes or other biodegradable products, like bamboo plates, or potato- and corn-based utensils (see below).

* Recycle after your picnic. If you can’t find a recycle bin where you are, bring empty bottles and cans home to recycle. In general, make sure that anything you pack in, you also pack out.

Green products

Plenty of ecologically sound products have turned up in stores. For more tips on going green, see thegreenguide.com, thedailygreen. com, sierraclub.com or mother earthnews.com.

* Cowboy Charcoal. Low-smoke charcoal without added fillers or chemicals. The coal is crafted from natural hardwood scraps. Available at Lowe’s or cowboycharcoal.com.

* Petroleum-free charcoal starter. This odorless fluid made from ethanol will help start your grill and is better than smoke created from petroleum. Available at realgoods.com.

* Bambu All Occasion Veneerware. Organic bamboo plates, utensils and trays. Available at Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Crate and Barrel and greenfeet. com.

* Nat-Ur corn-based utensil set. Biodegradable utensils made from corn. Available at greenfeet.com or amazon.com.

* Picnic baskets. Baskets available from natural materials, at picnicfun.com.

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(c) 2008 Record, The; Bergen County, N.J.. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.




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