Along with Your School Colors, Don't Forget the Green at Your Next Tailgate

posted 10/24/2018

It's that time of year. The air is crisp and football season is in full swing — the perfect time for tailgating.

There's not much green about transporting thousands of people to a football arena, jetting teams around the country and cleaning up tons of trash after the final down. So the simple green answer is to watch the game at home. But greener living doesn't have to mean doing without. It is about doing BETTER! Many professional and collegiate sports teams are working toward more sustainable practices with their own initiatives or with the Green Sports Alliance and you can do your part, too. We've rounded up a few ideas to green up your tailgate parties and demonstrate that almost anything can be made more sustainable.

Green Grilling

Your lowest-impact grilling option is propane. Sure, propane is a fossil fuel, but it burns a lot cleaner than charcoal or wood. Propane also leaves behind less waste, and is particularly convenient when you're cooking away from home. 

Eat and Drink Local/Organic

Go with local, seasonal produce and plug in your favorite recipes. The great thing about tailgating season is that it coincides with the biggest selection at the farmers market. Local food travels less miles by far, so the carbon footprint is reduced. Plus it tastes better! 

Ditch the Disposables

It is so tempting to break out the paper and plastic plates, cups and cutlery when you're tailgating. They're certainly convenient, but most dining disposables end up thrown all over the parking area of the stadium only to be picked up by staff and then toted off to local landfills. It's not much of a hassle to bring some dishes from home. They needn't be your everyday ware: picking up a set of lightweight plastic place settings is a great outdoor investment. Carry them home for washing in a lock-top storage bin.

All Fans Can Do Their Part

At a tailgate party, there is probably no way to get around using beverage cans and bottles, but the good news is that many sports venues do have recycling containers available in the stadium and in the tailgating areas. Make a point  to find out what the venue accepts in their local program. Then, you can plan to use their receptacles for all your plastic bottles, cans, cardboard, paper and whatever else is accepted. If they don’t happen to have recycling available, then plan to take your items back home and recycle them there.