Are BBQ’s bad for the environment?
Written by Linda Allardyce
We’ve all been basking in the lovely sunny weather we’ve been having recently, and part of that can mean only one thing: the BBQ’s are out! Us Brits fire up our grills some 60 million times a year, and what we don’t often realise is that they can come with a hefty carbon “price tag”.
But fear not, in our usual fashion, here are ways that you can BBQ sustainably without compromising on experience.
Why charcoal is bad for the environment
Charcoal is derived from trees, so when you buy a bag of charcoal you have bought a small piece of forest. About 17% of all wood used as fuel worldwide is converted into charcoal, with more than 90% of it produced in tropical areas across Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and the Americas. Only 3% of the UK’s charcoal is sourced within its shores.
Traditional methods of charcoal production cause immense damage to the environment, contributing significantly to deforestation of the world’s rainforests, particularly in African tropical rainforests.
Not only is it destroying our Earth’s “lungs”, but also destroying the habitats of thousands of creatures and critters that call those forests home. This doesn’t even consider the colossal greenhouse gas emissions from the industry as well. Charcoal production and use accounts for approximately 2-7% of global, human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are mostly caused by unsustainable forest management and inefficient charcoal manufacture.
Put into context, a charcoal grilling session can emit around 5kg of CO2 – enough to drive a small car 22 miles – add LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) to the mix and that adds an additional 8 miles worth of CO2 to the journey in the same car.
There are ways for the industry to be more sustainable – but this kind of change happens from the top down, and the planet can’t wait for corporations and businesses to make these changes at the slow pace they are.
Choose sustainable charcoal alternatives
By switching to sustainable grilling fuel alternatives, we can all reduce the demand on this unsustainable industry as well as reducing our own contributions to carbon dioxide emissions.
CoCoCabana’s Grillbriketts are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative and are made using coconut husk, which is a by-product from the coconut farming industry.
As coconut-based products rise in popularity, coconut industry waste is also increasing. By making use of this waste, it helps to:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making use of a by-product that would have decomposed or been burned
- Reduce waste in general from the coconut farming industry, and your home
- Generate renewable energy using the gases produced during the Grillbriketts production process – further reducing greenhouse gases
- Enhance the income of impoverished farmers
- Prevent deforestation, as it does not require tree felling to support production
The briquettes provide a high-quality performance and have a very long cooking time; 3kg will last for up to 6 hours, around three times longer than their charcoal counterparts. They allow for higher cooking temperatures, which is perfect when you’re cooking pulled pork, ribs, and steak on the BBQ.
They are also reusable, completely odour-free and produce minimal ash. So, when you’re done with them, don’t dispose of the briquette, just any ash produced after it has fully cooled which can be used safely as a garden fertiliser.
Eco-friendly firelighters are the perfect partner too
For BBQ and grilling aficionados, getting the fire started may be all too simple, but there are always going to be those that need an extra helping hand (ahem, me).
Most firelighters that dominate the market are fossil fuel based, containing chemicals like kerosene, paraffin, paraffin wax – all of which are derived from petroleum. As such, they carry a huge CO2 cost, as well as chemicals that are toxic to humans like formaldehyde resin, which is a known carcinogen.
Formaldehyde is present in many items found around your home, like cleaners and disinfectants, glues, sealants and paints. It can cause a whole host of problems for humans and animals alike if they inhale or come into direct contact with too much of it.
When these chemical-based firelighters burn, they emit chemicals and emissions proven to have a detrimental effect on human heath, as well as contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Remember, we’re lighting up our grills 60 million times a year – what if even half that many used firelighters?
Sustainable firelighters are such an easy swap and provide the same great ease of use as traditional fossil fuel-based ones.
FireUp Natural & Sustainable Firelighters are a great, eco-friendly swap to make, and what’s more they have a whole range of applications. They are fossil fuel free, which makes them completely carbon neutral and are made from a fully FSC certified wood mix, therefore completely traceable back to source.
Unlike traditional firelighters, they are:
- Free from formaldehyde or added chemicals
- Long lasting, as they won’t dry out after opening
- Completely safe to come into contact with plants and aquatic life
They are suitable for a wide range of uses indoors and outdoors, on your grills and BBQs, firepits, stoves and woodburners. Safer for the planet, safer for your home.