April 22, 2020 officially marks 50 years of celebrating Earth Day – an event created in 1970 to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. It’s also a day to recognize the environmental challenges we face to protect it, which have never been greater or more complex than they are today.
Whether it’s reaching for propane the next time you’re ready to grill, or properly cleaning your grill once the party’s over, there are small steps we can take to make the air cleaner and safer for everyone.
In the spirit of Earth Day, here’s a few small eco-friendly changes you can make in your own backyard.
Be Aware of What Fuel You Are Using
If you’re looking for small ways to contribute to a greener environment this Earth Day – as well as every day – you can start by being conscious of the fuel you cook with. From an environmental standpoint, propane burns much cleaner and leaves behind less waste than charcoal.
A 2009 study by environmental consultant Eric Johnson found that grilling with charcoal leads to a carbon footprint three times that of propane.
One of the main factors behind why is because, as a fuel, propane is produced more efficiently than charcoal. While charcoal is a biomass, which makes it seem like the cleaner choice, most of the wood that’s heated to create charcoal is converted to gas and emitted into the atmosphere, leaving somewhere between 20 and 35 percent as actual charcoal. Yields of propane, however, are greater than 90 percent, according to Johnson’s research.
In terms of localized air pollution, burning conventional charcoal releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter into the air and around your grill. Chances are those chemicals can potentially find their way into the airways of anyone standing nearby.
What’s worse is charcoal grilling contributes to ground level ozone, the main component of smog. Ground level ozone is known to create health problems such as chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. Just a few things to think about the next time you fire up the grill!
Clean Your Grill
This might be common sense to some but taking proper care of your grill not only extends its life, but it also reduces the amount of grease and food particle build up. Dripping fat and food particles that make their way below the grill grates can cause flare-ups and excess smoke when you cook. Giving your grill a deep clean every so often will reduce the amount of flare-ups and keep your grill running safely.
Follow Proper Guidelines for Disposing of Your Gas Grill
Like we’ve said before, cleaning, maintenance, and timely replacement of parts will extend the life of your grill. However, when the time comes to dispose of your old grill, we encourage you to take these proper steps to get rid of it that yields safe and environmentally-friendly results:
- Start by cleaning all surfaces thoroughly of any food debris. From there, disconnect the propane tank and disassemble the grill. Be sure to wear work gloves for proper protection.
- The body of your gas grill is primarily constructed with recyclable materials such as steel, stainless steel, cast iron, brass, or aluminum. These parts can be recycled at your local scrap metal dealer or at some recycling centers. Visit earth911.com to find a recycling center near you!
- Most plastic parts can also be recycled; please follow your local municipal guidelines for plastic recycling. For batteries or other electronics, check with your local governmental for disposal practices.
- Metal-plated parts, caster wheels, gauges, hinges, and regulator hose assemblies should be disposed of in your standard domestic waste disposal system. Be sure to contact your manufacturer or consult your owner’s manual for further details.
Drop, Swap, & Go!
Did you know that every time you use a Blue Rhino propane tank in your backyard, you’re also being kind to the earth? When you drop, swap, and go, you’re reusing tanks through the process of exchange. That means saving another propane tank from ending up in a landfill.
At Blue Rhino, we recycle propane tanks – and lots of them! We clean and inspect them, retrofit for outdated valves, ensure the tanks are in certification date, and refill and repackage them for reuse.
Many recycling centers and landfills cannot recycle unwanted propane tanks due to the residual propane inside. If you have a propane tank that you no longer need and would like to recycle, simply place your old tank beside a Blue Rhino display, and we’ll take care of the rest.
For more on how to make your backyard barbecue more environmentally-friendly, or other helpful barbecuing tips and tricks, be sure to visit our blog!