From youth and high school to college and pro, after a long spring and summer slumber, football has returned to the South and we couldn’t be happier about that fact! But with its much-anticipated revival comes the return of tailgate parties to parking lots, campuses, driveways and cul de sacs throughout the great state of Georgia, along with the litter they create. Rather than leave a trail of trash behind or make a negative impact on the environment, you can turn your tailgate party into a win-win – both for your guests and for the planet! To help you plan, the community-minded cheerleaders behind Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful would like to toss these six tips for hosting one TOUCHDOWN of an eco-friendly tailgate party your way…
- Pile Into the Minivan, Football Fans: Unless you’re headed to your basement, backyard, driveway or cul de sac for your tailgate or football-watching party, you might want to gather part of your group for a carpool to your destination. That’s fewer cars headed to the same place, effectively minimizing your tailgate party’s carbon footprint.
- Good Teams and Good Times are Worth the Good China: Because the litter they leave behind are one of the most negative aspects of having a tailgate party, a great way to minimize litter from the start is by providing fewer items that will need to be thrown away. Become a pro at packing reusable plates, cups, napkins and utensils for your guests to use, then repack them to come home with you to be cleaned once the cheers have faded. If real plates aren’t in the cards, opt for environmentally friendly disposable plates and cups – such as those that are compostable and/or made from recycled materials.
- Spike That Ball with Sustainable Snacks: Plan your tailgate party menu around sustainable options. Look to locally sourced fruits, veggies and beef for burgers. You can even provide plant-based options for your vegetarian guests. As far as adult beverages go, there are an ever-growing array of organic beer options on the market. Don’t forget to recycle those aluminum cans!
- Grill for the Good of the Planet: Virtually a sport of its own, grilling is often synonymous with the advent of a tailgate party. While the smell of charcoal and lighter fluid on a breeze may evoke memories of tailgate parties of your youth, more environmentally sound options include clean-burning propane or battery-powered grills.
- It’s Game Time: Unless you’re headed to the game or watching indoors, you might want to look into a portable battery-powered TV to keep up with the play-by-play. For tailgate party music or listening to sports announcers give their commentary on each drive for the end-zone, consider bringing a solar-powered sound system to the party.
- Three Points for the Win: When it’s time to wrap up the party and head home, make sure you’ve provided three receptacles for your guests – one for composting, one for recycling and one for trash.
Regardless of who your favorite team might be or whether they’ve got a shot at the championship games, never forget that we’re all a part of TEAM EARTH and we need to do our part to keep her green, clean and beautiful for generations to come! For more environmentally focused tips, volunteer opportunities and information about Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful’s mission of Connecting People and Resources for a Sustainable Gwinnett, visit www.GwinnettCB.org.