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Outdoor grills: Which are greener, gas or charcoal? | Herndon VA

f8666ba1-f1a2-4b0a-ad05-3bcaa08ca68d-thumbWhen what seems to be the eternal argument about outdoor grills between gas vs charcoal, the discussion usually revolves around how each type of grill cooks the food. Gas provides more even heat but charcoal gives food that smoky flavor that many desired in their grilled meat. But a new subject for argument has arisen. Which type of grill is greener asks the Watertown Wicked Local? By that we mean, which one harms the environment the least.

It turns out, not surprisingly, that gas grills are far greener than charcoal grills can ever hope to be. Charcoal grills emit 11 pounds of carbon dioxide, considered a greenhouse gas, per hour of use, according to a study by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, vs 5.6 pounds of co2 from gas grills. Charcoal grills also emit carbon monoxide and particulate matter that also contribute to air pollution.

On the other hand, charcoal, as it is derived from wood, is a renewable resource. Gas grills use propane, which is not a renewable resource.

So what is an environmentally conscious griller to do? Even resorting to an electric grill can be considered suspect, if it is powered from the grid and power sources connected with fossil fuel plants. One supposes one can hook up an electric grill to a solar power or wind power unit, secure in the knowledge that one is being sustainable in ones backyard barbequing practices. But is it really grilling if it’s not done with fire?

The solution to the conundrum is to resign oneself to the fact that there is no human activity that does not impact the environment in one way or another. Besides, backyard grilling is still more sustainable than going out to eat.

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Written by : Jane Rother