Auburn. Alabama’s crimson tide. The cherry and white of Temple. Blue and gold, red and black, and orange … fall is awash in colors—the colors displayed on the jerseys of schools and sports fans from coast to coast! And with team pride comes plenty of road trips, tailgating and in-home parties to watch everything from NFL, college and high school football to the MLB playoffs and World Series to the NHL and NBA (and, yes, your kids’ sports games and tournaments too!). But no matter what your team colors, there’s always room to incorporate some “green,” and I don’t mean Philadelphia Eagles green (this time). I’m talking about planning your tailgating and parties to be extra fun and eco-friendly!
Before you bite into your big-game burger, chew on this: In 2014, 17.36 million people attended regular-season NFL games, and 49 million people attended NCAA football games. That’s a lot of people traveling to stadiums, popping open soda and beer, downing dogs and passing around bags of chips. So you can see how even just small to moderate changes in tailgating and spectator practices could make a huge impact on the well-being of our planet.
If you’re a super-fan—or even just a casual game watcher who loves to throw a party—keep this list of what’s in and what’s out nearby this season, and give three cheers for creating a greener experience. Comment on what your team does to be part of the IN crowd!
- Single-serve beverage bottles and cans
- Single-serving snack packs
- Plastic cups, dishware and utensils
- Feed to excess
- “Saucy, drippy” dishes
- Paper napkins and paper towels
- Supermarket specials
- Black plastic garbage bags
- “I’ll meet you there!”
- Wood-and-charcoal-burning grills
- Gas generators
- Coolers full of ice
- 2-liter bottles of soda, growlers or kegs, water coolers and reusable ceramic
- Buying in bulk! The larger the container, the lower the packaging waste levels. Plus, sharing makes for a more social party.
- Reusable ceramic, glass, or plastic cups and plates; metal flatware. If necessary, biodegradable paper products are a good alternative.
- Knowing your guest list and buying/preparing foods in appropriate quantities. Bring storage containers for sharing the leftovers.
- Finger foods – they eliminate the need for utensils and extra napkins.
- Cloth napkins and reusable cloth dish rags.
- Buying local.
- Clearly labeled recycling bin next to a trash receptacle.
- Car pools and van rentals to transport the whole gang in one vehicle.
- Propane-fueled grills for cleaner burning.
- Solar-powered generators.
- Refreezable cool packs. If you must use ice, let it melt down in the cooler and use the water to wipe down tables and rinse off plates and flatware.
Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page to share photos of you wearing your team colors, while taking some steps to be greener this tailgating season!