Tailgating. It’s an American institution, a tradition with a rich history dating back to when the Romans used to “pre-game” outside amphitheaters on the backs of their chariots whilst partaking in libations of Bud Light.
Ok fact checkers, take it easy, we know that last bit isn’t true [it was Coors Light, not Bud Light] but there’s no denying the hard truth that tailgating turns any boring parking lot into a huge community.
Like any community, it’s up to you to keep it neat and tidy. You don’t own the parking lot, so you better leave it how you found it, in all its pristine glory.
While getting amped up for the game with beer, barbecued meat, and other questionable dietary decisions, you can easily lower your environmental impact.
“Oh right, there’s a game,” says your friend Jimmy who had a few too many but lost track because he was recycling his cans.
Jimmy’s a good guy [and shockingly passes out during the game].
Get it together Jimmy *steals back giant foam finger*
Sustainable tailgating doesn’t mean “less fun,” greening your parking lot shindig is pretty darn easy.
Carpooling, taking public transport or just walking to the pre-game festivities lowers your carbon footprint and allows for you to enjoy a few adult beverages without the worry of getting coming back for your car the next day.
It also goes without saying, NEVER DRINK OR DRIVE!
Implements of Food/Drink Consumption
Instead of bringing paper plates, plastic utensils, and one-time-use cups to the festivities, bring reusable utensils, dinnerware, and mugs. Another option, if you want to keep cleanup to a minimum, is purchasing all of the above implements of ingestion in their compostable versions.
There are tons of portable solar power options out there that’ll allow you to party on, free of any carbon emissions. Need tunes? Get a solar powered Bluetooth speaker. Need juice for your phone? There’s a solar-powered phone charger for that. Need a bit more power? Purchase yourself a generator powered completely by the sun!
Propane and Propane Accessories
The Barbeque is the linchpin of any successful tailgate gathering. No matter how you slice it, if you grill, you’re going to create greenhouse gas emissions. Go with propane over wood and charcoal for a more environmentally friendly grill session. The environment and Hank Hill will thank you.
Think locally when it comes to food choices while tailgating, visit a local farmers market to find ingredients for staple side dishes like potato salad, coleslaw or chili. Butcher shops are still a thing, so find your local meat dispensary and stock up on hotdogs, hamburgers, ribs and chicken. It’ll cost more for the quality but will ever taste good!
So why buy locally? The products stocked on the shelves of big chain grocery stores are often shipped hundreds of miles before. Not good if you’re trying to shrink your carbon footprint.
Compost and Recycle
Many colleges have programs set up to reduce the amount of waste created during tailgate parties. Make sure any recyclable material is properly sorted and any food waste, composted.
Do some research ahead of a big game to see if recycling or composting will be available during the pre-game festivities, if not, bring bins of your own or recycling bags to help encourage to get into the habit of recycling.
The University of South Carolina has an impressive program for reducing waste generated during campus tailgate parties. Check out the vid to see what we mean
See, greening your tailgate shindig isn’t all that difficult. Whether you’re pre-drinking gaming at a college level or professional sporting event, by just making a few simple adjustments, you can show the environment just as much love as for your favorite team.