The Simple Things


We answer the green questions you were too afraid, or too confused, to ask



Both gas and charcoal-lit barbecues release carbon dioxide but charcoal is the biggest pollution culprit – releasing twice the amount of toxic particles. What’s more, charcoal bricks are often made from unsustaina­bly logged tropical wood, coated in chemicals to make them easier to ignite. The most harmful of all are disposable versions (the UK uses more than 1,000,000 of them a year): energy-inefficien­t, covered in single-use plastic and nonrecycla­ble. While gas has less of an impact on air quality than charcoal, it’s still a non-renewable fossil fuel. Electric barbecue grills can be a better option, if your electricit­y comes from a renewable source.

Keep the following in mind:

• For both gas and charcoal, use a lid to help control temperatur­e (thereby using less fuel).

• If you buy charcoal, try to source bricks from sustainabl­y managed native woodland. They're a bit pricier, but usually burn for longer than mass-produced varieties.

• Choose natural firelighte­rs made from the likes of wood shavings.

• Burn logs made from materials such as coffee-bean waste or recycled sawdust in fire pits. They produce less smoke than wood.

Taken from Is It Really Green? Everyday Eco-dilemmas Answered by Georgina Wilson-Powell (DK)

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