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green bbq charcoal

Green Barbecue Charcoal

Barbecue or barbeque (with abbreviations BBQ, Bar-B-Q and Bar-B-Que), diminutive form barbie, is a method for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, hot coals or charcoal and may include application of a sauce to the meat.

Barbecuing is great fun, but have you ever considered that you are harming the earth.  What are the problems with barbecuing? --- It is the Bar-B-Q fuels.  There are a number of environmental issues we are concerning about the fuels we use for Barbecue.

1. Deforestation

The vast majority of the charcoal we use is from places, such as South Africa, South America and South East Asia, in where, there are concerns over deforestation, damage to mangrove swamps and other vulnerable habitats.  The statistic indicates that humans consume 2 million tons of charcoal for barbecuing each year. It needs 3-4 tons of woods to make 1 ton of charcoal and a hectare of forestland produces 250 ton of woods averagely.  That means, humans cut 80,000 hectares of forest (equals to 60 Hyde Parks of UK or 30 Central Parks of USA) for barbecuing each year.

Solution: Looking for the charcoal with FSD (Forest Stewardship Council) mark. FSC certification system ensures that the ecological integrity of forest is maintained.


2. Non-renewable


It's true that gas burns more cleanly than charcoal, but its carbon footprint is greater. Rumours that gas is the greenest option ignore the fact that it is a non-renewable fossil fuel, of which supply is not guaranteed, and that the latest outdoor gas cooking stoves are energy-greedy..

Solution: Proper charcoal is carbon-neutral, so it puts back into the atmosphere the CO2 that the tree absorbed during its life. The most important is that the woods to char is sustainable. An example is the charcoal made with biomass, such as cotton tree charcoal which is a renewable agricultural biomass after cotton harvest every year, and which is a replacement for fossil fuels.


3. Emissions

It is believed that the air quality in the event area is associated with the cooking fuel used for barbecuing. Therefore, some states in the United States regulates the Bar-B-Q fuels. An example is the SCAQMD (South California Air Quality Management District) Regulations.

Solution :  Looking for the Bar-B-Q fuel with local air quality regulation complied label, SCAQMD or equivalent. 


4. Additives, coal, nitrates, or fillers found in Briquettes

Briquettes may be your cheapest option when it comes to fuel, but they’re also the dirtiest. American briquettes are generally made from coal powders can often contain a variety of chemicals, sending harmful fumes up to the atmosphere and your food. However, the European standard EN1860 calls for absence of inadmissible additions to ensure that the briquettes are free of additives, coal, chemicals, or filler.

Solution: Looking for the Bar-B-Q fuel that is free of additives, coal, chemicals, or filler. An EN1860 certificated label or equivalent may help to identify this.


5.        Chemicals from firelighters

Not only has there been concern that chemicals from firelighters may leak on to your food if you don't leave long enough between lighting the barbecue and loading it with grub. Furthermore, the firelighters are usually made of fossil fuels, petrol’s, which are non-renewable and harmful to the environment.

Solution :  You can light the charcoal with newspaper or any biomass with the chimney starter. A chimney starter is essentially a metal cylinder with a grate near the bottom and a handle mounted on the side. Unlit charcoal is placed inside the cylinder and newspaper or other flammable material is placed under the grate and lit. The charcoal at the bottom of the cylinder lights first and the "chimney effect" ignites the remaining charcoal above.

6. More Green Barbecue Tips