This weekend, thousands of people will fill football stadiums around the country to cheer on their favorite teams. But well before the quarterback's first snap, those same fans will partake in a pregame ritual that’s practically as sacred as the game itself.

Tailgating is an American institution. For decades, football fans have been gathering in parking lots and fields to grill out, drink a few brews and get ready for the big game.

While tailgating is a fun way to enjoy game day, it’s not necessarily an environmentally friendly activity. Luckily, there are some easy ways to make your football tailgate a little greener.

1. Carpool with friends. Heading to the game with a group of friends? Don’t drive separately. Not only will it lower emissions but you can also split the cost of parking, which is usually pretty expensive. Plus, you can have a designated driver to get everyone home safely after the game.

2. Opt for reusable plates and silverware. Most tailgaters use disposable plates and silverware. While that might seem like the most convenient option, it’s definitely not the greenest. Take reusable plates and silverware to help cut down on waste. If you do go with disposable, look for items that are biodegradable or made from recycled materials.

3. Buy local supplies. From the ground beef for your burgers to the beer in your cooler, purchase local whenever possible. Head to the farmer’s market the morning of and pick up some beer at a nearby brewery. You’d be surprised how many items you can find locally. This lessens your carbon footprint and supports local businesses. A win-win.

4. Recycle all those cans and bottles. From sodas and beer to water bottles, make sure you bring a separate trash bag for recyclables. Some football stadiums offer recycling bins but if yours doesn’t, you can bring your own. Make sure everyone in your group knows where to recycle their cans and bottles and then dispose of them properly after the game.

5. Choose propane over charcoal or wood grill. While all grills emit some form of fossil fuels, propane burns much cleaner than traditional charcoal or wood methods. Plus, it’s easier to clean up at the end of the game and you don’t have to worry about finding a place to put your leftover coal and ash.

With all of these tips, you can still enjoy the game and feel good about the green impact you're making on the world around you.

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