If either gas or charcoal grills were a clear environmental winner, the decision of what to use would be much easier. But it’s not that straightforward. Charcoal grills release about twice as much carbon dioxide per hour as gas grills do, roughly 11 pounds versus 5.6, says the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. But charcoal comes from trees, which absorb carbon as they grow, making the emissions net zero. Still, groups like the Sierra Club advocate gas grills because they are cleaner burning.
Though there doesn’t seem to be an obvious ecofriendly choice when it comes to what fuels your grill, there are still a few things you can do to lessen the environmental impact of your weekend barbecue.