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Football is officially back in season and tailgating is in preparation. Your tailgate could be done the eco-friendly way! Check out these great tips to make your football season celebrations good for your body and the earth. Tips courtesy of Oregon Shepherd.

Tips to tailgate in an eco-friendly way

(ARA) – A spirited American pastime for decades, tailgating has become the ultimate way for fans to fuel up for football games. But without careful planning, these parking lot picnics can consume a lot of energy and create a lot of waste. This year there’s a movement to help you reduce your fan footprint and celebrate your favorite football team with a few simple changes.

1. Eats and drinks
Good: Natural – Choose foods free from things like MSG, high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. Try picking natural sodas and snacks like Kettle Brand Backyard Barbeque Potato Chips made with all natural, non-genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients.

Better: Natural plus local – Include some local foods and you’re doing great. Fall is naturally an easier time to find local produce options. Try to include locally produced wines and local microbrews and you’re doing even better.

Best: Natural plus local plus organic – Add in some organic foods (like your Golden Gate Organics produce!) and you’re on top. Not only are these foods better for the environment, but they’re great for you too – organic foods are generally as much as 25 percent higher in key vitamins and nutrients.

2. What you’re eating on
Good: Recycled – Choose items made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials, like PCR paper and plastic. Generally, these are made from No. 5 recycled plastics, one of the “healthier” plastics out there.

Better: Compostable – Use items that will break down easily like compostable and biodegradable goods. UltraGreen makes compostable flatware, plates and more that will biodegrade in 60 to 150 days in your home compost.

Best: Reusable – The best option is to use only washable and reusable dishes. And for napkins, cloth is best. Bring a bin or tote to throw the dishes in when you’re finished and load them in the dishwasher when you get home. And cut down on clean-up by keeping food in the package.

3. Trash talk
Good: Trash bin – Have a trash plan and be responsible about picking up after yourself. Even though the area looks like a parking lot, covered in pavement, it’s probably still surrounded by natural habitat and wildlife.

Better: Recycling station – Set up an easy-to-use recycling station so your guests and fellow tailgaters can toss recyclable bottles and paper items. Be sure to remember the rules of your local recycling program.

Best: Trash plus recycling plus compost – Set up a system to compost, and recycle first and then trash only what is left. Be sure to clearly label bins, buckets or bags.

4. Fire up a greener grill
Good: Eco-friendly BBQ grill – If it’s disposable, make sure it’s recyclable. Single-use grills are fairly inexpensive, stay hot for hours and are made entirely from recyclable aluminum so they won’t go in the garbage.

Better: Charcoal – If you use charcoal, choose hardwood lump charcoal. Standard briquettes can be filled with chemicals, coal dust and other additives. Also, forego lighter fluid in favor of a reusable chimney charcoal starter.

Best: Gas – Many claim that gas grills are more efficient and less polluting than charcoal. If you’re using a gas grill, be sure your propane tank has a trade-in option so you can simply exchange your empty tank for a full one.

5. Doing it green, start to finish
Good: Carpool, bike, take the bus or BART– Carpool and avoid driving even one car a 20 mile drive and you’ll save 20 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. If you’re not the host, take advantage of public transportation including bike trails, avoid the traffic hassle and cut down your carbon footprint all at the same time.

Better: Pack some solar power – Turn the engine off and try using solar energy to power your party. Larger solar power portable outlets will work for iPods as well as portable heaters.

Best: Recycle your game gear – To show your spirit, reuse the game gear you already have or get creative and hit up a neighborhood yard sale, or second-hand store. You might score some vintage finds already broken in and ready for a second round of rooting.

Combine all three “Start to Finish” tips for the absolute best outcome.

For a festive and more eco-friendly football celebration, keep these tips in mind and remember that even small swaps, whether good, better or the best, can add up to make a big impact.