Sustainable Tailgating Party Ideas for a Greener Football Season

Trying to reduce your carbon footprint this fall?  Want a truly eco friendly tailgating party? Whether you are tailgating at the stadium or watching the game at home with friends,  fall means bonfires, chilly nights and football games! Make your next tailgate party a green one with these sustainable tailgating party ideas for a green football season.

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Choose Sustainable Tailgating Party Ideas for Green Living!

One of the most popular ways to celebrate football season is with a tailgate party, which usually means lots of food and drink and a large output of trash as a result. There’s no reason you can’t celebrate your favorite team without leaving a large carbon footprint, though.

Want to learn how to throw a sustainable tailgate party this season? Here are some super fun, super green tailgating tips.

adults carpooling together

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Carpool to Your Party for Sustainable Travel

Gathering the troops is step one, and your environmental effect starts here. Limit the emissions by getting friends to drive together, rather than everyone taking their own wheels. Carpooling not only cuts down on the exhaust generated by your party, but it’ll also save you a ton of cash when it comes to gas and parking.

Select a designated driver, preferably one who owns a hybrid or similarly fuel-efficient ride. If you are looking for easy sustainable tailgating party ideas, this is as simple as it gets!

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Ditch the Disposables for a Smaller Carbon Footprint

Disposable plates, napkins, cutlery, and cups will create a mountain of trash. To make your tailgate greener, consider alternatives to these one-and-done supplies. Bring your own reusable pint glass. You won’t want to chance breaking your kitchen set, so invest in reusable plastic dishes and cups on which to serve your favorite tailgate grub.

Bring along a few inexpensive cloth napkins and a large, plastic tub to hold all the dirty dishes and cups until you get home. Check out my post about plastic forks and how we can make a dent in plastic pollution one step at a time.

Like these sustainable tailgating tips?  Read these easy party ideas, too!

trash on ground

Reduce Your Trash Output to Save the Planet

Reducing garbage output can be challenging when tailgating but it IS possible. It’s tempting to throw your bottles and cans into the nearest trash, but those containers need to be recycled to keep your carbon footprint low.

Bring containers clearly marked with recycling symbols and ask your party-goers to look before they toss. Symbols “1” through “7” are defined differently, per the Mother Nature Network, so act accordingly.

Want to really rock your sustainable tailgate party? Have a separate bin for compostable items and check out my post about how to reduce plastic usage.

Food scraps, as well as many paper products, are compostable. Look for products labeled “compostable in home compost bin” if you want to ensure you can break down such items for personal use.

Easy Tips for Grilling Vegetables Perfectly!

Green Up Your Grilling for Health and Sustainability

Grilling is pretty much the central pillar of tailgating season. However, the choices you make with regard to your grill can make or break your sustainable tailgate party. According to a study quoted by Earth 911, propane grills are more efficient than charcoal grills.

When purchasing a propane tank, make sure there’s a trade-in option to further reduce your carbon footprint. Check out my post on green grilling tips for loads of info on sustainable grilling. 

Sustainable grilling tips and recipes for your next tailgating party

 Organic Food

Rethink Your Food Choices for Better Sustainability 

Food is almost as important to your tailgate as football. Rethink the types you offer before the game. Invest in locally raised beef burgers and made-from-scratch desserts that make a smaller carbon footprint than other not-so-green alternatives.

Make some homemade pretzels with beer cheese and skip the packaging waste. 

You may even consider grilling less meat and throwing on some vegetable skewers. Check out Local Harvest for the latest information on seasonal foods in your area and ask your fellow tailgaters to bring a homemade dish to share.

How to Get Green Beer

Eco Your Suds Selection:  Green Beer for the WIN!

Cool down with an organic beer, like Sierra Nevada’s Our Estate Ale, brewed entirely from organic hops grown right in their backyard. The company is more than worth supporting, as they are also “working toward 100 percent self-generation through the use of solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells.”

Want to really impress your pigskin party? You could even pick up some organic hops, yeast, and malted grain to try brewing up a batch of your own beer. Organic Authority outlines a six-step process that ends in a four-day fermentation before bottling it up. 

Check out my post on green beer for great tips on sustainable beer drinking!

used bottle caps

Find ways to reuse glass bottles and caps you create during your tailgating party.  Here are a few ways to reuse bottle caps:

  • Jewelry: This is a huge new fashion trend with tweens nowadays! With a little paint and sparkly gems, you can turn your bottle caps into earrings or a necklace. Personalize your jewels by gluing a small picture into the interior of the cap.   
  • Checkers Game: Create your own checkers game. All you need is some red and black paint and a piece of cardboard and you’re ready to play!
  • Memory Game: Collect two dozen bottle caps with identical top surfaces to make a memory game for children. Paint, write letters or numbers, or glue pictures on the inside of the caps to keep them entertained for hours! Make sure each bottle cap has a match. 
  • Picture Frame: Liven up an old picture frame with brightly colored bottle caps! Using a hot glue gun attach the bottle caps along the side of the frame. Once dry, insert your favorite picture for a creative memory to share.
  • Magnets: Glue a strong magnet onto each bottle cap and use it to display your child’s artwork on the refrigerator. Stand back and watch your child glow with excitement!  You can see my rainbow bottle cap magnet as an example. 
  • Crafts:  There are loads of bottle cap crafts to be found online.  Make my bottle cap snowman Christmas tree ornament with your kids!

fall sun peeking through trees

Make the Most of Fall Sun for Reduced Energy Usage

A sunny fall afternoon is a great source of energy for solar-powered products. Choose solar-powered music options, solar blankets, or even a solar grill for your sustainable tailgate party.

While these items can cost a bit more than conventional alternatives, you will significantly decrease your carbon footprint over the course of several years of tailgating, while powering your party with a free source of energy.

Group of People in Football shirts with text overlay Sustainable Tailgating Party Ideas


College football season means planning your game-day parties. Grilling before kickoff is one of the best parts of fall.  However, many football tailgates are not very sustainable and result in a ton of waste. 

Make the most of your tailgating party by going green at the same time. Even if you are pressed for time and money, look for recycling and landfill bins throughout tailgating areas to reduce your carbon footprint just a little bit. 


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