If you are a conscientious person you will be concerned about the environment and your carbon footprint. You can't affect government or industrial decisions, but in your own life, you can make a difference. This means using recyclable products and using just the amount that is necessary, which means less waste. On a personal level, you should concentrate on the little things. The little things add up and accumulate. The more of us that do so, the greater impact we can have collectively.
One case in mind is the use of charcoal in your barbecues. Both the use and disposal of the burnt coals. Not a big deal you might imagine, but it is one of those little ways in which you can avoid waste and help the environment too. All it takes is a little thought and minimal effort.
If you're into barbecues, then don't buy one of those single-use throwaway grills. Buy a permanent and reusable one. Ok, we don't get much use of our barbecues because of the famed British weather, but on those few balmy days, it's great to pull out the grill and eat outside. The throwaway kind can't be reused again and just adds to rubbish pollution. If you do use a throwaway grill make sure you dispose of it correctly in the right non-recyclable bin. Make sure that the charcoal is extinguished properly before throwing out.
To cut down on waste use the minimum amount of charcoal necessary to cook your food. A layer of a couple of inches only should provide sufficient heat to cook whatever you want. Don't buy those 'easy to light' brands, as they are treated with chemicals and can be toxic. You'll enjoy your food more after putting in a little effort.
Believe it or not, charcoal has its other uses and can be used for a few things. Keen gardeners should know that adding a handful of it to the compost heap adds a bit of carbon and enriches the mixture. It is best to crush it to dust, which also helps retard weed growth.
Charcoal is also great at reducing odors and dampness. If you put a bit of unburnt charcoal in a cloth bag and put it into your fridge, it will reduce smells. This can help air out frequently used footwear too. It is said that putting a lump of charcoal in a vase of cut flowers will make them last longer.
Barbecuing is a nice custom that we have picked up from our American cousins and is a pleasant way to cook and eat food, but it doesn't have to be wasteful or polluting. Do your bit for the environment by using a little thought.