Lump Charcoal

Firing up the grill this weekend? Did you know that your barbecue can be more sustainable? Here are some ideas for greener grilling …


Charcoal or propane: the ultimate grilling grudge match. What is more environmentally sound? With all of the factors considered, propane is more sustainable than charcoal.

Charcoal may be derived from natural and renewable resources, but it can contribute to deforestation. Charcoal briquettes often contain chemical additives and fillers that can infiltrate your food, stifle the air and leave a bad taste in your mouth – literally. Borax and sawdust … yum. (Not really.) A traditional charcoal grill also emits more harmful pollutants. While it is produced from finite resources, propane offers a cleaner burn.

If you are a charcoal fan, though, all is not lost. Lump charcoal is a healthier choice for you and the environment. Consider lump charcoal that is natural, carbon-neutral and certified by The Forest Stewardship Council.

Mesquite and raw wood chips certified by The Forest Stewardship Council and The Rainforest Alliance are other sources of sustainable fuel as well.


Come on, baby … light my fire – but not with lighter fluid. Lighter fluids also contain harmful chemicals that can seep into your food when they are burned. Try a chimney charcoal starter or electric charcoal starter to grill green.


WHAT you grill is just as important as HOW you grill. For a healthier and more environmentally sound barbecue, choose locally raised meats, sustainably sourced seafood and locally grown produce. You’ll support your local economy, reap the benefits of fresh food and reduce your environmental impacts.


At your barbecue, be sure to watch your wasteline. You read that correctly. Not your WAISTline. Your WASTEline. As Queen said, ‘don’t throw it all away!’ Choose reusable dinnerware instead of disposable dinnerware to reduce your waste. If you cannot use reusable dinnerware, then try recyclable, compostable or biodegradable dinnerware.

Recycle as much as possible, and use bio-based cleaners instead of chemical cleaners to tidy the grill.


How to Go Green Guide: Barbecues from TREEHUGGER


Your Guide to a Green Tailgate from JUST ENERGY

How to Use a Charcoal Chimney from THE GRILLING SPOT

Find a Farmer’s Market from LOCAL HARVEST


26 Genius Ways to Use Barbecue Leftovers from FOOD NETWORK

15 Things You Can Make With Barbecue Leftovers from BRIT + CO



Recycle Keyboard

Often, recycling is considered one of the easiest ways to integrate sustainability into daily operations. The U.S. Army Reserve has been successful in implementing recycling programs at its Installations, Mission Support Command (MSC) and Regional Support Commands (RSCs). But, due to their geographical dispersion and unique needs, RSCs face a challenge: to capture the recycling efforts that happen at their sites every day, across the country. The Army Reserve Solid Waste Program is meeting those challenges to ensure that the Army Reserve will reach Federally mandated solid waste diversion goals.

Currently, the municipal solid waste (MSW) diversion rate for the Army Reserve is 37 percent, which is five percent greater than the MSW diversion rate for fiscal year 2014. So, even though there is still work to be done to reach the Federal goal of 50 percent diversion from landfills, the Army Reserve is charting progress that can be attributed to improvements in reporting.

Many Army Reserve sites have established successful recycling programs, but according to Solid Waste Program Coordinator Tyrone Cook, “the challenge has always been in capturing the diversion at the MSC and RSC level due to their unique organizational structures.” So, Cook and the Solid Waste Team sought solutions. They developed a Solid Waste Management and Recycling Profile Survey, which will be used to improve solid waste best management practices, identify areas within established programs that need improvement and identify additional diversion opportunities. In addition, the team added a solid waste management assessment to existing Comprehensive Energy and Water Evaluations to further identify diversion opportunities and program improvement areas, and they created a Solid Waste and Recycling Weight Estimation Tool and accompanying guidance to help sites more accurately report their diversion.

As a result, sites have markedly improved their diversion reporting in Solid Waste Annual Reporting on the Web (SWARWeb). SWARWeb is an online system for
tracking, analyzing and reporting information on the generation, recycling and disposal of non-hazardous solid waste at Department of Defense Installations. Army Reserve
Installations, the MSC and RSCs are capturing a more complete set of data for the diversion that is taking place throughout the enterprise. “We have improved processes that are helping to identify and include data that have been overlooked in the past,” Cook added. “Overall, Installations, the MSC and RSCs are prepared to increase their diversion reporting simply by capturing what is taking place within their fence lines and out in the field. We may find that we have already reached or exceeded the Federally mandated goals.”

As they ride the momentum of a notable increase in solid waste diversion, Cook and the Solid Waste Team realize that they cannot simply rest on that achievement. While they focus on capturing diversion at Army Reserve Centers, they also want to find ways to decrease or divert food waste from waste streams. They are also bolstering recycling education and awareness efforts. For instance, a paper reduction awareness campaign
began in April with goals of meeting Federal and Department of Defense paper reduction mandates, conserving resources, lowering operating costs, reducing waste and improving business efficiency for the Army Reserve. The recycling programs in the field are forging ahead, too, and continuing to support diversion efforts.

Whether it is reporting more of its diversion or recycling more of its waste, the Army Reserve is taking out the trash today so we have a more sustainable mission for the future.


Colored Paper

In honor of the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, enjoy these 46 practical and creative ways to reuse paper. You can click on the projects that are in green for further instructions.

• Use shredded white paper or black and white newspaper to line cages for small animals
Make an eco-friendly cat litter with shredded newspaper

Cut unbleached, undyed paper bags into strips and use them as mulch in your garden
Create biodegradable pots for seedlings from toilet paper or paper towel tubes
• Use a paper coffee cup to scoop garden soil
• Place fresh fruit in a used paper bag to accelerate ripening

• Clean windows with old newspapers and vinegar
• Use pieces of crumpled newspaper to deodorize small spaces
• Line drawers and bookshelves with colorful gift wrap
Decorate a paper towel tube to make a jewelry holder
• Cover old shoe boxes with colorful paper to make storage containers

• Make confetti with colorful shredded paper
• Cut shapes out of colorful paper to make banners, streamers, ornaments and other decorations
Make party hats out of used gift wrap
Make a piñata with scraps of colorful paper
String holiday lights through paper coffee cups to make paper lanterns
Roll old newspapers to make a firestarter

Fold colorful newspapers and magazine pages into gift bags
• Fill gift bags, boxes and baskets with shredded, colorful paper
• Wrap gifts with colorful paper such as newspaper comic strips, obsolete maps and brightly patterned magazine pages
Fold old wrapping paper into gift bows
Design your own greeting cards with graphics from
newspapers and magazines
Turn a paper coffee cup sleeve into a gift card holder

Make a book cover with used gift wrap
• Use blank sections of printed office paper as scratch pads
Decorate toilet paper or paper towel tubes to create desk and drawer organizers
Make a journal or notebook from old magazines
Make a bookmark with bright card stock, old photos and paper

• Save cardboard boxes for future shipping needs
• Use newspapers instead of Styrofoam “peanuts” or plastic
bubble wrap to pack boxes for shipping

Use paper towel or toilet paper tubes to make a wreath
Weave old newspapers into a basket
• Decorate a paper coffee cup and fill it with water to use as a vase for flowers
• Frame colorful, patterned paper to make unique art

Fill paper towel or toilet paper tubes with rice or beans to make homemade maracas
• Make an old-fashioned paper airplane with old newspapers
Use colorful magazine pages for découpage projects
Use old newspapers for paper maché
• Decorate old paper bags to make reusable grocery totes
Make your own recycled paper
Roll old newspapers into beads for jewelry
Fold origami shapes out of old paper
• Repurpose a paper coffee cup to mix paint
• Use old newspapers as a “drop cloth” to protect floors and furniture from painting jobs, your child’s art activities and other potentially messy projects

• Donate old books to a local charity, school or library
• Donate recent magazines to your doctor’s office

No Army Reserve or Federal endorsement of external links is intended.


Paper Reduction

Have you ever felt that you are drowning in a sea of white paper at your desk? If so, you are not alone.

The average American office uses 12.1 trillion sheets of office paper annually. In terms of weight, Americans use 85 million tons of paper, or about 680 pounds for each person, every year.

Clearly, paper is a popular commodity, but its massive consumption has impacts on both our natural and fiscal resources.

According to Ecology Global Network, about 4 billion trees worldwide are felled to manufacture paper each year. Paper production is the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries, accounting for 12 percent of energy consumption in the industrial sector. Paper mills are the fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in manufacturing. The creation of paper from virgin materials is also a water intensive industry, and it produces copious amounts of waste water.

The environmental impacts of paper do not end with its production, though. Paper accounts for half of business waste and is one of the largest single components of landfill waste. About 25 percent, or 30 million tons, of landfill waste is paper.

Paper does not come cheap, either. Millions of dollars are expended on paper supplies and paper management by businesses.

And, despite the constantly growing number of electronic mediums available to conduct business, worldwide paper consumption has increased by 400 percent in the last 40 years and is expected to double by the year 2030.

If you could save just one ton of paper, you could save a lot of natural resources.

  • 17 trees
  • 380 gallons of oil
  • 6,500 gallons of water
  • 60 pounds of air pollution
  • 4,000 kilowatt hours of power
  • Three cubic yards of landfill space
  • Millions of dollars

The Army Reserve could reduce its paper use by 20 to 25 percent if everyone remains mindful of conservation. “Paper usage reduction in the Army Reserve will help reduce operating costs and improve business efficiency,” said Tyrone Cook, Army Reserve Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator. “Environmentally, it will help reduce the negative impacts associated with paper usage such as resource use, pollution from processing and production, transportation costs and disposal costs.”

Consider these paper reduction tips for your office.

  • Adopt a “think before you copy” attitude, and print or copy only what you need.
  • Print or copy on both sides of the paper, and set your office printers to double-sided or “duplex” mode by default.
  • Print documents that could become outdated – such as business cards and letterhead – on demand instead of storing stocks of documents.
  • Store and share files electronically instead of maintaining hard copies.
  • Archive emails in electronic folders instead of printing them.
  • For document editing, use the electronic proofing features in word processing and PDF programs instead of editing on hard copies.
  • Use electronic presentation programs or white boards instead of paper for briefings and presentations.
  • Opt out of individual mailings of catalogs, journals, annual reports, magazines and other publications, and share copies with your colleagues instead.
  • Read publications online instead of on hard copies.
  • Reduce paper flow by conducting processes such as banking, invoicing and ordering online.
  • Use labels to mark file folders instead of writing on the folders directly.
  • Reuse paper supplies as much as possible. For instance, use a blank section of unneeded paper as a scratch pad.
  • Share unneeded or unwanted paper supplies with your colleagues.
  • Choose the most environmentally sound paper possible when purchasing. Choose the lightest paper weight available.
  • Minimize your use of packaging materials when shipping, and reuse packaging materials such as cardboard boxes and “peanuts” as much as possible.
  • Use reusable cups, dishes and utensils instead of disposable products. Replace paper napkins with cloth napkins and paper towels with sponges.