On this age of extremely politicized local weather change denial, these of us who respect scientific consensus can nonetheless make particular person selections that make sense.  Though particular person motion has a small influence, typically even the symbolism is usually a motivator.  One needs to be a bit skeptical as a result of there actually is a few "greenwashing" within the client advertising and marketing house.  That's the reason I wish to discuss a few client merchandise choices with legitimately "inexperienced" again tales and a connection to agriculture.  In addition they occur to attach with two issues a lot of shoppers like me actually get pleasure from - outside grilling and bacon!

Greener Grilling

Final summer time I wrote a put up titled “An Instance of Innovation 2.0” which described an organization that's doing a contemporary model of a bio-based chemical manufacturing course of that was initially developed as a part of the Allied conflict effort in World Conflict I. A Russian immigrant named Chaim Weizman got here up with a bacterial means of constructing acetone that was wanted to make smokeless gun powder (That was crucial in trench warfare). Weizman later turned the primary president of Israel.

Fashionable innovators up to date that microbial system with the instruments of biotechnology in order that the bio-based manufacturing of the chemical compounds butanol and acetone at the moment are aggressive with petroleum-based variations of these chemical compounds. Inexperienced Biologics is a UK-based firm that has been lively on this space they usually now have a plant up and working in Minnesota utilizing corn as a feedstock. Butanol and acetone go into a variety of merchandise like plastics, paints and finishes and so forth and these can now be “bio-based,” serving to to cut back our dependency on fossil gasoline.

Inexperienced Biologics determined that they might additionally like to supply a direct client product. They discovered that they might make a really efficient charcoal lighter fluid from their bio-butanol.  That product is being rolled out at Kroger nationwide beneath the Inexperienced FlameTM model with further retail commitments within the works. Neither I or Inexperienced Biologics are claiming that bio-based charcoal lighter fluid will save the planet, however it's a small step that lots of people might take with out some large funding and whereas doing one thing a whole lot of People get pleasure from – grilling.

There may be one other upside as properly. Conventional lighter fluid is comprised of “petroleum distillates” and inside that blend are some compounds that don’t scent very good and which generate a whole lot of black smoke. You must anticipate that to dissipate earlier than wanting to begin cooking your meat, greens or marshmallows. This video is a dramatic comparability of how a lot smoke comes off the traditional fluid vs the bio-based butanol fluid. The GreenFlameTM fluid additionally doesn’t have that scent drawback. Apparently, you should buy a costlier “odor-free” lighter fluid that makes use of a extra refined fraction of the distillates, however I like the thought of this bio-based, higher smelling starter.

Two white playing cards that have been held above two burning lighter fluids to check smoke output.  See the video right here.

Not too long ago, the corporate took the product on the street to the Fireplace, Patio & Barbecue Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. They instructed me they performed properly over 1,000 style exams and acquired overwhelmingly optimistic outcomes, with the big majority of testers claiming the burger samples made utilizing GreenFlameTM tasted noticeably higher than these grilled with conventional lighter fluid.


Bacon is one thing else that's fairly in style with shoppers and positively one thing I get pleasure from. That's the reason I used to be hopeful however somewhat skeptical once I first heard about a carbon footprint discount pledge made by the nations largest producer of pork, Smithfield Meals. Apparently Smithfield has been working with scientists on the NGO, Environmental Protection Fund to provide you with methods pig farmers can use to cut back the carbon footprint of their manufacturing system. A technique is that they're offering some instruments for optimizing the nitrogen fertilizer use and different agronomic facets of crops they develop to feed the pigs. Total this can assist scale back the carbon footprint of all the pork manufacturing course of.

A graphic from Smithfield summarizing their plan

Smithfield can also be serving to their producers purchase “manure lagoon covers.” Because the pigs develop they generate a whole lot of manure. That may be taken again out to assist fertilize one other crop, however for some time it needs to be saved. Throughout storage there is a matter of scent, and likewise emissions of ammonia that may be a well being situation for the encompassing neighborhood. Additionally the lagoon emits methane from the microbial processes which can be happening. Methane is a greenhouse fuel 24 occasions as potent as carbon dioxide. However with the quilt, the methane could be trapped after which burned as a renewable gasoline to generate electrical energy or warmth (the CO2 from that course of is "carbon impartial" because it initially got here from carbon mounted by a plant). It is a win-win for air high quality and for carbon emissions. You'll be able to learn extra about this total strategy at a web site about pork manufacturing and power known as Entire Hog.

A coated manure lagoon at a hog barn (Picture from Entire Hog web site, Univ. N. Carolina)

And as a client I can really feel higher about having fun with the merchandise. Irrespective of how the political winds are blowing, I can add these selections to others to do my small half in combating local weather change. So, time to grill a few of this decrease footprint pork over charcoal lit with a bio-based product!