Grilling the Sustainable Way

By Hannah Lee

At the recent Greenfest sustainability fair, next to the Headhouse Square farmers’ market, I learned about a nifty new environmental product, the EcoGrill, made from old trees. It burns down completely to an environmentally safe ash, ready for fertilizing your garden. This product uses an ancient method of recycling dead trees that reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

Each EcoGrill looks slightly different, as they’re four-inch-high  rings cut from fallen black alder wood trees grown in the Baltics. (The center diameter is uniform, even if the outer perimeter varies.) The center is filled with alder charcoal–  not coal, oil, limestone, starch, sawdust, or petroleum products. Their use avoids two potentially carcinogenic compounds: PHAs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (heterocyclic amines). The alder wood charcoal and casing have been certified by the Rainforest Alliance Smartwood Program as sustainably harvested.

No lighter fluid is needed– you ignite the 100% green resin wick with a match instead– so it’s great for hikers too. Then place a fire-safe grate directly on top of the EcoGrill. The air circulation holes ensure the EcoGrill ignites evenly and burns completely. The 10″ center diameter is large enough for use with a kettle or frying pan. In about 20 minutes, the grill is ready for cooking. It’s capable of sustained cooking for up to 2.5-to-4 hours of grilling, or about four chickens.

The owners, Egils K. Stemme and Yana Budkevics, are both first-generation Americans of Latvian decent. Yana’s husband, Janis Petersons, discovered the EcoGrill while visiting Latvia, where they’re manufactured. The sole U.S. distributor of the EcoGrill, their office is located in Southampton, PA. 215-364-5532.

The company’s reforestation program has planted 75,600 new saplings so far. Enough said, I was convinced and bought two EcoGrills that day, and I look forward to testing them for myself when I have a chance. In the meantime, do tell me how you like this product!

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