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Green your tailgate party

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Just because the college football season is winding down doesn't mean that it's time to pack up your tailgating tools. Ice hockey is a tough sport, and its fans are tough lot, too. Don't believe it? Slide on over to the RBC Arena on game day and follow your nose. You'll likely find a grill loaded with brats and a well-stocked cooler full of beer. Those Caniacs will pitch a tailgate party at the drop of a puck.

How do you green a tailgate? It's really not as hard as you'd think; all it takes is a bit of planning.

1. Carpool

Keeping cars off the road is a carbon-footprint reducer.

2. Recycle

All the major college football stadiums in the Triangle recycle, as does the RBC Center. If all else fails, bag your bottles and take them with you to your local recycling center.

3. Reuse

Plates, serving and eating utensils should be washable and reusable or of material that composts.

4. Friendly fire

Use eco-friendly charcoal and avoid petroleum-based starter fluids. Charcoal chimney starters that use crumpled up newspapers to ignite the briquettes work great.

5. Go organic

Think organic food and beverages. If you can't be persuaded to grill soy burgers and hot dogs, there are organic meats in most grocery stores. Organic brews have become widely available at places like Sam's Quik Shop in Durham and Total Wine stores throughout the area. Peak, Bison, Wolaver's, Lake Front, and Stone Mill all sport the USDA Organic label. By the way, Stone Mill is brewed by Anheuser-Busch, proving that the big guys are thinking green, too.

Crank up the stereo, grab an organic brew, throw a soy burger on the grill. Who knows? "Boca Burger in Paradise" might just be Jimmy Buffett's next big hit.

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