St Patrick’s Day, is just around the corner on March 17th, so mark your calendars and make your plans now and go green for St. Patrick’s Day.
For a more sustainable lifestyle and a meaningful reduction in your carbon footprint on this festive holiday, some practical tips on how to go green for St Patrick’s Day this year. When we say green beer, we mean environmentally friendly brews that reduce both your carbon footprint and social tension.
After all, this is beer consumption season, with the Super Bowl, St Paddy’s Day and warmer months on the horizon.From a carbon footprint perspective – beer’s shortcoming is both its packaging and the carbon emissions generate transporting its bulk and weight and then chilling it for your taste buds.
Here are some suggestions on how you can go green for St Patrick’s Day and still have tons of fun.
Plus, just to keep the matter of drinking in perspective, if you see an issue around this special annual event or other drinking gatherings with someone of concern, Rehab 4 Alcoholism offers free advice and support for alcoholism and raises awareness around the issues of problem drinking.
How To Go Green For St Patrick’s Day Organic Beer – One of the big problems with buying environmentally-friendly beer is that even if you think you are buying organic beer, there’s a chance it might not be as green as the organic label implies. Hops, which is one of the biggest contributors to the taste of your beer, are often sprayed with different pesticides. Since hops makes up less than five percent of the beer’s volume, and the USDA certifies products as organic if they are 95 percent or higher, it often slips under the wire. So don’t rely on the organic labeling to reduce your carbon footprint.
Local vs.Long Haul – It’s a better idea to buy an inorganic local beer rather than a 100 percent organic imported beer because of the food miles (see the Green Blizzard article on Food Miles), and carbon cost of transportation and distribution. Most of our national beer brands have strategically placed breweries across the U.S. to reduce transportation costs and carbon footprints. For instace, Budweiser has 12 different breweries (U.S. breweries by state) for the sole purpose of reducing transportation cost. After all, its mostly water. If your a U.S. consumer, its the long haul imported beers from Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America that really inflate your carbon footprint with every gulp. So consume as local as your taste allows. But nowadays it’s a lot easier with a rich selection of local brews.
Tap vs. Bottles/Cans – When you’re at a bar, ordering a beer on tap is the best green choice, and we all know that beer on tap tastes better anyway. Kegs are pretty efficient vessels compared to the glass or aluminum ratio of individual bottles and cans. Your best option, purely from an environmental perspective, is to walk down to the local pub for a frosty mug of beer on tap. When in doubt, go with cans. (GB – Aluminum Cans Power Ingots). Aluminum is highly recyclable, whereas the market for recycled glass is still small and limited. Many municipalities still have considerable difficulty finding recyclers interested in buying and processing glass – the demand and economics are just not yet there.
Local Brew Pubs – One of the best ways to go green for St Patricks day is to take the transportation factor out of beer’s carbon footprint. Many restaurants now have microbreweries, which are better for the environment because they eliminate distribution costs. According to Wikipedia, 1,400 restaurant brew pubs are being operated in the U.S. There are tons of local breweries popping-up these days – the Brewers Association has a list of brewers and brew pubs across the U.S. The 2012 PDF of their member brewers is 52 pages long with 48 listed per page.
Sustainable Brewers – Most brewers are sustainable living guys and gals to begin with and naturally try to run a sustainable business. Block 15 Brewery in Corvallis, Oregon highlights its sustainable brewing practices.
Keggers – Anything to improve the ratio of packaging to the consumed product will reduce your carbon footprint and help you go green for St Patricks Day. For all those large and small parties, try to find a store that sells kegs rather than buying an endless stream bottles or cans. This will drastically reduce your waste and its associated carbon footprint. Who would have thought keggers are critical to eco-friendly celebrations!
Bottles vs Cans – Despite the urban myth, glass recycling is not really effective. It’s labor, energy intensive, and still not economically viable. Whereas, aluminum recycling avoids 95% of the energy it took to make the original can and recycling aluminum is the only widespread recycled commodity that is economically viable. So, go green for St Patrick’s Day and try to drink local produced tap beer in a mug or a can wrapped in a nifty cooler. Consider these cold can sleeves to be sure that all that energy that went into cooling your beer, lasts longer.
Here are three options we liked: Periodic Can Cooler Sleeves and Thermos Can Drink Cooler.
Be sure to read these other articles Green Blizzardon how you can reduce your carbon footprint through food and drink choices:Food Waste, Which Foods Have The Lowest Carbon Impact, Carbon Impact of Meats, Are We Eating Fish Into Extinction?, Aqua Culture Causing Carbon Ripples, Dirty Dozen – iPhone App – Best Fruits and Veggies