The average American consumes 556 alcoholic beverages a year, and as St. Patrick’s day is the 4th most popular day to drink in United States, we can safely assume a good number of those 556 will be used this Thursday.
Unfortunately, our drinking habits can have a negative impact on the environment, so we decided to look at the best ways to drink green this St. Patrick’s day.
1. Drink locally
Try to find local breweries, vineyards, or liquor companies near you to cut down on how far your drink has to travel to get to your table. The majority of a wine’s carbon footprint comes from shipping, so you can make a big difference by choosing something closer to home. Bonus: you’re also supporting your local economy
2. Purchase from companies that use renewable energy
One brewery calculated that refrigeration alone contributed to ⅓ of their emissions, making alcohol can be very energy intensive. By purchasing alcohol that uses renewable energy, you’re cutting down your carbon footprint and supporting breweries that choose to source their electricity sustainably.
3. Walk, use public transit, or carpool (with a DD) to get to the bar
If possible, walk or use public transit to get to and from the bar, not only is this the safest option, it’s the most environmentally friendly. If you can’t walk or use public transit, appoint a designated driver and carpool or share an Uber or Lyft with friends.
4. Drink what’s on tap or order a keg for your home
Cut down on packaging and waste by drinking what’s on tap, this way you don’t have to worry about wasting bottles or cans, just be sure to use a reusable cup or glass. Even better if you fill up a growler with your favorite local draft.
5. If you don’t get something from a keg drink from cans, not bottles
While making aluminum uses a lot of energy, cans are lighter than glass bottles and uses less carbon to ship. In fact, shipping cans has 30% fewer carbon emissions than shipping bottles.
6. Avoid plastic wherever possible
If you prefer mixed drinks, asking the bartender to hold the straw (or any other decoration) is a easy way to reduce unnecessary waste. While it may not be as cute on Instagram, the turtles will thank you.
7. Recycle cans and bottles
You probably knew this one already, but whatever you decide to drink this St. Patrick’s day be sure to recycle the container!
8. Don’t forget about your mixers
It’s not only the liquor that has an impact, mixers can also jack up your carbon footprint. The same rules for picking your poison apply to mixers too: choose something local, organic, renewably sourced, with limited packaging whenever possible.
9. Drink boxed wine
This may not be for everyone, but because the materials are so light the shipping of a lightweight cardboard box is much more eco-friendly than shipping a heavy glass bottle. If you’re still not sold on boxed wine, you can look for a lightweight glass bottle from a local vineyard.