Our food, clothing, electronics, and even alcohol… there’s a carbon footprint for everything. Drinks of pleasure can weigh heavily on the environment. Whether it’s the associated transportation or water, packaging, or agriculture demands, there’s a carbon footprint for every processing stage.
1. Beer: Refrigeration and transportation account for most of the overall emissions. Buy local! Cans vs. bottles is better and cans are recycled more. Draft is best, and organic is preferred, assuring that no synthetic fertilizer was used. Research your beer – some companies do more than others in regard to energy, recycling, water and transportation efficiency, composting spent grains, capturing methane and more. Best yet, brew your own.
2. Wine: The majority of wine’s footprint comes from shipping. The key is to buy near – Utahns should buy from UT or CA, New Yorkers from Italy. Room temperature is better (Red) in addition to organic/no sulfite options. Select natural cork, a renewable material, verses metal or plastic. And if water is a concern, go for bubbly wines made with early-harvested grapes. The box has a lower print than the bottle due to the weight from shipping and the bag, once rinsed, can be recycled at Recycle Utah.
3. Spirits: The greatest concern with most spirits is the distillation process utilizing energy and water, resulting in pulp and wastewater. Buy progressive brands, transparent about their production process. For example, do they turn by-product waste into compost, animal feed or irrigation water? Do they grow without pesticides & herbicides?
By Mary Closser