Celebrate this April 22 for all things environmental with some top tips on keeping an eco-friendly home bar to entertain in the earth-friendliest of styles. Enjoy! (And for more information, visit the lovely and talented Colleen Graham's blog at about.com.)
Tip #1: Buy "Green" Spirits
There's a bevvy of "organic" and green liquor choices out there nowadays -- companies are making efforts to add environmentally friendly practices to their production. There are many ways to do this, from the choice of ingredients to recycled materials and sustainable energy.
Examples include: 360 Vodka, Charbay Vodka, Prairie Vodka (yay corn!), and Square One Organic Vodka.
Tip #2: Recycle Empty Bottles
Create an easily accessible recycling bin for all of your glass and plastic bottles and take them to the recycling or redemption center; use a curb-side recycling service it is if available.
Make sure plastic bottles are recyclable.
Reuse bottles for home infusions or homemade mixers like simple syrup, sour mix, etc.
Some bottles are too cool to get rid of, but you can recycle them in your own home. Use them as garden accents, in craft or art projects, fill them with colored water for a beautiful room accent, or whatever you can think of.
Use a soda siphon instead of buying bottled soda water.
Cut up corks and use for furniture leg pads or glue together for coasters. OR combine them in a wood frame for a handy pot rest (as my friend Emily did for Christmas gifts one year - brililant!).
Tip #3: Ditch the Disposable/Plastic Barware
Think of how many swizzle sticks and mini straws you throw away each time you host a party or go to the bar. Yikes! Avoid plastic whenever possible, and try these alternatives:
•Bar Towels - cotton, use instead of paper towels
•Cocktail Napkins - linen instead of paper or use coasters
•Coasters - recycled materials, bamboo
•Straws - stainless steel
•Swizzle Sticks - glass, stainless steel
•Olive Picks - stainless steel, bamboo
•Cutting Board - bamboo
Tip #4: Buy Fresh, Local Mixers and Garnishes
•Use fresh squeezed juices to avoid using more bottles or cartons.
•Ditch the electric juicer for one that requires a little muscle.
•Choose organic, locally grown fruits, herbs and other garnishes.
•Buy Free Trade coffees, teas, sugar and other common ingredients if available.
•Shop at farmer's markets, natural food stores or join a food co-op.
•Grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs in a pesticide, growth hormone free garden.
•Compost garnish scraps. Citrus fruits take longer to compost than other food scraps, but if you cut them up they will compost faster.
•Bring reusable shopping bags to the market and liquor store. Keep them in your car at all times so you don't forget them.
Tip #5: CONSERVE
You can consciously conserve both energy and water at your home bar.
- The fridge: downsize to a smaller, energy efficient model if you can. Check the seal to make sure it works (try slipping a dollar bill in the door, close it, and see if you can slide it out after it's closed - if so, the seal needs replacing).
- Water: Install a low-flow faucet in the wet bar. Wash everything at one, not individually. Don't fill the sink beyond what you need. Don't pre-rinse if you use a dishwasher.