The Vermont Cynic

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Tricks to keep your party green

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Emerging from Burlington’s warmest winter on record, one might want a drink or two to forget the ever-melting ice caps, the expanding hole in the ozone layer and the impending mass extinction of species held near and dear.

With that in the back of your mind, how possible is it to keep your partying green?

There are a few environmental considerations to remember when making a Friday afternoon run to Pearl Street Beverage: how your drink is packaged, where it’s from and, well, what it is.

Right off the bat, of the holy trinity of wine, beer and hard liquor, beer is considered the least eco-friendly due to its water-intensive production process. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cold brew, however.

Here’s a crash course to minimizing your carbon footprint while partying hard:

  1. Buy your beer local and canned

Not only are you supporting your local beer scene, but you’re also reducing carbon emissions accrued during the transportation process.

The shorter the journey from brewery to your fridge, the better. As for cans themselves, the reduced weight of aluminum cans over glass bottles is an environmental plus. Aluminum cans are infinitely recyclable, and the average can already contains 70 percent recycled material.

  1. Opt for a keg

    ILLUSTRATION BY SAM WOOLFOLK

    ILLUSTRATION BY SAM WOOLFOLK

Kegs are returnable, refillable and recyclable. In a half-barrel keg, there are 165 12-ounce servings of beer for you and a party of your closest friends.

I’ll pause to let you picture 165 bottles scattered across the streets of Burlington or stacked into a looming ‘beeramid’ in your living room.

While the word ‘keg’ may evoke woozy memories of failed keg stands and sticky basement floors, there are ways to do kegs with tact.  More and more craft breweries are putting their wares into kegs, so there is no need to compromise quality for eco-awareness. Bonus: use reusable cups instead of plastic cups.

Or better yet, forgo the cup completely and give that keg stand another shot.

 

  1. Think inside of the (wine) box

Just like the keg, don’t let your first-year experiences ruin what can be a classy, eco-friendly and portable option. Transporting glass wine bottles is costly and emission-heavy.

According to a 2008 New York Times op-ed, switching 97 percent of wines meant to be consumed within the year from glass to box would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two million tons, which is the same as retiring 400,000 cars.

  1. Give homebrewing the old college try

Save cash as you attempt to save the planet. Home-brewing is a fun way to make your beer as eco-friendly as you want it to be.

While learning a new skill, you’ll also have complete control over where you source your hops from, how much water you use during the process and the materials you use to bottle your brew.  

 

In light of that whole irreparable global warming phenomenon, drinking responsibly has taken on yet another meaning.

To combat this, the Eco-Ware package for incoming first-year should include a growler or two.

Should this proposal go unnoticed – as I anticipate it will -use the aforementioned points to go forth and party with the planet’s best interest in mind.

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Tricks to keep your party green