I spent a long time working in Sub-saharan Africa in consulting projects for beverage distributors. And one of the most impactful things that I saw with the producers there was how they recycle the beverage bottles after use. They have a system set up to recollect and clean bottles and get them back into the production process. This was true both for beer manufacturers, as well as soft drinks and water companies. So it got me thinking about zero waste beer.
The plastic waste we are accustomed to and large volumes of glass recycling was not factored into the operations of these business in Africa. And I’m talking about big companies like SABMiller and Coca-Cola, not small players. Once upon a time this was also true in everywhere beverage were distributed.
Nowadays if you’re a beer drinker it’s highly likely that you are bringing a back full of bottle to the recycling bin every few weeks. I love beer personally and I know it’s true for me. So I started thinking about way to also reduce this waste. Because at the end of the day, recycling these bottle is an expenditure of energy and water even if they are 100% recyclable.
So how can we reduce and reuse and be zero waste beer drinkers?
Reusable glass bottles and growlers
Beer culture has evolved over the years and now there are many small producers making amazing artisanal beers. Many breweries offer you the opportunity to buy in bulk and even bring your own bottles or growlers to fill up.
Check out your local breweries, beer shops, and even, some bars, to find opportunities to buy bulk beer. This is also great to stock up when you are having parties or dinners.
If you’re a big beer drinker a growler, like one of those above, might be perfect for you. If you drink more occasionally, try a swing top bottle, so you won’t have flat beer if you don’t drink it quickly enough.
Make your own beer at home
Some of the best zero waste solution are often the do-it-yourself solutions. And when it comes to beer it can really be a fun enjoyable experience.
It’s now easier than ever to find kits to make your own beer. And if you’re really into it, you can go to a beer supply store and get all of the ingredients and tool to make larger quantities at home.
It could even be a fun activity to do with friend instead of your typical dinner party. Check out some of the kits I include below!
- Brooklyn Brewery Beer Kit
- American Dream Craft Brew Kit
- William Sonoma Brooklyn Brew Shop Kit
- Mr. Beer Craft Beer Refill Kit (tip: get the refill to skip the plastic bottles and bins)
Purchase beers in large bottles
Some of our local better shops offer the opportunity to purchase 1 liter of beer in a swing top bottle. They are sealed with a metal cap and once opened kept fresh with the suction cap from the swing top bottle.
These are perfect for dinner parties. And the best part is you can reuse the bottle after for more beer, for bulk wine, or like we do, to refill tap water at home.
It’s even a great option for bulk liquid cleaning products. But I digress…
Reduce wasted beer with a silicone cap
I’m a sucker for amazing gadgets and this silicone cap definitely falls into that category. It the perfect way to preserve a half full bottle of beer for another day.
You might be thinking, who opens a beer and doesn’t finish it? I must definitely do.
And think about when you have a party. People can be wasteful without ever realizing it. So instead of pouring that half drunk bottle down the drain, snap a cap on it and save it for the next day.
How do you stay zero waste with beer? Let me know in the comments!
If you liked this article, you’ll probably like:
- Compostable plates for your next party!
- Making Zero Waste Pizza and Calzones!
- Zero Wasting and Wine Tasting