Mixing drinks is the bartender's daily bread - so thinking about the environment from time to time should go without saying, right? Unfortunately, sustainability is still an unpopular topic behind the bar. We think this is unjustified, because the trend towards more environmental awareness in everyday life shouldn't stop after work.
Fortunately, there are more and more hospitality businesses that are already rethinking and want to make their hotel or bar greener. You still need some inspiration to let your guests enjoy good drinks with a clear conscience in the future? With these tips, the "green bar" will work for you, too.
0,00€ Our free sample pack of drinking straws is the perfect choice to test our thoughtfully sustainable straws.
Our free sample pack of drinking straws is the perfect choice to test our thoughtfully sustainable straws.
1. use regional ingredients as decoration
Pineapple from far, far away or melon from the other side of the world don't always have to be. Even the fruity decoration on the drink can easily become more sustainable. Especially in summer, the selection of local fruits is huge and the taste of fresh raspberries or sweet cherries in combination with the right cocktail will surely delight your guests.
Your exotic drinks don't go well with German fruits? (As always, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! Try new combinations and put them on the menu as seasonal specials. Sustainability as a marketing idea may not work for every* customer, but it can sustainably complement your selection - in both senses. Offer, test and at best inspire (new) guests with your thought. Every cocktail that does without imported fruit from faraway countries makes your bar a bit more sustainable. In addition, regional and fresh fruit in organic quality tastes much better and is therefore definitely worth the investment.
Grow your own herbs instead of buying them packaged in plastic from the supermarket. On your own balcony, for example, you can grow basil and rosemary in a space-saving way. If you have your own garden, you can also harvest the fruits for your drinks yourself. If you do buy herbs, fruits and the like from markets, then pay attention to the origin and cultivation of the products. Long transport routes cannot always be avoided, but fair cultivation conditions and unpackaged purchases are also valuable for conserving resources. If you have to get the fruits in the supermarket, always have one of our #IAMPLASTICFREE Bags with you to save unnecessary plastic bags.
2. use plastic-free straws
Straws are simply part of most drinks. Unfortunately, however, the practical decorative elements are also real waste sins. Starting next year, the EU will ban all plastic products for which alternatives already exist - including disposable plastic drinking straws. If you haven't already done so anyway, now is therefore the time to look around for a suitable alternative. Bamboo, paper or simply straw: The main thing is that in the future plastic will no longer end up in your drinks!
We have already tested various alternatives to the plastic straw for you in this article here, so excuses à la "plastic straws are sooo practical though" are a thing of the past and not in the modern green bar.
Our test winner is the #IAMPLASTICFREE straw made of wood, sugar and glucose, which brings all the advantages of classic plastic straws behind your bar without being made of plastic. For more tips to save (plastic) waste on your dish brush, cutting board and kitchen roll, check out this article here.
3. reuse ingredients
The good old squeeze of lemon, orange or lime is an essential topping for many drinks. But instead of throwing the squeezed fruit in the trash immediately after use, you can reuse it: Peel the fruit beforehand and use the peel (ideally in spiral form) simply as an eye-catcher for the decoration. If your fruit is often on the verge of being thrown away, then it may be worthwhile to purchase an automatic dehydrator. Peeled or not peeled a night in the oven brings you here a durable cocktail decoration, which also looks good without (plastic) skewer in the glass. Or you mix the peel and sugar into a syrup, which you can use in the next drink instead of the fruit.
When you dispose of the fruit or its remains from the empty jars, you should, as with all other waste, pay attention to the correct waste separation. What is important for this, we have you in a blog article on the subject already summarized. By the way, even almost wilted herbs can still be used well: Sweet pesto is a summery all-rounder with which you can not only prepare drinks but also decorate desserts in a sophisticated way.
Do you have any other ingredients left over? Get creative and see if you can use the leftovers for more drinks. If you're a restaurant or larger bar with a kitchen, using flower water, egg yolks or cream should be the least of your problems.
Our tip: It's better not to use organic garbage bags for your leftover fruit, as they can be difficult to break down. Our #IAMPLASTICFREE bags can be completely decomposed within about 60 days on a home compost and are therefore ideal for your organic waste, if you do not want to do without a hygienic disposal in the bag.
0,00€ The first truly plasticfree and uncoated Cups made from 100% cellulose. Don't believe us? See for yourself!
The first truly plasticfree and uncoated Cups made from 100% cellulose. Don't believe us? See for yourself!
4. replace glasses, coasters and bottles
Granted, this tip may not be suitable for every bar, but jars hold great potential for savings: canning jars of yogurt, jam and the like can be reused for drinking and bring a charm all their own to the bar. With an environmentally conscious audience, word of this reuse can spread quickly and secure you some new guests. If you have the luxury of a dishwasher in your bar, uniform glasses (with the narrowest rim possible) can save a lot of valuable space in the machine.
Coasters don't have to be cardboard, but can easily be replaced with alternatives made of stone, for example - or, of course, can be omitted altogether. The additional cleaning of tables and counters costs resources here, but saves some waste and relieves the guest of the "duty" of having to continue using the coaster with stains that has already been used three times.
Glass instead of plastic is again the first step towards sustainability when it comes to bottles. If you want to go even further, you can also make your own spirits. Of course, this step is not practicable for everyone, but for a better eco-balance you can also use regional products and support distilleries in your area.
5. save water and energy
One of the most used resources behind the bar is water. For the hygiene essential one should consider here exactly, how much of it one (really) needs, in order not to have to forfeit nevertheless at cleanliness. Turning off the faucets when not in use can save quite a bit. In any case, a dishwasher is even more sustainable.
In addition, investing in a jet regulator on the faucet can be practical. Depending on the model, the purchase costs are low to very low, which makes them a sensible investment even in the short term. Foot-operated faucets can also quickly save gallons of water. You can find out more about saving water and money at the same timehere .
From an ecological point of view, there is usually also room for improvement when it comes to temperature. It should be a matter of course to air the room properly before the start of the shift and at the end of the working day, but it is best to avoid the well-known "for-outdoor heating" during the shift in winter and either turn off the heating or close the windows. You should set your air conditioning to a moderate temperature, because at a high level, cooling units are real climate killers. The same applies to the freezer. Turning the temperature up a few degrees will reduce your carbon footprint in no time at all.
Our tip: Water can also be saved on ice cubes. Chilled drinks don't necessarily need two more handfuls of ice, and not every guest wants them in their drink. Asking once when ordering can already help here. Mixtures of spirits that are often used together can also be easily stored chilled in advance. This way, you don't necessarily need extra ice when mixing and you also create space in the refrigerator.
Sustainability behind the bar is possible, if you want to and if you can
If you want to make your bar more sustainable, you should not only pay attention to avoiding waste. The keyword here is clearly "conserving resources" and that starts with buying the ingredients for the drinks. As we know, not all bars are the same, you should of course approach the topic individually according to your possibilities. Not everyone can grow their own herbs and not everyone wants to buy expensive glass coasters. Here it is worthwhile to assess the potential of your own bar in order to make it more environmentally friendly step by step.
More inspiration on how to make your bar more sustainable can be found at the catering trade fairs Internorga and Bar Convent Berlin.
Sustainability doesn't have to mean making the entire bar greener, but rather a conscious use of different resources - and that includes fair and punctual payment of your own employees.