The drinks industry has been one of the most vocal champions of this cause. From producers developing environmentally-friendly practices to consumers eschewing the classic – but wasteful – decorative skinny black straw, changes are being made left, right and center to minimize the impact the drinks industry has on the planet. The sustainable cocktail movement has introduced lots of impactful tweaks, like the use of local, seasonal ingredients and optimizing glassware shapes to fit more into the glasswasher and reduce water waste. Here are some ways to keep your waste to a minimum while creating delicious cocktails at home.

Reduce Your Use of Disposable Non-Consumables

  • Plastic straws. Whether they’re the purely decorative type or the more functional long drinking straw, these can easily be replaced by the more sustainable paper versions, or even better, by metal ones that you can use over and over again. These can be refrigerated before use, too, to make sure your drink is chilled to perfection by the time it reaches your taste buds.
  • Paper napkins. These are often used as a makeshift coaster, become soggy, and are then thrown away. A stack of stylish coasters that match the decor of your home bar is a more environmentally-friendly option.
  • Plastic glasses. Even reusable plastic glasses end up in the recycling bin long before their glass cousins. When you’re crafting cocktails at home, choose glassware you’ll love to drink from for years to come. It’s a much more satisfying experience than sipping from soon-to-be-worn-out plastic.
  • Cocktail umbrellas. Yes, they look nice and remind you of piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. But your gorgeous layered cocktails and colorful, fruity concoctions look just as nice without them. Lose the umbrellas, save the turtles.

Make the Most of Your Ingredients

Most cocktail ingredients only get one chance at life, but there’s a lot more your lemon is good for than one squeeze. The rind can be used as a garnish for other drinks or the zest can become part of a homemade syrup or liqueur if you’re feeling crafty.

You can also give kitchen waste a second chance by utilizing it in cocktails. Aquafaba (the water chickpeas come in) makes a great replacement for egg white for vegan drinks.

Reduce the Amount of Ice You Throw Away

 

Take a leaf out of the bartenders’ book and get creative about chilling your drinks. Refrigerated glasses or shakers is one approach as is keeping your alcohol in the freezer drawer. The less ice that ends up in the sink, the better it is for the planet.