Published on December 17th, 2011 | by Chris Keenan0
Choosing Sustainable Beverages
If you’re a regular reader here, chances are you know the importance of eating well and of trying to eat local and organic foods. However, if you’re washing those healthy foods down with unhealthy or unsustainable beverages, does it cancel out your sustainable food choices?
Let’s switch gears and talk about the liquid portion of our diets and clear up some common confusion. As far as I’m concerned, beverages are one of two things: water or not water.
We are what we drink, literally, so you need to drink plenty of water. But, what kind of water should you drink?
My suggestion is purified tap water from a reusable water bottle. Unless your well water or local water supply is known to be contaminated, then you are wasting money buying bottled water. Bottled water is so overpriced that it’s basically a scam (most of the time).
Many times, you are getting a purified version of the very tap water you are trying to avoid. You are spending money on something you can get for free, and let’s not forget the environmental impact of all those plastics bottles. It drains resources to create those bottles and then to transport them for delivery. Yes, they can be recycled, but not everyone does that, so many of them end up in the trash and ultimately in our landfills. How long does a plastic bottle take to break down at the landfill? Over 1,000 years!
Personally, I drink filtered city water. The water is fine, yet could contain lead from older pipes, so I use an activated carbon filter to be safe. Then I either drink from a glass at home or a stainless steel container when out and about. Why pay for something that is free?
This is a fairly huge category when you stop and consider the beverages you drink each day (the ones that are not water). For maximum impact, green those that you drink the most. For me, that means wine, tea, and coffee.
Even if you drink of beer and hard liquor, you can find local and organic versions of each. It’s stunning how many people watch every little thing they eat, yet don’t consider sustainable wine, tea, or coffee. Ultimately, these come from plants, just like your vegetables, and can be unsprayed or sprayed.
Here are some final tips for everything that isn’t water:
- When you buy coffee or tea, purchase fair trade varieties. Depending on where you reside, these could be local products located right outside your door.
- Another great choice for sustainable coffee is “shade grown.”
- Choose sustainable wine. There are numerous types of organically grown grapes, and although organic wine always had a reputable as having a poor taste, that is no longer the case.
- Buy local or organic beer. Small breweries tend to be very environmentally focused, so opt for a true micro-brew or something organic.
- If you are looking for flavored bubbles, skip the soda and purchase a home seltzer maker instead.
What do you do to make sure that your beverage choices are as sustainable as what’s on your plate?