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View Full Version : Think globally, drink locally



Argos
2009-Sep-23, 04:48 PM
Fun story (http://www.slate.com/id/2229095/) at Slate Magazine.

Which is better for the planet, beer or wine?

I'm hosting a dinner party next week, and I'll be serving both beer and wine alongside the meal. But it got me wondering: Which has the lower carbon footprint? Beer has to be kept refrigerated, which requires energy, but shipping wine in those heavy bottles can't be good for the planet, either.

Whatīs your take on that? :)

nauthiz
2009-Sep-23, 05:04 PM
Unless we're talking cheap beer, beer usually comes in smaller bottles. Presumably that means that the glass-to-volume ratio for beer is higher, which in turn means that wine also wins on the "shipping heavy bottles" front. Beer also tends to be consumed in greater quantity because of its lower alcohol content, so more of both container and product would be shipped.

Argos
2009-Sep-23, 05:18 PM
The story fails to mention that aluminum extraction requires a lot of energy.

nauthiz
2009-Sep-23, 05:25 PM
True, though recycling aluminum from scratch takes only about 5% as much energy. It actually makes me wonder why companies that use a lot of the stuff, such as canned beverage manufacturers, don't seem to push any harder for increased recycling rates. You'd think getting the aluminum recycling rate up to around 100% could have a fairly noticeable impact on their bottom lines.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Sep-23, 06:08 PM
Besides, for many beers, being kept in the dark at fairly constant temperature is more important for long term storage than keeping them cold.

For both wine and beer, check if there are some produced locally.

Fazor
2009-Sep-23, 06:26 PM
Besides, for many beers, being kept in the dark at fairly constant temperature is more important for long term storage than keeping them cold.

For both wine and beer, check if there are some produced locally.

Light is certainly a pesky thing. Threw out about a drink's worth of Khaluha last night that my g/f had left over (I don't drink the stuff, too froo-froo for me, typically). It had been sitting on our kitchen windowsill for . . . well, a while. I figured six+ months in direct sunlight probably hadn't done wonders for it. Maybe it was still good. But she almost never drinks, and I wouldn't drink it.

mike alexander
2009-Sep-23, 07:23 PM
If the beer has to be kept cold, it probably isn't very good beer.

mike alexander
2009-Sep-23, 07:24 PM
And what's the carbon footprint of a drunkard's walk?

Buttercup
2009-Sep-23, 07:25 PM
Wouldn't know, as I don't like beer or wine. :p

Fazor
2009-Sep-23, 07:35 PM
And what's the carbon footprint of a drunkard's walk?

I was thinking there tends to be less harmful gasses associated with wine, but that's just anecdotal and may differ per individual.

pzkpfw
2009-Sep-23, 08:30 PM
Grrrr.

To save the planet "carbon miles" get talked about.

So British drinkers get told to buy French wine instead of New Zealand wine. Because of the distance the N.Z. wine has to travel to them, and France is closer.

Except studies have shown that better and more efficent production methods mean that the N.Z. wines can have a lower total carbon footprint (including transport) than at least some of the French wines anyway.

These things get over-simplified.

Seeka
2009-Sep-23, 09:42 PM
Wouldn't know, as I don't like beer or wine. :p

At all? Do you drink any alcohol? (She asked in shock horror:lol:)

Buttercup
2009-Sep-23, 09:45 PM
At all? Do you drink any alcohol? (She asked in shock horror:lol:)

Lol! Once in a while I'll have a strawberry daquiri or a screwdriver. ;) Blackberry rum freeze is also good. Maybe 5 or 6 mixed drinks per year.

geonuc
2009-Sep-23, 09:52 PM
Unless we're talking cheap beer, beer usually comes in smaller bottles. Presumably that means that the glass-to-volume ratio for beer is higher, which in turn means that wine also wins on the "shipping heavy bottles" front.
You might think that at first, but aren't wine bottles considerably thicker? I wouldn't be surprised if beer wins this one.

mugaliens
2009-Sep-23, 10:42 PM
The story fails to mention that aluminum extraction requires a lot of energy.

Or that the brewing of most beers are subcontracted to regional breweries to reduce shipping costs.

Cougar
2009-Sep-24, 02:40 AM
The Wild West is pretty far from Belgium, so while the beer may not need to be kept refrigerated, it does have to be served refrigerated, which I expect adds considerably to its carbon footprint.

In Japan at the baseball games, you could get a can of sake (rice wine) with a "button" to press which would cause the can to heat up and give you... hot sake! I'm not sure of the effect that has on global warming. :rolleyes:

TrAI
2009-Sep-24, 03:32 AM
True, though recycling aluminum from scratch takes only about 5% as much energy. It actually makes me wonder why companies that use a lot of the stuff, such as canned beverage manufacturers, don't seem to push any harder for increased recycling rates. You'd think getting the aluminum recycling rate up to around 100% could have a fairly noticeable impact on their bottom lines.

When we buy a bottle or can of drink in a shop over here, we generaly(There are some bottles not covered by this solution, most winebottles and some imported stuff, for example, those will have to be thrown in regular recycling bins.
)have to pay a little extra, 1 NOK for small bottles and cans, and 2,5 NOK for large bottles, this is called "pant", when the bottle/can is empty, we can return it to any store that sells these products, and we get the "pant" bak, so it is like a deposit, the money is held in pledge/security for the return of the container, the word "pant" is related to the english word "pawn". Of course, many people still just throw the bottles outside or in the first trash can they find, but it isn't uncommon to see people collecting bottles and cans to get the "pant", as it is, of course, not exclusive to the buyer(anyone can return the container and get money for it).
Is there anything like this over in your part of the world?

Argos
2009-Sep-24, 01:05 PM
Itīs easy to see that this 'buy locally' thing, if adopted in full in every sector of the economy, has the potential to paralyze world trade and, ultimately, the generation of wealth.

Talk about stuck between a rock and a hard place.

closetgeek
2009-Sep-24, 01:07 PM
When we buy a bottle or can of drink in a shop over here, we generaly(There are some bottles not covered by this solution, most winebottles and some imported stuff, for example, those will have to be thrown in regular recycling bins.
)have to pay a little extra, 1 NOK for small bottles and cans, and 2,5 NOK for large bottles, this is called "pant", when the bottle/can is empty, we can return it to any store that sells these products, and we get the "pant" bak, so it is like a deposit, the money is held in pledge/security for the return of the container, the word "pant" is related to the english word "pawn". Of course, many people still just throw the bottles outside or in the first trash can they find, but it isn't uncommon to see people collecting bottles and cans to get the "pant", as it is, of course, not exclusive to the buyer(anyone can return the container and get money for it).
Is there anything like this over in your part of the world?

Some states do that, in the US. In NY, we would save them up in the laundry room and after a few weeks, have enough to buy a pizza, with the returns. The Dairy Barns in NY also sell glass bottle milk with a $.75 deposit. You can do an exchange or get the money back when you return. Florida doesn't, though, but apparently Florida has a different recycling system, as I have gotten yelled at by sanitation for putting the wrong things in the recycling bin.

nauthiz
2009-Sep-24, 04:21 PM
Nine out of the 50 states do it for aluminum cans.

NEOWatcher
2009-Sep-24, 04:29 PM
Somehow, I think that most people that would be concerned about this topic are probably not the ones that would be willing to drink thier own tap water.

Argos
2009-Sep-24, 04:37 PM
Is there anything like this over in your part of the world?

No, but Brazil has a vigorous recycling industry. Everybody I know [including me], sends aluminum cans to recycling. Iīve heard it is the #1 recycling country in the world [partly because of a relatively great number of poor people, who find in the recycling industry a way to make a living].

Big Brother Dunk
2009-Sep-24, 05:34 PM
Easy choice for me as I brew my own beer at home.


If the beer has to be kept cold, it probably isn't very good beer.That's exactly what I was thinking. But as far as chilling beer is concerned, I wonder if that adds to the carbon foot print. The refridgerator is running anyway, and putting beer in woudln't make any difference. However, if you have a refridgerator devoted to chilling beer, that would make a difference.



Some states do that, in the US. In NY, we would save them up in the laundry room and after a few weeks, have enough to buy a pizza, with the returns. The Dairy Barns in NY also sell glass bottle milk with a $.75 deposit. You can do an exchange or get the money back when you return. Florida doesn't, though, but apparently Florida has a different recycling system, as I have gotten yelled at by sanitation for putting the wrong things in the recycling bin.
While golfing in Arizona, I had a canned beer after the front nine. After I finished it, I looked around for a recycling bin, but I didn't see one. I asked the women at the concession stand where to put the beer can and she pointed to a garbage bin. It would appear they don't have a recycling program in AZ.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Sep-24, 06:17 PM
One advantage the glass bottle have is that they can be reused instead of recycled, in Denmark a normal beer bottle is reused(washed and filled again) on average about 20 times before it's recycled(melted into a new bottle).

Our deposit system is about the same as Norway's I think.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Sep-24, 06:20 PM
That's exactly what I was thinking. But as far as chilling beer is concerned, I wonder if that adds to the carbon foot print. The refridgerator is running anyway, and putting beer in woudln't make any difference.
Actually it's putting the beer in that makes a difference as it costs energy to change its temperature, keeping it in there doesn't.
The beer heats the fridge slightly so it has to run a bit more to get the temperature down again.

If you put it in already chilled the energy cost was paid by someone else to chill it in the first place.

Neverfly
2009-Sep-24, 06:20 PM
One advantage the glass bottle have is that they can be reused instead of recycled, in Denmark a normal beer bottle is reused(washed and filled again) on average about 20 times before it's recycled(melted into a new bottle).

Our deposit system is about the same as Norway's I think.

How do they wash them?
I mean... Are they sure they get them Clean?

Can you imagine buying a beer and seeing something floating in it or finding a smear of red lipstick on the lip?

HenrikOlsen
2009-Sep-24, 07:02 PM
High temperature, high concentration caustic soda followed by automated visual inspection to find those that couldn't be cleaned so go to remelt and another automated visual inspection after bottling and another after labeling.

Another advantage of glass it that it can withstand cleaning fluids that would simply dissolve aluminum, at temperatures that would make plastic go wobbly.