This distillery helps you make delicious, carbon-negative cocktails

March 14, 2019 by  
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Do you ever think about how your happy hour is affecting the environment? Manufacturing alcohol in the United States creates harmful carbon dioxide that can wreck the earth’s system of natural resources, and a massive amount of the materials needed to package and distribute alcohol (bottles, plastic caps, etc.) end up in the trash. Los Angeles-based Greenbar Distillery , however, is changing the game entirely with its carbon-negative company model. One of the world’s largest selections of USDA-certified organic spirits can be found at Greenbar Distillery — that means no artificial fertilizers or synthetic pesticides seeping into the earth or your body. Additionally, the company only uses lightweight and eco-friendly packaging. By taking the environment into account with its manufacturing process and its commitment to planting one tree for every bottle of liquor that it sells, buying from Greenbar Distillery actually helps to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the website, a standard cocktail made with 1.5 ounces of Greenbar Distillery spirits will make you carbon negative for the day . “By being efficient and careful in the manufacturing process and planting one tree a bottle sold, 1.5 ounces of any Greenbar Distillery organic spirits — about what’s in a typical cocktail — helps remove 46.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” according to the website. Related: Grow your own cocktails — drink recipes from the garden Because the average American produces 45.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide every day, the 46.6 kilograms that Greenbar Distillery helps to remove daily means the drinks are not just carbon-neutral , but carbon-negative. You can even find a report on the company’s carbon footprint analysis on its website. So go ahead, celebrate Earth Day with a cocktail (or two). Another of the company’s impactful attributes? Its tree-planting program. It solidifies Greenbar Distillery’s enthusiasm and commitment to not only reducing its own carbon footprint with sustainable production techniques but educating the community and building awareness of the world’s environmental issues. Whenever you buy a bottle of Greenbar Distillery liquor, a tree is planted. Since beginning a partnership with Sustainable Harvest International in 2008, Greenbar has planted more than 766,000 trees in the Central American rainforest. These aren’t just any trees, either. They plant indigenous shade trees that can help protect locally-farmed, fair-trade crops like coffee and cacao. Sustainable Harvest International has also provided local training to rural farming communities throughout Central America since 1997, with programs in Belize, Honduras and Panama. Greenbar Distillery founders Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew taught themselves how to make liquor through trial-and-error in 2004, completing each process start to finish themselves in the company’s early years. They started out using traditional methods and materials and didn’t make the switch to fully organic until 2009. Initially launching a spirits line called Modern Spirits Artisan, Khosrovian and Mathew put their focus on using locally-farmed ingredients and exotic flavors. The company thrived while winning awards from Wine Enthusiast and the Wall Street Journal, but when some of their local sources began switching to organic, Khosrovian and Mathew noticed a difference. Once they discovered the superior quality and taste of organic ingredients, the duo was completely inspired. This early discovery led to education on sustainable, eco-friendly farming practices and an overhaul of the entire company to focus on sustainability. Gone were the heavy glass bottles and plastic labels. Instead, Khosrovian and Mathew focused on lightweight bottles and recycled labels with water-soluble ink. Today, Greenbar Distillery uses glass bottles that weight 25 percent less than the average spirits bottle, meaning fewer resources used and less carbon dioxide emissions from production. The shipping boxes are designed to fold together and reduce the need for tape. The labels use 100 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper, and the ink is soy-based, which is more biodegradable than traditional inks. The company also eliminated the use of plastic , tamper-evident capsules on its bottles, a popular and modern practice that adds more non-recyclable plastic to the environment. While synthetic corks are gaining popularity in the alcohol industry, Greenbar Distillery only uses recyclable corks, which are biodegradable and naturally-sourced. The company seems to be constantly coming up with new, innovative techniques while simultaneously honoring the old-school methods. With enough variation to please any bartender or cocktail-enthusiast, Greenbar Distillery offers organic gin, rum, liqueur, amaro, tequila, whiskey, vodka and even bitters. Its Slow Hand whiskey uses organic malted barley and infused flavor from white oak, hickory, maple, mulberry, red oak and grape woods. Greenbar Distillery was the first to use this whiskey-making technique in the Los Angeles area since the Prohibition Period. It is also free from added sugars or artificial colors. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas The Greenbar gin uses organic and hand-picked juniper berries from Bulgaria, and the Renaissance-era distilling process takes up to two months. When it comes to flavored liquor, Greenbar Distillery flavors its gluten-free, organic vodkas with natural ingredients like California lemons and pomegranate. Its Tru Garden Vodka is a unique blend of celery, dill, coriander, fennel, mint, thyme, pink peppercorn, cumin and vanilla beans (perfect for a morning Bloody Mary). Check out Greenbar Distillery website for more information on distillery tours and practices or to make a purchase. You can also find a whole arsenal of cocktail recipes and concoctions on the  recipes page . + Greenbar Distillery Images via Sustainable Harvest, Maker Walk LA, Marc Royce, Terreanea Resort and Greenbar Distillery

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This distillery helps you make delicious, carbon-negative cocktails

Bottle recycling in Oregon hits 90 percent record high

February 7, 2019 by  
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Oregon is seeing record-breaking recycling  rates for their progressive movement dating back to 1971. As the first state in the nation to initiate a bottle return bill, residents of the west coast state are long-accustomed to paying a bit more for their canned and bottled beverages. The idea is simple — pay a deposit when you purchase a six-pack and get that money back when you return the container to the store, but 48 years after the bill was introduced, the state is experiencing high recycling levels for the first time. The original bill, called the Oregon Bottle Bill, requires all beverage distributors, excepting alcohol, milk and a few other select beverages, to charge a minimum refundable amount on each container sold. From 1971 until 2017 that amount was five cents. So a six-pack of beer or soda would have cost 30 cents more at the store. That 30 cents was then refunded to the consumer when they took the cans back to the store. In 2017, the state supported a legislative increase to ten cents per container, with remarkable results. This change alone is credited with increasing return rates to 82 percent. The national average runs around 33 percent. While legislators likely would have directed policy towards the change eventually, the increase was triggered by a provision of state law enacted in 2011, which states that the increase must occur if return rates fall below 80 percent for two consecutive years. After 2014 clocked 68.3 percent and a 2015 return rate of 64.5 percent, 2016 got the ball rolling on the initiative. Related: Oregon initiates first modern statewide refillable glass bottle system in the US Since the recycling program’s initiation in Oregon, the state has seen promising results, especially in reductions of roadside waste and a dramatic increase in return rates. Reports state that at the time of the bill, bottles and cans were estimated to make up 40 percent of roadside waste. That estimate is now six percent. An even more impressive marker of success is the 2018 90 percent return rate. Put a different way, that represents two billion containers. Obviously the goal is to recycle every single recyclable bottle and can, not only to save on resources such as virgin aluminum, but to minimize waste. It’s easy to see that Oregon citizens have bought into the program with a 90 percent return rate. Oregon is known as a progressive state, especially when it comes to environmental issues, so it’s no surprise they’ve led the nation in this drive towards awareness of single-use containers and the importance of recycling. With this in mind, another major policy change contributed to the increase in recycling numbers. In January 2018, the bottle return policy expanded to include all plastic , aluminum and glass beverage containers such as energy drinks, juice, coffee, tea and others. To hit the 90 percent mark with all of those added containers is a testament to the efficiency of the system and dedication of Oregon’s consumers. The combination of the increased refund value, along with a wider variety of containers being accepted, is credited with a 35 percent increase in refund returns over just the last two years. While the legislation has remained relatively unchanged over the years, the process for returning bottles has evolved to accommodate those growing numbers. What once began as hand-counting returned containers later became automated, as return machines were installed in most major retail locations. The machines accept the different types of materials, read the barcode and keep an electronic tally of the return value. A printed slip is then taken to a cashier who exchanges it for cash. Many retailers in the state have pooled resources to initiate a centralized bottle return center known as BottleDrop. These return centers are located away from retail establishments, meaning that consumers have to make a special stop to return cans rather than being able to return them at the store where they shop. While it makes it somewhat less convenient, the fact that BottleDrop specializes in container returns means that the process is streamlined with hi-tech machines and staff available to help with any issues. Related: Hundreds of organisms hitch a ride from Japan to Oregon on waves of plastic trash Consumers have the option of feeding cans into the machine themselves or dropping them at the location and having staff count the cans for a small fee (around 40 cents per bag). Those that manually feed their cans receive a printed receipt. The receipt is then scanned into a nearby machine that dispenses payment. For those that choose to drop their bags, their account is credited after the cans and bottles are processed. The consumer can then cash out or even move those funds as a credit to a nearby participating retail grocery store . The convenience of this program has proved to be another valuable key in the success of the overall bottle return initiative. 2018 saw a 50 increase in BottleDrop accounts, needless to say, people are definitely taking advantage of it. With the high return rate and low waste rate, it seems shocking that the idea has not taken affect nationally. While most of Canada has now adopted the policy, only 11 states currently participate in a state- legislated bottle return plan. In addition to Oregon, those states are Vermont, Maine, Michigan, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, California and Hawaii. Via KPTV Images via Shutterstock

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Bottle recycling in Oregon hits 90 percent record high

Beermaker Carlsberg zeroes in on zero

August 22, 2017 by  
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The global beer giant embraces ambitious new emissions, water conservation, and social goals.

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Beermaker Carlsberg zeroes in on zero

Inside California’s clean-economy leadership — for now

August 22, 2017 by  
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Amid a worrisome increase in transportation emissions, is it time for “climate policies 2.0”?

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Inside California’s clean-economy leadership — for now

New Belgium, Yards, Sierra Nevada breweries leverage green tech

July 13, 2017 by  
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We’ll toast to that!

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New Belgium, Yards, Sierra Nevada breweries leverage green tech

Coca-Cola beverages are poisonous, Nigerian judge rules

April 3, 2017 by  
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Coca-Cola drinks clearly aren’t healthy – but one Nigerian judge recently ruled them poisonous. The lawsuit over Coca-Cola beverages made in a Nigerian factory said the sugary drinks had levels of sunset yellow food dye and benzoic acid, both carcinogens , that were too high and could be harmful when combined with vitamin C. Coca-Cola claims there’s no scientific basis for the ruling. European authorities flagged Coca-Cola products including Fanta Orange, Fanta Lemon, Fanta Pineapple, Sprite, Coca-Cola, and soda water for the two carcinogens, according to the lawsuit filed by businessman Emmanuel Fijabi Adebo against the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and the National Agency For Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC). He says he was unable to sell Fanta and Sprite purchased from NBC due to the findings. Related: Artist boils down sugary drinks into sickly suckers that highlight the dangers of junk food Judge Adedayo Oyebanji said NBC must put written warnings on Sprite and Fanta bottles. The judge also said NAFDAC did not properly warn consumers of the perils of mixing vitamin C with benzoic acid and sunset yellow, and awarded them costs of two million Naira, or around $6,350. Coca-Cola, unsurprisingly, didn’t agree with the ruling. They told MUNCHIES, “Recent claims that The Coca-Cola Company’s Fanta and Sprite beverages are unfit for consumption when combined with vitamin C are inaccurate and unsupported by science . All our products are safe and strictly adhere to regulations in the countries where they are sold while complying with our Company’s stringent global safety and quality standards.” They mentioned a Medium post by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health addressing the issue. The post said Coca-Cola products made in Nigeria are safe to consume, and mentioned benzoic acid acts as a preservative to avoid growth of microorganisms which can thrive in the Nigerian climate. Via MUNCHIES Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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Coca-Cola beverages are poisonous, Nigerian judge rules

Revealing map shows the distribution of all known ocean trash

April 3, 2017 by  
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There’s still a lot the average person doesn’t know about the trash clogging up our oceans . Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) scientists are tackling this public awareness crisis with LITTERBASE , a tool that makes it easy for the public to visualize the issue. They pulled together results from 1,237 scientific studies on two revealing maps to show exactly where known marine litter is distributed, and how it affects 1,249 marine species. AWI scientists realized there’s a large amount of research being done on the issue of marine litter, but since there are so many studies it’s hard for policymakers, authorities, and the public to reference the information they need to combat the issue. So they gathered the research in LITTERBASE in two maps. One combines 591 publications to show the distribution of garbage around the world. The other draws on 751 publications to show wildlife interactions with litter . According to LITTERBASE information cited by The Maritime Executive, 34 percent of species ingest trash, 31 percent colonize it, and 30 percent get tangled up or trapped in trash. Related: New report says plastic trash to exceed fish in the sea by 2050 AWI scientists also found in 10 years the concentration of garbage at an Arctic Ocean deep-sea station increased 20-fold. Plastic and glass were the worst offenders. It’s difficult to determine where the plastic trash came from, as it can often travel great distances before landing on the ocean floor. The maps could also help bring older studies back into public awareness. AWI scientist Melanie Bergmann said, “While compiling LITTERBASE, I discovered a cache of old data on litter in the Antarctic , which the signatory countries of the Antarctic Treaty gathered on a regular basis. In addition, the ingestion of microplastic at the beginning of the food chain was investigated for various groups of plankton and unicellular organisms as far back as the 1980s. As such, LITTERBASE will also help us rediscover old and in some cases forgotten findings.” You might notice the map has large blank swaths; the researchers note those aren’t necessarily clean areas. Rather, they just don’t yet have information for those spaces. You can check out the map of marine litter here and the map of wildlife interactions with trash here . + LITTERBASE Via The Maritime Executive Images via screenshot and Wikimedia Commons

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Revealing map shows the distribution of all known ocean trash

AB InBev brews up 100 percent renewable energy order

March 31, 2017 by  
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Beer brewing giant responds to investor calls by committing to sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewables.

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AB InBev brews up 100 percent renewable energy order

Beer giant AB InBev’s former water guru offers some advice

March 10, 2017 by  
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Why managing water risks should be approached holistically, yet pragmatically, like managing your health.

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Beer giant AB InBev’s former water guru offers some advice

Energy storage markets are charging up

March 10, 2017 by  
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In this Q&A, McKinsey analyst Matt Rogers shares new insights about economically-attractive applications poised to drive a fivefold market increase over the next two decades.

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Energy storage markets are charging up

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