If you follow cocktail news, you have likely heard of bars seeking to reduce their waste. Since many bars go through hundreds of glass bottles, straws, and napkins, their footprint can be large. This goes beyond professional bars and extends to home bars as well. In planning out my new home bar, I am incorporating some great sustainable bar supplies. Throughout, I have kept in mind that replacing things I already have with new “friendlier” options is also a form of waste. So, keeping that in mind, here are some things that I have already, have purchased, or considered to green up my bar.
Recycling and Composting Bins
Most of us have been hearing about recycling since grade school. If you’re not already in the habit, keeping things out of the trash in the first place is a good step. It can be too easy to throw things in the trash if you don’t have a system. I use plastic recycling tubs that are easy to wash out when needed. The one pictured here is also stackable so you can get ones for plastic, metal, and glass.
If you want to take your sustainable bar supplies to the next level, add a counter top compost bin to your bar. Add all the citrus rinds and fruit peels when you’re done with them. (Or you could use them to make oleo saccharum first and then compost them!)
There are SO many amazing options for straws that won’t add to the plastic waste problem. While paper straws are popular in many bars, I find that they don’t hold up very well during use. I prefer to mix up my straws with primarily reusable options (that can be cleaned in my dishwasher). I also like biodegradable straws that I can cut down easily to size. Here are some of my favorites:
- Glass (pictured): Surfside Sips has an amazing selection of glass straws (also featured in my gift guide) and cocktail picks
- Silicone: I use these colorful silicone straws in my iced coffee every morning (I do drink more than cocktails!)
- Metal: I have several brands of metal straws that I like, but this set from A Bar Above has every size and width you need PLUS a bag for the dishwasher
- Agave Fiber: these straws are all natural and organic and decompose naturally
Cloth Napkins and Upcycled Glassware
I love cute cocktail napkins. (Ones with witty sayings are my favorite.) However, they get used (barely) and get thrown away. So, I started using some cloth cocktail napkins to cut down on waste. Glassware is obviously reusable, unless you’re using plastic cups. However, you can take your sustainable bar to an even greener level (pun intended) with these upcycled wine bottle glasses. If you want to go a step further and make your own, you can easily cut down your own bottles with this kit.
Other Sustainable Bar Supplies
Rounding out the list are a few other items that I think are helpful to reduce the use of disposable items. The first are reusable storage bags (I just ordered these). I always have partial lemons or limes that I want to keep fresh for the next use. If you want to skip bagging things altogether, you can juice the fruit and pour it into these 1oz cube trays and freeze.
Finally, if you find yourself using a lot of bottled tonics and mineral waters, it might be wise to invest in a SodaStream. SodaStream even has a recycling program that will pay you in an Amazon gift card when you return two of their CO2 cartridges.
I hope you got a few helpful ideas for bringing some sustainable bar supplies into your life. If you’re working to build your home bar, here are some other things I suggest that are also reusable. Cheers!