It can be hard to decide what first steps to take making sustainability changes at the bar when there are so many options. Where to start? On this page we make a few suggestions to get you going.
Quick starts for bartenders:
- Take the top-selling drink on your menu and see if you can find ways to impact its footprint, perhaps by recycling/reusing using its waste products in another drink, dropping the swizzle stick or straw, scaling it up into a kegged cocktail, or buying its ingredients in bulk. Start with the best-selling drink then move on to the next one.
- Do you use a glass rinser? See if you can minimize how long you press it to lessen water use. It adds up!
- What fruit or vegetable is in season right now? Pick just one and research various ways to preserve it: dehydrating, making a syrup/shrub, pickling, etc. Check the preserves page for some tips.
Quick starts for owners and managers:
- Make an employee contest or reward system for bartenders who come up with the best money-saving sustainability ideas, such as employees get to keep the money saved by their suggestions for the first few months.
- Check for leaks and running water.
- Purchase a food dehydrator. With this you can make dehydrated garnishes and preserve leftovers. See the Preserves page for more ideas.
- What do you think will be your next piece of equipment, such as an ice machine or bar station, that will need to be replaced? Start researching the replacement now so that you won't have to make an emergency decision later.
- Do an Input Analysis: Over the course of a week or two, look at everything that comes into the bar from produce to disposables like napkins to liquor. Think - what is overpackaged? What can be purchased in bulk? Can you purchase more sustainable versions of any of these items? Can you minimize the number of delivery days to save transport energy? Can I see if I can split something with the bar next door?
- Do an Output Analysis: Check all the waste leaving the bar, whether they're trash, compost, or recycling. What can be reduced, what takes up the most space, what takes up the most weight?