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Raise Your Glass to Going Green
As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, and we've all recovered from the Super Bowl parties, many of us are getting ready for more epic celebrations. Whether celebrating your Irish heritage or just joining in the fun most of us will have a few things in common: green clothes, parades, traditional Irish food and, of course, beer. This St. Patrick’s Day, do more than just wear green: go green. Here are 3 simple ways to get started:
1. Beer: It’s a staple for most St. Patrick’s Day celebrants but can often come with a hefty carbon footprint. Instead of purchasing from the larger, commercial beer companies (yes, including Guinness – gasp!), choose a local beer from your nearby brewery. According to the Nature Conservancy, “the average American now lives within 10 miles of a local brewery.” That’s a significant decrease in travel time from brew to you. Find a brewery near you with Beer Mapping Project.
Another great way to reduce your alcohol-induced footprint is using a growler instead of six packs. Grwoler's are reusable and thus creat significantly less waste post-consumption. Plus, many growler retailers sell local beer (win-win!). The Natural Resources Defense Council’s Smarter Living explains the environmental impact differences between growlers and the more common six-packs.
You could also try Homegrown Beer. Of course, it’s a little late for that this year – but certainly not for next St. Patrick’s Day, which, barring the end of the world this December, will be on March 17th as usual. Start by trying different brew styles and finding the perfect one for you and your circle of friends (maybe you’ll even inspire others to do the same – imagine, an all homegrown beer party next St. Pattys!).
Here are some more great “green beer tips” from EarthShare.
2. Food: Eating local food is not just healthier for the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of your food, but it’s healthier for you too! Are you planning a meal? Stop by your local farmer’s market for ingredients and inspiration. Or eat at a restaurant that uses local sourcing for their ingredients. This may seem daunting since many head out to their local Irish pub for this holiday, but it’s certainly not impossible. Here’s a list of the 14 restaurants serving local food in New York and New Jersey, but were sure with some research you can find a few more! Worried that you won't get your corned beef and cabbage at one of these places? Many non-Irish pub restaurants will have special menus for the St. Patrick’s Day crowd - so check out their websites before crossing them off the list.
Also, be sure to check out this app from NRDC to find local farmers’ markets near you as well as a handy list of in-season produce.
3. Reduce, reuse, recycle: With St. Patrick’s Day often comes a plethora of green gadgets, gizmos and garbage. Green sunglasses, hats, shirts, confetti, etc. And until green shamrock sunglasses become the next runway fashion statement, the useful life of these objects is often less than 24 hrs. Much of it ends up on the streets, sidewalks, and bar floors only to be swept up and dumped before you’re even hung over. Go green this year by cutting back on the green. Or, use items you already own and won’t need to throw out: green jewelry, clothes, scarves, etc. For the items you do buy: try using them in your next art or craft project, or giving them to a child in your life (they probably won't mind that it's not St. Patrick's day as long as the object is fun!).
Feel free to share with us your Green St. Patrick's Day traditions - new or old. Have a safe, fun celebration - cheers!