alcohol garbage recycle


With all the hype about Sunday alcohol sales, I’m wondering about the environmental impact of booze. What is the greenest way to buy certain types of alcohol? Bottles or cans? Corks?



I’ll drink to that! These are the types of questions that swirl through my mind while others might be trying to decide between red or white. Here are my general rules of booze buying. 

Beer: A growler fill of fresh, local beer is always first choice. The only thing that’s disposable from a growler is the lid and you’re supporting the local economy. If a growler isn’t an option, I typically choose cans over bottles. While both aluminum and glass are infinitely recyclable, glass has had some recycling challenges related to transportation and sorting in Indiana. Glass IS still accepted and recycled – and I understand that Republic is working on an advanced sorting technology that will improve the quality of material – so if you find yourself indulging from a bottle, please still put it in the recycle bin.

Wine: Honestly, I seek out box wine. Depending on the type of box, the components may be recyclable, plus boxed wine is lighter to transport and, thus, has a smaller carbon footprint and it stays fresher for longer. As for bottles, same as above – put them in your recycle bin. 

In the cork vs. twist-off debate, I choose twist-off. Cork is renewable and recyclable, it’s just not super convenient to recycle. In Indy, check out the ReCORK collection locations.

Liquor: I believe glass is the most common container for liquor, so I tend to think in terms of quantity when choosing booze. Since it doesn't really go bad, the value-sized bottle may be smaller in the price and overall carbon footprint department. Single-serve bottles are wasteful in regard to packaging and pricing. 

Check this out: Indiana Recycling Coalition is working with local restaurants and bars to recycle their glass bottles. The Glass Isn’t Trash campaign will help bars and restaurants develop a glass recycling program at no-cost to their business. You should encourage your favorite watering hole to learn more about this opportunity to go green! 

Other general rules: enough with the plastic cups and just say no to straws!




Renee Sweany is NUVO's green living advice blogger.