sustainable bartending: eco-friendly practices behind the bar

By Rent A Bartender | Dec 19, 2022

We only have one planet, and it’s clear she’s not in great shape. You may do your part in your personal life, but what about professionally? The bar industry has many options to crave out a more sustainable future. What can you do to preserve our earth?

Here are some sustainable bartending ideas:

Cut out the single-use plastics

Recycle more materials

Repurpose ingredients 

Use locally-sourced ingredients

Reduce water waste

Lower energy consumption

Go Seasonal

Go green with the community

There is no shortage of methods for mixologists to build a greener bar. You can feel good about the efforts you’re spearheading for a healthier planet for us and future generations.

Let’s dive right into your options! 

Reduce, reuse, recycle: minimizing bar waste

Bar and restaurant software Glimpse reports that overpouring causes six ounces a litter of alcohol loss, which cuts down a bar’s revenue by 18 percent.

Beyond the profitability aspect, which hurts enough, you must also consider the painful aspect of wastefulness.

Here are some strategies you can utilize to cut down on waste around the bar.

repurpose food ingredients

How often do you purchase whole fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs for garnishment but only use some?

What do you do with the rest of the produce at the end of the event? Do you throw it out? What about the seemingly useless parts of a fruit, vegetable, or herb? Do you get rid of those too?

 You shouldn’t! These parts are more useful than they seem.

Dried flowers can be used as an ingredient in salt or sugar rims for a decorative glass. Mint stems can make a syrup you can use as another garnish.

Fruit pulp like orange and pineapple pulp can be made into fruit leather. You can even combine the two for a tangy, tropical taste. Apple pulp can become a fruit leather or homemade applesauce.

Liquid garnishes can be used as a stock ( such as citrus stock) or poured into ice cube trays and frozen.

Repurposing ingredients like this reduces waste and helps your garnishes go further, impressing audience at your next event.

Need a gig and based in the Greater Toronto Area? We’re hiring! Click here to apply.

implement a pouring rule

As much as you can, reduce pouring waste. You’ll learn how to properly pour when you train with us. You’ll feel confident enough in your skills that you can do away with wasteful practices like free pouring to control costs.

recycle bar products

You probably have a recycling system at home, right? You separate products by material and place them in different bins so they’re properly recycled.

Why not carry over the same policy when you bartend? Begin a recycling system when covering events where you separate paper from glass and plastic and recycle each.

Before you start your recycling initiative, look into what kind of recycling policy your neighbourhood has. For example, not every recycling program might accept plastics, and if they do, it will usually only be specific kinds.

You don’t want to go through all the time and trouble of segmenting your waste only to find out you can’t recycle it!

veer away from single-use plastics

One of the biggest sources of bar waste by far is single-use plastic.

Plastic bottles, straws, and everything in between contributes to the more than 300 million tons of plastics the world makes every year, according to NRDC.

The more you can recycle plastic, the smaller your carbon footprint, but if you then turn around and inundate your bar with single-use plastics, you’ll put more plastic into the world than you recycle.

Plastics can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to break down. That’s a long time rotting in landfills if it even makes it there. Plastic appears in our oceans (often being washed there) and can choke and kill wildlife.

Paper straws are the new “it” thing, and rightfully so!. They’re much more biodegradable.

sustainability in beverage and Ingredient selection

Waste reduction is one way to ensure a greener future. You can also get pickier about the ingredients and beverages you serve to your customers. Here’s how to become more environmentally friendly in that arena.

Go local

The shorter the distance your bar ingredients have to travel, the better. The transport distance is much shorter, reducing smog and carbon dioxide production that can worsen our air quality and contribute to global warming.

The ingredients will be fresher, as they’ll have to undergo less processing to keep them salvable.

You can also market your local ingredients, which might inspire them to enjoy more at the corporate mixer or bachelorette party you’re covering.

Energy efficiency: conserving bar resources

Bartenders use many precious resources that can make the planet less green. Let’s go over some measures you can take to preserve and reduce your reliance on these resources.

Manage Bar Refrigeration and Equipment

You must refrigerate some bar ingredients. While you have no say in that, you can choose the equipment and refrigeration you use.

Can you upgrade to something greener? If not that, you might establish refrigeration rules to limit the amount of time you have these units running.

Reduce Water Waste

According to, you use 15 gallons of water in five minutes of dishwashing by hand. If you fill the sink with water, plug it up, and wash dished that way, it’s five gallons. 

That’s the much more efficient way, as is using a dishwasher. American Home Shield notes that an Energy Star dishwasher uses four gallons of water for each cycle. A non-Energy Star unit would use more, so the dishwasher is another good appliance to upgrade.

embracing locally-inspired, seasonal ingredients

Using what you have is a fantastic way to treat our planet better. Here are some tips in that area.

Create a Seasonal Menu Incorporating Produce

As the seasons change, produce falls into and out of season. Create a celebratory atmosphere with pumpkin and apples in the fall, berries in the summer, and cherries, avocados, and apricots in the spring. 

Why is using seasonal ingredients eco-friendly? By stocking up when produce is in season, you can ensure the crops grew naturally. Produce that survives beyond its season is sustained by maturing agents, pesticides, and other dangerous chemicals.

Celebrate Regional Distilleries

Now is also a great time to spotlight your regional, local partners like distilleries. They too can engage with you in educating the neighbourhood about the benefits of seasonal ingredient selection.

engaging the community for a greener future

There are yet more ways to connect with your community to put our planet into a healthier place for all. Try these great strategies.

Hold Eco-Friendly Mixers

Introduce your new lightweight bottles or seasonal menu by hosting a mixer at your bar or restaurant. Promote the event around town with fliers, social media, and maybe a billboard or two.

You should have an exceptional turnout!

Partner with Green Organizations in Your Community

From companies doing great work to fellow bars and distilleries and other brands known for their green attitudes, associate your bar or restaurant with them. Together, you two can form an initiative to make your city or town a healthier, eco-friendlier place to be.

get the training you need to go pro

What sets Rent a Bartender’s training apart from your average bar school? Well, for one, we’re not a bar school. You see, most bar schools exist to teach you the very basics. You “graduate,” then you’re cut loose to get your own gigs. 

That’s not how we roll. We’ll put you in a position to become a master mixologist by providing hands-on training. Anyone can learn to memorize drinks, it takes skill to curate something special. 

After you pass, we will hire you to work events in the area. We only want the best bartenders for our event staffing services, and who better than the ones we’ve trained?

Our intensive training it’s designed for bartending beginners and seasoned staff who want to learn more. You will experience one-on-one instructions on flavor profiles, what’s behind a bar, and how to use it.

Ready to learn?

Apply today and experience the difference at Rent a Bartender.

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