Homebrewers and environmentalists have long been considered kindred spirits. Taking care of the environment and brewing the perfect beer go hand in hand, and with increasing attention to sustainable practices, greening your system is now more important than ever.
There are many benefits to going green with your system, and it’s a very practical solution for any homebrewer seeking to reduce their environmental impact. By having an eco-friendly homebrew system, you can make a positive environmental and financial impact for you and your community. In celebration of Earth Day, here are some tips for greening your homebrew system. Every homebrewer can make a difference, so start today!
First and foremost, greening your brewing process can positively effect our environment by preserving landfill space, keeping raw materials in production cycles, reducing greenhouse gasses and lowering water and energy consumption. By focusing on the use of organic materials, the amount of chemical additives in landfills can be reduced, ultimately improving air and water quality.
Greening your brew system will not only benefit you financially but will also benefit the economy. Re-using and recycling materials will save you from spending money on unnecessary materials, and reduce waste that costs money to dispose of and treat.
Tips to Green Your Homebrew System
- Brew smaller batches: Brew three-gallon batches instead of 10-gallon batches, or make two recipes from a six-gallon batch. This will reduce the amount of materials and energy you use on brew day.
- Grow your own hops: Hops can be grown in almost any climate and can be ordered online, or may be available at your local homebrew supply shop when in season. A mature, healthy bine will produce a half pound to two pounds of dried flowers per plant.
- Use spent grain/yeast: Wash and reuse yeast cakes for future batches. Spent grain can be used to make dog treats, cookies, brownies and bread. Spent grain and other organic materials used for homebrewing can also be used as compost.
- Brew in groups: By brewing in a group, you use fewer materials while promoting community, and the joy of homebrewing. A group brew is also a great way to learn techniques and tricks from other homebrewers. Find a Homebrew Club to brew with!
- Recycle materials: Reuse bottles or switch to swing top bottles to reduce wasted bottle caps. Learn to keg your homebrew and phaseout bottles completely!
- Cleaning: Use biodegradable cleaning supplies available at your local homebrew supply shop. Be sure to monitor the amount of water you use during clean up. Your cleaning water can be reused to wash your dog, water plants, do some laundry and even fill your toilet bowl!