Alcohol consumption is pretty common in our society, so it is not surprising that many people ignore or overlook what it takes to mass-produce such drinks. Yet, critical insight into the requirement for producing alcohol can open our eyes to shocking details of why people should reduce consumption.
Many people consider alcohol as a means to celebrate, to relieve stress, to grief, etc. However, there are various reasons one might consider cutting back on alcohol consumption. Excessive use can set the stage for various chronic health issues like heart failure and impaired judgment. Even though these are valid reasons to give up alcohol, many people do not realize that reducing alcohol use can save the environment.
From deforestation to excessive demand on the water to high energy consumption and excessive release of carbon to the atmosphere, the mass production of alcohol is a menace that gradually degrades the environment.
More than any time in history, now is the best time to reduce alcohol production as many natural resources and occurrences worldwide are pointing to global warming. The actions of humans over the years have set the stage for extreme temperatures, wildfires, and floods in many nations, which call for a need to save the planet. Even though alcohol production is one of the biggest industries in the US and many countries, the damage to the planet is alarming.
This article explores five alarming ways the production of alcohol is not eco-friendly:
Many people love alcohol, so the production is high in various countries worldwide. Due to such high demand, there is excessive demand on land and natural resources to meet the demand. As a result, people have to produce mass quantities of multiple materials like hops, barley, and grapes.
Cultivating such crops in mass requires a large expanse of land, fertilizer, water, pesticides, etc. Using mechanized equipment for tilling the ground adds to the carbon footprint. Excessive use of pesticides disturbs the balance of the ecosystem and introduces toxins into the environment. The demand for water supply is massive since water is primal to the cultivation of such crops.
The need to produce such crops in mass warrants deforestation to access more farmlands. Getting rid of trees significantly depletes oxygen from the environment, reducing the rate at which carbon dioxide disappears from the environment. Sadly, this also leads to the destruction of natural habitats for wildlife, which might cause the extinction of some species.
Excessive Carbon Footprint from Alcohol Distribution
Sadly, it is not only the planting and production stage of alcohol that disturbs the environment. Every year, we ship billions of beer crates worldwide. This considerable process requires extreme energy and fuel for transportation, refrigeration, and overall distribution.
As a result, wine and spirits, especially those not produced locally, must be shipped from various parts of the world. France is known for champagne and ships to many parts of the world. Poland and Russia ship vodka to multiple counties. Your favorite bottle of bourbon comes from Kentucky.
With this, when you take your favorite alcohol, know that tons of carbon must have been released into the atmosphere before it got to you, and it also jeopardizes your chance with a random drug test.
Comes with Packages that affect Landfills
Many breweries worldwide package their alcoholic products in various materials that also do not help the environment. Many use packaging materials made of plastic, aluminum, glass, etc. Most of these materials are not biodegradable; as a result, the constituent is a nuisance to the environment.
Every year, all over the world, people send millions of bottles and other packages to landfills. Such materials result in various forms of pollution, which act as an eyesore and contaminate the environment. These materials are not easy to recycle, and worst still, they end up in oceans and landfills, further degrading the environment.
Almost 50 billion cans are not recycled every year in the US, while 70% end up in landfills. Also, 50% of alcohol containers end up in the waste bin in the UK which also goes to landfills.
Alcohol production Demands Excessive Energy
The production process of alcohol also demands excessive energy. In the United States alone, breweries spend more than $200 million on energy every year. Energy consumption is at an average of 6% for the entire cost to produce. In addition, brewery equipment like boilers, pumps, heat exchangers, etc., stalemates for energy.
Generally, breweries producing beers use 95.1 kWh of electricity per square foot, alongside 537,000 Btu of natural gas. In addition to this excessive reliance on energy, various pollution in terms of carbon and other greenhouse gases pollute the environment. These gases are expensive to capture, so they just release them into the atmosphere. They also pollute freshwater around them.
Excessive Reliance on Water
Water is one of the most valuable resources on earth, yet humans hardly value it since it is readily available. There is news of water levels dropping in various parts of the world, according to research. According to the National Geography as well, there are fears that America is running out of water. However, many people hardly give this a thought as water is readily available when they turn on the tap. Humans take it for granted, yet water is a finite resource.
Our survival on earth, both humans and animals, is hinged on access to clean water, even though water scarcity is rising in many regions. Lack of access to clean water is killing many people, and these statistics are worse by our careless approach to water use.
Alcohol production consumes an alarmingly massive amount of water. Almost every stage of its production requires water from cultivating to actual production in the factory. To produce a standard 0.5 liters bottle of beer requires 148 liters of water. You can imagine the billions of liters of water used daily for the mass production of alcohol.
Giving up alcohol might seem far-fetched for many people. It will affect the nation’s GDP, and there will be job loss. However, it will help if production companies look for sustainable ways to cultivate hops, barley, etc., alongside alcohol production.