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Five Ways to Make NOLA Bartending More Eco-Friendly

New Orleans is a city of consumption. All through the year, we host visitors; we eat & drink and have a great time doing it! But what happens to all our trash when we’re done? How many times have you walked through the Quarter only to see trash cans overflowing into the street with empty Hand Grenades and beer cans? Bartending – while definitely one of the most prosperous industries in our city – is also one of the most wasteful.

The Green Hustle – a new global bartender engagement program – aims to inspire and enable bartenders around the world to be more sustainable. By showcasing inspirational tips and low waste cocktail recipes, they want to make green thinking fun and accessible.

“Very few consumers associate bars with sustainability, but I think we will soon see the awakening of a more responsible cocktail-era. And reducing waste is pretty simple.” –  Bex Almqvist ; Co-Creator of the Green Hustle

While the sheer volume of New Orleans consumers might make sustainability seem out of reach, these “bar hacks” are beneficial to the environment, our industry and the bottom-line.

Check out the Green Hustle’s bartending hacks and help make New Orleans more green…one drink at a time.

1. Turn old fruit into citrus stock

Citrus is the most wasted ingredient to bartenders. Count how many you’re tossing out at the end of the night to truly see the waste. To alleviate, slice a little less the next morning, or save your husks and make some tasty lime “stuice.” Cocktail game-changer!

2. Ditch the plastic

One plastic straw take 200 years to decompose. Now times that by the 500 MILLION straws used EVERY DAY in the U.S. alone.

  • Skip out on the plastic straws unless you’re asked for one.
  • Skip plastic or single use cups.
  • Use a cocktail spoon when taste-testing (you’ll save money too).
  • Or, better yet – source compostable or recyclable straws for your bar!

green bartending


Cans, cardboard, anything you can get your hands on. Put a lid on your trash bin and think before you throw. You might even research to see if there’s an economic benefit for the bar too. Are there breweries that will buy your bottles back from you? Can you exchange cans for cash? All it takes is a little digging.

4. Refreeze melted ice

Consider keeping ice in large containers and re-freezing it when it’s melted. Making ice consumes a lot of water and energy in the process. Drinks that are shaken with ice and poured over new ice are especially big water hogs.

5. Compost

This one can get a little messy, but is well worth the time and effort. Invest in a compost bin (you can even split it with a neighboring bar) and re-purpose all of your garnish scraps. If you’d like to take it full circle you can use the soil to grow new garnishes of your own – and never have to pay for them again. For more information on DIY composting, check out this guide!

If we put a little research and legwork into it, we could eventually create a more eco-friendly, self-sustaining bar culture.

Get more information on sustainable bartending and the Green Hustle here or watch their sustainability video Below.


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Photos courtesy of the Green Hustle and Alex Grymanis

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