Giving up alcohol is a common change people make when they’re trying to be healthier. We all know that alcohol contains a huge amount of calories, so cutting it out is a quick and easy way to drop some excess weight without making too many other changes.
Alcohol also has a big impact on mental health and can lead to addiction in the long term. Many people that suffer from alcohol addiction find themselves in need of a rehab center to help them manage their intake, so giving up before you reach that point is a good idea. But cutting out alcohol isn’t just good for your physical and mental health, it’s good for the planet too. Here’s how quitting alcohol can reduce your environmental impact.
Water and Pesticide Use
The environmental impact of alcohol starts with the crops that are used to make it. Lots of grains, grapes, and hops are grown to make alcoholic drinks and that requires huge amounts of water. There is also a lot of pesticides used on these crops, which causes further environmental damage. Alcohol is not a necessity, so all of this water consumption and pesticide use is unnecessarily damaging the environment.
You also need to consider the water that is used to make the drinks themselves. Beer and wine require a lot of water to be put in before the fermentation process. In fact, it takes around 60 liters of water to produce 1 liter of beer. Water scarcity is becoming a big problem around the globe, and alcohol production is contributing to it in a big way. People often talk about the impact of bottled water, but they don’t think about bottled beer and wine.
Next, you have to consider the energy produced in the huge factories that make alcoholic drinks. These factories are big energy consumers, and they use the power to distill alcohol, bottle it, and transport it. This process uses a lot of non-renewable sources of energy like coal, oil, and gas. Although some companies will use renewable energy sources, many of the largest alcohol producers in the world are not.
There is a lot of energy used to ship alcohol products around the world too. When you add up all of the emissions from factories, as well as ships and lorries to deliver it, you start to see the true impact of alcohol on the environment.
Alcohol is traditionally sold in glass bottles or aluminum cans. These are very recyclable, but they will often end up sitting in a landfill for decades before being broken down. Although a lot of companies are looking for alternatives at the moment, many canned beers still come with a plastic ring around the top. These are known to cause a lot of problems in the ocean because animals are easily trapped inside them. If you’re trying to cut back on plastic packaging, be mindful about the alcohol you buy.
Many people decide to give up alcohol because it is better for their health. But even if you aren’t concerned about that, you should think about how it would benefit the planet if you cut back on your drinking.
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