This excerpt is reprinted from Ask Pablo which is featured in TreeHugger.com
Beer is made mainly from grains which are rarely grown by the brewery (unlike wine grapes). These grains are processed and shipped, incurring some greenhouse gas emissions, but the beer is usually consumed within a reasonably close radius, keeping the outbound shipping emissions low. The American Industry Standard Bottle (ISB, a.k.a. “longneck bottle”) holds 341 ml (~12 ounces) of beer and is made of thick glass that can withstand the pressures of a carbonated beverage. This packaging weight contributes a lot to the overall shipping weight of the finished product and therefore to its greenhouse gas emissions. While typically associated with “cheaper” beers, aluminum cans can reduce the overall environmental impact of beer, especially when it is to be transported over longer distances.
If you compare your local microbrew to a bottle or can from another region, the local beer wins. Here are some other ways to make sure that the environmental impact of your beer is limited:
Buy local: The local microbrewery will not disappoint you and you’re supporting the local economy
Buy light: When selecting your beer, look for companies that are breaking the mold and pushing into more innovative forms of packaging that reduce material intensity and shipping emissions or buy a growler and refill!
Look for higher percentages: If your taste in beer allows it, try sampling something like a craft brewed Belgian Tripel. Not only does the higher percentage means that you get more alcohol ounce-for-ounce, but you will also need fewer bottles to serve your guests.
Be Responsible: This has nothing to do with the environmental impact of beer but is important nonetheless. Don’t drink and drive, don’t drink while pregnant, listen to your mother and don’t forget your sunscreen.
A Closer Look At Light Bulbs
Like beer, not all light bulbs are not all created equal. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the bulbs that we are currently promoting. They are more energy efficient than both CFL and incandescent bulbs so we highly encourage residents to attend one our light bulb exchanges to make the switch to LEDs. LED light bulbs are one of the best forms of light for your home or office. Compared to less-efficient bulbs that emit light everywhere, LED light bulbs are more efficient by emitting light in a particular direction. What needs to be lit will still be bright, just without wasting energy. They are also very versatile and can be used in a variety of lighting situations inside and outside of your home.
Brightness: LED bulbs are brighter than their equivalents. To ensure that your new LED light bulb is as bright as or brighter than your old bulb, use the following chart that will convert your old bulbs “watts” to LED “lumens,” the unit of how much light is generated.
Life: An LED bulb’s lighting label will give you helpful information about how long your bulb will last (if used for 3 hours a day). Most LED light bulbs will have a lifetime of 17 years or more. But, if you are deciding between two bulbs, it is the safe bet to purchase the one that will last the longest.
Light Appearance: The color light that your LED light bulb produces depends on the emitter temperature, measured in Kelvin (K).
A lower temperature (closer to 2700K) creates a warmer, yellowish light. The lower temperature LED light likely looks very similar to your previous bulb.
A higher temperature (closer to 6500K) creates a cooler, bluer light. If you look up at the sky on a clear day around noon, the color will look similar to this.
Less common but also practical colors include red and green for night vision and amber to avoid bugs surrounding an outdoor light.
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My Green Montgomery is a project of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. It is a service to help Montgomery County residents think and live in a way that safeguards and sustains the health of our people, our county, and the planet.