The Environmental Impact of Kegging vs. Bottling

Vessels by AdamLogan

This is the first in a series of articles about homebrewing in the DC area by Carl Weaver of RealHomebrew.com. Want to learn about making your own beer? Keep an eye out for Friday homebrew features.

I read on treehugger.com that a life cycle assessment study was done that showed that the environmental impact of kegged beer was 68% lower than that of bottled beer. Most of the impact is due to packaging differences and how people get their beer.

Kegging has much less environmental waste than bottling. Bottling beer requires heavy glass containers that only sometimes are returned for refill, bottle caps that are useless once removed, and lots of gas spent transporting everything both to the store and then to your home. Kegged beer has a lighter package per volume, which means less gas cost, and the keg is always returned for reuse. Really – when have you bought a keg of beer and decided to throw it away after it was empty? Bars and restaurants are the same way. They return those empty buggers to get their deposits back.

This study only looked at a commercially produced beer, and in part of Europe where people likely have more draft beer at bars than Americans tend to, with all of our bottled choices at the bars we frequent. While the disparity in environmental impact is likely still great here in the States, the differences in how we consume beer might have to be examined.

The environmental impact for kegged beer is probably pretty close to bottled beer for homebrewers, I would guess. We are almost fanatical about collecting and reusing bottles. It’s not that we are all tree huggers, but that bottles are expensive if you have to buy them. They are still heavier than kegs by volume, and require crown caps, which get discarded, but I suspect the difference in impact between the two methods is minimal for homebrewers.

On the other hand, if kegging is more environmentally friendly, maybe that is a good argument to invest in a kegging system. Do you like the beers you make? They will taste even better off the tap. Trust me – once you go keg, you never go back. First thing first, though — start brewing, then eventually work your way to a keg. Big Daddy will help you do it.

Originally published at RealHomebrew.com.

Beer Bottles by AdamLogan.

The Daily Feed

For the Greener Good

Photo courtesy of
‘green roof’
courtesy of ‘(afm)’

Building environmentally sound buildings is extremely important because people spend the majority of their life indoors, and nobody wants to live, work, or play in a space that could be potentially detrimental to their mental or physical health.  Furthermore, even more imperative, is the status of our schools.  A place where children are meant to grow and learn – and be safe – yet, many primary and secondary schools expose children to toxins and other potentially harmful deficiencies.

Tonight, the National Building Museum is hosting For the Greener Good Lecture Series on Sustainable Schools, where expert healthcare, design, and education panelists will convene to share ideas for building schools – discussing the art and science of the education environment.

Learn why greener schools mean a brighter future for everyone.

For the Greener Good Lecture Series: Sustainable Schools will be from 6:30 – 8:00 PM. The cost is $12 for members and $20 for non-members, Free for students with valid ID. You can purchase tickets here or at the door.

The Daily Feed

Why Do You Care About Sustainability?

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

Caring about the environment is the cool thing to do, right?

According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, when people shop in public they tend to favor green and more earth friendly products – however, when shopping online people tend to favor the ‘regular stuff’; thus suggesting that “green purchases are often motivated by status,” says Vladas Griskevicius, co-author of the study.

Although I find this study to be quite interesting, I wonder how variables such as statewide or citywide mandates could moderate this study’s outcome. Since the District’s 5-cent bag tax law took effect, not only is going green now hip – but if you want to watch your pennies, it’s basically required.

I don’t really thing in the end anyone really cares what your reasons for being environmentally conscious truly are, because as long as a difference is being made then it doesn’t really matter right?

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D.C. Parking Injustice – Tow Me… Blow Me…

Law enforcement scofflaws
Originally uploaded by philliefan99

Did you hear me Mr. Fenty and Ms. Babers? D.C.’s quest to now emulate Chicago with the new administration has reached new lows. As the Democrats and Obama administration have been touting friendliness to green technologies, smart transportation alternatives, and conservation, the city they now hold a majority in,  took a TWELVEFOLD step backwards. I had created the D.C. Motorcycle parking map of the Metro region to help those folks on two wheels track down ever vanishing spots (one set is in center court in the Verizon Center… how convenient), and since most garages do not allow motorcycles in, it’s necessary. Over this past weekend, the D.C. Parking Authority (aka, the D.C. DMV) cranked up the rates without warning for the motorcycle spots to be commensurate with the rates for cars (or even more so), from 12 hour meters which were 25 cents for an hour and 24 minutes, to now 7 minutes per quarter… a loss of 77 minutes 92% of your parking value… WTF?! It shocked most folks parking on the G Street meters (which until the beginning of last year were free) on the west side of the Old Executive Office Building so much, that today, EVERY bike has decided not to pay. Seriously D.C., are you trying to discourage smart commuting?

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The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, The Hill

Drained Capitol Reflecting Pool

Heads-up to those of you who were hoping for a nice, relaxing wade in the cool, green, avian botulism-infected waters of the Capitol Reflecting Pool: the National Park Service has drained the Pool till Aug 29th. NPS had considered draining as a quick, immediate protective measure to wildlife — cheaper and faster than installing a water circulation and filtering system, but not quite as aesthetically pleasing. It looks like they went ahead with the draining plan, or perhaps it coincided with what the sign on the fence says is a “routine cleansing.” It’s ugly, but less so, I guess, than piles of duck corpses.