Category Archives: Eco-Friendly-Articles

Eco-Friendly articles

Easy Steps to Creating an Eco-Friendly Holiday Bar

 

cocktailEggnog, mulled wine, pomegranate punch…when planning your festive drink menu this holiday season, there are some quick and easy steps you can take to creating an eco-friendly bar.

Here’s a list to help you get you started:

Green Spirits: Many liquor companies are making efforts to add environmentally friendly practices to their production, from their choice of ingredients to using recycled materials and sustainable energy in their facilities. (Here’s a short list however there are many more choices!)

  • Bluecoat American Gin– no additives and uses all-natural, organic botanicals.
  • VeeV — made from Brazilian Rainforest Acai berries and other 100% natural ingredients. Made in LA at a distillery run with 100% renewable energy. This is a delicious mixer.
  • Blue Ice Organic American Wheat Vodka — handcrafted with USDA certified organic wheat & wheat neutral spirits.
  • Whistle Pig Straight Rye Whiskey– comes from Whistle Pig Farm in Vermont, a certified organic facility.
  • Organic Nation Vodka — distilled from organic rye, wheat, and corn, and it’s certified by an organization in Oregon that is dedicated to biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture.
  • 360 Vodka – green and sustainable vodka known for its innovative recycling program.
  • A few other certified organic vodkas include Orange V, Prairie, Tru Organic Vodka & Gin, and Charbay.

Check out this video on how to make a martini with organic vodka and organic apples:

Locally Brewed Beer & Organic Wine: Choose wines that are sustainable and organic. Serve locally brewed beers, plus there are also many organic and vegan choices available at craft beer stores. Wine in boxes and beer in kegs also reduce the amount of bottles to be recycled after an event.

Recycling: Create recycling bins for glass and plastic. If the bottles are just too nice to recycle, you can always reuse them for homemade mixers and simple syrups, or infusions. 360 Vodka bottles, for example, are designed with swing-top caps so that the bottles can be reused for other purposes like olive oil, vinegars, or water. And if you are recycling the bottles instead of reusing, the caps can be mailed back through their innovative Close the Loop program.

Festive Eco-Friendly Barware and Accessories: Instead of using things just once and throwing them away, choose accessories that are washable and reusable. If using disposables, choose ones that are compostable, made from bamboo, palm leaf, or  sugarcane.210BBTWIST9-bamboo-twisted-unique-skewer__67641.1406305780.490.490

Bar Towels – choose cotton instead of paper towels

Cocktail Napkins- linen instead of paper

Straws – colorful bee’s wax coated paper straws. Ours come in green, red, black, blue, and pink.

straws-blogpostOlive/Garnish Picks – stylish bamboo picks add a festive and fun touch to cocktails.

Coasters and Cutting Board – choose eco-friendly bamboo

Decorative Trays for Bar Displays and Serving – choose from bamboo, wood, palm leaf or sugarcane

Snack Bowls – mini disposable bowls made of bamboo or palm leaf for pretzels, peanuts, other bar snacks and drink garnishes.

Glassware: If you need extra glasses, you can shop garage sales or thrift stores for used barware, vintage shakers and old-fashioned glassware. Or try our new reusable Mini Doublewall Glasses in assorted sizes and shapes.

Local & Organic Ingredients for Mixers & Garnishes: choose organic locally grown fruits and garnishes. If you need lemon or lime juice, making it fresh not only tastes better, you can also compost the scraps.

Use Energy Efficient Appliances and LED Lighting: downsize to an energy efficient bar refrigerator that fits all of your mixers and fruits. Extra empty space in the fridge uses more energy so it’s more efficient to find a size that suits your needs. Check the seal on the refrigerator (if you put a dollar bill in the door, close it, and can slip the dollar out of the door, it’s time to replace the seal). Also, unplug appliances when you’re not using them.

Clean Green: Use “green” cleaning products for cleaning bar surface, glasses and bar tools.

Here’s a simple wintery holiday recipe for Mulled Spice Organic Simple Syrup from MGQ Bartending to put you in the holiday spirit —  just add rum, vodka or any other liquor to make a martini, or club soda for an alcohol free drink.

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 each orange and lemon peel
  • star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 whole cloves

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl and let sit until cooled to room temp. Store in a glass jar with tight fitting lid in the fridge. Try making a festive cocktail by combining with rum and lime soda!

 CHEERS!

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Bake to Make A Difference

file5451310599949Who doesn’t love a bake sale?!  A spontaneous homemade treat, and guilt-free because it that usually supports a good cause!

Bake Sales, one of the most sacred traditions of the American school system, now go far beyond schoolyards and soccer games. A favored type of fundraiser for its simplicity AND for its potential to raise A LOT of money for your cause.

In addition to schoolyard and community center sales, bake sales have gone nationwide, even worldwide, as ways to raise money for good causes, from hurricane relief to helping end childhood hunger (read more about Share Our Strength’s Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry). Cookies for Kids Cancer is a non-profit organization that all began when founder Gretchen Witt had her first bake sale to raise money for pediatric cancer. She baked and sold 96,000 cookies and raised more than $400,000 for research. Today, hosting grassroots Cookies for Kids bake sales are one of the major ways that individuals, businesses and organizations continue to raise money to fight pediatric cancer. For great bake sale tips, photos, inspiration and delicious recipes, see Gretchen’s Best Bake Sale Cookbook.

Here are a few things to think about when having any bake sale, big or small : 1. find a great location where there’s a lot of foot traffic, 2. recruit volunteers early to bring food, tables, napkins, signs, and to promote the sale, and 3. package-to-sell and great presentation.

Packaging-to-sell — this saves a lot of set-up time. It also eliminates any sanitation issues people might worry about.  But most importantly, packaging-to-sell gives you the opportunity to present your food creatively and professionally.

Presentation is probably the MOST important factor in a successful bake sale. Think about setting up your tables by price point — for example $1, $3, $6, or $12. Or, maybe you can divide the goods into categories like cookies & brownies, cake pops & fudge, cakes & pies, cupcakes & muffins. Especially if you get a crowd, the way you set up the table can help you sell more quickly.

cupcake-cups-no-watermarkYou can sell goods by the piece or in larger packs. If you are selling individual items, think about putting them in fun flower-shaped eco-friendly baking cups, or simple Kray boxes with window lids, wood baking molds, or bright colored recyclable cupcake boxes.  Presentations like these quickly impress! Plus, the nicer the presentation, the more likely it is that people will buy (more) items to give as gifts.

If you are packaging your sweets in largermacaroon-cupcakes quantities you can get a little fancier with your presentations. The nicer the presentation, the more you can charge and the more you can make for your cause. At Bio & Chic, our assortment of recyclable containers and packaging pretty much covers all the bases!

Great packaging really can make your bake SALE table look more like a bake SHOP!

Click here to see Bio & Chic’s complete line.

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It’s Time For Your Lunch Break. Do Yourself a Favor and Take It!

lunch_j_s_dykes

Illustration by John S.Dykes, http://www.jsdykes.com/

This post is a reminder, no matter what you do for a living, to TAKE A LUNCH BREAK. You deserve it.

People today work harder than ever. When it comes to taking a lunch break, many of us rush through it, or even skip it altogether. We eat quickly as we’re walking to our next appointment, or worse yet, we eat at our desks as we continue to work.

While it has become widespread culture for people to work straight through their lunch “hour”, it might be worth considering that taking the time to eat a leisurely-ish and healthy midday meal can make you more productive and focused. A proper break has the power to refresh, rejuvenate and revive you. Studies also show that it helps you handle stress better and recharges your brain from what they call “decision fatigue.”

The Take Back Your Lunch project was started a few years ago by Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We’re Working, and encouraged people to ditch their desks and and commit at least once a week to a lunch hour of renewal, not work.  At Schwartz’s company, The Energy Project, they did a poll and found out that 60% of respondents said they took 20 minutes or less every day for lunch. Almost 20% took less than 10 minutes, while one-quarter of the people said they didn’t leave their desks at all.

And then there are those who skip lunch altogether on a regular basis. What “skippers” don’t realize is that fatigue and burnout can slowly creep up on them.

These findings are consistent with a study by the American Dietetic Association, which found that 75% of office workers eat lunch at their desk at least 2 to 3 days a week. Dr. Chris Cunningham, professor of Occupational Health Psychology at University of Tennessee adds that it’s important to take it away from the desk because it gives your brain a chance to recover and then refocus.

salad boxes

The Goods, http://www.thegoodsisgood.ca/lunchclub/

So there you have it, it’s better for your mental and physical health to 1. take a proper lunch break, and 2. eat somewhere other than your desk.

The reality however is that leaving your desk or workplace is often easier said than done. No matter where you take your break, there ARE ways to keep it healthy and make it more pleasant.  Here are a few of them:

  • Turn off the computer.
  • Have lunch with a friend or colleague. Studies show that connecting with people during the day can be energizing.
  • Bring a healthy meal in an recyclable container from home. Lunches like soups and salads are versatile, easy to digest, and help avoid sluggishness that can follow a heavy meal.
  • Instead of eating out of Tupperware and other plastic containers, transfer your food to a reusable plate or a nice-looking eco-friendly disposable plate or bowl.
  • If you can’t bring lunch from home, find a caterer or “lunch club” that delivers healthy meals to the office in biodegradable containers.  Even  better if they supply disposable takeout utensils. Ordering weekly saves you time.
  • Get some daylight and fresh air. They say one of the easiest ways to replenish is to interact with nature. Eat on a park bench. Maybe even squeeze in a short walk.

The good news is that according to the BBC, more employers are encouraging their workers to take REAL lunch breaks. So even if you can’t leave the office, you can still let people know you are…  “OUT TO LUNCH”!!

 

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