Sustainable Kombucha Drinking: Why Seek North Chose Glass
And what container should you pick?
We could have given our magic elixirs to you in a million different containers. We picked one, and this is why.
Humans have been on this earth for about 200,000 years. And let’s be honest… we’re not doing too well with it. Every year, the international research organization Global Footprint Network calculates the rate, per year, that we are using up the Earth’s natural resources (due to use of food, timber, carbon emissions, fossil fuel use, waste, and damage/use from infrastructure building). And when we have used up a year’s worth of resources, they mark that day as Earth Overshoot Day.
In 2018, Earth Overshoot Day was on August 1st. We used up an entire year’s worth of resources in seven months, using resources 1.7 times faster than our ecosystem can regenerate.
A year’s worth of resources were burned, in a little more than half a year, at nearly double the rate the planet can sustain. We’ll give you a minute with that one before we continue.
It’s often the little things done on a consistent scale, with a community, that end up making impacts. You, and the Hudson Valley are our community, so we wanted to see if we could write a blog and make just a little more difference.
When deciding to launch this idea, the possibilities were infinite, and one of the decisions we had to make was deciding what will hold our magical brews on the shelf? Plastic, glass, aluminum, one of the fancy new hybrid-like containers…? We decided to go with glass, and here, we’re going to try a bit to convince you to be a little more like us.
Now, aluminum is not a bad choice for a container. A lot of the aluminum in your hands, is very efficiently recycled aluminum. It does quite well in this cycle, and gets recycled and reused probably more efficiently than any other beverage-holding material. But with anything, there are always drawbacks. The element to produce aluminum, bauxite, has to be imported, and the actual global production of aluminum alone uses 8% of the worlds electrical supply. The environmental costs of importation, and the stunning amount of resource use knocked this off our list.
And just for practicality’s sake, think about this: You grab your kombucha in a can off the shelf, pop the tab, hear that freshly opened crack-fizz sound… then what? Well, you have to drink the whole can now. Maybe you don’t want to. Or, maybe you just want to have a few chugs of your booch, and hit the car, road, gym… you can’t. Part of our company is based in NYC, and if you can’t take it on the go, it’s just not going to work.
As eco-conscious as you are, we don’t suspect we have to go into the issues of plastics, they’re widely known, but add to those, as eco-conscious as you think you may be in recycling, a brand new study from the journal Science Advances found that 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced. And that’s not even the most alarming part. Of that 8.3 billion, 6.3 billion tons become plastic waste. Yes, despite your best efforts, 79% of your plastic still ends up in landfills, oceans, streets, and everywhere else, taking 450+ years to disintegrate. It’s as if we’re Hansel and Gretel, trying to find our way back home, but only leaving trails that destroy the only one we have.
Glass, however, can be recycled endlessly, and is recycled fairly well like this. It doesn’t leach chemicals, or other harmful materials even if it is left in landfill. It can be produced without import, right here in the US. These are all great, and make for a wonderful contender for a drink container. But we want you to remember that “recycle” is only the 3rd R in “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” The thing that really tipped this material’s points into winning status, was that, truly, there really is no better material to do the first two Rs with.
Regular booch drinker? Pick up a growler, fill us up on tap, and you only need one bottle, ever. Maybe two if you drink a ton of it. You can use and reuse them without any worry of harmful materials leaching into your hands and mouths, even after continual use.
Don’t drink a ton of booch? Certainly don’t throw your bottles away, but you may not even need to recycle them.
Removing Seek North labels from our bottles:
To remove our labels first soak empty bottle in warm water for 5 min, set aside on a towel, then fill the bottle (almost) boiling water into bottle and fill to top. Tighten lid, wait 10 min and carefully peal label off! If there’s residual adhesive on bottle just scrub with soap and water or use rubbing alcohol and wipe.
Mini flower vases
Our bottles are come in bullet and apothecary styles so how about pill containers, or lotion, soaps, shampoo pumps? All you need is a pump with the same size neck as the bottle.
Store spices or herbs
Your very own to-go container for your very own cold brew, home-brewed coffee? Can you imagine the money you’d save?
If you’re a home brewer, more booch, duh!
Ok, now it’s your turn. We gave you a start. But we want you to start reusing and upcycling your Seek North bottles, and see what you come up with. Take a picture of your masterpiece ideas and post it to social media, tagging @seeknorth, with the hash #boochcycle and #gutpositive. The coolest, most creative use will get a case of ‘booch in our 3 bottled flavors to drink, and add to your project. Winner will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2019. Have fun saving the earth!