The Rise of the Eco-Pub Industry

By Cassie Steele

You will more than likely have heard of an eco pub and noticed the gradual disappearance of plastic straws from the bar of your favourite pub. But doing away with the 8.5 billion plastic straws used in the UK every year, is just one small step that so called eco pubs are undertaking, in their quests to become more environmentally friendly.

According to the Sustainable Restaurants Association, the hospitality industry has a carbon footprint equivalent in size to Costa Rica’s; a country that’s home to about five million people. Many pubs have been demonstrating a commitment to reducing their environmental impact – whether it’s by sourcing locally grown food, minimising food waste, or cutting down on plastic use and even ‘beer miles’.

Consumer Demand For Sustainability

The UK eco pub industry has experienced a dramatic shift in recent years. Pubs have had to find new and innovative ways to ensure it remains current and continues to attract customers. But possibly one of the biggest changes has been in response to the UK consumers’ growing appetite for planet-friendly products, food and hospitality. Consumers are increasingly forming a strong affinity towards organisations that make a positive impact and demonstrate their brand purpose and are happy to pay more for it. Around 40% of UK consumers now regard sustainability as a priority when making a purchase. More consumers than ever before are actively looking for greener alternatives to reduce waste. For example, the growing eco-friendly gift market now offers items made from recycled products, from old wine bottles transformed into candle holders and drinking classes to corks being recycled into luggage and clothing. Pubs are recognising that customers are increasingly making planet-friendly choices and this has seen investment in a range of environmentally friendly initiatives.

Environmental Initiatives At Framlingham Eco Pub

The Sweffling White Horse near Framlingham, was recently named as one of the Campaign for Real Ale’s Top 10 eco-friendly pubs. The pub has won a number of awards for its environmental initiatives. The Sweffling White House is focused on minimising waste as much as possible. The pub is entirely heated by wood, and sources beer and food local to them, within East Anglia. It uses LED lighting, solar panels, waterless urinals and is powered with 100% renewable energy. The pub makes the most of traditional entertainment, such as a dartboard, a piano and bar billiards, and they also regularly host live music events. Furthermore, for overnight guests the pub also runs a campsite, which includes – amongst other things – an authentic gypsy caravan, a bell tent and treehouse.

Evershot Eco Pub Introduces Food Waste Recycling Initiatives

With its roaring fires, oak panelling and old beams, Evershot’s Acorn Inn is more than just a charming 16th century pub that was featured in Tess of the D’Urbevilles. The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, who own The Acorn Inn, have introduced a Green Team to explore ways in which their pubs can reduce their carbon footprints. Alongside a thorough recycling policy, The Acorn Inn has installed solar panels and energy-saving light bulbs, and reuses wastewater for watering plants and flushing toilets.

UK pubs serve around 871 million meals each year, equivalent to 11% of the meals we eat out annually. This produces 873,800 tonnes of waste each year – 173,000 tonnes of which are food waste. However, the Acorn Inn has also created its own herb garden, composts all coffee granules, tea bags and vegetable peeling and anything else is sent to a local bio-digester where the food waste is turned into electricity, while the bi-product is used as fertiliser by local farmers.

The UK pub industry is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint and with the wide range of initiatives being introduced across a vast number of pubs in the country, the industry as a whole can look forward to a more sustainable future.