Water, an ingredient in every beverage, is one of the most pivotal issues in sustainability, ranging from providing clean drinking water in poorer countries to recycling the heap of plastic and glass waste from bottled water. Is buying plastic or glass better: Glass requires less energy to recycle and does not require fossil fuels to produce, but it is much heavier and therefore leaves a greater carbon footprint than plastic when in transit. However, plastic leaves a good sized carbon footprint just from its manufacturing process. Many of the higher end water companies recognize that water is a flash point issue in sustainability and contribute a great deal to offsetting their carbon footprint, providing clean drinking water to less fortunate communities and sustainability research.
The most popular issue with coffee and tea drinkers is the affect these products have on the community in which they are harvested. Many farms are in poverty stricken communities. Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea guarantees the workers a living wage, the farmers a fair price and helps protect the ecosystem in which these products are farmed.
Sustainability in wine has been around for a long time, though it is just now becoming equitable to market. Many of the wineries on realEats.org have been growing biodynamic, organic grapes for quite some time, some for as long as they have been around. But how many people had heard of biodynamic farming practices 30 years ago?