Sustainability

Circularity is a key value at Undercurrent. We believe all resources can be valuable and that the concept of waste is a harmful illusion. 

Anything we take from the environment must be regenerated for a sustainable future. 

In an effort to embed circularity into our decision-making, production, and event we have taken the following actions.

  • Food and Bar Waste Management: Our cocktails are served in reusable cups; our organic waste will become compost; our water, non-alcoholic beverages, and beer are served in aluminum, which is infinitely recyclable. 
  • Food and Beverage Ingredients: Our ingredients are predominantly plant-based. A majority of our produce used for food and beverage has been sourced by Imperfect Foods, salvaging fruits and vegetables that due to minor cosmetic imperfections or surplus, would have gone to landfill. We are thus able to reduce unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and food waste. We are also growing our own herbs (find them in the farm stands in the lounge) for our cocktails. 
  • Circular Economy: Our aluminum cans will be given to and cashed in at recycling facilities by local canners (some of our most valuable but vulnerable community members), embodying the circular economy. We are also incentivizing guests to reuse their cups by donating proceeds for each cup that is diverted from the waste stream. 
  • Lumber: Any new lumber used is FSC-certified, where for any tree harvested one is also planted.
  • Reusing Production Materials: Many of the walls in the space were in use already, and when we are done they will be palletized and used again. We also used 50% recycled denim for our insulation.
  • Paint: Any paint used in construction is Zero-VOC 
  • Merchandise Materials: Our t-shirts are made from 100% recycled cotton and our tote bags are also made of recycled material. 
  • Plant Sourcing and Donations: The plants you see in the space are sourced from local nurseries and farms. We predominantly have native plant species in our space, which is important for ecosystem balance. The plants used at Undercurrent will be later donated to local community gardens and housing projects, increasing the green space and pollinator habitat in Brooklyn. 
  • Furniture: All our furniture is either used, reused, rented, or will be used again.
  • Signage: Our wooden sign holders are made from reclaimed wood from barn barrels.
  • Art: Our waste walls are made from waste that was collected from local neighborhoods and businesses, plus the single-use packaging waste we could not avoid during purchasing. 
    • We commissioned artisans to produce sustainable production elements by utilizing materials such as reclaimed wood and trees downed by severe weather that would otherwise have gone to landfill. 
  • Cleaning Supplies: We stock intentionally sourced paper products and cleaning supplies that are EPA-certified. 
  • Energy Consumption: We are calculating our supply chain, production, fabrication, web-hosting related emissions, and venue energy consumption for our carbon offset. We are offsetting over 150% of our projected emissions by investing in carbon-capturing efforts through Carbon Fund and the Native American Hardwoods Conservation and Sequestration projects.
    • This investment improves forest management on more than 175,000 acres of mixed native hardwood forest in northern Minnesota. The project involves implementation of Smart Forestry practices that result in longer rotations and increases carbon storage above levels that would be achieved by more aggressive management practices typical in the region. This helps provide critical habitat for rare species such as the northern long-eared bat and the golden-winged warbler. 

Why our choices are important: 

    • Why we chose vegetarian: Globally, food, agriculture and land use is about 24% of global emissions.
    • Why we chose reusable cups and aluminum cans: Only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. About 12% has been incinerated, while the rest — 79% — has accumulated in landfills, dumps or the natural environment.
    • Why we prioritize native plants: Invasive species have contributed to the decline of 42% of US endangered and threatened species, and for 18% of US endangered or threatened species, invasives are the main cause of their decline.
    • Why we rent and reuse our furniture: According to the EPA, furniture waste generated by Americans in 2017 totaled a staggering 12.2 million tons, and 80.2% of it went to landfill. The agency also found that only 0.3% of the furniture waste that was sent to landfill was recovered for recycling.
    • Why we use FSC lumber and reuse our wood products: In the countries that account for most of the deforestation caused by the four biggest drivers, wood products contribute about 10% of the total.
    • Why we offset our carbon emissions:
      • Carbon emissions affect the planet significantly, as they are the greenhouse gas with the highest levels of emissions in the atmosphere. This, of course, causes global warming and ultimately, climate change. This warming causes extreme weather events like tropical storms, wildfires, severe droughts and heat waves.
    • Why we made the effort for our cleaning supplies
      • Water Pollution – Thousands of chemicals from cleaning products are washed into streams and rivers. Some persist in the environment and enter the food chain. 
      • Air Pollution – Volatile organic compounds (VOC) in cleaning products can affect indoor air quality and add to outdoor smog. Plus, transportation also leads to carbon emissions. 
  • Why we use recycled cotton: While cotton is a naturally occurring fiber, it poses many problems for the environment. Studies show that it can take upwards of 20,000 liters of water to produce just one cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans. The excess water is then polluted with chemicals and dyes.

PARTNERS

We have intentionally selected sponsors and partners with strong sustainability missions, values and initiatives. 

  • Rosaluna: Our mezcal partner 
    • Mezcal Rosaluna is gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, zero-carb and entirely plant-based. They are also a carbon-neutral company. 
  • Everywhere: Our t-shirt manufacturer 
    • They use GRS-Certified recycled polyester treated to be more attractive to oceanic microbes, helping reduce microplastics accumulation by breaking down at a rate similar to wool
  • Imperfect Foods: Our cafe partner
    • In 2020 Imperfect Foods diverted 50,000,000+ pounds of food from going to waste by redistributing excess food, imperfectly shaped or colored produce and even broken pretzels. 
  • Reverb: Our Music Climate Revolution partner 
    • Reverb create and execute comprehensive programs to reduce concert and tour footprints, from eliminating single-use water bottles to coordinating local farm food, fueling sustainable biodiesel in tour buses, composting and donating food waste. 
  • Sure We Can: Our recycling partner 
    • Enforces the circular economy through their recycling center that benefits the community’s most vulnerable residents, the canners. 
  • Hudson Hemp: Provided us with soil and plants 
    • Hudson Hemp uses regenerative farming techniques for the betterment of our planet, people and society. Innovation is learning to work with the intelligence of nature, not against it. When we do this, we all benefit.
  • Juneshine: Our hard kombucha partner 
    • No artificial coloring, GMOs, pesticides or processed corn or rice syrup. This makes JuneShine less toxic for both your body and the environment. 
    • Part of 1% for the planet
  • Lettuce Grow: Farm stands and fresh herbs for our cocktails 
    • Providing families access to clean, unprocessed food, decreasing transportation emissions, drastically reducing water usage, and recycling ocean-bound plastics from places that lack recycling initiatives. 
  • Rockaway: Non-alcoholic plant-powered soda partner
    • Derived from adaptogenic herbs, real fruit and roots. Powering you with a daily immunity boost and anti-inflammatory defense qualities. 
    • Part of 1% for the planet, where 1% of their proceeds go to the Surfrider Foundation, which fights for ocean protection, beach access, coastal preservation and clean water.
  • Two Robbers: Our hard seltzer partner
    • Hard seltzers made with clean and natural ingredients
  • Open Water
    • Open Water uses an average of 73% post-consumer aluminum in every bottle and can.
    • Empty aluminum beverage containers are recycled more than twice as often as their plastic, glass and carton counterparts.
    • Part of 1% for the planet.
  • Cup Zero
    • our reusable cup partner – Cup Zero is a reusable service ware company that aims to reduce waste in the event industry by replacing single use alternatives.

Sources: 

  • https://gimletmedia.com/shows/howtosaveaplanet/xjh53gn
  • https://www.unep.org/interactive/beat-plastic-pollution/
  • https://www.rts.com/blog/furniture-waste-a-growing-issue/#:~:text=Furniture%20waste%3A%20The%20facts,landfill%20was%20recovered%20for%20recycling
  • https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/wood-products#:~:text=Unfortunately%2C%20wood%20is%20also%20a,10%20percent%20of%20the%20total
  • https://www.greenmatters.com/p/how-do-carbon-emissions-affect-environment#:~:text=Carbon%20emissions%20affect%20the%20planet%20significantly%2C%20as%20they%20are%20the,warming%20and%20ultimately%2C%20climate%20change.&text=This%20warming%20causes%20extreme%20weather,severe%20droughts%20and%20heat%20waves.
  • https://www.pjponline.com/the-environmental-impact-of-cleaning-products/