Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

Sold to the man behind the bar
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The Independent Online

I'm not a big beer drinker, so I put my friend S in charge of research, replacing his intravenous drip of Stella Artois with a selection of organic lagers that had a rejuvenating effect on his whole being. I was hoping that the fruits of this research might persuade Declan to stock his entire pub with organic booze.

The White Swan is an atmospheric, 17th-century, British inn. I spilt ale over the booze-encrusted carpet, but Declan said he was about to replace it with slate floors anyway. This would be a great time for him to go to an architectural salvage yard for a choice of many beautiful reclaimed floors. At Lassco in London he would have the bonus of being served by Byronic assistants and be tempted by wooden floors from the Tower of London as well as a sumptuous "St George's Hill Tom Jones"-style bar from 1978 - which I have my eye on myself.

Declan had made a great start by installing eco-friendly lightbulbs, and was keen to slash his £5,000-a-year fuel bill further. My eco-coach Donnachadh suggested he made immediate savings by switching off unnecessary lights - for example, those illuminating the front of the pub that didn't even show during the day. Similarly, the cold drinks cabinets could be put on a timer so they were not being unnecessarily chilled when the pub is closed. The lights in the Ladies and Gents could be put on a sensor while draught-excluders under the doors and thick full-length curtains would conserve heat. Measures like these could cut two thirds off his bill.

Drinks companies don't take back their empties anymore. The exception is Britvic, making it the eco-mixer of choice. And Declan would save hundreds of pounds a year if he installed a water-filter and provided his own in-house bottled water. He could also sell organic crisps and nuts and Fairtrade tea and coffee. There would be plenty of space to grow organic herbs for the pub restaurant in the garden.

Regulars can now sleep easier, safe in the knowledge that their pub will soon be eco-friendly. Cheers!

See Saving the Planet Without Costing the Earth by Donnachadh McCarthy for more tips on how to live green