Climate impact from your plate

I found a study that has looked at climate impact from different foods from 2012. I think it’s interesting to have studies like this in the back of your mind when you go food shopping and plan your meals. Me and Mr LIL try to eat less meat, more food from Sweden and also more seasonally to try to minimize our impact. The best of course is to grow your own food which I hope we will be able to do some more when we move into our new house!

Here are some food groups and impacts from the study (in Swedish). The unit is in equivalent carbon dioxide per amount of product. The study reports both an average and a variation. I have written down the average here.

Protein

  • Beef = 26 kg CO2e/kg
  • Lamb = 21 kg CO2e/kg
  • Game meat = 0,5 kg CO2e/kg
  • Pork = 6 kg CO2e/kg
  • Poultry = 3 kg CO2e/kg
  • Minced meat (50% beef, 50% pork) = 16 kg CO2e/kg
  • Fish and seafood = 3 kg CO2e/kg
  • Eggs = 2 kg CO2e/kg
  • Meat substitutes = 3 kg CO2e/kg
  • Legumes = 0,7 kg CO2e/kg

Dairy products

  • Milk and yoghurt = 1 kg CO2e/kg
  • Cream = 4 kg CO2e/kg
  • Cheese = 8 kg CO2e/kg
  • Butter = 8 kg CO2e/kg

Carbohydrates

  • Rice = 2 kg CO2e/kg
  • Potatoes = 0,1 kg CO2e/kg
  • Pasta = 0,8 kg CO2e/kg
  • Bread = 0,8 kg CO2e/kg
  • Flour/sugar/cereals = 0,6 kg CO2e/kg

Fruit and vegetables

  • Fruit Nordic countries = 0,2 kg CO2e/kg
  • Imported fruit =0,6 kg CO2e/kg
  • Vegetables Nordic countries = 1 kg CO2e/kg
  • Imported vegetables = 1,4 kg CO2e/kg
  • Root vegetables/onions/cabbage = 0,2 kg CO2e/kg
  • Fruit/vegetables transported by plane =11 kg CO2e/kg
  • Juice and jam = 3 kg CO2e/L

Other foods

  • Cooking oils = 1,5 kg CO2e/kg
  • Sauces/spices = 1 kg CO2e/kg
  • Coffee/tea = 3 kg CO2e/kg
  • Soda = 0,3 kg CO2e/kg
  • Candy = 2 kg CO2e/kg
  • Crisps = 2 kg CO2e/kg
  • Ice cream = 2 kg CO2e/kg

As we all pretty much know by now our meat consumption is the biggest climate “villain” of the different food categories. So the most effective and quickest way to lower your impact on the environment is to eat less meat. This is something you can do without having to wait for political decisions, saving up or waiting for a special time. You can do it today!

Our method for reducing our meat consumption is when we make lunches for the week we have meat in our meal but we dilute it with vegetables and legumes so that we don’t eat that much meat per portion. We have found that this method works best for us. We also eat A LOT of eggs for dinner so that we don’t eat meat for every meal and don’t eat breakfast.

I am not saying that everyone should be vegetarians because I believe that the human body needs meat to fuction optimally and therefore I started eating meat again after being a vegetarian for 6 years. I just think we should eat less meat and then we can afford to buy organic or better quality meat.

Another huge issue that needs to be adressed is food waste! A third of our food gets thrown away in todays food system. Imagine all that CO2 that has been released and then we don’t even eat the food!!! It is completely crazy on so many levels. So minimizing food waste is key!

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