By Jane Marsh | Contributing Writer
Do you ever think about your food’s carbon footprint — or footprint? It’s crucial to consider how your diet contributes to climate change. There’s a chance that you’re eating habits aren’t the most sustainable — especially when you consider how food increases the world’s carbon output.
By altering your diet, you can reduce your carbon footprint..
Don’t Buy Bottled Water
The process of creating bottled water isn’t fundamentally sustainable, and transporting it uses a large amount of fossil fuels. That’s especially true when you consider the resources needed to deliver water to your local supermarket from other countries.
Drink more tap water instead. If you’re concerned about quality, you should consider buying a water filtration system. Be sure to get a reusable water bottle, too. This way, you can avoid purchasing bottled water altogether.
Eat Plant-Based Protein
How much meat do you eat? There’s a chance that your footprint is high because you consume things like chicken and beef every day. These foods have substantial average emissions when compared to plant-based options. The same sentiment applies to dairy products.
Try removing meat and dairy from your diet. You can slowly work your way to becoming fully vegetarian or vegan — but any effort makes a difference. For example, you can implement Meatless Mondays to experiment with plant-based proteins you might enjoy. You’ll be decreasing your footprint along the way.
Support a Local CSA Program
We often take the supermarket for granted. However, it’s essential to consider how one store can have nearly everything we want and need. The items sold at your town’s grocery come from all corners of the Earth. In other words, they’re shipped via plane, truck and boat — and that creates massive carbon emissions outputs.
Your town likely has community-supported agriculture (CSA) organizations. These are businesses that offer programs in partnership with local farmers to sell produce. By purchasing some of your groceries from CSAs, you make less of a contribution to those transportation systems. An effort to buy local always pays off.
Cook Meals at Home
If you often eat at restaurants or order takeout meals, you should think twice. Let’s say you get a hamburger and fries. Did you know that mass deforestation occurs to raise the cow you’re consuming? The process of transporting your meal is something to consider, too.
These habits can be detrimental to the planet. Therefore, you might want to cook more food at home. Learning how to make your favourite meals will help you save money and the environment at the same time. Even slowly cutting back can make a difference.
Think Before Buying
How often do you buy more than you intended at the grocery store? It can be tempting to pick up a few bags of chips or a pint of ice cream that you don’t really need. Those impulse purchases may taste great — but they’re responsible for increasing your footprint. Less is more.
You can make a change by planning ahead of time. Here are a few ways to make your supermarket experience more beneficial:
- Make and stick to a shopping list.
- Buy in bulk whenever possible.
- Bring your own bags.
- Pick items with fewer ingredients.
- Skip the frozen foods.
These points will help you keep things environmentally friendly while buying groceries. As a result, you can effectively reduce your personal carbon output. It’s all about making small changes to learn what works best for you.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
The three Rs are well-known for a reason. By reducing, reusing and recycling, you can make a difference in the less obvious areas of your footprint. The process behind generating packaging for food is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions. Eliminating those materials from your life makes an impact.
Start by buying items with less packaging. It’ll be impossible to completely eradicate waste unless you grow your own food — but any effort counts. From there, you should reuse the packaging you do collect. Repurposing tin cans as pencil holders is an example. Recycle whatever you have left over.
Start a Garden
Growing more food at home is an effective way to cut your footprint in half. There are virtually no carbon emissions involved when you consume fruits and vegetables from your land. Plus, you won’t have to buy those items from the supermarket. It’s a great solution from every angle.
Make a plan to start your own garden in the spring. You’ll be able to learn a lot about nature while you positively impact the planet. It won’t be long until you’re growing all kinds of plants you can incorporate into your diet.
Use These Tips to Reduce Your Footprint to Nothing
If you’re not aware of your food’s carbon footprint, you’re not alone. This component is something people don’t really consider when thinking about climate change. That said, your footprint can be harmful to the planet — and changing your habits can help.
About the Author
Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.