A new study shows that switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet may lower your carbon footprint – by a lot. The new study, completed by researchers at Lancaster University shows that eating less meat or no meat at all may cut up to 26% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, be aware that these emission estimates were based on food production, so really more raw, less produced foods might be the better choice.
Using production facts related to 61 different categories of food, Professor Nick Hewitt of Lancaster University and Mike Berners-Lee of Small World Consulting, were able to figure out the typical emissions associated with a number of different diets. Their final report, ‘Relative greenhouse gas impacts of realistic dietary choices’ published in the journal Energy Policy notes that if all UK citizens swapped their current eating habits for a vegetarian or vegan diet, greenhouse gas emissions would end up creating savings equivalent of a 50 per cent reduction in exhaust pipe emissions from the entire UK passenger car fleet. Imagine if the whole world ate less processed foods?
Some study facts:
- Meat has a carbon footprint at the checkout of 17kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram.
- Cheese has 15kg.
- Cooked meats were also high at 11kg per kilogram, with bacon at 9kg.
- Exotic vegetables and mushrooms were at 9kg.
- Lower footprint foods included wine, potatoes, apples, milk, bread and cereals (under 2kg).
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