Want to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? Stop Wasting Meat!

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It’s no secret that we waste a lot of food here in the U.S.. But did you realize how much impact that food waste has on the environment? Certain kinds of food (such as meat) have a more negative impact than others, as this study shows.

Not only does food waste require resources in terms of transportation and disposal, but to get the true cost of waste, you have to add in all of the resources that were used in producing that food in the first place. Since meat is much more energy-intensive to produce than most vegetable foods, it stands to reason that wasting meat is a lot worse for the planet than throwing out vegetables.

This recent study found solid evidence to support this theory:

The amount of food wasted in the US and EU is pretty shocking; the USDA estimates that around 31 percent of all produced food in the US goes to waste….

But on a consumer to consumer basis, a new study from the University of Missouri at Columbia found that we can get even more specific about the impact of different categories of that wasted food. And the conclusion does not look favorably upon meat-heavy diets.


“Based on the findings, we recommend consumers pay special attention to avoiding waste when purchasing and preparing meat…,” said co-author Ronald G. McGarvey in the study’s release. Meats, it turns out, are the worst offenders in terms of energy required, followed by vegetables, and distantly followed by grains….

This doesn’t mean you can’t eat meat and maintain a decent carbon footprint…, but more that we should keep in mind the specific environmental costs of different categories of food. Really, it suggests not to over-buy meat—every bit that goes into the garbage is far more costly than each bit of plant matter.

Read more at ModernFarmer.com


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