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Sustainable Food Habit Tips

Try out our food tips

Sustainability is a multifaceted issue. Adopting more sustainable food habits is one of the helpful changes to make. 

Some may find adopting a more sustainable diet daunting. We are here to help. There are many ways to discover and practice a more sustainable diet.
Increasing awareness around the environmental impact of our food is the first step each of us can take. Step by step, meal after meal, we can tackle the different levers of sustainable consumption as outlined on this page.
Browse through, pick one you fancy most and start changing your food habits.


(Click the button and go to the relevant section.)

Steak

The problem with red meat

 

Red meat comprises meat produced from ruminant animals such as beef, lamb, goat and sheep. When these digest feed, they burp/fart methane. Methane is a super pollutant, with 85 times higher warming potential than CO2.

The 1 billion cattle worldwide also cause a lot of land use for their feed and for grazing, and use a lot of water. Replacing red meat with white meat or fish is good, relying on nuts, legumes and veggies is even better.

Environmental impact of eating less red meat

A kilo of red meat causes 60 kg of CO2 emissions. Same amount of poultry or pic only produce 6-7 kg of CO2 emissions.

 

The problem with food waste

A tremendous amount of the food produced is never eaten while nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night.

A lot of land used for growing the ultimately wasted food has been deforested, releasing a lot of carbon emissions. Food that is never eaten accounts for a quarter of all freshwater consumption globally. Next to land and water resources such as labour and energy are wasted in the process of producing this food.

The food waste that then goes to landfill ends up decomposing without access to oxygen which creates methane. Methane contributes to 20% more to global warming than carbon dioxide does.

Environmental impact of food waste

33% of all food produced gets trashed before reaching our plates.

 
Vegetables for Roasting

THE OPPORTUNITY OF A PLANT-BASED DIET

 

When land is used to raise animals instead of crops, precious water and soil is lost, trees are cut down to make land for grazing or factory-farm sheds, and untreated animal waste pollutes rivers and streams. All of this results in more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry.

Eating less meat also has various health related benefits such as reducing risk of heart diseases, curbing obesity, and limiting cancer risks.

Environmental impact of a plant based diet

50% of your emissions can be reduced by a plant-based diet.

 
Image by Usman Yousaf

The problem with meat and fish


When land is used to raise animals instead of crops, precious water and soil is lost, trees are cut down to make land for grazing or factory-farm sheds, and untreated animal waste pollutes rivers and streams. All of this results in more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation industry.

Eating less meat also has various health related benefits such as reducing risk of heart diseases, curbing obesity, and limiting cancer risks.

Environmental impact of meat and fish

18% of greenhouse gasses originate from the meat industry.

 
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The problem with dairy products

 

Apart from eggs, all dairy comes from ruminant animals (beef, goat, sheep etc). Ruminant animals emit methane, use lots of land (causing deforestation), lots of water etc. Eggs are better than dairy in terms of CO2, but still have nearly 2x more CO2 emissions than white meat (per gram of protein)

Environmental impact 

Cheese and milk protein cause 3 times the amount of CO2-emissions per gram of cheese and milk protein compared to that of white meat.

 
Image by Elaine Casap

Food stories - the forgotten opportunity

 

The story behind your food has a big impact on its emissions. How it was farmed has a big impact (no tilling, keeping ground covered, rotating crops) is important, but tough to find out about as a consumer.
Transport by ship and truck is usually just a minimal part of a food's emissions, but if flown in emissions are substantial.
Local food produced in a greenhouse often causes emissions due to the heating and lighting. Organic has health-benefits but does not impact emissions a lot, may even increase emissions.
Because there are no simple answers here, it is useful to start to learn more about the story behind your food and make your own choices!

Environmental impact 

At least 5 times more CO2 emissions are released by food flown in or food heated in local greenhouses compared to food that is not.