7 Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint Through Food

Ways to Lower Your Carbon Footprint Through Food

Table of Contents

The harsh effects of climate change have left many people with the desire to reduce their carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is a measure of your total greenhouse gas emissions. This isn’t just from driving vehicles or using electricity, but also from lifestyle choices, such as the clothes you wear and the food you eat.

There are many changes that people can make to minimise their carbon footprint, but making dietary changes is a good place to start.

In fact, some research shows that moving from the current Western diet to a more sustainable eating pattern could cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 70%, and water usage by as much as 50% (Trusted Source). 

Here are 7 simple ways that you can minimise your carbon footprint through your dietary choices.

1. Stop Wasting Food

Estimates show that in 2018, the United States threw more food away that ended up in landfill sites or incinerators than any other material in everyday rubbish. Food waste accounted for 25% of waste in landfill, and 22% of waste incinerated.

In the UK, around 900 million tonnes of food is thrown away each year, with as much as 60% of this coming from homes (Source). 

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your food waste.

Food Diary

Keep a food diary to see where your uneaten food may be going. Do you find that you are forgetting about food in the back of the fridge?

Try to use food left over before shopping for groceries again. Try new recipes and come up with creative meals to use leftovers. 

If there isn’t enough left to use in a meal, it may be worth reconsidering the amount of fresh produce you buy each week.

Use By Dates

Just because food has passed is “use by” date doesn’t mean that it is inedible! Use by dates indicate peak quality, but some products are still safe to eat past the date.

Make sure to check the label though!

Plan Your Meals

Buying more food than needed is a common mistake. To prevent this, plan out your meals in advance, and only purchase the groceries needed to make those dishes.

Avoid Shopping at the Till

So that you do not buy more than needed, avoid shopping whilst you are at the till. Try not to pick up items just because they are there, and they happen to catch your eye.

Save Leftovers

Dedicate some time each week (or month) to go through any leftovers before they go bad.

Transfer any produce that is still good into plastic containers or freezer bags so that they last longer. 

2. Use Less Plastic

Using less plastic, especially single-use plastic, is an important part of transitioning to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. It may be difficult to cut down your plastic use, but there are many easy changes you can make.

Try to:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle every day
  • Buy in bulk to save on packaging
  • Buy products made from recycled materials or that are second hand
  • Use reusable shopping bags rather than single-use ones
  • Opt for filtered tap water instead of bottled

3. Eat Less Meat

Research shows that by 2050, the global demand for agricultural products is expected to increase by more than 50%, and meat consumption is predicted to double. This growth will result in much greater emissions from farm animals as they produce methane as part of their natural digestive cycle.

By limiting our consumption of red meat and poultry, we can have an enormous impact on climate change. Eating less beef will mean fewer cows, which are a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, cows are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than cars or planes.

Whilst eating vegan is one way to reduce your carbon-footprint, this may not work for everyone because of allergies or intolerances. If you have an allergy or intolerance to something like soybeans, wheat flour or peanuts for example and you want to reduce your carbon footprint, do your research first.

4. Eat More Fibre

Eating more fibre-rich foods is a great way to combat climate change through dietary choices for multiple reasons. These include:

  • Fibre-rich foods help improve digestion, which can reduce the amount of food that needs to be produced
  • Fibre is digested slowly, and it creates an environment for the helpful bacteria in your gut. This will encourage healthy production and better absorption of nutrients
  • Fibre helps people to feel full faster, so they eat less, consuming fewer calories and not needing to buy as much food

5. Grow Your Own Food

Growing fruit and vegetables in either your own or a community garden offers multiple benefits on top of helping reduce your carbon footprint.

These benefits include reducing stress, better diet quality, and improved emotional wellbeing too.

For those who do not have access to a community garden or a private one, grow towers, vertical gardens, and hydroponics can all be easily installed in a flat or apartment.

Community supported agriculture is another way that individuals can access fresh produce whilst also supporting their local farmers. CSAs usually offer discounts on the price per pound, so not only do you save money, but you get exactly which fresh produce you want, exactly when you want it! 

Even if community supported agriculture was more expensive than buying from a grocery store, it can still be worth it because CSA members often end up eating healthier foods and enjoying vegetables they might not have eaten otherwise.

6. Don’t Eat Excess Calories

Overeating can cause weight gain, and this can lead to related health problems such as high cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.

It is also linked to higher greenhouse gas emissions because more fossil fuels are needed to produce the food. This then contributes to climate change.

Managing Calorie Intake

The easy way to solve this is to be mindful of your calorie intake.

If you find yourself eating too many calories, try limiting yourself or making sensible choices such as avoiding sugary drinks and fatty foods, or by simply swapping out an energy-dense snack for something healthier. You don’t need to go hungry, and you will still get all the nutrients you need without consuming excess calories.

Studies

A Dutch study of 3,818 people determined that those with higher greenhouse gas emissions due to their diet consumed more calories from food and beverages than those with lower greenhouse gas emitting diets.

The individuals with a lower greenhouse gas emitting diet usually had higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes and seeds, lean meats, and poultry without skin.

They also had a higher intake of foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as free-range eggs, rapeseed oil, walnuts, and soybeans. The results show that those with diets high in plant products may be responsible for lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than those who consume meat at every meal.

7. Shop Local

Supporting your local farmers is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Buying locally will lower your dependence on food that has been transported great distances. You might even find your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables increases, and you get to try new things.

The GreenVita Difference

At GreenVita, we rescue imperfect fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Our mission is to reduce the amount of food that gets sent to landfill.

We deliver our fruit and vegetable boxes in Liverpool, Wigan, and Warrington, and we offer a variety of options: 

Vegetable Box

Weekly Delivery (from £9.99), Every other week Delivery (from £9.99) or One time purchase (from £11.99).

Fruit Box

Weekly Delivery (from £9.99), Every other week Delivery (from £9.99) or One time purchase (from £11.99).

Fruit & Veg Box

Weekly Delivery (from £12.99), Every other week Delivery (from £12.99) or One time purchase (from £14.99).

You can also donate your box to someone less fortunate, with our Donate-A-Box programme for £9.99 per week or monthly. Contact us for more details.

The first step towards reducing your carbon footprint is making smart choices. Purchasing local fruit and vegetables is a great way to achieve this.

Furthermore, swapping to local, sustainably produced animal products like eggs, poultry, and dairy can slash your carbon footprint.

Conclusion

Making changes to your diet is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint, and it can come with health benefits too.

Making some small changes like eating less meat, using less plastic, growing your own food, and limiting food waste can lead to your carbon footprint decreasing massively.

Small changes can make a big difference. You don’t have to go at it alone; encourage your neighbours, friends, and family to join you on the journey to reducing your carbon footprint.

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