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10 Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Footprint

Eat less beef, pork, and lamb

Beef’s carbon footprint is 3 to 7 times larger than chicken’s.

Producing 1 pound of beef uses up 29 times more water than 1 pound of chicken and 50 times more water than 1 pound of soybeans.

Three liters of oil are required to produce one pound of beef.

Eat less beef, pork, and lamb

Eat out at restaurants less

11-13% of the food served on an average plate at a restaurant goes to waste.

In the UK, 30-40% of all food at restaurants is never eaten.

The lighting, cooling, operation of the restaurant, and the energy used to drive there all cost the environment more than cooking that same meal at home.

Eat out at restaurants less

Eat fewer dairy products

Together with meat, dairy products are responsible for emissions such as CO2, nitrous oxides and methane — all big factors in global warming.

Cheese can be just as energy intensive as some meats.

Ten liters of milk are used for one kilogram of cheese

Eat fewer dairy products

Drink fewer soft drinks

Soft drinks are carbonated sugar water in a plastic bottle.

200 billion beverage containers were sold last year — and over 130 billion of those ended up in landfills or incinerators.

If all of the beverage containers discarded last year had been recycled, 15.6 million metric tons of greenhouse gases would have been avoided.

Drink fewer soft drinks

Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season (and local when possible)

Fresh fruits sold in the winter are often imported or grown in greenhouses, both of which require significant energy use.

Importing food by air has a carbon footprint 6 times larger than by ground.

A fruit’s origin can have a significant impact on the environment — the energy used to transport grapes from Chile to San Francisco is far greater than transporting them from Napa Valley.

Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season (and local when possible)

Drink less bottled water

Producing the bottles for US consumption of bottled water for one year requires the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil.

Bottling this water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.

It takes 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water.

Drink less bottled water

Eat fewer packaged snacks and junk food

The boxes, bags and packets that hold our food account for 10-12% of the cost of our food products.

More than half of all plastic packaging is used to package food.

One third of the energy used to produce food goes to snacks, candy and soft drinks.

Eat fewer packaged snacks and junk food

Walk to your local farmer’s market or grocery store

The food on the typical American family’s dinner table has travelled an average of 1,500 miles.

Most American meals contain ingredients from at least five countries.

One Canadian study estimated that picking 58 selected food items locally and regionally could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 49,485 tons annually — the equivalent of removing 16,191 vehicles from the road

Walk to your local farmer’s market or grocery store

Upgrade to an energy efficient refrigerator

Your refrigerator is likely the biggest energy sink in your house using up to 5 times as much electricity as your television.

Switching to an Energy Star certified refrigerator will save you money and reduce your CO2 emissions.

Upgrade to an energy efficient refrigerator

Eat wild fish that are not endangered

High-tech fishing practices are depleting fish stocks, endangering entire species, and damaging habitats.

Some farmed fish have been found to contain concerning levels of PCBs and dioxins.

Look for fish that are sustainably managed. Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s list of sustainable seafood.

Eat wild fish that are not endangered