Doing our bit for the planet is a non-negotiable now. And one of the easiest ways to make some changes that will benefit earth, is to change some habits at the dinner tables.
Swapping your usual meat for a vegetarian or vegan option is much easier these days than it has been in the past, with plenty of alternatives available, some that look and taste like the protein that you're used to.
What Effect Does Eating Meat Have On Your Carbon Footprint?
Food accounts for 10-30% of a household's carbon footprint, so making easy decisions about alternatives can make a big difference to that overall number.
Different food and product types have different impacts on the environment—with factors such as destruction of land and forests, farm methane output which can come from cattle, rice, fertilisers, manure, and farm machinery, animal feed, processing, transport, refrigeration, and packaging.
Transport emissions are a very small part of overall emissions produced in the meat production life cycle. Methane is the big factor.
Here are the biggest greenhouse gas producers by food type. The amount of CO2 for every 1kg of meat produced:
- Beef | 60kgCO2e
- Lamb & Mutton | 24kgCO2e
- Cheese | 21kgCO2e
- Dairy | 21kgCO2e
- Chocolate | 19kgCO2e
- Coffee | 17kgCO2e
- Prawns | 12kgCO2e
- Palm Oil | 8kgCO2e
- Pigs | 7kgCO2e
- Poultry | 6kgCO2e
Source: Visual Capatalist
Looking at that, it makes sense to make some changes.
Recipes With Meat Alternatives
Here are some great recipes for you to cook right now that will immediately start to drop your household emissions. And, they're not difficult.
- Vegan Shepherd's Pie | Using mushrooms, leeks, and carrots
- Vegan Beef Bourguignon | Using cremini and portobello mushrooms
- Vegan French Dip Sandwiches | Using portobello mushrooms
- Vegan Bolognese | Using lentils and walnuts
- Vegan Char Sui Bao | Using tofu
- Vegan 'Chicken' McNuggets | Using a custom dough
- Vegan 'Chicken' Caesar Salad | Using tofu
For more tips on how to live sustainably, head to our Sustainability section.
Image credit: Deryn Macey