Lower Your Carbon “Foodprint”

By now, you’ve probably heard of a carbon footprint, where you measure the carbon associated with your daily activities, like commuting, heating/cooling your home and taking trips. But one of the biggest choices you make to impact the climate may be related to food, or your carbon “foodprint.”

Food production is very energy intensive, as it includes direct emissions from food growing, as well as energy associated with transport, food production, processing, packaging and distribution. Food waste is another big contributor (food in a landfill doesn’t break down as it does when composted, instead releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas). This is particularly impactful when otherwise edible food is thrown out – all the energy it took to grow the food is lost, too.

But there are plenty of ways to lower the impact of what you eat. First, you can take a quick survey to find out your carbon foodprint, which will give you a better idea of how various food choices impact the environment. You might be surprised by a few things, especially if you love dairy…

No one wants to waste food, but it happens. In fact, Americans waste about 25 percent of all food and drinks we buy, adding up to more than $1,600 each year. Ouch! Luckily, there are ways to prevent a lot of waste and some good tools out there to help us along the way. Check out the Food, Too Good to Waste toolkit to learn tips on planning meals, shopping, preparing and storing food (hint, basil will last longer outside the fridge!).

Some things you just have to toss, so don’t forget to throw your scraps in the compost or yard collection bin (or feed to chickens if you have them, they’re some of the best recyclers around).