Strategies to Slash Your Carbon Foodprint

The search for solutions to climate change is understandably focused on energy.  But sometimes it’s a bit myopic, particularly in relentlessly looking at the power sector.  Let us illustrate.

Food waste is on part with power generation in terms of carbon emissions

Dredging through the data from EDGAR we can see that power generation resulted in 11.4 Gt CO2e in 2010.  This is about a third of global CO2 emissions, or just under a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions.

By contrast emissions from the food system are estimated to be 12.6 Gt CO2e, greater than from electricity.  Granted these emissions are much more complicated as they involve multiple gases, hard to estimate deforestation emissions and intricate pre and post production calculations.  Nonetheless they deserve more attention.

With that in mind, here a quick graphic highlighting three things an individual can do to tackle their own foodprint.

There is loads that can happen in industry to cut food emissions, but for an individuals it is about what you eat, your food wastage and to a lesser extent food miles.

The best place to start is consider what you are wasting, because this is not just unnecessary emissions it is money in the bin.  In the US the average family spends $900 a year on food they waste, in the UK it’s £700 and in Australia it’s over $1,000.

A much smaller component of greenhouse emissions is due to product waste. In the course of a products life, it first consumes energy which is a source of emissions in its manufacturing and then later in its decomposition in a landfill which is a second source of emissions. Recycling, upcycling, engaging in services, and swapping are strategies to reduce product waste.

With the proliferation of smart phones, many apps to reduce food and product waste are available.

Check out our how to save money on food by wasting less video series for some inspiration.

Lindsay Wilson
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I founded Shrink That Footprint in November 2012, after a long period of research. For many years I have calculated, studied and worked with carbon footprints, and Shrink That Footprint is that interest come to life.

I have an Economics degree from UCL, have previously worked as an energy efficiency analyst at BNEF and continue to work as a strategy consultant at Maneas.  I have consulted to numerous clients in energy and finance, as well as the World Economic Forum.

When I’m not crunching carbon footprints you’ll often find me helping my two year old son tend to the tomatoes, salad and peppers growing in our upcycled greenhouse.

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