The Massive Carbon Footprint Of Milk

The Massive Carbon Footprint Of Milk

How we prepare our tea and coffee makes a significant difference to environmental impact.

Naresh Kumar
  • 18 june 2010

Now all the more reason to have green tea instead of normal milk tea or coffee. The Guardian reports that the milk in our hot beverages substantially increases our carbon footprint. Consider this: 4 mugs of black tea taken daily produces 30kg of CO2 yearly while 3 large lattes per day in a year will generate almost twenty times as much carbon, equivalent to flying half way across Europe. The milk in a tea or coffee-filled kettle accounts for around two-thirds of the total footprint — that is more than boiling the water and cultivating the tea or coffee put together. A big reason for milk’s large contribution to the carbon footprint is that it comes from cows that are ruminant animals and belch a lot of methane into the air. Reducing the amount of milk in tea and coffee or simply taking it black is a good way to slash the footprint of your drink.

Of course, boiling the water for preparing your favorite beverage too considerably adds to the carbon in the atmosphere; more so, boiling excess water and how we boil the water. The most carbon efficient way to boil water is to measure the water into the kettle with a mug and boil it in a stove-top kettle on an appropriately sized gas hob.

The Guardian: “What’s the carbon footprint of … a cup of tea or coffee?”


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