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What is the Carbon Footprint of a Cup of Tea?


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What is the carbon footprint of tea?

In line with Mike Berners-Lee in How Unhealthy Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of The whole lot, the carbon footprint of a mug of tea is as follows:

  • 23 g co2e for a black tea should you boil solely as a lot water as you want;
  • 55 g co2e should you add milk;
  • 74 g co2e should you add milk and boil 2x as a lot water as you want (which is what most individuals do).

What does co2e imply?

Co2e stands for “Carbon Dioxide Equal.” Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse fuel inflicting international warming, however it isn’t the one one they usually every have a distinct affect. As an illustration, a pound of methane causes about 25 instances the affect of a pound of CO2. So a measurement known as the carbon dioxide equal was created, and all of the emissions are transformed to measure their affect by way of what quantity of CO2 emissions can be equal.

So the way in which that may work is that if the manufacturing of a sure product emits 1 gram of methane, its carbon dioxide equal can be about 25 g co2e, since methane is about 25 instances as potent a greenhouse fuel. If the manufacturing of one other product emitted 1 gram of methane and 20 grams of CO2, then the co2e can be about 45 g co2e.

Right here’s the robust factor about these numbers, they’re all fairly intangible to the common individual. Like, it’s apparent that including milk or boiling additional water causes extra carbon affect, however is 23 g co2e loads? Would tea be thought of a “excessive carbon” drink?

For comparability, we have to have a look at different drinks and see how our tea stacks up.

  • A cup of black tea or espresso is about 23 g co2e (if the person heats solely as a lot water as wanted).
  • A typical 330 ml can of Coke is about 170 g co2e.
  • A bottle of wine is between 400 – 1,500 g co2e relying on packaging (cartons have decrease affect, heavy elaborate glass bottles larger) and the way far it needed to journey. So assuming about 4 glasses per bottle, a glass of wine would vary between 100 – 375 g co2e.
  • A pint of beer is between 300 – 900 g co2e, relying on whether or not it’s regionally brewed and served from the cask (decrease affect) or bottled and imported from distant (larger affect).
  • A pint of cow’s milk is 723 g co2e.

(Except for the Coke estimate, all carbon footprint estimates taken from How Unhealthy Are Bananas?)

Clearly this isn’t a complete listing of all of the totally different sorts of drinks on the market, nevertheless it permits you to see that having a cup of tea is comparatively low on the carbon footprint scale in comparison with many different drinks.

Making a Low-Carbon Cup of Tea

Wish to make your cup of tea as low in carbon emissions as doable? Listed here are a couple of straightforward ideas:

  • Skip the milk. All animal merchandise have a excessive carbon footprint so should you can skip the milk or swap to a non-dairy milk like oat or soy, you possibly can cut back your affect fairly a bit.
  • Solely boil as a lot water as you want. Merely fill your mug with water, dump that into your tea kettle and warmth. Saves cash too!
  • Purchase native. The farther any product must journey, the upper the carbon emissions. Sure teas like black teas might be tough to search out grown regionally since they principally come from Asia, however you could possibly discover natural teas from native growers.

For extra local weather change articles and ideas for decreasing your local weather affect, go to the Local weather Change web page.

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