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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 keeping with Mike Berners-Lee in How Unhealthy Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Every thing, the carbon footprint of a mug of tea is as follows:

  • 23 g co2e for a black tea when you boil solely as a lot water as you want;
  • 55 g co2e when you add milk;
  • 74 g co2e when 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’s not the one one and so they every have a distinct impression. As an illustration, a pound of methane causes about 25 occasions the impression 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 impression when it comes to what quantity of CO2 emissions could be equal.

So the best way that may work is that if the manufacturing of a sure product emits 1 gram of methane, its carbon dioxide equal could be about 25 g co2e, since methane is about 25 occasions 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 could be about 45 g co2e.

Right here’s the powerful 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 impression, however is 23 g co2e so much? 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 regular 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 impression, heavy elaborate glass bottles greater) 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 domestically brewed and served from the cask (decrease impression) or bottled and imported from distant (greater impression).
  • A pint of cow’s milk is 723 g co2e.

(Apart from 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, however 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

Need to make your cup of tea as low in carbon emissions as doable? Listed below are just a few simple ideas:

  • Skip the milk. All animal merchandise have a excessive carbon footprint so when you can skip the milk or swap to a non-dairy milk like oat or soy, you may cut back your impression 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 shall be tough to search out grown domestically since they largely 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 impression, go to the Local weather Change web page.

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