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Is your lunch leaving a carbon footprint?


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Sophia Swinford - published on 02/20/18

Sandwiches leave a surprising impact on the environment.

A study out of the University of Manchester has established that the average number of sandwiches consumed in the U.K. annually produces the same carbon footprint as 8.6 million cars annually. How? Mostly, this is due to a combination of agricultural production, processing of ingredients, and packaging.

Ready-made all-day breakfast sandwiches are by far the most harmful, but even a regular homemade sandwich doesn’t get us totally off the hook. Here’s some of their findings:

  1. Sandwiches containing pork meat (e.g. sausage, bacon, ham, etc.), prawns, cheese, or tomato were found to be “carbon insensitive.”
  2. The most influential factors in determining a sandwich’s carbon footprint were farming, production, and the processing of ingredients.
  3. Packaging adds another 8.5 percent.
  4. Transportation and refrigeration increase it by 4 percent.
  5. Making a sandwich at home reduces its harmful impact by 50 percent compared to the energy used for refrigerating pre-made sandwiches in grocery stores.

So if you want to decrease your own carbon footprint, try to buy sandwich ingredients and assemble it yourself whenever possible.

Solving the problem completely will take much larger steps from those involved with the industry, but, at the very least, each of us can be mindful of how our own choices effect the wider world.


Read more:
What does Laudato Si’ look like in action?

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