It’s pretty common knowledge that the production of certain foods is bad for the environment – especially within the meat and dairy industries for example.
But if you’re cutting down on these in order to live a little greener, it’s important to take a closer look at some of the less commonly known environmentally damaging foods – some of which are even quite healthy for humans, but not so great for the planet.
Here are just 10 that you might want to consider buying less of if you want to reduce your environmental footprint.
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk is often used as a healthier alternative to dairy milk, but it has a significant impact on the environment. Around 100 litres of water is needed to produce just 100ml of almond milk. This created a need for a vast amount of water, encouraging local farmers to drill more wells, damaging the environment in the process.
You may have noticed the recent craze for avocados all around the world. However, this popularity is putting a strain on the environment. Cultivating the fruit requires a lot of water, putting some areas into drought.
3. Cashew Nuts
Cashews are a popular nut with plenty of nutrients. However, production is difficult. The part we eat is actually surrounded by two outer shells and a layer of acid. Many factory workers in India, where many cashews are produced, experience acidic burns as a result of this acid when not provided with gloves. In Vietnam, labour camps have even been created purely for cashew production.
Around 4.8 kilograms of carbon dioxide is used for the production of every single egg. The production of feed for the chickens, gases produced by the poultry, energy used on equipment and fuel burning all contribute to emissions.
Quinoa is another food that’s on ‘trend’ right now, but the excessive demand has caused problems in Bolivia and Peru where it is farmed. Farmers have been pushed out as export trades have grown and costs have risen. Quinoa has even become more expensive in these places, with locals finding it to be too expensive to buy for themselves.
Although it’s one of the most in-demand foods in India, fields of rice are one of the biggest sources of methane gases. The production of rice plays a big part in the world’s rising temperatures as a result.
Salmon is commonly recommended as part of a healthy meal, due to its rich omega 3 content. However, salmon farming is actually very destructive to our planet’s aquaculture systems. Open net cages are used which capture other elements of aquatic life, while waste from the farm – including chemical waste – is fed back into the water.
Large amounts of land are required to grow soy, which has resulted in deforestation in the Amazon, the Atlantic Forests and the Gran Chaco to name a few – almost 4 million hectares each year are destroyed.
Tuna is another fish that’s particularly bad for the environment. The fish is in demand, resulting in overfishing, which puts the species at risk of extinction.
10. White Bread
To make white bread, the flour must be refined through processing, which uses up a lot of energy resources. Bread is also associated with plastic packaging, which also contributes to pollution and environmental damage.
So although you may enjoy these foods, it’s worth taking note of the fact they’re not always the best choice for the world around us. By choosing to cut down on products with a harmful production process, you’re reducing your impact on the planet and making a statement that you care for all things green.
Do you have a favourite food that isn’t harmful to the environment? Share it in the comments section below to inspire others to make greener choices!