What is the Carbon Footprint of a Cup of Tea?

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What is the carbon footprint of tea?

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

  • 23 g co2e for a black tea if you happen to boil solely as a lot water as you want;
  • 55 g co2e if you happen to add milk;
  • 74 g co2e if you happen to 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 gasoline inflicting international warming, however it’s not the one one they usually every have a unique influence. As an example, a pound of methane causes about 25 instances the influence of a pound of CO2. So a measurement referred to as the carbon dioxide equal was created, and all of the emissions are transformed to measure their influence by way of what quantity of CO2 emissions can be equal.

So the way in which that might 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 gasoline. 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 particular person. Like, it’s apparent that including milk or boiling further water causes extra carbon influence, however is 23 g co2e loads? Would tea be thought-about a “excessive carbon” drink?

For comparability, we have to take 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 consumer 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 influence, 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 influence) or bottled and imported from far-off (larger influence).
  • A pint of cow’s milk is 723 g co2e.

(Other than 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 lets you 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 potential? Listed below are just a few simple ideas:

  • Skip the milk. All animal merchandise have a excessive carbon footprint so if you happen to can skip the milk or swap to a non-dairy milk like oat or soy, you’ll be able to scale back your influence 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 will likely be troublesome to search out grown regionally since they largely come from Asia, however you might be able to discover natural teas from native growers.

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

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