Posted by bessie on Friday, December 18, 2009.

Geeking out with carbon footprint calculations: the foodprint of EatingWell holiday recipes

Sometimes we really geek out with carbon emissions calculations at Brighter Planet. We crunch numbers down to the thousandth decimal in order to make recommendations about what is better to buy/do/eat in terms of one’s carbon footprint. In light of our Sustainable Cooking Contest(which runs two more weeks through December 31st!) and the stories we’ve received about reducing impact in the kitchen, we’re going to break down some fantastic holiday recipes from EatingWell for you.

Here are the general estimates for the carbon footprint of these recipes, measured in lbs. of C02e.

English roast meat by fire with flames

Horseradish crusted beef tenderloinand Vermont Cheddar Mashed Yukon Golds:

Total- 56 lbs CO2e, or 7 lbs per serving.

Beef kcal/serving- 220 servings- 8
lbs co2e- 34.5
lbs co2e/serving- 4.3

Potatoes kcal/serving- 223
servings- 8
lbs co2e- 21.5
lbs co2e/serving- 2.7


Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust and Green and Yellow Beans with Wild Mushrooms:

Total- 38 lbs CO2e, or 4.6 lbs. per serving.

Vegetable Pie
kcal/serving- 378
servings- 8
lbs co2e- 29.8
lbs/serving- 3.7

kcal/serving- 75
servings- 10
lbs co2e- 8.3
lbs/serving- 0.8

Choose the veggie-based dishes and you’ll have over 30% reduction in CO2e. This shows how replacing a few meaty holiday dishes with non-meat dishes, or choosing poultry and fish over red meats, can shave off a significant chunk of your “foodprint.” The other thing to keep in mind is that 11% of food emissions comes from transportation, so buying locally-sourced produce can decrease total food-miles from dirt to plate and reduce the total emissions.

If you want to do some more estimating and playing around with food emissions, check out the Food section of our Footprint Calculator.


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