Chart of the Day: Global Warming Potential per 100 grams of Food

Global Warming Potential (GWP) in kilograms of CO₂ equivalents associated with 100 grams of each food. Values are the mean of three or more entries if there was sufficient data available. Error bars indicate standard deviation away from the mean across multiple LCA data points when three or more were available. Items marked with *asterisk had fewer than three data points and therefore do not include standard deviation and are either the average of two values or just reporting of one value, depending on data availability.

Source: MDPI

New York’s First Zero-Waste Restaurant

Jennifer Marston wrote . . . . . . . . .

It’s no secret that eating out produces a ton of waste. The restaurant industry loses around $162 billion annually in food waste costs, and that’s just for the edible stuff. Add onto that containers the food comes in, packaging for delivery orders, and paper for receipts, and there’s a whole lot of trash being generated every day by millions of restaurants around the country.

We’ve seen various efforts put towards fighting this growing mountain of trash — bans on plastic straws and disposable cutlery, for example — but one New York restaurant is taking the battle to a new extreme. Mettā, in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood, is reopening in the fall as New York’s first zero-waste restaurant, and it could provide an important road map for restaurants in the future.

Grubstreet profiled the restaurant earlier this week and found that zero waste in this context applies to everything about the business. The restaurant, which was already carbon-neutral, sources ingredients that come in compostable or reusable packaging, uses electrolyzed water that “eliminates” the need for dish soap, and composts any food scraps left on customers’ plates. Even the cheese rinds are upcycled.

Mettā is one of a handful of restaurants around the world pushing the zero-waste, trash-free business model. Silo, in the UK, is another notable example. Meanwhile, in Sweden, a project called Restauranglabbet is using a combination of tech, science, academic research, and design to create a waste-free restaurant of the future. Other establishments here and abroad are experimenting with ways to do zero-waste cooking, using all parts of the plant and sourcing ingredients locally.

If it all sounds terribly expensive, it is. For example, Mettā works with a New Jersey-based company called TerraCycle, who does curbside pickup for hard-to-recycle items like cooking oil and batteries. According to the Grubstreet article, Mettā will have two boxes for TerraCycle — each at $800 a pop.

It’s also terribly necessary that restaurants like these exist. While the concept might today be unattainable for most businesses, this wildly expensive and rather inconvenient model for a restaurant could actually pave the way for more affordable solutions in the future — ones that other restaurants could incorporate into their own operations.

It’s not unlike Tesla. The company’s high-performance, all-electric cars have historically come with a price tag that’s out of the question for most buyers, due in part to the vehicles’ high-tech design and expensive components like batteries. But by getting those who could afford the cars to cough up the cash, Tesla created a demand for this sort of vehicle that’s having a ripple effect on the auto industry. Automakers once reluctant to dabble in the world of all-electric vehicles are now coming to market with their own offerings. Meanwhile, the demand Tesla created eventually enabled the company make a more affordable (albeit still expensive) model whose components could be easier cheaper for other carmakers to iterate on.

When it comes to restaurants, your average mom-and-pop joint will probably not be able to pay $800 to recycle its cooking oil, but the mere fact that such an option exists for restaurants could lead to some company eventually coming to market with a cheaper solution. In the meantime, Mettā, Silo, and others also have more-affordable components of their operations that could be implemented by others now, like digital receipts and compostable packaging.

We’re not going to see restaurants like Mettā opening en masse any time soon. But the hope is that we’ll see some of the elements they introduce make their way into other restaurants and help move the industry towards a more sustainable way of doing business.

Source: The Spoon

Video: What Would You Eat to Save the Earth?

Watch video at You Tube (24:57 minutes) . . . . .

Giving Up Meat Could Help Your Health and the Planet’s

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

If Americans traded in their hamburgers for tofu, buckwheat and asparagus, it could make a big difference in the health of the planet — without shortchanging anyone on nutrients.

That’s the conclusion of a new study in which researchers estimated the benefits — to humans and the environment — of diets centered on “nutritionally sound” meat alternatives.

Many studies have pointed to ways in which vegetarian diets are kinder to the planet: Less land used for raising and feeding livestock; less pollution; less energy use; and fewer “greenhouse gas” emissions that contribute to global warming.

But meat is an important nutrient source for a huge portion of the population. So it’s important to show that plant foods adequately replace those needs while benefiting the environment, according to Gidon Eshel, the lead researcher.

“Here, we rigorously considered the nutritional and environmental aspects,” said Eshel, a research professor of environmental and urban studies at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Specifically, his team used a computer model to estimate the effects of replacing meat in the typical American diet with any of 500 plant-based “partial” diets — either swapping out just beef, or eliminating all meat.

Each diet contained 35 plant foods, randomly selected from a larger menu of vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts and whole grains. In general, a few foods were key — including soy, buckwheat, asparagus, green peppers and squash.

On average, soy and buckwheat together supplied one-third of the diets’ total protein, for example.

The researchers used published studies to estimate what the diets would require in land use, greenhouse gas emissions, water and nitrogen fertilizer — a source of pollution.

Overall, they estimated that if all Americans traded in meat for plant alternatives, it would eliminate the need for pasturelands. And the nation’s diet-related needs for crop land, nitrogen fertilizer and greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by 35% to 50%.

Only water use would rise — by 15%, the researchers said.

In the United States, meat production accounts for only a small portion of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to Eshel’s team. So swapping burgers for soy would trim total emissions by only about 5%.

In contrast, Eshel said, feeding livestock requires a lot of cropland and fertilizer. So plant-based diets could make a big difference in those uses.

And what about the diets’ healthfulness? “The science is unequivocal,” Eshel said. “These meat-replacement diets would actually be far superior to the typical American diet.”

All of the study diets delivered healthy amounts of protein and more than 40 other nutrients — including fiber, “good” fats and a range of vitamins and minerals. The exception was vitamin B12, which is found only in animal products.

But, the study authors said, that’s easy enough to address with supplements.

There’s a bigger question, however: How realistic is it that Americans would move en masse to a meatless diet? It’s a nation that, in 2015, downed 25 billion pounds of beef alone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“I recognize, very clearly, that it wouldn’t be an easy transition,” Eshel said.

Not only for people, but also for cultural and economic structures, he added. The “labor-intensive” work of vegetable growing, for example, is much different from growing the corn and other commodity crops that now go toward feeding livestock (and people).

Vandana Sheth is a Los Angeles-based dietitian and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

She said people can find it hard to go to a more plant-based regimen because of cost, meal-preparation time or doubts about their ability to craft tasty dishes.

“It’s absolutely possible to enjoy a healthy plant-based diet and adequately meet all your nutrition needs,” Sheth said. “However, it does require some planning and knowledge about the key components required to make it well balanced.”

A good general meal guide, she noted, is to fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with protein such as beans, lentils or tofu, and a quarter with whole grains.

And while a few foods were prominent in this study, Sheth suggested trying a range of vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds — and “getting creative” with herbs and spices to amp up the flavor.

You don’t have to dive into vegetarianism, either. Sheth suggested taking small steps — declaring Meatless Monday, for example.

The study was published online in Scientific Reports.

Source: HealthDay

Company Trials Wrapper-less Multipack Pops to Help Reduce Plastic Use

Unilever announces the launch of the first wrapper-less ice-cream multipack for Solero Organic Peach, with 35% less plastic compared to the original Solero Organic pack with individual plastic wrappers.

The new, innovative box has built-in compartments, so the individual ice creams can be inserted, without a plastic wrapper, and the box can be widely recycled in the UK. Made from a specially designed PE (Polyethylene) coated cardboard, the design ensures Solero lovers can enjoy the ice lollies without compromising on the quality of the ice cream.

This trial is the latest innovation in Unilever’s ‘#GetPlasticWise’ initiative which aims to rethink plastic in the UK. The plan sees Unilever working collaboratively with partners to seek out solutions plus support and educate consumers on how they can reduce plastic consumption.

The wrapper-less ice-cream multipack for Solero’s Organic Peach range is being trialled exclusively with Ocado, with a limited number of products, to test the new packaging and gather consumer response.

Noel Clarke, Vice President of Refreshment at Unilever, said: “As we head towards summer, we’ve listened to our customers and are working hard to rethink plastic packaging for our ice cream ranges. We’re delighted to be trialling this wrapper-less Solero multipack with Ocado in the UK. If successful and the feedback from customers is positive, this innovative pack could reduce the amount of plastic we use in the future to package our ice creams.”

Solero is committed to ensure that delivering its ice creams’ real fruit experience does not come at the cost of the earth. This pilot is the first step in the journey of creating a more sustainable packaging. Solero Organic Peach, launched in January 2019, is certified organic, contains 60 kcal per lolly, whilst also being suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets.

Earlier this year Unilever launched its ‘#GetPlasticWise’ campaign, a holistic approach to rethinking plastic. This launch reflects its commitment to ensure that, globally, all of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to using more recycled plastic content in its packaging.

For the UK and Ireland, Unilever wants to significantly accelerate this, as well as making a significant contribution towards the UK Plastics Pact targets.

Helen Bird, Strategic Engagement Manager at WRAP (which manages The UK Plastics Pact), said: “We’re really impressed with the level of innovation and creativity that Unilever, a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact, has shown in developing this new pack. It will be welcomed by shoppers who we know want to be able to recycle the packaging they bring home from supermarkets. We look forward to seeing the results of the trial.”

Source: Unilever