What's the real cost of takeout to our climate?

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Lady delivering takeaway food
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What's the real cost of takeout to our climate?

The rising popularity of home-delivery meal services such as Uber Eats, DoorDash and Menulog has had a huge impact on our environment, making the food sector’s already massive carbon footprint even larger.
Australian researchers have looked at the impact different cuisines have on the environment. Of the five cuisines examined, packaging from burgers meals was responsible for most emissions, followed by Thai meals.
The study, conducted at the University of Melbourne, quantified how much greenhouse gas is emitted over the life of food packaging used in online food delivery. The five popular cuisine types were: pizzas, burgers, Indian, Thai and Chinese.
The results, from lowest to highest, are presented below, in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂-e):
  • Chinese: 0.16kg CO₂-e for a plastic container and plastic bag 
  • Indian: 0.18 kg CO₂-e for a plastic container, paper bag and cling film
  • Pizza: 0.20kg CO₂-e for a cardboard box
  • Thai: 0.23 kg CO₂-e for a plastic container and paper bag 
  • Burger meal: 0.29 kg CO₂-e for a paper bag, paper boxes, plastic straw, liquid paperboard cup with plastic lid and cardboard cup holder.
   The typical meal from each restaurant was determined, and the packaging assessed. Obviously, the exact packaging used varies according to the specific order, restaurant and customer preferences, and individual meals may have a carbon footprint higher or lower than average for that cuisine. 
   Researchers also found a brown paper delivery bag produces far more emissions than a plastic bag, due to the carbon released when it breaks down. However plastic bags generally create more litter and are more toxic to the environment than paper bags. Food for thought! So next time you’re tempted to order takeout, have a look in your pantry first and save your wallet and the environment.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
Thanks for keeping our oceans clean and forests green!
Pure Planet Club Team

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