OPINION: Wasted Milk Pollutes As Much As 20,000 Cars

OPINION: On MAY 17, 2012 | The views expressed in this opinion piece do not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia.

Who’s ready to cry over spilled milk?

A new study from Edinburgh University says that the amount of milk (360,000 tons!) poured down Britain’s kitchen sinks each year creates a carbon footprint roughly the same as the exhaust from 20,000 cars per year.

According to The Independent, 99 percent of the milk tossed to the curb across the pond is designated as “avoidable waste.” The milk is wasted for three reasons, say the researchers. One: too much of it is being served. Two: when it is served, it is sour. Three: the milk’s sell-by date has simply come and gone.

The research, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change, suggests a few ways that consumers can curb their carbon emissions vis-a-vis their eating habits.

Researchers also say halving the amount of chicken consumed in the UK and other developed countries to levels eaten in Japan could cut greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road.

Figures show that if average chicken consumption in developed countries fell from the current level of 26kg each per year to the Japanese average of about 12kg each by 2020, global emissions from poultry would fall below current levels, despite increased output from the developing world. This would cut the predicted global output of nitrous oxide, a key greenhouse gas, from this source by almost 20 per cent, based on current growth rates.

As depressing as this story is, I dread the day when I wake up and scan the results of a similar study conducted in the United States.

If Britain’s roughly 62 million citizens wasted 360,000 tons of milk, can you imagine how much worse it would be here in America, with our 311 million denizens?

Be honest: will this story make you finish all of your milk before you leave the table next time?

Salvatore Cardoni for Take Part, Environment

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