Though delicious and healthy, avocados need 1000 liters of water for each 1 kg produced. The growing demand for avocados is causing environmental issues, such as deforestation in Mexico and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Enjoying avocados as the rare snack is probably still ok, but we need to rethink consuming it on a daily basis.
BEEF OR TOFU?
Tofu it is! A kilogram of beef protein has the equivalent carbon emissions of a passenger flying from London to New York and back. Cows also release methane, which makes this protein source the second worst for our en- vironment, with lamb being the first. The production of soy on the other hand causes 15 times fewer emissions compared to beef. Even soy production is not completely innocent as it is a major cause of deforestation. However, most soy production is grown as animal feed, so the reduction of meat consumption could also reduce soy production. While local is always better, in the case of meat this isn’t true. Consuming less or, better yet, making meat consumption a rare treat if not ready to give it up entirely, is best.
PAPER OR COTTON TOTE BAGS?
Cotton tote bags, but only if you already have them! A cot- ton bag is only eco-friendlier if you use it more than 130 times. The reason for this is that cotton requires a lot of water and pesticides. Organic cotton improves this ratio a little. However, brown paper bags are also not a solution – they require more resources than plastic and pollute the air and water with chemicals. Additionally, most paper bags are not made from recycled materials. The solution: it is just as important what you choose to put into your bag as well as carrying it as often as possible.
NETFLIX OR CINEMA?
Watching a half-hour show on Netflix leads to emissions of 1.6 kg of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to driving 6.2 km. 80% of digital electricity usage is tied to video streaming. Much of the energy needed for streaming services is consumed by data centres, which deliver data to your computer or device. Last year, online video stream- ing produced emissions equivalent to that of Spain. On the other hand, a cinema movie with 7 kg CO2 emissions seems quite economical.
JEANS OR TROUSERS?
8 000 litres of water are needed for the production of one pair of jeans. In comparison, an average person uses 125 litres of water per day. What is the solution if you like your jeans? Wear them as much as possible and, if you need a new pair, opt for trousers or sustainably produced jeans.
WOULD YOU LIKE A STRAW?
No! Unfortunately for the environment plastic straws are not biodegradable. They are particularly harmful for marine life and our oceans. If you really want to continue us- ing straws then opt for ones made out of glass, stainless steel or bamboo and reuse them.
ARE CIGARETTES STILL A THING?
Notoriously known for the damage they do to our health, turns out cigarette filters are just as poisonous to our environment. Around 4.5 billion are thrown away each year, making them not just a minor waste problem. They poison our water and fish and birds die from them. It’s about time to make this a habit of the past.
COFFEE TO GO?
A person who buys a single cup of coffee each day of the week will generate 10.5 kg of waste per year. A better way? Carry a thermos or a KeepCup and ask the barista to fill it up. You might even get a discount for doing this.