Sandwiches carry with them the same carbon emission output as a car driven 12 miles, according to a study from the University of Manchester.
Researchers followed the whole life cycle of a sandwich, including the production of ingredients, and their packaging, as well as food waste. Bacon, ham, and sausages contribute the most to a sandwich’s carbon footprint.
“We need to change the labeling of food to increase the use-by date as these are usually quite conservative,” Professor Adisa Azapagic, who heads up the Sustainable Industrial Systems research group at the university, said in a Jan. 18 press statement.
“Given that sandwiches are a staple of the British diet as well as their significant market share in the food sector, it is important to understand the contribution from this sector to the emissions of greenhouse gases,” Azapagic said.
They estimate that breakfast sandwich generates 1441 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq.), which is equivalent to driving a car to the grocery store and back. Consuming 11.5 billion sandwiches annually in the UK generates roughly 9.5 million tons of CO2e, which is equivalent to the annual use of 8.6 million cars.’
Researchers also recommend drastically reducing certain ingredients that have a higher carbon footprint, like lettuce, tomato, cheese and meat. Slashing cheese and meat from sandwiches toppings would also reduce the number of calories and make people healthier.
The study also suggested emissions could be cut by 50 percent if changes were made to the recipes, packaging and waste disposal.
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