Environmental impact of the different ‘milk’

Statista put out this data, and there were some surprises for me. I knew that cow-milk was the most impactful but this data visualization and narrative makes it pretty clear that a better milk can be found – environmentally speaking.

Quote: “Since the production of oat and soy milk is so light on the environment, packaging and transport actually becomes the bigger component, according to a report by the BBC. Depending on the location of the drinker, one of the two could be more likely to have been imported from a far-flung location, but its not always easy to find out where the products used in a specific plant milk originated. A common misconception is that soy milk (or soy for human consumption) contributes to the destruction of the Amazon rain forest. For the most part, Brazil grows soy for animal feed, while soy used in tofu and plant milk predominantly come from Europe, North America and China.”

Infographic: Which (Plant) Milk Is the Most Sustainable? | Statista

The factoid on soy sourcing and it NOT being a material impact on Amazon deforestation was important. The authors also hammer a point that we started teaching in outdoor school in the 1980’s, transportation costs (financial and environmental) are the easiest cost to reduce with smart purchasing. An actionable item for all – consider buying the least impactful milk, and finding products that travel packaged and as raw material the least.

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