Cut the Carbon: Drop the Dairy, Pick Plant-based

It’s National Milk Day. So, we are putting plant-based and dairy milk head to head on a topic hidden a bit below nutrition and flavor: carbon footprint.

Carbon footprint refers to the greenhouse gas emissions an individual, organization, event, or product is responsible for putting into the atmosphere, directly or indirectly.1 Many believe these gasses – lead by carbon dioxide and methane – severely impact our planet’s climate.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a milk, thanks to the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems.1

  • Cows, owing to their digestive systems, emit a substantial amount of methane into the atmosphere.
  • Livestock, including cows, and manure accounted for 3.3 percent of total US greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 – 40 percent of agriculture’s carbon footprint.
  • In 2016, ruminant animals – including cows, sheep, and livestock –produced 170 million metric tons CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).
  • In an average non-vegetarian diet, animal products account for 80 percent of total carbon footprint from greenhouse gas emissions. Dairy products represent 20 percent.
  • Foods used to produce plant milk have a significantly lower carbon footprint than dairy milk. Measured in pounds CO2e per serving:
    • Dairy milk – 0.72
    • Rice – 0.16
    • Legumes (peanuts) – 0.11

That’s a lot of information, but its message is pretty clear.

If you’re interested in reducing your carbon footprint this National Milk Day, dairy alternatives are the way to go. A simple swap of dairy for plant-based milk can make a big difference!

Our full line of Elmhurst® products has plenty of nuts and grains to choose from.

Simpler milk, better world.

1 Center for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan. “Carbon Footprint Factsheet.” Pub. No. CSS09-05.