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Milk down the sink could have got you a lift


Wasted milk in the UK creates extra carbon emission equivalent to that of 20,000 cars, a study reports.

The project, in which scientists of the University of Edinburgh participated, also made several other suggestions to consumers and the food industry on how to maintain sustainable carbon consumption, while meeting the growing global demand for food.

As well as reducing milk wastage, eating less chicken appears to be another solution. It was estimated that if the developed world halved the amount of chicken eaten, emissions comparable to 10 million cars could be eliminated; 20% of the world's nitrous oxide, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

Switching to a less meaty diet structure was also strongly recommended. Harvesting animal products usually requires a huge input of crops, which leads to larger areas of soil being occupied and more extensive use of fertilisers; the two main sources of nitrous oxide. As a result, meat contributes a lot more to emission than plant products do.

Researchers also believe the more efficient use of fertiliser can have a major effect on combating food related emission.

Dr David Reay of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “Eating less meat and wasting less food can play a big part in helping to keep a lid on greenhouse gas emissions as the world’s population increases.”

The study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.


Frank Dong Liu


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