Cows produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, causing the planet to warm. The dairy industry is responsible for 2% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
It takes 144 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk.
In addition to the climate-related risks, dairy farming is a huge animal welfare issue. Dairy cows are treated inhumanely, even when they live on supposedly “humane” farms. In order to make them produce a lot of milk year-round, dairy cows are forcibly impregnated. The babies that they have are taken from their mothers, usually when they’re only a few days old. Many of the calves that won’t be useful in the future for their milk are killed for either veal or cheap beef.
For the next two weeks, drink plant-based milk instead of dairy milk. Some alternatives to dairy milk include almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk.
Sources“Dairy.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/industries/dairy.
“ELimu: Resources and Economic Activities.” ELimu | Resources and Economic Activities, learn.e-limu.org/topic/view/?c=48&t=274
“Milk's Impact on the Environment.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, 2019, www.worldwildlife.org/magazine/issues/winter-2019/articles/milk-s-impact-on-the-environment.
“What about Humanely Raised Milk and Dairy Products?” Free From Harm, 10 Sept. 2016, freefromharm.org/farm-animal-welfare/what-about-humanely-raised-milk-and-dairy-products/.
Kitchen sponges are unhealthy both for the environment and for the humans who use them. They’re synthetic, which means that they’re made of plastic. Plastic is always bad news, but sponges are rarely thought of as a large problem.
Sponges contain polyurethane and triclosan, chemicals that should not come into contact with anything people will be eating with or off of. They are also dyed blue with cheap dyes, which are also full of chemicals.
Keeping a sponge for a long time to reduce waste is not the solution. It’s not healthy to use a dirty sponge because bacteria builds up over time, which can make you sick.
Level One - Largest amount of waste, least amount of money
For two weeks, use a dishcloth or a rag instead of a sponge. Fabric doesn’t have the same cleaning effect as a sponge, but it still works well. This reduces waste because a towel or rag can be thrown in the washing machine, and you can use one that you already have. The downside to this solution is that fabric wears out and has to be thrown away eventually.
OR (level one)
Instead of a sponge, use a reusable sponge-type cloth. If you don’t already have one, you can buy one for less than $5 at a lot of different stores. Even though this is buying something new, these cloths last longer than fabric ones do, and they work better.
Level Two - Zero waste, more money.
If you’re looking for a way to go zero waste in the kitchen, use a compostable dish scrubber. These can be made of coconut husk, bamboo, and other natural materials. They’re compostable, so when you’re done with them, just toss them in your compost pile.
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