A National Trust pub in Cumbria has added information about the carbon impact of food to its menu.
The Sticklebarn pub in Great Langdale in the Lake District now displays the environmental footprint of each meal next to the item in a bid to provide diners with more choices and given them freedom to eat sustainably.
The menu shows some of the most carbon-heavy dishes are nachos with chilli, chocolate, coffee, sour cream and guacamole – together these ingredients add up to 5.74 kilogrammes of greenhouse gases, equivalent to driving around 14 miles in a typical car.
The lamb burger served with wedges also packs a significant carbon punch, with emissions weighing in at 4.53 kilogrammes for the entire meal.
This is largely because of the methane released by sheep – the burger is sourced from local farms and would likely be even more emissions-intensive if sourced from farther afield, due to transport-related fuel use.
The lowest impact items on the menu are vegetarian and include a black bean burger, which generates only 860 grams of greenhouse gases per dish.
An average person in the UK person produces around 9kg CO2e (carbon dioxide) a day through eating and drinking, depending on their diet.
CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, is a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints. The idea is to express the impact of each different greenhouse gas in terms of the amount of CO2 that would create the same amount of warming.
It’s the latest in a series of measures by the pub to reduce its environmental impact. It is powered by hydroelectricity and last year was awarded two out of three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
The National Trust which has owned and run the Sticklebarn since 2011, has teamed up with Lancaster University’s Mike Berners-Lee, a leading expert in carbon foot printing to produce the ratings.
Berners-Lee and experts at Small World Consulting, part of the University, say that a carbon footprint is the best estimate of the full climate change impact.
He said: “We spent more than a decade analysing all the individual components that go into the life cycle of everyday items like food, clothes and transport.
“It gives us a rich data base from which we can calculate carbon emissions. Meat is high, but so is anything that arrives by plane like asparagus, grapes and raspberries. Anything imported by boat, or travelling by road, usually has a far lower carbon footprint.”
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