Thanksgiving dinner’s carbon footprint

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November 21, 2012 by Tim Brown

Thanksgiving dinner’s carbon footprint.

  • The average Thanksgiving meal consists of two or more four-person families.
  • The average distance traveled by American families on Thanksgiving is 200 miles, according to the National Household Travel Survey. Each mile driven emits about 1 lb of CO2.
  • A traditional turkey takes 4 hours to cook. Ovens consume about 0.4 kWh of electricity per hour.
  • A traditional Thanksgiving meal produces about 5.5 lbs of CO2 per person, according to a University of Manchester study. This figure includes the feeding and raising of the turkey and transporting it from the farm. This figure also includes carbon emissions from producing and transporting typical holiday trimmings (stuffing, corn bread, cranberry sauce, vegetables, mashed potatoes, etc…).
  •  The average American meal travels more than 1,500 miles.Adding it all up…

    • Carbon emissions due to meal = 5.5 lbs of CO2 per person
    • Carbon emissions due to travel = 200 lbs of CO2per 4-person family (excluding host family)
    • Carbon emissions due to cooking =  2.1 lbs of CO2 to cook the turkey + 1.9 lbs of CO2 to cook the trimmings = 4.0  lbs of CO
      *Data from New Generation Energy website

 

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