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Environmental Conditions in Supermarkets

January 15, 2020

Have you ever wondered how you can reduce waste while grocery shopping? Make your grocery shopping more green by regarding the following facts about conditions for the environment in supermarkets.

All About Environmental Conditions in Supermarkets 

Diet against climate change

On the areas that are necessary for the production of animal products, much more calories could be produced by growing plant-based foods: three times more than pork, milk and eggs and seven times more than in the production of beef.

The reason for the loss is caused by humans and the amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and laughing gas (N2O), which belong to the fuel effect.

However, these greenhouse gases are not caused solely by the use of fossil fuels (e.g. coal, natural gas and oil) or by transport. What is often neglected is that livestock farming and the production of animal prints make a significant contribution.

Worldwide, 14.5% of total human-made greenhouse gas emissions result from animal production. Fattening cattle and dairy cows are usually shut down in animal factories and are the most significant climate offenders in the sector - below that due to the high demand for feed and the emission of methane.


 Compared to fruits and vegetables, much more energy is grown for the production of meat, milk, cheese and butter. If you hear more CO2 is released. The increased production of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide is caused by the fertilization of agricultural land or the creation of mineral fertilizers and pesticides.


That is why meat is so harmful to the climate. Belonging to meat and animal products as much as possible is a contribution to more climate protection.

 

Fair trade

Contrary to the term "organic", there are no legal standards for "fair". Companies can determine what they mean by "fair". Behind the Fairtrade logo and the GEPA logo are standards that also promote organic farming: around 50% of the Fairtrade products are also certified organic and at GEPA even 75%. Conversely, many organic farming associations have social criteria in their standards; some even use their own organic fair logos.

Fairtrade generally stands for goods that are produced and traded under fair conditions and follows the principle of sustainability. It is not just about economic fairness, i.e. fair wages and fair share of producers in the proceeds. Social fairness, e.g. through acceptable working conditions and training opportunities, as well as ecological fairness - such as the renunciation of environmentally harmful production methods - also fall under the keyword Fairtrade. The organization behind Fairtrade is called TransFair.

 

 

Just because a company issues its own seal does not mean that the alarm bells ring immediately. We will show later that we can do without an independent organization using examples. But at the latest loosely circumscribing terms such as "close to nature", "unsprayed", "environmentally friendly" or "from integrated agriculture" should arouse scepticism.

Because they are often nothing more than sound and smoke. In these cases, there is usually no strict seal initiative that can control the entire value chain. Who should then ensure that the necessary regulations, which the slogans promise, are followed at every point between cultivation and trade? Exactly, nobody.

 

Micro Plastic and marine animals

Our wastewater brings microplastics from cosmetic, washing and cleaning products into the rivers, lakes and seas. Microfibers made of plastic, which are not filtered by washing machines and sewage treatment plants, can also be detached from plastic clothing. As part of the water cycle, microplastics penetrate the complex aquatic food webs of animals, plants and humans.

Everyone is talking about plastic - literally putting it in their mouths. Where previously mainly sea animals and seabirds were reported, which ingest plastic particles with food or get caught in plastic waste, there is now new alarming news: Researchers have proven microplastics in human stools.

On average, there were 20 microplastic particles in ten grams of stool. One speaks of microplastics when plastic particles are smaller than five millimetres - to be found, for example, in cosmetics such as peelings. Tire abrasion also creates microplastics. Study director Bettina Liebmann from the Federal Environment Agency Vienna on the stool samples: "In our laboratory, we were able to detect nine different types of plastic in sizes from 50 to 500 micrometres". These mainly include polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

On the one hand, microplastics get into our bodies through food and drinks packed in plastic. The leading plastic suppliers, however, are probably fish and seafood, which ingested microplastics through food during their lifetime. No wonder, since around 400 million tons of plastic are currently being produced, of which up to 5% end up in the sea.

In previous studies, the highest microplastic concentration in the stomach and intestine was found in marine animals. But the smallest plastic particles were also found in the blood, lymph and liver.

 

Less plastic bags

In 2014, 63% of fruit and vegetables were sold pre-packaged. For example, 500 grams of grapes in a bowl with a lid use almost eight times more plastic waste than a knot bag. There is a lot of plastic waste with tomatoes and carrots. Even plastic bottles, compared to glass bottles, cover a tremendous amount of our plastic.

It is important to avoid disposable bags as a whole - including those made of paper: the ecological balance of a paper bag is worse than that of a plastic bag. However, the paper bag degrades if it accidentally lands in nature.

 

 

Plastic bags are used for an average of 25 minutes. That means they are bought, used once and thrown away. Depending on the type of plastic, it can take between 100 and 500 years for a plastic bag to decompose if it is not recycled.

Since the environmental balance of an object is always measured by how often it is used, this is, of course, ecological madness. Because one million plastic bags are used worldwide every minute.

Why is the plastic bag so popular?

  • Low manufacturing costs make them cheap.
  • Production is also less energy-intensive and low in emissions (compared to other containers).
  • The plastic bag is light, tearproof and also water and chemical resistant.
  • It is also easy to work with, can be welded and is generally recyclable.

That speaks against the plastic bag

  • Every person consumes an average of around 76 plastic bags a year. 36 of them are reused, 40 are used only once.
  • The raw material is petroleum, which is a finite resource.
  • Depending on the material, a plastic bag takes centuries to rot.
  • The ground plastic waste enters the food chain in the sea.

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