How much does that avocado you put on your toast impact the environment? Are veggie burgers better than meat patties? Students Friso and Bram tell you all this and more on their website FoodFootprint.nl.
Master student energy and environmental science Friso Resink is all too aware of how what we eat contributes to global warming. Food represents 26 percent of global greenhouse emissions. But how do specific products impact the environment? Is it better to eat an apple than a banana? Is farmed salmon less harmful than wild-caught salmon?
Friso couldn’t find any clear answers to these questions. ‘Some websites say one thing, while other claim something else’, he says. So he and artificial intelligence student Bram Rijsbosch got together to create their own website: FoodFootprint.nl.
The website tells you the impact a particular food or dish has on the environment. ‘If you want a hamburger, it’s better to eat a vegetarian one; it produces approximately 88 percent less CO2’, says Friso.
The pair want to help people make better choices when it comes to food. ‘It’s too easy to say that the responsibility lies solely with the government or corporations’, says Bram. ‘As students, we can help, too.’
What’s more, Friso adds, especially young people can still make a difference. ‘Students have their whole lives ahead of them, so if they start making sustainable choices now, they’ll last a lifetime.’
Alternatives and tips
The information on the website is mainly sourced from government data, ‘but it was completely inaccessible’, says Friso. ‘Our website is more-user friendly because it shows you the impact a product or a dish has. We also offer alternatives and tips to decrease your footprint.’
Can’t find a product on the website? Be patient: Bram and Friso are constantly updating the site. The boys are ambitious: together with the university’s Green Office, they want to try and make the food the cafeterias sell more sustainable.
They also have plans to create an app. That will come in handy when you’re hungrily staring at some strawberries in the supermarket and you want to know how sustainable they are.