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Dear Sustie, what type of milk do you drink?

Is your go-to option dairy milk because that’s what you’re used to, or perhaps because its cheap? Or do you browse the non-dairy milk section and choose those instead?

Did you know... that one glass of dairy milk 🥛 produces three times more greenhouse gas 💨 than alternative milks? On top of that, you need 9 times more land to make the same amount of dairy milk than non-dairy...and when not managed properly, this can lead to the loss, pollution, and damage of critical ecosystems🏞️. In the US, 9% of ALL cropland is used to grow feed for dairy cows...that’s 34.1 million acres of land.

So if you want to be sustainable, you could choose plant-based milk. Like almond, coconut 🥥, soy, or oat. But among these options...which ones the best?

The truth is, it’s not so simple. Sustainability is not just about emissions. It’s also about land use, water use, and waste production. Almond milk has low emissions and land usage, but it uses a lot more water 💦 than other plant-based milk. On top of that, 80% of almond is farmed in California, a water scarce state with arid land. Coconut milk 🥥 can have some challenges too. Because coconut only grows in tropical climates, mass production to meet growing demand can lead to rainforest destruction and worker exploitation. This is similar for soy. On the other hand, oat can grow in temperate climates and therefore less susceptible to deforestation. Oat can also be repurposed as livestock feed after making oat milk, so it generates little waste too.

But no matter how complicating sustainable choices can be, going for the non-dairy milk is always a win 💪🏽. And if you want to be careful about some of the challenges, you can look for certifications like @rainforestalliance that tell you more about where the ingredients come from and how they are grown. Taking time to care about your products and how they are made is the best first step to sustainable living ❤️.

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