Green Steve Asks: Will You Try A Milk Alternative?

milk alternatives

Apart from on the odd bowl of cereal when I’ve been away from my own home, I haven’t bought cow’s milk since setting out to find a plant based, low carbon alternative back in January.

Since then I have converted one or two people onto oat milk which is one of two alternatives I use (the other being almond milk which I have only recently discovered as another delicious option).

Now though I want to get the nation switching away from cow’s milk in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of our daily diets.

Did you know that 5 billion litres of milk are sold in the UK each year which is around 8.8 billion pints? Thanks to Tesco’s carbon labelling, we know that a pint of semi-skimmed milk has a carbon footprint of 800g and assuming this is about average, it puts the carbon footprint of the milk we consumer in the UK each year at a massive 7,040,000 tonnes!

This figure may only equate to around 1.28% of the supposed total greenhouse gas emissions of the UK, but I’d wager even this small percentage is far higher than what most people would imagine it to be. If we are to hit ambitious carbon reduction targets then even a few tenths of a percent here and there will be important.

Please note that this does not include a further 6 billion litres used for things such as cheese, butter and dried milk powder (used in many common food products).

The Challenge Goes Out

I am looking for some volunteers to try a variety of milk alternatives much like I did and report back to me with their findings.

I am just one person and while my opinions matter to me, they may differ from the general consensus so while I am championing oat milk and almond milk, I want more people to try them along with the likes of soya, rice and hemp and I’ll then publish everyone’s thoughts in one big roundup.

I want as many people as possible to take part and to encourage this I will offset 0.5 tonnes of CO2 for every person* who contributes their thoughts on at least one milk alternative.

Aren’t The Alternatives Expensive?

If you were to look on the supermarket shelves today then yes the plant based products would be priced higher than the cow’s milk but this is misleading for two main reasons:

  1. The price of cow’s milk has been kept artificially low by the supermarkets who drive down the margins of the dairy farmers to unsustainable levels
  2. If we were ever to price things according to their impact on the environment, cow’s milk would instantly become more expensive than it is now and far more expensive than all of the substitutes and their lower carbon footprints.

Obviously budgetary constraints are going to prevent some people from making the switch right now and that is fine, I am not suggesting anyone put their family finances in jeopardy.

Who Am I Looking For?

I want a good mix of people across different age groups, genders and locations (UK only) and the only constraint is that you must currently buy cow’s milk.

I want to know things like: which alternatives were freely available near where you live, what you think about the taste and consistency of the product, whether there are situations where it doesn’t work (e.g. in hot drinks, in hot porridge, in baking) and whether your local council recycle the tetrapak cartons that most of these products come in. If you are trying it with kids, did they enjoy it?

If you are willing to take part in this experiment then get in touch either by using the contact form here or by emailing me at steve [@] greensteve.com.

*up to a maximum of 30 people / 15 tonnes

Steve (156 Posts)

I am chief writer and editor on Green Steve. Blogging since 2011, I like to delve into a wide number of topics to help people reduce their carbon footprint. You should follow me on Twitter here. And add me to your Google+ circles here.

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