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What is the Environmental Impact of a Latte

Many wonder how big of an impact on the environment does that $5 Latte have? Well, let's break it down. There is the cup itself, the lid, and the cardboard hand protector around the outside. There is the ink used to print on these materials, and there is also the napkins if any. There is the cost to grow the product itself -- coffee beans -- although this cost is minimal next to the cost needed to dry roast the beans and then transport them from where they are grown to where they are consumed. There is also the cost to transport the milk (which dominates the cost to produce the milk). There is of course the cost of air conditioning the coffee shop, which can be considerable. Finally, there is the cost to heat the water, which is minimal. The end result is that there is an affect, but it is miniscule next to the cost for you to drive 25 minutes to work.

by Margaret Walker on Sun, 10/24/2010 - 15:34

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