From Our Chefs

Nondairy Milk: The Best Options for the Environment

Because nonfat is so last year…

We live in a society where your personality, identity and sense of being is defined by your… choice of milk. There! We said it! For better or worse, a new generation of latte drinkers and smoothie makers are judging each other based on their milk preference.

Photographer: Thais Do Rio | Source: Unsplash

Here at College Chefs, we accept all milks and understand that there is a time and place for the multitude of choices. Non-dairy stuffed shells just don’t hit the same.

BUT, for your every-day go to, some choices are better than others. Taste, frothing abilities and calories all vary and everyone has a unique preference there. But when it comes to climate impact, there’s a clear difference.

First off, we have to face the hard facts. Any dairy milk is just not great for the environment.

“Producing a glass of dairy milk every day for a year requires 650 sq m (7,000 sq ft) of land, the equivalent of two tennis courts and more than 10 times as much as the same amount of oat milk, according to this study. Almond milk requires more water to produce than soy or oat milk. A single glass requires 74 litres (130 pints of water) - more than a typical shower. Rice milk is also comparatively thirsty, requiring 54 litres of water per glass.”

This Oxford Study breaks down the comparative environmental impacts of the most popular drink choices.

The Takeaway?

Any nondairy milk is better for the environment than traditional options. However, when deciding the best alt options, there’s a lot of conflicting evidence on what is best for you, the environment and your wallet.

When making a decision for your health, the best options are unsweetened without any added sugars.

If you’re looking for an environmental superhero opt for hemp milk! “...made from hemp seeds, just one hectare of hemp offsets a year's carbon from two cars as it breathes in four times more Co2 than trees; hemp really is good news for the planet.”

“Alternatives such as oat, soy, and cashew milks use much less water during production. Although almond and rice milk use relatively large amounts of water to produce, this volume is still less than dairy.”
Different types of non-dairy milk

There are so many options out there. Insider breaks down the best approach.

"A sustainable diet for the planet needs to be sustainable for you as an individual. If choosing a milk alternative, choose what tastes good to you and is also affordable."
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