Farming News - Cutting Carbon Emissions in the Dairy Industry

Cutting Carbon Emissions in the Dairy Industry

The environmental impact the dairy industry has on the planet is something that is talked about a lot. With such a reliance on cattle and energy to produce tasty goods, the industry emits a lot of carbon and methane emissions.

With 80% of countries across the globe consuming dairy products, it’s really important that the industry can do as much as possible to reduce its carbon footprint. Here rural energy provider, Flogas, overview what this booming industry is doing to make a change and tackle carbon emissions …

The Dairy Roadmap

The industry has such high demand thanks to so many areas of the blog adopting western foods in their diet. But with this demand comes the need to reduce carbon emissions too. Add to this, the legally binding commitment that the UK will reach net zero emissions by 2050, and means that, reducing emissions becomes a race against time.

Companies, such as Arla Foods, Müller, and Yeo Valley, are heading towards a greener future. In fact, the British dairy sector is ‘world-leading’ for sustainability, according to Dairy UK. This has been helped by the Dairy Roadmap, a sustainability scheme launched in 2008. 

Adapting is key for the Dairy Roadmap to succeed, especially when it comes to keeping up with environmental targets, that change regularly. Thankfully, the initiative is at a stage where dairy energy can be cleaner than it was before.

Recycling Drive

In 2008, 65 per cent of waste was recovered or recycled in the industry. The remaining 35 per cent was sent to landfill. Now, the dairy industry recycles or reuses 94 per cent of its waste, with the ambition to reach 100 per cent soon.

Climate Change

Statistics relating to climate change already show that some targets have been met. There’s been a 20 per cent increase in primary energy efficiency (kWh/tonne). Widespread use of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants has also been eliminated.

The next major milestone is for emissions to be slashed by another 30 per cent, along with adopting cleaner fuel supplies, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Plastic

Plastic waste continues to be a concern. However, in the world of dairy, major changes have already been implemented. In fact, this industry uses some of the most recycled and reused packaging of all consumer products.

Reduced food waste

In 2016, most of the potential food waste was used in a more environmentally friendly fashion. Just over 60 per cent was recovered for animal feed and redistribution. And a further 23 per cent was used for anaerobic digestion or biogas production.

Biodiversity

Improvements across the production line can be made thanks to biodiversity. In Dairy UK's 2018 biodiversity strategy, the organisation called for big changes to be made to improve their biodiversity status. Processors have started to engage in projects within their local communities to help reintroduce native species in opportune spaces around their processing plants. 

By following vital targets, the industry has proven that it can improve its processes and, with future targets in place, more improvements will soon follow.

Statistics source: The UK Dairy Roadmap, 10th Anniversary Report