Can you drink milk and stay ethical? I’m desperate to work out how | Emma Beddington
Should we go for oat milk? Seaweed-fed cows? But then there’s the packaging to worry about … Every choice seems bad
I have a problem with milk. Well, multiple problems. Let me elaborate. (Are you excited?) Cow’s milk is, of course, bad news for the planet: three times worse in greenhouse emission terms than any plant milk. I have known for ages, but pretended not to, because tea is horrible with oat milk.
I do, however, seek out the least bad dairy. I get my milk from cows fed on seaweed, which reduces bovine belching: research has recently found this can cut methane emissions by up to 82%. So, great? Well. First, it comes in a plastic bottle, not a glass one. Worse, as a household we finish our two pints of seaweed milk precisely six days after our weekly delivery. If I ordered another two-pint bottle, most of it would end up down the sink. I have tried holding out, but I feel bad imposing my eco-guilt on my younger son, who has the smallest carbon footprint of any of us, and just wants milk on his cereal, so I end up buying a pint of Bad Milk from the corner shop. The household vegan is disgusted by dairy, but drinks a litre of oat milk a day delivered in packaging the council does not recycle.