Yes, Matcha is Sustainable and Eco-Friendly: Here’s How
In today’s society, being “green” or environmentally conscious is more important than ever. The best part, though, is that matcha is green in more ways than just its color!
Not only is green tea powder a delicious drink, but there are also many sustainability and health benefits of matcha. Unlike other beverage products like coffee, matcha can boast a low water footprint, a low carbon footprint, and positive impacts on the environment and society in Japan around its production. Drinking matcha truly is a way that you can get the caffeine hit you’re craving without feeling guilty about negatively impacting the environment.
If you’re like many people, you may have a general idea of what it means to be eco-friendly and sustainable but have never gone in-depth in your research about it, and that’s okay! If you’re interested in learning more about what it means to be sustainable and how matcha does just that, then let us help:
A Quick Guide To Being Eco-Friendly
With climate change becoming an even greater concern in today’s world, it’s more important than ever before to realize what being eco-friendly truly means. In short, being eco-friendly is being earthed friendly or, at the very least, not harmful to the environment.
Typically, four factors are considered when trying to determine whether or not something is eco-friendly, called the four footprints.
These four footprints are water footprint, carbon footprint, environmental footprint, and societal footprint. Each of these different footprints is an indicator of how earth-friendly a product is because of how many resources they use or how much waste they produce.
The process of being determined as eco-friendly is a difficult one. To be labeled as eco-friendly, the entire production process must be environmentally friendly. This includes factors that might not immediately be considered, like the packaging, harvesting, and production method itself. The more resources a product or item needs to use to come into being, the less environmentally friendly it is.
When you’re trying to determine if something is eco-friendly or not, it’s important to do your research. Many products and brands claim to be environmentally conscious when parts—if not all—of their production are harmful to the environment. Beware of “greenwashing,” which is when those products try to tout themselves as the pinnacle of sustainability when it’s simply not true. When you research, make sure you’re looking into everything the package says and everything they claim to be true. If it’s not accurate, then they’re greenwashing.
Fortunately, matcha green tea powder is one of the most environmentally conscious products available. It boasts a low impact on the environment and, to top it all off, it’s delicious to drink! How is it low impact, you may ask? Let’s do a bit more of a deep dive into matcha:
As previously mentioned, one of the factors taken into consideration when determining sustainability is the water footprint. A water footprint is how much fresh water is used in the growing, production, manufacturing, packaging, etc. of a product. Essentially, what you’re looking for to determine a water footprint is how much water it typically takes to keep this product as a sustainable crop.
Organic matcha powder production is about 8000 liters of water for a kilogram of matcha green tea powder. That probably seems like a very high number for such a small amount of product, but in comparison to other foods, that number is low. For example, the water footprint for chocolate is 17,000 liters of water for the same amount of chocolate, and for beef, it is 15,000 liters of water for the same amount of beef. Surprising, right?
When it comes to your water footprint, the smaller the number, the better the footprint. Matcha green tea powder has a comparatively small water footprint, making it perfect for those interested in making more sustainable choices.
The carbon footprint is likely the environmental ideal that many people are most familiar with. A carbon footprint is the estimated carbon emissions in the production of the final product or the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by the production of the product.
In layman’s terms, greenhouse gasses are the gasses that go into our atmosphere and trap heat, contributing to global warming and climate change.
The fewer of these gasses that go into the atmosphere, the better, which is why having a low carbon footprint is important not only for individuals but also for companies.
There are several things that a company can do to help reduce the carbon footprint like using minimal or eco-friendly packaging (using recycled materials or making packaging recyclable), making products non-refrigerated or non-frozen, or producing plant-based foods or products. Due to the nature of a company’s industry, these may not all be possible, but they’re good launching points to ensure sustainability.
Tea production has a low carbon footprint, especially compared to other food and beverage products. Tea production—which includes all tea production, not just organic matcha powder—creates about 1.9 kilograms of waste compared to 1 kilogram of production. Compared to foods like lamb, which is about 39 kilograms of carbon for every 1 kilogram of lamb, that’s extremely low.
In fact, you may be surprised to know that matcha green tea powder has the lowest emission of all tea because it uses the whole leaf in production. It produces less carbon dioxide and less waste in the production of the final product, making matcha green tea powder an extremely sustainable choice when you’re deciding what tea to drink.
Effects on Nature and Society
You rarely find a product that has little to no effect on the environment and little to no negative effects on society, but matcha is one of the few. There is currently no known damage that the production of green tea powder brings to the environment–air, water, soil, or otherwise. This is mostly because the vast majority of matcha grown is organic and untainted by unnecessary chemicals.
Organic matcha powder is also one of the few crops that has a positive societal impact on Japan. It’s a major job creator and a huge part of the economy in Japan, especially in the more rural areas. Plus, because tea plants have an average lifespan of fifty years or more, there’s a minimal negative impact on the environment since there’s no need to constantly till the land or replant the tea plants.
However, it’s important to note that this is only completely confirmed with matcha that’s grown and produced in Japan. If you’re concerned about the environmental and societal impacts of the matcha you’re purchasing, make sure that you’re purchasing matcha from Japan specifically to ensure that it is eco-friendly and sustainable.
If you want to be as environmentally friendly as possible, it’s best to purchase organic matcha powder that contains only the matcha powder itself instead of buying any kind of mix. You may not have all of the information about the sustainability of the components of the mixes you purchase, but if you purchase pure organic matcha powder from Japan, you can be sure that it is eco-friendly and sustainable.
Choosing the Right Milk
Did you know that how you decide to enjoy your matcha can have an impact on the environment as well? Drinking matcha traditionally is a delicious way to enjoy the sweet, grassy green tea powder, but it’s not the only way to add matcha to your diet. Many people enjoy drinking matcha in a latte or another kind of mixed drink, but the milk you choose to add to your latte may be hurting the environment.
If you choose to enjoy drinking your matcha latte with dairy milk, you might not be as sustainable as you might think. Livestock leaves a large carbon footprint that might surprise you! Livestock accounts for only about twenty percent of our diet, but about eighty percent of farmland is used to either produce food for livestock or to allow them to roam. More than half of our greenhouse gas emissions are produced by livestock as well, which is a massive number!
If you want to enjoy drinking matcha, the best way to do so is traditional, with only a little bit of water added. However, if you are craving a matcha latte, using plant-based milk instead of dairy milk can help to keep your carbon footprint down.
Almond milk is probably the most common alternative milk to use when making lattes, though it isn’t the most environmentally friendly. While it leaves a very low carbon footprint, the amount of water it takes to produce almond milk is extremely high: almost twelve liters of water for a single almond!
Soy milk is another popular alternative milk that you can add to your latte. Soy milk takes about three hundred liters of water to produce one liter of soy milk, but the carbon footprint of soy milk is also low. It’s a good choice for those who are wanting to add milk to their matcha drink without using dairy products.
The most environmentally friendly (and most common) alternative milk is oat milk. The carbon emissions from oat milk are very low, and the amount of water needed to produce it is also extremely low compared to the other types of alternative milk options! To produce one liter of oat milk, you only need forty-eight liters of water, which is significantly less than almond milk or soy milk.
Many companies including Matcha Outlet do offer options to purchase matcha mixes that have some kind of powdered milk variety already mixed in. If you’re worried about what type of milk is in the mix or are interested in learning more about the sustainability of the product, just be sure to do your research and check the product descriptions before you purchase.
What Makes Matcha Different
Tea as a whole is one of the most environmentally friendly and beneficial products on the market today. Not only are there amazing health benefits of matcha, but the tea itself also brings a lot to the table in turns of sustainability.
As mentioned before, tea has an extremely low carbon footprint compared to a wide variety of other product choices, and matcha itself is even more eco-friendly than regular green tea. Because matcha uses the whole leaf of the tea, matcha produces less waste than the average tea plant. Also, since matcha is powdered and whisked into the water instead of steeped, there is less waste because you don’t have to throw out the unused tea leaves when you’re finished steeping and there are no tea bags to be tossed away either.
Of course, no crop is going to be one hundred percent eco-friendly and sustainable across the board. The growers need to maintain proper sustainable business practices to keep crops healthy and whole and maintain the sustainability expectation.
Trying to find a guilt-free tea can be difficult to do, but Matcha Outlet is proud to offer Japanese organic matcha powder through our store. The sweet, slightly grassy notes of the matcha offer both a delicious drink and the security that you’re enjoying an eco-friendly cup of tea.
Matcha Outlet also offers wholesale purchasing which lends itself to being more sustainable. Purchasing matcha wholesale reduces the amount of packaging being used, reduces the supplies and fuel needed to send the matcha to its destination, and reduces the amount of labor needed to get everything packaged and ready to go. If you’re a cafe or business owner that prides itself on sustainability and are interested in adding matcha to your menu, then purchasing matcha wholesale is the way to go.
If you’re interested in purchasing matcha to try for yourself, whether it be for the health benefits of matcha or because you’re wanting to be more environmentally conscious, then check out our Japanese organic matcha powder here!