Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The "Greenest" Orange Juice

At, Brendan Koerner writes:

I like to start my day with a glass of orange juice. I've always used the fresh-tasting juice from the carton, as opposed to those frozen crystals you have to mix with water. Is my preference eco-hostile? Those cartons contain fewer servings per cubic inch of packaging than the aluminum freezer canisters. That results in lots more fuel being expended during the trip to market, right?
Yikes! Are the green enthusiasts going to give us a guilt trip for drinking OJ that isn't frozen concentrate? Don't worry . . .

In the end, not-from-concentrate orange juice sold by the carton comes out slightly ahead of frozen OJ sold by the canister in terms of energy use. As a green consumer, your worst choice would be to buy juice that's been rehydrated by the supplier, then placed in cartons (such as Minute Maid Original).
But fresh-squeezed OJ doesn't fare so well in Koerner's green analysis:

What about squeezing your own OJ? Keep in mind that, unless you live in Florida or California (the nation's No. 2 orange producer), chances are those Valencias traveled a long, long way to get to your grocery aisle. And transporting enough oranges to yield six servings of juice requires nine times more cardboard waste than transporting a 12-ounce canister of FCOJ.

The juice industry also claims that its manufacturing process is much more efficient than drinking squeeze-your-own, since factories waste no part of the orange: The rinds are turned into cattle feed, the oils into food flavorings.

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