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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 00:46 GMT
Carbon cost of Christmas dinner
Christmas lunch
Some ingredients are imported from across the world
A carbon footprint equivalent to 6,000 car journeys around the world will be produced by the UK tucking into Christmas dinner, researchers say.

It is claimed the UK's love of the traditional turkey dinner will generate 51,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Academics calculated the production, processing and transportation costs of the festive ingredients.

The Manchester researchers estimate a dinner for eight generates 20kg (44lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions.

They arrived at the total emissions figure by assuming one third of the UK population eats a typical Christmas meal.

Methane emissions

Project leader professor Adisa Azapagic, from the University of Manchester, said: "Food production and processing are responsible for three quarters of the total carbon footprint, with the largest proportion - 60% - being related to the life cycle of the turkey.

"All stages in the supply chain have been considered, including raising the turkey, growing the vegetables, food storage, consumer shopping, cooking the meal at home and waste management.

"This includes the emissions of carbon dioxide due to energy consumption along the turkey supply chain and the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide generated due to the agricultural activities to raise the turkey."

The cranberry sauce alone, normally imported from North America, contributes half the carbon footprint related to transport.



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