Seitan can help save the earth

Part 3: Sustainability and Seitan

Seitan is the superhero of sustainable eating, using minimal resources while providing high protein nutritionally packed meals. When compared to animal farming, seitan uses less land, water, and energy. If you’ve ever wandered through a wheat field, you’ve probably seen how ultra-efficient these gluten gardens are. 
Limited resources

“Agriculture accounts for 92% of the freshwater footprint of humanity; almost one third relates to animal products.”

Humans use less water to produce edible plants than we use to produce meat. Bartleby’s makes handcrafted seitan, and seitan is primarily vital wheat gluten. Stylistically, our southern fried seitan is a replacement for fried chicken. A kilogram of chicken meat requires 4,325 liters of water to produce. A kilogram of wheat, by comparison, requires about 1,500 liters of water to produce. It’s safe to say that Bartleby’s is saving way more water than its meat-serving competitors. 
When examining the impact of meat consumption, the other major factors are land use and carbon footprint.

Globally, livestock pastures take up more than double the land that crops do.” 

Plant-based agriculture produces more food on less land. Livestock require extra space to roam and graze, and pound-for-pound produce less edible protein than plants.  A 2017 report from the Humane Party used data collected from the USDA to determine that “plant-based agriculture grows 512% more pounds of food than animal-based agriculture on 69% of the mass of land that animal-based agriculture uses.”

Equally dramatic is the difference in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Producing one tonne of chicken meat generates 6,900 kilograms of CO2. Producing one tonne of wheat releases 200 kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere ―that’s less than 3% of the carbon footprint of chicken.
Finding more places to make better choices
The way Bartleby’s Food makes seitan also has an impact on the environment. All of our packaging materials are 100% biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable (depending on the item). The packaging we use is made from recycled materials. The shipping boxes have 100% compostable insulation made by GreenCell with a recyclable (or reusable!) box.
A little goes a long way
In late 2018, the World Resources Institute published a lengthy report on “Creating a Sustainable Food Future,” which includes analyses of the environmental impacts of our current diets and agriculture practices, and predictions on how to change those practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Calculations show that if global consumers swapped out 30% of the ruminant meat they ate (that’s mainly beef, lamb, and goat), they could close the GHG mitigation gap by half. In other words, swapping out only about a third of your meat consumption for a plant-based alternative would greatly reduce our collective carbon footprint. So each of you gluten goblins needs to do your part to eat well and raise hell.
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