Climate Change

5 ways your supermarket can stop harming the planet

As the first major supermarket has trialled packaging-free food, these are the steps needed to progress in the right direction. Image: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/Illustration

Alison Stowell

Writer, Lancaster University

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 Mean estimates of energy used relative to actual energy used. The red fitted line depicts the relationship between the actual energy consumed throughout the life cycle of 19 foods (x axis) and the estimates provided by Study 1A participants (y axis). The blue fitted line depicts the relationship between the actual energy used of 18 electrical appliances (x axis) and the estimates provided by Study 1A participants (y axis). Accurate estimates would produce a set of points that fall along the grey 45° line. As shown, participants (n= 518) underestimated the energy consumption of all foods and almost all appliances (with the exception of compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs, laptop computers and DVD players). The underestimation was greater for foods than for appliances. Note that all estimates are expressed in terms of energy units and participants were told that a 100 W incandescent light bulb turned on for 1 h uses 100 energy units. All data are logged. The error bars represent the standard error of the mean.

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