Carbon footprint of Soylent 1.0 production?


I know the concept of carbon footprint can lead to some fuzzy math, but it would be interesting to calculate CO2 emissions, land area used, etc. compared to traditional food.

My suspicion is that it would be in the same range as potatoes or wheat. Anyone care to venture an educated guess?


This is something I’ve been wanting to know, but only the guys at Soylent have the knowledge to even begin to calculate this. I suspect, however, it’ll be higher than “traditional” foods (which could mean anything). There’s many times more processing and ingredients in Soylent than many of the food items I can think of.

Are you comparing to fruits and veggies which come from sources that actually reduce carbon in the atmosphere? Because we probably don’t have to calculate anything to know that Soylent has a higher footprint than those.

Or do you compare to meats from farm animals? Which animals? Cows have a much higher carbon footprint than chickens. Cows wouldn’t be traditional food in India, but traditional in Japan. Or do you compare to a typical meal consisting of all food groups? Again, typical by whose standards?

Fuzzy math would be right, and it’d also probably be someone’s full time job for a few months; someone at Soylent who could contact all their suppliers and research manufacturing processes, byproducts, shipping routes, customer locations, etc etc etc.


There has been some talk of using algae to grow some of the ingredients that aren’t mine-able (proteins, sugars, etc). If they do switch to an algae source, its possible that the carbon footprint of Soylent would be either very low, or actually need CO2 in order to operate.


Ha! Food as a major carbon sink, I love it.

Based on the current formulation, I’d probably peg it somewhere between veggies and meat, esp. cattle, though closer to veggies than meat.


CO2 footprint isn’t the only lmportant varible. Water needed to produce the final product is too :slight_smile: specially if it’s going to have a big impact on the 3rd world in the future.


Would love to know this as well, but guess it’s hard to figure out w/o knowing exactly where all the ingridients from the product originally came from.


The majority of Soylent ingredients are Oats, Corn, Rice. I imagine you could find those numbers without too much work, but you need to know how much of each is needed to produce a specific amount of Soylent. The other ingredients are going to be much more difficult to figure.

I think @rob has talked about this but they weren’t sure exactly how in depth they should be looking.


Yes, I’m interested in this, too. It was being discussed last November on this thread, but haven’t seen anything recent.


Every time I drink soylent I burn a tree just to make sure I’m not messing up my carbon footprint.

Although I think it’s messing with my sarcasm signal emitter.


I’ve started noticing how much food my wife throws out. I think the point about how much food just goes bad on the store shelves as well as sitting in your house. Soylent should be a big win there.


Yeah, that joke was barely funny ten years ago.