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Meat & The Environment

Calculator and Comparison Facts

In 2015, MorningStar Farms® worked with Quantis, leaders in life cycle assessment consulting, to conduct a study comparing the environmental impact of veggie meals, meat-containing meals, and some of our own products across water use, greenhouse gas emission and land use. With that data we created the Veg Effect Calculator so that everyone can see the good their veggie meal can create.

Choose the number of meals with meat you'd swap for veggie meals each week.
Now, imagine what could happen if more people made this swap. What a difference we could make!
You + 4 Friends
An Average US City
An Average US State
The Whole US
Based on US Adults Only
See your results
If you ate this way for 1 year, you could make this amazingly Earth-friendly environmental impact*:
gallons of water saved
car miles of greenhouse gas emissions saved
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That’s enough water for 201 average showers. Lather, veg, repeat.
Oh dear. If that many people chose veggies that often, it would literally change agriculture as we know it, so we can’t calculate what the impact would be. But hey, way to be optimistic!

*The actual environmental impacts will vary depending on various factors, including the source of the food and other overall dietary choices. Click here for lifecycle assessment and see below for comparison facts.

Thousands are represented in K, millions are represented in M, billions are represented in B and trillions are represented in T.


Choosing veggie meals over meals with meat can result in some big time resource savings. To make those savings more relatable, we’ve equated them to things you might recognize, like a parking space, or Niagara Falls or the moon. To find out how we define these comparisons, see the links below.


We based our Life Cycle Assessment on data from adults 18+ only, so all of our impact data reflects only the adults of a given population. Here’s how we got to those adult population numbers.

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U.S. - 245,201,076.

We used the 2014 estimated population figure from the Census Bureau and subtracted their 23.1% under 18 estimated population.

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Average State - 4,770,175.

We averaged the 18+ populations from each US state provided by the Census.

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Average City - 124,839.

We averaged the populations of every US city with over 50,000 residents and then subtracted the nationwide under 18 ratio of 23.1%.


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The EPA defines an average American shower as 8 minutes long using 18 gallons of water.

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Load of Laundry

The U.S. Geological Survey claims most newer washing machines require around 25 gallons of water per load.

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Daily Water Use (individual)

The Blue Planet Network cites US water consumption at 176 gallons a day.

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Lap Pool

SwimEx estimates traditional single lane lap pool volume at 8,900 to 10,000 gallons, or 9,450 gallons.

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Capitol Rotunda lists the volume of the Rotunda at 1.3 million cubic feet, or 9.7 million gallons.

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Niagara Falls

The American side of Niagara Falls dumps 150,000 gallons a second, or 540 million gallons an hour.

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Golf Courses

The US Golf Association states that their sponsored courses (16,797 in all) use more than 2.08 trillion gallons of water, collectively, per day.

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Daily Water Use (nationwide)

The American Water Works Association estimates the monthly US water consumption at 3.9 trillion gallons, which comes to roughly 130 billion gallons a day.


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Via a chart describing the mean orbital distance of the International Space Station over the last year, we found that the average ISS orbit distance to be 249 miles above the ground.

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The Texas Almanac measures the longest straight line from east to west across at Texas at 773 miles.

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Distance between LA to NYC

Google Maps measures the distance from Los Angeles to NYC. as 2777 miles.
See on Google Maps

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To the Moon and Back

The distance traveled in a trip "to the moon and back" is equal to twice the distance of the moon from the earth (238,800 miles), plus one half the circumference of the moon (6,784 miles) - 484,384 miles. This is because a space craft would generally rely on the gravity of the moon to sling shot it back to Earth.

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Universe Today makes mention of the longest and smallest distances from the Earth to Mars. We're using the closest expected approach with Mars in 2016, at 46.8 million miles.

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Saturn defines the furthest and nearest distances between Saturn and Earth. We averaged the two to arrive at 873,000,000 miles.

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US Miles per Week

The US Dept. of Transportation estimates 60.5 trillion miles are travelled each week by all US drivers combined.


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Parking Space

The Dept. of Tranportation lists standard parking space dimensions as 20 ft by 8 ft, or 160 square feet.

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Tennis Court

The area of a regulation tennis court is 78 ft by 36 ft, or 2,808 square feet, including doubles lanes.

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Size of Central Park

Central Park’s website states the Parks land mass is measured to be 843 acres or 36,721,080 square feet.

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National Mall and Parks

The National Park Conservancy Association lists the National Mall and Memorial Parks at "over 43,560,000 square feet."

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New World states that Manhattan's land mass is measured to be 640,088,000 square feet.

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Rhode Island

Rhode Island's .gov website lists the "area" of the entire state, including waterways, at 33,844,000,000 square feet.