Do Carbonated Beverages Have an Impact on Emissions?

Have you ever opened a can of soda and thought to yourself, where does the carbon in this drink go? If so, you can rest easy knowing that the environmental impact of carbonated beverages is extremely low.

In reality, carbonated beverages actually take excess carbon dioxide from other industries. Thus, instead of going into the atmosphere, it ends up in your drink. So what does this mean for emissions?

Well, the carbon is just being moved from one location to another.

As a result, your can rest easy knowing that companies are not just making carbon for the sake of your favorite soft drink.

Does the Carbon Go to the Artmosphere?

Carbonated Beverage

To actually answer the question, yes, the carbon from opening a can of soda actually does go into the atmosphere.

Before you grab your pitchforks, carbonated beverages contribute 0.001% of all global emissions. While every little bit matters, in this case, it really doesn’t because of how these companies acquire the carbon they use.

The carbon in your drink comes from power plants and other industries. It is then purified to make it safe for consumption before it is bottled (or canned). If it wasn’t captured for this purpose, it would be in our atmosphere anyway.

Thus, you can snap those cans open and not have a guilty conscience. Although, do make sure to look at the amount of sugar on the back.

This Process Has Helped Speed Up Innovations In Carbon Capture Technology

Carbon capture technology is a big part of how the world will combat climate change. And it doesn’t even really exist yet.

At least not at the capacity needed.

But regardless, it is expected to play a huge role in achieving net-zero emissions and beyond. And since the carbonated beverage industry is worth over 400 billion dollars, there’s a lot of pressure to capture the fizz in our drinks.

This isn’t just for soda either, as sparkling water has taken the world by storm.

As carbonated drinks become more popular, more carbon is necessary. And many companies are rising to the task. Creating carbon-capture technology that can produce food-grade carbon is booming.

One of the biggest players is Climeworks, which is teaming up with the Coca-Cola company.

Does That Mean Carbonated Beverages Are A Good Thing?

From a pure emissions standpoint, opening a can of soda isn’t going to make a difference, but that doesn’t mean they are innocent.

Creating that can or bottle you are opening, well, that has a carbon footprint. And when you consider the number of cans and plastic bottles that end up in the ocean, they have a huge impact. Yet, that’s not necessarily the fault of the companies.

The truth is people just don’t throw away their own trash correctly. Beverage cans can be recycled and reused, yet, most companies don’t use high levels of recyclable material yet. And that might be because the recycling infrastructure is terrible in most places.

While carbonated beverages are not totally innocent, they are having a positive impact on the technological front and ultimately contribute very little to total emissions.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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