Cow milk (N. America)

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This is an incomplete assessment. The following life cycle stages may be missing:
 Usage  End-of-Life 

Cow milk (N. America)
Carbon Footprint
GHG Emissions Facts
Per one liter
Total:1.34 kg CO₂e
1,340 gCO₂e
Source: systematic review[1]

Cow milk (N. America) refers to the milk, sold in North America, from dairy cows. The environmental impact information on this page includes greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that result from the materials, production, packaging, and transport life cycle stages. It doesn't include the GHG emissions from retail sale and consumer transport, storage, cooking, and disposal. The mean carbon footprint or GHG emissions, attributed to the product life-cycle stages from material production to distribution, are 1.34 kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per liter.[1]

The main source for this environmental impact information is a systematic literature review published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. The environmental impact information for cow milk was obtained from 19 global warming potential (GWP) values published in 11 life cycle assessment (LCA) studies. The GWP values for cow milk had a median of 1.16 kg CO2e. These GWP ranged from 0.94 to 2.06 and had a standard deviation of 0.4.[1]

Other products

The table below lists products in the milk category with the lowest total GHG emissions.

Carbon footprints of similar products
Product Total (kg CO2e)
Almond milk (1 L) 0.42
Coconut milk (1 L) 0.42
Soy milk (1 L) 0.88
Cow milk (AU,NZ) (1 L) 1.19

See also

  • Milk - comparison of the GHG emissions from milk and milk substitutes.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 S.J. Clune, E. Crossin, K. Verghese. Systematic review of greenhouse gas emissions for different fresh food categories. J. Clean. Prod., 140 (Part 2) (2016), pp. 766–783