Make Carbon Count
A guide to our carbon label, a nutrition label for the Earth.
There’s a lot that happens to get that salad to your bowl—like a lot, a lot. And we care a lot, a lot. That’s why we made an entire page about it.
Next to every item on our menu, you’ll see its estimated greenhouse gas emissions. That means it’s the environmental impact of growing, producing, and transporting that item to your plate. Since there are a lot of different gasses that go into all that (hey, cow farts), we use a comparable measurement called Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (CO2e). This number lets you compare the environmental impact of a carrot to a chicken. Amazing, right?
We call it a Carbon Label. It’s just like a nutrition label, but for the planet.
Why did we start carbon labeling our menu?
Because we can’t do this without you. 26% of global carbon emissions are created by the food system, fueled largely by our everyday choices. Fortunately, Eating for the Earth doesn’t mean giving up great food.
We believe that the next step in fighting the climate crisis is transparency and traceability. That’s why we’re labeling the carbon footprint of every item on our menu and highlighting climate-smart menu options.
How to Read a Carbon Label
On orderjustsalad.com you will now see carbon labels displayed beneath the menu item, in units of kg CO2e.
What is kg CO2e?
This stands for “kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent”. Carbon dioxide (CO2) accounts for most human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But there are other greenhouse gases, so these are converted into the common unit CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).
Does the carbon label include dressings?
Carbon footprint labels on in-store menu boards include the item's recommended dressing.
On orderjustsalad.com and the Just Salad app, the carbon labels you see on the main menu do not include dressings. Once you click on an item, its suggested dressing is automatically added, along with its emissions.
For example, on the main menu, the carbon label for Tokyo Supergreens with Tofu is 0.28 CO2e. When you click on it, you'll see the the carbon footprint (under Nutrition Facts) has increased to 0.36 kg CO2e to reflect the suggested dressing, Miso Ginger Vinaigrette. If you'd like to change the dressing, simply de-select Miso Ginger Vinaigrette and choose another one. The carbon footprint will update automatically.
How much CO2e should I budget for my diet each day?
While there isn’t an established dietary “allowance” for greenhouse gas emissions, trying to reduce your own daily emissions and keeping it below that of the average American diet is a good start.
Today the average carbon footprint of the typical American diet is 4.7 kg CO2e per person per day. Lucky for you, we keep our greenhouse gas emissions pretty low around here. Our menu average is around 0.80 kg CO2e.
How did Just Salad estimate the carbon footprint of its menu?
The short answer: We add up the estimated emissions of each ingredient in a menu item based on total portion size in weight. We also update our carbon footprint estimates when suppliers or ingredients change. Learn about our methodology and update process here.
If you're wondering why some items have higher footprints than others, keep in mind that certain ingredients have more energy-intensive growing and production methods. For example, fruits and vegetables tend to be lower emitters, while animal products are higher. The emissions from transporting food to our stores also have an influence, though transportation generally accounts for less than 10% of a food’s overall carbon footprint.
Eat for the Earth today with our Climatarian menu.