Fast Food: Environmental Hazard

Fast Food: Environmental Hazard
I’m hoping the title does not come as a surprise. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy surprises and only suspected it a little, I apologise for the spoiler: fast food is, indeed, harmful for the environment. We’ve approached a part of the subject, in the past, through the industrialization of meat and talked about its consequences on our climate from a broader point of view. You can have a look at it over here.


It is most unfortunate that fast food has become part of our lives, so now it’s more important than ever to completely understand what the legitimate fuss is all about. We’ve established, based on scientific proof, that the meat industry is accelerating climate change, but we’ve mainly talked about production. Let’s dig a bit more into it:

Packaging and Wrapping 

Not so long ago, to prevent the grease from food from leaking out, fast food packaging had toxic compounds such as perfluoroalkyl. Besides being bad for the environment, after breaking down in our body it could increase the risk of cancer and liver problems. They’ve taken care of this situation but, guess what, there are still a lot of PFAS (man-made chemicals) being used on these worldwide single-use products. 

It goes without saying that littering goes hand-to-hand with this additional and unnecessary problem. These restaurants have left their presence all over earth's land and oceans through wrappers, straws, and bags composed of Styrofoam, which takes about 900 years to break down!

With plastic representing 80% of litter pollution, it is a fact that the fast-food industry dominates this field (40%), contaminating the environment with their long-living products, harming humans, animals and ocean life in the process.

 Restaurant Emissions

The Food Carbon Footprint generated by chains of fast-food restaurants is another serious issue. The industry has become so successful that it keeps on growing, and so do their harmful emissions. The process of grilling itself releases twice as much particulate matter into the air per year as truck and factory emissions! The moment these contaminants become airborne, which they are by definition, they’re one of the most dangerous pollutants. In addition to these, grilling fast food also releases into the environment grease, heat, smoke and combustion products.

According to research, another astounding fact is that when cooking four normal-sized hamburgers, the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds that are generated is equal to the amount a car generates after driving 1609 kilometres! I know, it really is unbelievable when we think about it on a larger scale.


We can conclude that even after these industries reach their consumers, a huge amount of the collateral damage occurs afterwards. Not only does it have a tremendous overall negative impact on nature, but on our bodies as well. Let’s not act before it’s too late and stop feeding these industries while practising a sustainable diet!

The health effects of fast food on the human body is something we would like to share with you in the near future so, as always, stay tuned!