Is it time to ban the burger?
Is it time to ban the burger? Contributed

POLL: Would you give up fast food to save the planet?

A MACCAS run or cheeky Nandos may seem harmless, but the cost of convenience might add up to more than you think.

With millions of fast-food meals bought each day, ecologist Associate Professor Andy Le Brocque has asked if a burger ban save the planet?'

"Food accounts for almost half of Australia's ecological footprint," he said.

"That includes production, packaging, storing, transport and cooking as well as consumption and waste."

Would you give up fast food to reduce landfill and save the planet?

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About 40 per cent of that impact relates to discretionary foods, which are non-essential, energy dense and nutrient poor.

"All those burgers and chips add up when you consider what is necessary to get it to your front door - and I don't just mean your UberEats driver," Prof Le Brocque said.

Professor Le Brocque is an expert in biodiversity and sustainability based at the University of Southern Queensland.

He presented his research at the Diversity in Agriculture session of the Pint of Science Festival in Toowoomba on Wednesday night.

The international event invited researchers to talk about their work with an audience curious about the world, sharing an insight into research happening right here on the Darling Downs.

Associate Professor Le Brocque said a ban on fast food may be an impossible ask, but highlighted the massive impact the food industry had on the environment.

"The livestock sector alone contributes to about 15per cent of global total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, with almost half of this coming from cattle burping," Prof Le Brocque said.

"One hamburger weighing about 220g produces between 3.4-4.8 kg of greenhouse gas emissions when taking into account a full life-cycle analysis."

He said everyone could take positive action to lower the environmental impacts of food waste.

"Australians discard about 20per cent of the all the food they buy, with fast-food waste accounting for 7per cent of Australia's total waste.

"Globally, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, food waste is responsible for 8per cent of GHG emissions."



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