Is Eating Limes Ethical & Sustainable? Here Are the Facts
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ? You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts. Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click. But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend. First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide. And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you. And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you. When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it. When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you). And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself. You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money. Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go. Stay impactful,
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Hey fellow impactful ninja ?
You may have noticed that Impactful Ninja is all about providing helpful information to make a positive impact on the world and society. And that we love to link back to where we found all the information for each of our posts.
Most of these links are informational-based for you to check out their primary sources with one click.
But some of these links are so-called "affiliate links" to products that we recommend.
First and foremost, because we believe that they add value to you. For example, when we wrote a post about the environmental impact of long showers, we came across an EPA recommendation to use WaterSense showerheads. So we linked to where you can find them. Or, for many of our posts, we also link to our favorite books on that topic so that you can get a much more holistic overview than one single blog post could provide.
And when there is an affiliate program for these products, we sign up for it. For example, as Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.
First, and most importantly, we still only recommend products that we believe add value for you.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission - but at no additional costs to you.
And when you buy something through a link that is not an affiliate link, we won’t receive any commission but we’ll still be happy to have helped you.
When we find products that we believe add value to you and the seller has an affiliate program, we sign up for it.
When you buy something through one of our affiliate links, we may earn a small commission (at no extra costs to you).
And at this point in time, all money is reinvested in sharing the most helpful content with you. This includes all operating costs for running this site and the content creation itself.
You may have noticed by the way Impactful Ninja is operated that money is not the driving factor behind it. It is a passion project of mine and I love to share helpful information with you to make a positive impact on the world and society. However, it's a project in that I invest a lot of time and also quite some money.
Eventually, my dream is to one day turn this passion project into my full-time job and provide even more helpful information. But that's still a long time to go.
Limes are a very popular fruit with over 23.5 million tons produced every single year. They are commonly used in desserts like key lime pie and even classic cocktails. Limes pack a health punch too, containing a healthy amount of vitamin C and antioxidants. But there can also be some unethical and unsustainable qualities to the production and farming of limes. So we had to ask: Is eating limes ethical and sustainable?
Eating limes is somewhat unethical. The industry has been involved in wage theft accusations, as well as reports of child and forced labor in Turkey and Belize. However, the US lime industry has no such reports.
Eating limes is very unsustainable. This is mainly because they use nitrogen fertilizers, excessive pesticides, and plastic packaging. The industry also contributes to deforestation and groundwater pollution. However, they have a very low carbon footprint.
In this article, we will assess both the ethical and sustainability practices of the lime industry. Through these two lenses, you will be able to gain in-depth knowledge of the overall impacts of the limes that you eat!
Here’s How We Assessed the Ethics & Sustainability of Limes
The Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) is one of the ways we measure the externalities of our actions, like the consumption of limes. It is a holistic assessment based on the potential impact of food and agriculture operations on the environment and people. Those impacts are changes in our environment that can have adverse effects on the air, land, water, fish, and wildlife or the inhabitants of the ecosystem.
“Ethical: The discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad and morally right and wrong”Encyclopedia Britannica
Ethics and sustainability are closely interconnected concepts that share a common objective: the well-being and preservation of our planet, including all its life and future generations.
“Sustainable: The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level | Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”Oxford Dictionary
Basically, all goods and services you buy—including limes—leave an impact on people, animals, and our environment. And when it comes to food in general—and limes in specific—the following are key factors for their ethics and sustainability:
- Social and economic conditions: The ethics of food crucially depends on the social and economic conditions of the farmers who grow them. Especially on fair labor practices, including fair wages and safe working conditions.
- Seasonality: Eating seasonally is a lever of sustainability. The two key reasons are that seasonal food is more likely grown in their “natural growing season” without using greenhouses, and also more likely to be grown locally.
- Land requirements: Large parts of the world that were once covered by forests and wildlands are now used for agriculture. 10 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually and 50% of the world’s habitable land is now used for agriculture. This loss of natural habitat has been the main driver for reducing the world’s biodiversity.
- Water footprint: 70% of global freshwater is now used for agricultural purposes. By assessing the water footprint of a particular food, we can determine how our limited freshwater resources are being consumed and polluted.
- Pesticide and fertilizer usage: Pesticides and fertilizers provide a range of agricultural benefits. However, numerous studies link pesticides and fertilizers to serious effects on human health, along with disruptions to vital ecosystems and the spread of aquatic dead zones.
- Carbon footprint: The carbon footprint is one of the ways we measure the effects of our human-induced global climate change. Today, food production accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Waste generation: Food and its packaging account for almost 45% of the materials landfilled in the US alone. And packaging sent to landfills, especially when made from plastics, does not degrade quickly or, in some cases, at all.
To understand the overall ethics and sustainability of limes, we must assess each of their key factors. This Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) is a tool developed for assessing the impact of food and agriculture operations on the environment and people. And this tool helps us to evaluate whether eating limes is ethical & sustainable.
Here’s How Ethical & Sustainable Eating Limes Is
The overall ethics & sustainability of limes is very bad. The main factors that contribute to this are the industry’s participation in wage theft, agrochemical use (particularly nitrogen fertilizer), the use of plastic packaging, and high irrigation requirements.
There are many positive qualities to limes when it comes to ethics and sustainability. For one, the industry isn’t involved in any major reports of child or forced labor within the US. They also have a very low carbon footprint and can be grown within the US when they’re in-season.
So, let’s have a look at the ethics & sustainability impact of each key factor of limes!
|Key Assessment Factors
|Ethics & Sustainability
|Social and economic conditions of limes
|Limes’ social and economic conditions are moderately bad. Though they can make wages approaching a living wage, the industry is involved in cartels in Mexico, which increases the risk of worker exploitation.
|Seasonality of limes
|Limes’ seasonality is from March to August. During this time, they can be grown in the US, but outside of this period they are grown in Mexico.
|Land requirements for limes
|Limes’ land requirements are moderate. However, their participation in rainforest destruction is very unsustainable.
|Water footprint of limes
|Limes have a moderate water requirement of 50 inches per year. However, the regions they grow in have low rainfall. So, they require a significant amount of irrigation. Furthermore, their pesticide use is damaging to surrounding water sources.
|Agrochemical usage for limes
|Limes’ agrochemical usage is very high. They use considerable pesticides, as well as nitrogen fertilizer, which is very unsustainable.
|Carbon footprint of limes
|The carbon footprint of limes is low at 0.18kg (0.39lb) of CO2e per pound of limes. This is mainly caused by their irrigation requirements, high use of pesticides, plastic packaging, mechanized harvesting methods, and refrigerated transportation from Mexico.
|Waste generation of limes
|Limes’ waste generation is fairly high. This is because they use both plastic and cardboard packaging and have low composting rates.
These are the overall summaries, but there is a lot more to the story. In the next few sections, we will dive deeper into each stage to illustrate to you all the important aspects of limes’ ethics & sustainability.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Social and Economic Conditions for Limes
Limes’ social and economic conditions are moderately bad. Though they can make wages approaching a living wage, the industry is involved in cartels in Mexico, which increases the risk of worker exploitation.
Everything we consume was made or harvested by somebody. In past centuries, this was often someone who lived in your community and who you might have even known personally. But through the rise of globalized distribution systems, we have become increasingly alienated from the people who make our food. This leaves a lot of room for exploitation and abuse, both of which are rampant in the food industry. Here, we will look at how the lime industry fares in relation to these ethical questions.
How ethical & sustainable are the social and economic conditions of growing limes?
- Are farmers paid fair wages to grow limes: Citrus pickers in the US earn on average around $21,000 per year. However, the cost of living in the US is estimated to be around $27,000 per year. Therefore, citrus pickers in the US make below what is considered a livable wage.
- How safe are the working conditions to grow limes: Picking citrus comes with a multitude of dangers. One is falling from ladders, which can cause serious injuries. Limes also use a significant amount of pesticides, which are very hazardous to employees because they can cause illness.
- Are there reports of child or forced labor to grow limes: There are no major reports of child or forced labor within the lime industry in the US. However, there are some reports of these things in Belize and Turkey.
- What is the wider economic impact on the communities that grow limes: The Mexican lime industry has historically had issues with cartels. Many lime farms are controlled or involved with cartels, which can bring increased violence into the surrounding communities.
In short, the lime industry’s participation in Mexico’s cartels means that some of their dealings may be somewhat unethical.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Seasonality for Limes
Limes’ seasonality is from March to August. During this time, they can be grown in the US, but outside of this period they are grown in Mexico.
Every fruit has a natural season in which they grow, usually lasting a couple of months, which can range depending on the region. However, international demand for every kind of fruit is year-round. This demand is often met by importing fruits from tropical places which can grow year-round, or by growing them in greenhouses. Both of these methods use more resources and are thus less sustainable than conventional farming. Here, we will look at how the lime industry accommodates year-round demand.
How ethical & sustainable is it to grow limes in-season vs out-of-season?
- When is the natural season for growing and harvesting limes: Limes have a relatively long season between March and August. Limes are more likely to be produced in the US during this period.
- How are limes naturally grown in-season: Limes are grown on trees in orchards. They are typically grown in Florida when they are grown in the US in-season.
- How are limes grown out-of-season: When limes are out-of-season, they almost always come from Mexico. This means that out-of-season limes will be significantly less sustainable than in-season limes.
In short, limes are relatively sustainable when in-season because they can be grown in the US. However, out of season, they need to be imported from Mexico, making them a less sustainable choice.
How Ethical & Sustainable Are the Land Requirements for Limes
Limes’ land requirements are moderate. However, their participation in rainforest destruction is very unsustainable.
The growth stage has a major impact on fruits’ sustainability. The amount of land used, especially in relation to its expansion, the method with which they are grown, and their effect on surrounding land and wildlife are all important factors. In this section, we will look at the ways in which limes’ land usage affects their sustainability.
How ethical & sustainable are the land requirements for growing limes?
- What is the land usage of limes: Limes yield around 25 tons per hectare. This is a fairly average yield amongst fruits. For example, pineapples yield up to 100 tons per hectare, whereas watermelons yield around 2–3 tons per hectare.
- Where and how are limes grown: Limes are mainly produced in India, Mexico, and Brazil. They are grown on trees in orchards. Trees in general are excellent at carbon sequestering, a process by which plants capture carbon from the atmosphere and trap it in the ground. This lowers their carbon footprint and thus makes them more sustainable. However, limes are also grown in monocultures. This farming method is a growing threat to biodiversity and thus is unsustainable.
- How does the growing of limes affect soil fertility and erosion: Citrus orchards have been identified as major contributors to soil erosion. A 2021 study found that citrus orchards had an 80% chance of disrupting soil beyond legal limits. Because of this high chance of eroding soil, lime agriculture is very unsustainable at this stage.
- How does the limes industry affect the loss of habitable land: Citrus production is often carried out on former rainforest land, especially in Brazil. Using rainforest land for agriculture contributes to deforestation and often depletes the soil of nutrients. Many rainforest citrus farms are transformed into cattle fields after a few years because the soil becomes too barren to be suitable for agriculture. Loss of habitable and fertile land is a significant aspect of limes’ unsustainability.
- How does the limes industry affect wildlife and biodiversity: Monoculture farming has a devastating effect on biodiversity. Planting only one crop reduces pollination seasons and starves pollinators like bees and butterflies. This affects the whole food chain. Deforestation in places like the rainforest also leads to habitat loss for local wildlife. Agriculture is the leading cause of habitat loss and habitat loss is the leading cause of endangered species. Many aspects of lime and other citrus agriculture negatively impacts wildlife.
In short, limes’ tendency to grow on deforested rainforest lands has a devastating impact on biodiversity, land fertility, and wildlife and is thus very unsustainable.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Water Footprint of Limes
Limes have a moderate water requirement of 50 inches per year. However, the regions they grow in have low rainfall. So, they require a significant amount of irrigation. Furthermore, their pesticide use is damaging to surrounding water sources.
Water usage is one of the most important factors in a fruit’s sustainability. Practices like irrigation use significant resources and can cause pollution, and as such, factors like the amount of water used, where it is sourced, as well as the way they affect the water sources around them, are all important. Here, we will look at these different angles of limes’ water footprint.
How ethical & sustainable is the water footprint of growing limes?
- What is the overall water usage of limes: Limes need around 50 inches of water a year. This water requirement is low-average amongst fruits. For example, some fruits like watermelons require up to 100 inches of water per year.
- What is the green water footprint of limes: The green water footprint is the amount of water from precipitation stored in the soil and used by plants for growth. Most limes consumed in the US come from Mexico. Mexico only gets around 28 inches of rain per year. This means that limes will be getting around half of their water requirements from irrigation. However, for several months of the year, limes are commonly farmed in Florida, which gets around 53.7 inches of rain a year, giving them a more favorable green water footprint.
- What is the blue water footprint of limes: The blue water footprint is the amount of water sourced from surface (such as rivers or lakes) or groundwater resources. Since the average yearly rainfall of Mexico nowhere near covers limes’ water requirements, limes typically need irrigation. Irrigation can have a harmful impact on the surrounding area, often leading to groundwater imbalances and sometimes oversalinating nearby lands.
- What is the gray water footprint of limes: The gray water footprint is the amount of freshwater required to clean up water pollution to meet certain quality standards. Essentially, it’s the amount of water needed to make polluted water clean enough to be safe and healthy for humans and the environment. Limes have high agrochemical usage. This means that a significant amount of water needs to be used in order to clean up their pesticide residues.
- How does the limes industry affect freshwater and ocean pollution: Because limes’ use of agrochemicals is generally high, they have a very negative impact on waterways. These chemicals easily get into groundwater and freshwater sources, and in turn poison many different types of aquatic life.
In short, limes’ high irrigation requirements, as well as their high pesticide usage means that they have a very high water footprint.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Agrochemical Usage for Limes
Limes’ agrochemical usage is very high. They use considerable pesticides, as well as nitrogen fertilizer, which is very unsustainable.
Pesticides and fertilizers are agrochemicals that are very unsustainable and damaging to ecosystems. This is because they require resources to create and can easily run off into groundwater and soil systems. Here, we will look at how sustainable limes’ pesticide and fertilizer rates really are.
How ethical & sustainable is the agrochemical usage of growing limes?
- What is the pesticide usage of limes: Limes use a significant amount of pesticides, particularly fungicides. Pesticides not only have adverse effects on groundwater, but they can also impact wildlife, insect populations, and soil microbes.
- What is the fertilizer usage of limes: Limes and other fruits tend to be fertilized with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Potassium has fairly minimal pollution. Nitrogen fertilizers, however, have very unsustainable qualities, such as the release of nitrous oxide and the damage caused to waterways.
- Are there any known issues connected to the agrochemical usage for limes: The particular fungicides used by limes and many other citrus fruits have been known to affect hormones. These chemicals have also been identified as carcinogens and can be harmful to humans and animals alike. Nitrogen fertilizer causes a number of environmental problems, such as promoting invasive algae growth which damages biodiversity.
In short, limes’ high pesticide use, as well as their need for harmful nitrogen fertilizers means that their agrochemical impact is very negative.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Carbon Footprint of Limes
The carbon footprint of limes is low at 0.18kg (0.39lb) of CO2e per pound of limes. This is mainly caused by their irrigation requirements, high use of pesticides, plastic packaging, mechanized harvesting methods, and refrigerated transportation from Mexico.
Carbon footprint is one aspect of the overall sustainability of a fruit. It essentially measures how much carbon or other greenhouse gasses the production of fruits emits into the atmosphere. Emissions from product manufacturing, irrigation, transportation fuel, and landfills all add up to create the overall carbon footprint of a fruit. Let’s see how the carbon footprint of limes contributes to their overall sustainability.
How ethical & sustainable is the carbon footprint of limes?
- What is the overall carbon footprint of limes: The overall carbon footprint of limes is 0.18kg (0.39lb) of CO2e per pound of limes. This means that for every pound of limes produced, 0.18kg of carbon is released into the atmosphere. This is a fairly low carbon footprint compared with other fruits.
- What are the main contributors to the carbon footprint of limes: The main factors that contribute to this are the use of pesticides and irrigation, as well as refrigerated transportation, plastic packaging, and low composting rates.
- Which life-cycle stage of limes has the highest carbon footprint: The stage that contributes the most to limes’ carbon footprint is growth. This is because of the significant amount of resources limes need at this stage, caused by their long growth duration, irrigation requirements, and high pesticide use. Both pesticides and irrigation have high carbon footprints.
In short, despite some of the carbon-emitting resources allocated to limes, they still maintain a below-average carbon footprint amongst fruits.
How Ethical & Sustainable Is the Waste Generation of Limes
Limes’ waste generation is fairly high. This is because they use both plastic and cardboard packaging and have low composting rates.
When fruit waste, either in the form of packaging or organic materials, is disposed of, it can cause a lot of problems. Whether it’s damaging wildlife, getting into oceans, emitting methane, or dissolving into microplastics that contaminate groundwater, all these materials have their part to play. The sheer amount of waste we produce is reaching a crisis point and won’t be able to continue much longer. In this section, we will look at how sustainable limes’ waste generation is.
How ethical & sustainable is the waste generation of limes?
- What is the packaging of limes: Limes are generally transported in wooden or cardboard crates. Both wood and cardboard production contribute to (often illegal) deforestation in their production. Limes are also occasionally packaged in plastic nets at the consumer level. Plastic is an even worse sustainability offender during its production process, using fossil fuels and causing pollution. All of these packaging methods amount to limes having a high packaging footprint.
- How is the packaging of limes disposed of: Limes use wood, cardboard, and plastic in their packaging. These materials all have different kinds of disposal. Wood and cardboard have very high recycling rates, both at around 90%. These materials are also organic and therefore biodegradable, meaning that both scrap cardboard and wood chips can be used in compost. Plastic, on the other hand, has a very low recycling rate of around 9%. Thus, most plastic is ending up in landfills, or even in oceans, where it causes environmental havoc. Plastic also breaks down into microplastics, which get into soil and water, and can even end up in food.
- How are limes disposed of: Limes have peels that aren’t generally consumed. They can be composted, but rates of food waste actually being composted are very low at around 4%. As a result, most food waste ends up in landfills. Landfills are generally unsustainable, but food waste takes it a step further by generating methane when it is put in landfills.
In short, limes’ use of plastic packaging, as well as low composting rates means that they are fairly unsustainable at this stage.
What Have Been Historical Ethics & Sustainability Issues Connected to the Limes Industry
The lime industry has historically had a harmful effect on people and the environment. Their main offenses over the years include wage theft, desertification, harmful pesticide pollution, and plastic pollution.
All fruits have had a complex road toward global distribution. They originate in one part of the world and often travel far to end up in your local supermarket. From farm to table, some of our favorite fruits have used unsustainable practices. Whether it’s exploiting labor, deforestation to meet demand, water pollution, or disruption of wildlife, most fruits have left a path of destruction. Many of these effects are still felt today or have even increased. Let’s see how limes have fared throughout history.
What have been the key ethical & sustainable issues of the lime industry?
- Has labor been exploited because of limes production: The lime industry has been accused of wage theft by workers. For example, on one occasion, migrant workers sued their employers after receiving only $5 an hour as opposed to the $7.66 they were promised.
- How much land has been lost because of lime production: Lime farming has caused desertification in some areas, especially former rainforest lands. Desertification is the process by which agriculture depletes lands of nutrients and makes it no longer suitable to sustain life. However, limes are also being used to combat desertification. For example, in 2022, a group of Indian farmers used organic lime tree agriculture to help restore previously depleted lands. So while limes can be part of the problem, they can also be part of the solution.
- Which wildlife species have been negatively impacted or displaced because of lime production: Citrus farming is identified as having a minor, though not negligible, impact on habitat loss in tropical regions. Habitat loss is the biggest contributor to species becoming endangered and wildlife and biodiversity loss in general. Many endangered rainforest species, including jaguars, giant otters, and toucans, have been negatively affected by rainforest deforestation caused by agriculture.
- Have water sources and soil been contaminated because of limes production: Limes have historically had high pesticide, particularly fungicide use. These substances have polluted water and soil considerably. A 2020 study found that 10–25% of water sources were contaminated with at least one pesticide.
- Other known historical issues: Lime and citrus production has been involved in several scandals. Notably, a 2021 report revealed that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was sued for failing to regulate certain pesticides used on citrus fruit, namely the often-banned antibiotic streptomycin. The prosecution reportedly argued that streptomycin was a threat to soil and water sources.
- Other known historical issues: Limes use plastic packaging. Plastic is one of the most damaging substances to the environment, particularly oceans. In a 2023 report, CNN stated that there were to date more than 170 trillion plastic particles in the ocean, weighing around 2.3 million tons. They also estimated that this number could more than double by 2040. Though the majority of this is from discarded fishing nets, plastic packaging, such as limes use, still plays a major role.
In short, limes have harmed workers and the environment considerably over the years, particularly through wage theft, the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers, and the creation of desertification areas.
How Can You Reduce Your Environmental Impact and Offset Your Personal Carbon Footprint
There are a few things you can do to make your lime consumption more ethical and sustainable, while still enjoying them. You can also consider offsetting your personal and lime-related carbon emissions, which work to remove carbon emissions elsewhere that are then attributed to you. Here, we will walk you through how to accomplish both of these things.
How Can You Shop for Limes More Ethically & Sustainably
In this section, we give you a short list of ways you can consume limes in a more sustainable way. This list is designed to target the most unsustainable parts of limes’ life-cycle:
- Buy unpackaged limes: Plastic nets used to package limes contribute significantly to landfills and ocean plastic. Therefore, opting to buy loose limes without these nets can help you raise the sustainability of your lime consumption considerably.
- Buy organic limes: Pesticides are a majorly unsustainable aspect of lime agriculture, and so you should try to cut down on these as much as possible. Organic farms commit to avoiding chemicals. If you try to buy limes from organic farms, you will thus be greatly reducing all the environmental damage that pesticides can cause. You will also be avoiding one of the biggest work hazards in agriculture, which is pesticides.
- Compost lime peels: Food waste ending up in landfills is very unsustainable. If you make the effort to compost your lime peels, then you will avoid them ending up in landfills. If your city doesn’t provide composting, you can consider creating your own.
- Use lime peels: If you don’t want to compost, you can also consider using the whole lime so nothing goes to waste. Lime zest is a popular ingredient in baking and cocktails. You can even make lime peels into candy!
Following some of these methods can really help you to make your lime-eating more sustainable. None of these will completely eradicate the negative impacts, since there are always effects that may be outside of your control. But some reduction is always better than nothing!
Which Organizations Can You Support to Help Promote Ethics & Sustainability
While lime production engages in some very unsustainable practices, there are also some organizations that help you change the parts of these processes that would otherwise be outside of your control. These organizations are working hard to prevent and reverse damage to the environment caused by industries like lime agriculture, towards a more sustainable future.
In the table below are some of the best charities that work in the areas where lime production are very unsustainable—and beyond:
Though it is helpful to boost the sustainability of your personal lime consumption, supporting these organizations takes your positive impact a step further. You will be reaching far beyond your own consumption impacts and helping to build a better world for everyone!
How Can You Offset Your Personal Carbon Footprint
The carbon footprint is a key part of how sustainable we live. And it is one of the ways we measure the effects of our human-induced global climate change. Yes, even from eating limes!
“Carbon footprint: the amount of greenhouse gasses and specifically carbon dioxide emitted by something (such as a person’s activities or a product’s manufacture and transport) during a given period”Merriam Webster
Basically, it is the amount of carbon emitted by you as an individual or an organization providing you with goods and services – including limes:
- This includes GHG emissions from producing the products that we use and foods that we eat (e.g., power plants, factories or farms, and landfills)
- GHG emissions from fuel that we burn directly or indirectly (e.g., logistics and transportation, cooling or heating facilities),
- as well as the GHG emissions attributed to how we consume these products and foods.
Carbon offsets are reductions in carbon emissions that are used to compensate for carbon emissions occurring elsewhere – for example for the carbon emissions that are associated with limes. They are measured in tons of CO2 equivalents and are bought and sold through international brokers, online retailers, and trading platforms on what is known as the global carbon offset market.
“Carbon Offset: a way for a company or person to reduce the level of carbon dioxide for which they are responsible by paying money to a company that works to reduce the total amount produced in the world, for example by planting trees”Oxford Dictionary
In terms of limes – and indeed all food types – there will always be a carbon footprint, because of the resources it takes to get your food from farms to the place where you’ll eventually eat them. And while there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint when shopping for limes, carbon offsets would be a way to reduce your CO2e emissions all the way down to net zero (or even to become climate positive).
However, when you purchase carbon offsets, it’s important that they actually make a difference in offsetting (aka reducing) total carbon emissions. To achieve that, the following are key criteria:
- Carbon offset projects have to be effective (different projects have different effectiveness rates)
- Carbon offset projects have to be additional
- Carbon offset projects have to be permanent
- The claims from carbon offset projects have to be verifiable
To find the best carbon offsets for you personally, check out our full guide on the best carbon offsets for individuals, where you’ll also learn more about how these carbon offset projects work, what their respective offsetting costs are, and what your best way would be to offset your own carbon emissions.
Limes are a great garnish for drinks and ingredient in baking, but they come at a fairly high environmental and human cost. Their use of pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers, as well as plastic packaging are very unsustainable. Their reports of wage theft and low pay are some of their ethical concerns. However, by changing your consumption habits, as well as supporting organizations dedicated to reversing and preventing these effects, you can become a much more responsible lime consumer!
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- BBC Good Food: Key Lime Pie
- A Couple Cooks: Lime Cocktails
- Healthline: Lime Nutrition
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- Plantly: Lime Tree Care
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Limes
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- Numbeo: Cost of Living USA
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- Verite: Citrus
- The Guardian: Mexico Lime Shortages
- Twisted Citrus: The Best Limes
- EDIS: Lime Production
- Agritech: Acid Lime
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Pineapples
- Impactful Ninja: What is the Carbon Footprint of Watermelons
- USDA: Fresh Market Limes
- Garden: Where Do Limes Grow
- Agrifarming: Lime Farming
- Woodland Trust: How Trees Capture and Store Carbon
- Sweets On Groves: Limes
- EOS: Monoculture Farming Explained
- Science Direct: A Systematic Review of Soil Erosion in Citrus
- Rainforests: The Impact of Agriculture in the Rainforest
- WWF: Mechanized Agriculture
- Telegraph: Avocado and Citrus Fruit Production
- Greenpeace: Agribusiness and Deforestation
- WWF: Impact of Habitat Loss on Species
- Water Footprint Network: What Is a Water Footprint?
- Climate Knowledge Portal: Mexico
- National Geographic: Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Modifications
- EWG: Hormone-Disrupting Fungicides Found on Most Citrus Fruit
- Science Direct: Towards Understanding the Impact of Pesticides on Freshwater
- SN Applied Sciences Journal: Worldwide pesticide usage and its impacts on ecosystem
- Pubmed: Pesticide Residues Survey in Citrus Fruits
- USGS: Pesticides in Groundwater
- GOV.BC: Environmental Protection and Pesticides
- Agriculture: Using Fertilizers and Manure in Citrus
- Direct Farm: Potassium
- Mitsui: Reducing the Environmental Impact of Chemical Fertilizers
- EPA: The Issue With Nitrogen
- TIS: Limes
- The Spruce Eats: All About Limes
- EPA: Reducing the Impact of Wasted Food
- Daltons: Lime Tree Fruiting.
- Pesticide.org: Pesticides and the Climate Crisis
- Science Direct: Energy and Carbon Footprints of Irrigation
- WWF: Timber Industry
- TRVST: Environmental Impact of Cardboard
- Biological Diversity: The Plastic Production Problem
- Circular Online: Statistics Indicate How Far the Wood Recycling Sector Has Come
- Also Known As: 12 Interesting Facts About Packaging Waste
- Allotment: Using Paper and Cardboard in Compost
- Help Me Compost: Composting Wood Chips
- National Geographic: Plastic Pollution
- UNEP How Tiny Plastic Particles are Polluting our Soil
- Colorado: The Hidden Damage of Landfills
- Tampa Bay: Migrant Workers Sue Citrus Company
- Iberdrola: Desertification
- Euronews: Farmers in India Are Fighting Climate Change and Desertification Using Natural Agriculture
- BES Journals: The Impacts of Tropical Agriculture on Biodiversity
- Plant Your Future: 6 Species Threatened by Deforestation in the Amazon
- Europa: Pesticides in Rivers, Lakes, and Groundwater
- Cidrap: EPA Sued Over Streptomycin Use in Citrus Trees
- CNN: More Than 170 Trillion Plastic Particles Found in the Ocean.
- The Guardian: Dumped Fishing Gear is Biggest Polluter in the Ocean
- The Guardian: Plastic Packaging Increases Fresh Food Waste
- Our World in Data: Global greenhouse gas emissions from food production
- Our World in Data: The environmental impacts of food and agriculture
- Earth Easy: Composting
- Baking Mad: Iced Lime Tray Bake
- Diffordsguide: Cocktails
- Martha Stewart: Candied Lime Peel
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Climate Change Terms
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Advance Ethics Worldwide
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Promote Sustainability
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Help Farmers
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight to Protect our Environment
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Reforestation
- Impactful Ninja: Best Wildlife Conservation Charities
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Protecting the Amazon Rainforest
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight for Clean Water
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Help Conserve Our Rivers
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities to Save Our Oceans
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Helping Farm Animals
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities for Climate Change
- Impactful Ninja: Best Carbon Offsets for Individuals
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight to Reduce Food Waste
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Fight to End Plastic Pollution
- Impactful Ninja: Best Charities That Promote Recycling
- Impactful Ninja: Why Is a Carbon Footprint Bad for the Environment?
- Impactful Ninja: Best Carbon Offsets for Individuals