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Home/ Library / Apples


Guideline: How to pick the most environmentally friendly apple with a few simple tricks

Making the right decision which product ends up in your cart can be challenging these days. I will show you how, by giving you some easy tips & tricks!

Focusing on the CO2 footprint there is an easy way to pick the right apple when you are in the supermarket which I will let you know at the end of this article. On the way to this conclusion I will lead you through the reasons.

There are only two easy questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. Which month is it?
  2. Where was the apple produced?

Some basic requirements:

All of the following assumptions will be related to germany. The footprint of an apple produced in New Zealand is lower if you purchase it in New Zealand than it would be in Canada of course. An average apple weighs 181,6 grams and has a CO2 footprint of 118g CO2e. The weather in Germany is around the average temperature during the year.

The apple harvest in Germany is between August and the end of October. In this time it will always be better for the environment to buy apples which were produced in your region. The issue is getting a little more complicated from November on. Although you can still buy regional apples into April, they must be stored permanently at a temperature of four degrees Celsius. Due to the refrigeration caused CO2 will surpass the transportation caused emissions about two and a half months after the harvest.

Let’s get back to the two deciding questions from the beginning:

  1. Which month is it?
  2. Where was the apple produced?

Between August and December:

You only need to check if the apples were produced in your region. Between January and May: You should have a look where the apple was produced. If there is a possibility to purchase an apple from a country with a longer harvest period in Europe, go for this. If there is only the choice between an apple from the other side of the globe or a regional one which was stored for months it’s up to you. Even if there is a difference in the footprint it will be so trivial that you can choose the one that you prefer. Some apples might taste a little mealy after months of storage.

Between May and August:

For climate protection reasons it’s always better to purchase an apple which was shipped than stored.

Even better:
Buy such things like rhubarb and berries which are the earliest fruits to be harvested in the year. Their season starts in April.

For apples the best solution is to have an apple tree in your backyard and store the fruits as long as possible in the coldest room of the house (e.g. basement)!