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  • Writer's pictureWayne Drury

Circularity - To Beef or Not to Beef

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

Is going meatless the best for your health? An argument for using circularity to evaluate the health and environmental benefits compared to eating beef.


We are told, sometimes scolded, into believing we have to cut back on beef and eat plant-based substitutes. But information is now coming out that it may not be the best for our health.

The Linear Approach to Decision-Making

We have listened to the arguments of cows producing immense amounts of greenhouse gas. If we stop eating beef, the assumption goes that the number of cows needed will go down and so will the production of the greenhouse gas. All sounds pretty straight forward up to this point, and convincing. Along with this, nearly half of consumers think meatless meat is more nutritious. But if you are concerned about your health, you may want to look at this issue through the lens of a circular economy.

Circular Economy

In contrast to linear thinking that going meatless must be good for you, through the lens of the circular economy, you are “forced” to look at all aspects of the issue from “idea” to popping the meatless meat in your mouth.

The conclusion could include an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions through the lifecycle, how to reduce and handle packaging, and health benefits of meat versus meatless. In a circular economy, little is left to chance – it is a mindset as much as a system for evaluation towards doing the world a world of good. At the extreme, what would be the benefit to people if meatless diets make people sick, putting additional stress on our health care system?

Does that make us more efficient, more profitable, more sustainable?

Like Buyer Beware, Beware of What We Eat

In a recent article, Plant-Based Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy,[1] the Impossible Burger, an impressive meat-free mix of soy, potato proteins, coconut and sunflower oils has a calorie count and saturated fat levels that mirror a McDonald’s quarter-pounder, but with six times more sodium. Sound healthy?

On the run to take advantage of the “sustainable hype”, the global market for plant-based meat is projected to explode to $85 billion USD by 2030 and grocery stores are taking note featuring an array of burgers, sausages, nuggets, ground meat and seafood options all without any trace of animal products.[2]

What’s the Nutritional Benefit?

I am not going to bore you with the intimate detail, but if you wish to look at the information, I recommend the article, Plant-Based Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy. In the study leading up to the article, they modeled the outcome of replacing bacon, chicken, beef burgers and ice cream with animal-free versions and found significant problems. All issues that could have been identified by looking at the potential replacement through a circularity lens.


Just because it’s made from plants, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. And this can be all-confusing for the consumer – one of the issues that can be addressed by looking at issues from “start to finish” through a circular lens.

Sustainable Circular Economy -Who Are We?

At Sustainable Circular Economy, we see discussion about how we are going to get to true sustainability as critical, or all the commitments just become questionable to languish on paper when the people who made them are long gone, and we are left holding the bag.

We are 100 percent supportive of establishing goals to reduce our global carbon footprint and helping companies and individuals to do their part. Our business is helping to do the world a world of good by offering a pathway through the circular economy principled upon people, the planet and profit.

Together we can do this, but it will take knowing what is required, and discussion and commitment about how we are going to get there considering the people, the planet and profit – the basis for the circular economy.

Let’s have the discussions. Ask the questions and if you wish to know how to get there in your business, call us at Sustainable Circular Economy. We offer a free consultation to discuss how we can help you seize an era of opportunity and innovation in the new environmental landscape.

Call us today before your competitor calls us.

Best Wishesd

Sustainable Circular Economy

Vancouver, Canada

+1 604 788 7261

[1] The Conversation (21 January, 2022). Plant-Based Doesn’t Always Mean Healthy Accessed 24 08 22

[2] Ibid.

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