It turns out that cheeseburger you’re eating comes with a penalty, and not just when it comes to cholesterol.
A new opinion piece in The New York Times looks at the environmental costs of the fast food industry and, in terms of carbon footprint disease costs, and other factors, they’re quite high.
Mark Bittman argues that, while the average cheeseburger costs $4.49, factoring in external costs not represented by that price raises it anywhere from 68 cents to $2.90. Those added costs are related to the fallout from fast food.
Dealing with the carbon footprint of the fast-food industry is estimated to add 53 cents, while health costs stemming from increased obesity rates adds about 48 cents.
However, those are just costs that can be calculated. Other factors, such as increased nitrate levels in water sources and the economic effects of the gap between the cost of living and meager wages for fast-food workers, are harder to quantify.
In other words, the food industry presents artificially-low prices to consumers, while sweeping a host of related fiscal and social costs under the proverbial rug.