The "horse meat" scandal and in particular the story how Romanian horses landed up on UK supermarket shelves got me thinking. Where does everything I purchase actually come from? To find out I kept details of everything I purchased for a whole week. I then mapped it.
It was certainly more complicated than I thought. In the first instance I mapped the location of the point of purchase, e.g. BP Garage, M&S, Amazon. From the packaging for each product I them mapped the place it came from. SO for example I had bananas from Costa Rica, carrots from Suffolk, plastic pipe from China. Other than knowing the Country of origin it proved almost impossible to narrow it down to a specific location. Even a few hours of internet searches and some investigation didn't reveal any further information.
A further complexity is understanding the supply chain back to the raw materials and also the packaging and distribution channels to get the product to my house. I guess without extensive co-operation from everyone in the supply chain it is pretty much impossible to work out. A further parameter I tried to build in was the carbon content of everything I purchased. Clearly energy supply would be the highest but without hard facts I couldn't take this any further.
The resulting map is below and can found on the link to the right.