What is the carbon footprint?
The carbon footprint is a term for “the total greenhouse gas emissions either by an individual or a group”. These greenhouse gasses include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gasses. These gasses trap heat in the atmosphere and thus will cause global warming. And by reducing these GHG emissions, we can control global warming. If you want to calculate your carbon footprint, you can use this carbon footprint calculator.
Tips to reduce your carbon footprint
Here are a few simple tips you can use to reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Drive less
You can reduce your carbon footprint by less driving and also by avoiding the use of less eco-friendly vehicles. About 74% of GHG emissions are contributed by road transport. The aviation industry adds 12% of CO2 emissions. You can try to use bicycles instead of cars. Public transportation can also be another option and it is economical too. You can walk on foot too if the distances are short. It could work as a physical exercise for you too.
2. Lesser meat consumption
The production and transportation of meat and dairy products cause 14% of GHG emissions in the US only. Transporting the food requires petroleum-based fuels, and many fertilizers are also fossil fuel-based. Beef consumption is an indirect source of GHG emissions. Switching to vegetables or lesser meat consumption can reduce GHG emissions. The resources used for raising cows include farms and transportation facilities. These farms are made by cleaning the forests which are the major contributors to sustaining the Earth’s ecosystem.
Recycling is very important. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 75% of waste is recyclables and only 10% of it is recycled. The waste is either dumped in landfills or incinerated. Incinerating a single milligram of municipal waste produces 0.7-1.2mg of carbon dioxide. As for the waste dumped in landfills or discarded in open areas, they are also producing GHGs, especially methane. This methane can be used for energy production just like using biogas reactor technology, but it is released into the environment as a waste increasing the temperature of our planet.
4. Sustainable shopping
In the past couple of decades and even now, the shopping bags we use to carry our stuff in, are made of plastic. And most of the stuff we purchase, like electronics, kitchenware, shampoo bottles, toothpaste tube, almost everything has some percentage of carbon in their composition. Instead of purchasing such stuff, you can switch to buying eco-friendly products. A huge number of eco-friendly products are now available in the market like bamboo toothbrushes, wooden combs, wooden plates, cotton bags, etc.
5. Adopt minimalist lifestyle
The minimalist lifestyle is the winner of the solutions for reducing carbon footprint. Adapting to the minimalist lifestyle includes decluttering your life and managing your space only for the stuff you need. It not only reduces your carbon footprint but also helps you to reduce stress and improve your focus. According to a survey, minimalists tend to live happier as compared to others. This could be because they have to worry about less stuff and it is easy to organize that stuff.
6. Avoid using single-use plastic
In 2018, 150 million tons of single-use plastic were produced which caused the release of 750 million tons of carbon. The single-use plastic is the culprit which keeps increasing the waste on the planet by 3% each year. Avoiding its use can decrease your carbon footprint by 2%. Instead of using single-use plastics, you may use either reusable plastic or using the wooden or cotton stuff instead is an even better option.
7. Reducing home energy’s carbon footprint
Choosing your energy appliances wisely can play a huge role in reducing your carbon footprint. Using solar panels instead of fuel-based generators can reduce your carbon footprint; as a residential solar panel system is capable of fulfilling the electricity needs of an entire home with about 80% lower carbon emissions than fossil fuels. Moreover, electrical appliances like bulbs, fans, ACs, TVs, laptops, etc. should be more energy efficient. Now, many companies are working on creating eco-friendly appliances. Using them can reduce your carbon footprint largely.
Companies producing green technology
A sample of companies, from the Computer Review database, who are producing eco-friendly technology or the technology which monitors the environment.
1. Frontier Impact Group
Climate solutions advisory and investment firm that commercializes technology with high social, environmental, and economic impact.
2. Global Surface Intelligence Limited
Global Surface offers satellite data analytics for forest monitoring and other earth observation services.
3. Redwood Materials, Inc.
It does research and development for renewable energy, electric vehicles, and sustainable materials that power the future.
4. Intelex Technologies Inc.
Intelex Technologies Inc. is a world leader in environmental, health, safety, and quality (EHSQ) management software.
5. enVerid Systems, Inc.
enVerid develops energy-saving products that deliver healthier air quality.
6. Tarragona Water Consortium
Tarragona Water Consortium is a public entity that captures water from Ebro river inflows for orderly distribution.
7. Maithri Aquatech
Maithri AquaTech is an industry leader in drinking water purification and manufacturer of atmospheric water generators.
eLichens enables individuals to monitor the air and environment quality impacting their health and well-being.
9. G6 Materials (formerly Graphene 3D Lab)
It is one of the leading global developers of innovative graphene-based solutions, focusing on applying graphene to the air purification market.
10. WIPO GREEN
It is an interactive marketplace that connects technology and service providers with those seeking innovative solutions, was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2013.
By using these top 7 tips, one can reduce their individual and household carbon footprint to a significant level, and thus, play their role in sustaining a healthy planet for their upcoming generations.