Now I have to give credit to Kent at www.ecounit.com for inspiring my blog tonight. He asked if I knew of a tool that could help calculate the carbon footprint of every day items (like receipts). So I began my search about an hour ago and here is what I have found. There are many carbon calculators on the internet and they all measure something different. I’m not sure of the science and mathmatics behind the calculations (don’t worry I’m going to be researching this as well) but I have to say there are a lot of numbers involved in calculating your carbon footprint. For instance, do you know the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger? It’s actually quite interesting to read the article; but beware it is long and complex. They take into account the farming, processing and transportation to get the cheeseburger on our plates. Did you know that Americans eat an average of three cheeseburgers a week? The environmental impact of meat in general is very high. This is why people like Green Mom Finds are challenging readers to go a whole week with no meat. Can you do it? My best friend is a vegetarian and it’s really not that hard. I tried it in college but it only lasted for about six months.
So back to discussing carbon footprints, specifically with regard to the paper receipt. I couldn’t find (not in the last hour, I’m not giving up) the actual calculation of the carbon footprint of the paper receipt but I did find some interesting information. Apple offers customers the option to receive an email receipt in luei of the paper receipt we commonly get from retailers. I have actually seen this at gas stations. Everytime I fill up my car (not very often since I work from home) the automatic teller asks me if I want to print my receipt. I always say NO, unless I need the receipt for a business expense report. If everyone opted out of the paper receipts at the gas pump can you imaging the impact we could make? Honestly, does anyone keep them unless it is for business? And other retailers are hopping on board according to the Green Wombat (see Apple article), I’ve yet to see it in action though.
One last rant for the night, what is your carbon footprint? We are a typical family of three living in a 1550 square foot house in Florida. Now, we are a little greener than some. We do recycle as often as possible. We don’t run the A/C or heat unless we absolutely have to (because we’re cheap!). I am daily making changes to our life style to decrease our carbon footprint. According to the Nature Conservancy our household carbon footprint is 63 tons of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas emissions). We are below the United States average of 80 tons of carbon dioxide but greatly above the World average of only 17. My goal for 2008 is to reduce that number significantly. I’ll update you monthly on our carbon footprint and see if our little steps are actually working.
I want to know from you, my readers, what is your carbon footprint? Be sure to use the same carbon calculator to be sure we are all consistent. Leave your footprint in the comments.
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