How do You Calculate Your Carbon Footprint?

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  • Written By: J.S. Metzker Erdemir
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2019
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A carbon footprint is a metaphorical representation of the amount of greenhouse gas a person produces in his or her lifetime. The size of a person’s carbon footprint represents the weight of the carbon dioxide produced by his or her energy and food consumption. Greenhouse gas causes global warming because it traps heat in our atmosphere, resulting in global climate change. When you calculate your carbon footprint, you are meant to become more aware of the permanent damage you leave on the Earth’s ecology through your daily activities and consumption.

In general, you calculate your carbon footprint in two parts. The primary footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas you produce yourself. This includes energy used for public and private transportation and home temperature control. The secondary footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas that was created in the production of items you use, such as food and drinks, clothing, building materials, and public services.

In the UK in 2006, the Carbon Trust introduced the idea of carbon footprint labeling on products, called Carbon Reduction Labels. Switzerland and Japan followed with similar initiatives in 2008. The labels help you calculate your carbon footprint by showing the amount of greenhouse gas created in producing the items, including harvesting and shipping of raw materials, manufacture, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Carbon footprint labeling is designed to help consumers reduce their carbon footprints by making informed decisions about the products they buy.


In the US, a typical person produces around 20 tons of carbon dioxide per year, while a typical person the UK produces 10 tons. In most developed countries, 15% of each person’s carbon footprint comes from home gas, oil, and coal consumption, and another 12% is from personal electricity use. Air and ground transportation make up another 19%. The remaining 54% is the secondary carbon use for the things that person bought and consumed.

When you calculate your carbon footprint, you can look at ways of reducing it. For example, a fuel efficient car will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and you can lower your home carbon emissions by using energy-saving light bulbs and appliances, by turning off lights and appliances that are not in use, or by reducing the heater and hot water temperatures by a few degrees. Buying local produce and products, unprocessed foods, and items that aren’t over-packaged means that less greenhouse gas was created for manufacture, shipping, and distribution.


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Post 3

Another sustainable option that helps decrease your carbon footprint Heavanet is to use as few products that come in plastic as possible. Most plastics do not break down easily in landfill, which makes them horrible for the environment.

Post 2

There are many easy things you can do to decrease your carbon footprint. Recycle as many materials as possible, find multiple uses for items when you can instead of throwing them away, and use sustainable and natural products when you can find them. It doesn't have to be major life changes but smart choices that will help sustain the environment and the earth for future generations.

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