Just about everything you do, use or consume in everyday life has a carbon footprint.
What we’ve done is put together a guide of common everyday things, products and foods, and considered what their general carbon footprint might look like.
(NOTE: many of these footprint estimates are direct carbon emissions. Indirect carbon emissions also contribute to the total carbon footprint of something)
Summary – Carbon Footprint Of Everyday Things
Energy & Electricity Production
According to some estimates …
Coal, gas, oil, diesel and fuel cells as energy sources produce the most emissions
Solar PV, geothermal, hydropower, offshore wind, nuclear and onshore wind produce the least emissions
Biomass and bioenergy can vary
But, note that there is a carbon footprint for both the construction, and operation phases, and sometimes the decommissioning stage of electricity production too
Nuclear, solar, wind, and hydroelectric sometimes release no CO2 when they are in operation
There’s various forms of transport – road (private vehicles, and delivery/freight), air, rail, water, and so on.
Emissions are usually measured in CO2e per mile, or per kilometre for different types of vehicles.
Emissions can also be measured in C02e per passenger distance travelled (so if you have 4 people in a car compared to 1, that is obviously more efficient per mile as the emissions average out over the 4 people who share the vehicle).
But, there is the operational emissions, as well as the manufacture of the vehicle to consider.
Overall, 86% of a regular passenger car’s emissions are from burning fuel (with the remainder from manufacture)
Note that the type of fuel used (regular petroleum vs diesel for example), fuel consumption efficiency, type of vehicle, capability of the vehicle and other factors can all have an impact on emissions. The same can be said for aircrafts – there are different factors and variables that ultimately determine each aircraft’s emission rate
For Air travel, short distance flights have a higher CO2e per kilometre emission rate than long distance flights
For Road travel, passenger vehicles have a lower carbon emission rate than trucks, and hybrid electric passenger cars have a lower carbon emission rate than conventional passenger cars (running on gasoline or diesel). A gallon of diesel produces more emissions than a gallon of gasoline by about 10-20%, but diesel tends to have better fuel efficiency overall
Rail emissions per passenger kilometer can differ from country to country, and depending on whether the rail is electrified or not
For sea transport, the carbon intensity can depend on what knot ferry or ship is being used
Total emissions from a vehicle category can be assessed
Cars and light trucks produced around 17% of the total US greenhouse gas emissions in 2016 – so, they are transport sector
Passenger cars, light duty trucks and medium or heavy duty trucks emit around 83% of transportation greenhouse gases. Commercial aircrafts (7%), rail, ships and boats, motorcycles and buses and other transportation make up the rest
Electric vehicles have no emissions in operation, but, the production of electricity has a carbon footprint, and this footprint depends on what energy source is used
Calculating the carbon footprint of a PHEV vehicle can vary and can be more complicated
A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle emits on water vapor, but, like an electric vehicle, it needs an energy source to make the hydrogen. This energy source has a carbon footprint
Regular gasoline generally emits less than diesel per gallon, but diesel can have more BTU (british thermal units) per gallon
Transport related emission can be highly individual. For example, everyone drives a different amount of miles per week – some far more, some far less. Additionally, when using electric vehicles, some live in cities with very green electricity grids, whilst others live in cities with majority fossil fuel electricity grids. All these variables play a part.
Diets high in animal meat (beef and lamb in particular), processed food and animal based products like dairy tend to have higher carbon footprints than vegetarian based diets
Some meats like chicken tend to have a lower carbon footprint than other meats like beef, lamb, and pork (and larger animals)
The farming method of livestock can change the carbon footprint significantly too though
Seafood tends to have a lower carbon footprint than land raised livestock (but ocean caught and fish farmed seafood can differ in their footprints, and different fishing methods can change footprints)
Vegetarian diets tend to have a lower carbon footprint than animal meat and seafood diets
Vegan diets tend to have the lowest carbon footprints overall
Having said that, food carbon footprints are highly specific – some vegetables and fruits for example are very water and resource hungry. Additionally, the soil, climate, average rainfall, resources used (fertilizer and pesticides), and the specifics of the place where they are grown and the farmer’s preferences can all play a role.
Food can also have it’s carbon footprint measured in different ways – per gram of protein produced, per calorie produced, per dollar of economic value produced, overall diet, and so on
The energy source used for electricity in a household can affect the carbon footprint of that electricity usage (coal, renewable energy, and so on)
Appliances that used the most power tend to have higher carbon footprints, such as refrigerators and freezers
Dryers, ovens, electric cooktops and big TV’s tend to be the other appliances with the biggest carbon footprints in the house on a raw basis (not taking into account how efficiently you are using them, or how long you use them each for)
Family pets can have a surprisingly large carbon footprint – especially dogs and cats with mostly meat diets. Pets also emit greenhouse gases from bodily gases
Cotton has one of the highest carbon dioxide equivalent emissions footprints per kilo of textile
In terms of energy used in production in Gigajoules per tonne, Aluminum is the leader by far (about 3 x that of stainless steel), followed by Stainless Steel (about 3 x that of steel), and then steel and glass.
You can see the carbon footprints of other common everyday things in the guide below
*With carbon footprints, CO2e stands for CO2 equivalent, and is a way of being able to combine all greenhouse gases into one number
* Note that each carbon footprint study can produce different data based on how the study is conducted and the variables involved. General trends and patterns can be observed though across all studies. But, a carbon footprint isn’t a 100% accurate representation of the carbon emissions of a product or service because of factors such as a lack of in depth knowledge of a process, or a lack of in depth data. It’s a guide or indicator.
Carbon Footprint Of Energy Generation, & Electricity Production
Electricity production is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas and carbon emissions (along with transport).
It is usually measured in CO2e per kilowatt for different methods of energy generation
According to some estimates, coal, gas, oil, diesel and fuel cell produce the most emissions.
Solar PV, geothermal, hydropower, offshore wind, nuclear and onshore wind produce the least emissions.
Biomass can vary
- For each kilowatt hour generated in the U.S., an average of 0.954 pounds of CO2 is released at the power plant.
- Coal releases 2.2 pounds, petroleum releases 2.0 pounds, and natural gas releases 0.9 pounds.
- Nuclear, solar, wind, and hydroelectric release no CO2 when they produce electricity, but emissions are released during upstream production activities (e.g., solar cells, nuclear fuels, cement production).
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, each energy source over it’s lifetime (from manufacture to disposal) has the following emission footprint (measured in C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated):
- Nuclear – 4 grammes of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e/kWh)
- Solar – 6gCO2e/kWh (6 grammes of CO2 equivalent)
- Wind – 4gCO2e/kWh
- Gas – 78gCO2e/kWh
- Hydro – 97gCO2e/kWh
- Bioenergy – 98gCO2e/kWh
- Coal – 109gCO2e/kWh
It’s interesting to note that the global average target for a 2C world in 2050 is 15gCO2e/kWh.
Energy Generation In General
Carbon Footprint Of Solar Panels
- [You have to account for manufacture of solar panels]
- A panel made in China, for example, costs nearly double the greenhouse-gas emissions of one made in Europe
- It was found that solar panels made today are responsible, on average, for around 20 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of energy they produce over their lifetime (estimated as 30 years, regardless of when a panel was manufactured)
- That is down from 400-500 grams in 1975
- As more solar panels are made and technology is improved – they become more efficient
- The best solar technology in the sunniest location has a footprint of 3gCO2/kWh, some seven times lower than the worst solar technology in the worst location (21gCO2/kWh)
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, the carbon footprint for solar over it’s lifetime in terms of C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated will be:
- Solar – 6gCO2e/kWh (6 grammes of CO2 equivalent)
NOTE: Factories churning out solar panels use large amounts of electricity, often sourced from coal-fired power stations in China
Carbon Footprint Of Wind Turbines
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, the carbon footprint for wind over it’s lifetime in terms of C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated will be:
- Wind – 4gCO2e/kWh (4 grammes of CO2 equivalent)
NOTE: Wind turbines need a lot of steel and concrete – which has a carbon footprint to make
Carbon Footprint Of Nuclear Energy
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, the carbon footprint for nuclear over it’s lifetime in terms of C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated will be:
- Nuclear – 4gCO2e/kWh (4 grammes of CO2 equivalent)
NOTE: Nuclear plants need a lot of steel and concrete. And the centrifuges that separate nuclear fuel also rack up a big electricity bill.
Carbon Footprint Of Gas
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, the carbon footprint for gas over it’s lifetime in terms of C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated will be:
- Gas – 78gCO2e/kWh
Carbon Footprint Of Hydroelectricity
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, the carbon footprint for hydro over it’s lifetime in terms of C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated will be:
- Hydro – 97gCO2e/kWh
Carbon Footprint Of Bioenergy
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, the carbon footprint for bioenergy over it’s lifetime in terms of C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated will be:
- Bioenergy – 98gCO2e/kWh
Carbon Footprint Of Coal
When accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply, and also improvements in technology up to the year 2050, the carbon footprint for coal over it’s lifetime in terms of C02e per kilowatt hour of electricity generated will be:
- Coal – 109gCO2e/kWh
Carbon Footprint Of Transport, Vehicles & Cars
Transport is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas and carbon emissions (along with energy generation).
Transport emissions are usually measured in C02e per mile or kilometre for different types of vehicles. They can also be measured per passenger mile i.e. emissions per passenger, per mile.
Note that the fuel consumption efficiency, type of vehicle, capability of the vehicle and other factors can have an impact on final emission numbers
In addition to road transport, there is also flying, rail and sea transport to consider.
For a typical passenger vehicle…
- Tailpipe CO2 created from burning one gallon of fuel – CO2 Emissions from a gallon of gasoline: 8,887 grams CO2/ gallon, and CO2 Emissions from a gallon of diesel: 10,180 grams CO2/ gallon
- Tailpipe C02 created from driving one mile – The average passenger vehicle emits about 404 grams of CO2 per mile
- Average annual C02 emissions of typical passenger vehicle – A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This assumes the average gasoline vehicle on the road today has a fuel economy of about 22.0 miles per gallon and drives around 11,500 miles per year.
- [… In addition to carbon dioxide (CO2), automobiles produce methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from the tailpipe and hydrofluorocarbon emissions from leaking air conditioners. The emissions of these gases are small in comparison to CO2 though]
NOTE: for a typical passenger vehicle, you also have the indirect carbon footprint of making the car itself, and extracting, pumping and transporting to get the oil to refineries and service stations
Carbon per kilometre is…
- Domestic, short distance, less than 463 km (288 mi): 257 g/km CO2 or 259 g/km (14.7 oz/mile) CO2e
- Long distance flights: 113 g/km CO2 or 114 g/km (6.5 oz/mile) CO2e
For vehicles, average figures for CO2 emissions per kilometer for road travel for 2013 in Europe, normalized to the NEDC test cycle … :
- Newly registered passenger cars: 127 g CO2/km
- Hybrid-electric vehicles: 92 g CO2/km
- Light commercial vehicles (LCV): 175 g CO2/km
Average figures for the United States … based on the EPA Federal Test Procedure, for the following categories:
- Passenger cars: 200 g CO2/km (322 g/mi)
- Trucks: 280 g CO2/km (450 g/mi)
- Combined: 229 g CO2/km (369 g/mi)
In 2005, the US company Amtrak’s carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per passenger kilometre were 0.116 kg, about twice as high as the UK rail average (where much more of the system is electrified), and about eight times a Finnish electric intercity train.
- Average carbon dioxide emissions by ferries per passenger-kilometre seem to be 0.12 kg (4.2 oz).
- However, 18-knot ferries between Finland and Sweden produce 0.221 kg (7.8 oz) of CO2, with total emissions equalling a CO2 equivalent of 0.223 kg (7.9 oz)
- 24–27-knot ferries between Finland and Estonia produce 0.396 kg (14.0 oz) of CO2 with total emissions equalling a CO2 equivalent of 0.4 kg (14 oz).
- Personal transportation…
- Cars and light trucks emitted 1.1 billion metric tons CO2e or 17% of the 2016 total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
- Of the roughly 126,000 pounds of CO2e emitted in a car’s lifetime (assuming 120,000 miles for a 1995 mid-sized sedan), 86% is from burning fuel.
- Gasoline releases 19.6 pounds of CO2 per gallon when burned, compared to 22.4 pounds per gallon for diesel. However, diesel has 11% more BTU per gallon, which improves its fuel economy.
- The average passenger car emits 0.78 pounds of CO2 per mile driven
- In 2016, the average domestic commercial flight emitted 0.39 pounds of CO2e per passenger mile. It is affected by aircraft type, the length of trip, occupancy rates, and passenger and cargo weight
- On average, trains release 0.31 pounds of CO2e per passenger mile
- Passenger cars, light duty trucks and medium or heavy duty trucks emit around 83% of transportation greenhouse gases. Commercial aircrafts (7%), rail, ships and boats, motorcycles and buses and other transportation make up the rest
- Every time you buy a new car, you effectively mine 3-7g of “platinum group metals” to coat the catalytic converter.
- The six elements in the platinum group have the greatest environmental impact of all metals, and producing just one kilo requires the emission of thousands of kilos of CO₂.
- Cars emit greenhouse gases from their exhaust pipe, but to get a full sense of the carbon footprint of a car, you have to consider those emissions that go into producing the raw materials and digging a hole in the ground twice – once to extract the metals contained in the car, once to dump them when they can no longer be recycled.
- If you’re commuting 7800 miles each year in your car (based on 30 miles a day for work). And if you drive a car that gets 22 miles to the gallon every weekday, your annual carbon footprint from commuting is 4.3 metric tons
- California to Boston is about a 5,000-mile round trip, making the carbon footprint from this airplane trip alone 2.23 tons of CO2.
- Every 1,000 miles you don’t fly saves 0.45 tons of CO2
Carbon Footprint Of An Electric Vehicle, Hybrid Electric Vehicle, Or A Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle
In comparison to convention vehicles, there are also electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Electric Vehicle (EV)
- A vehicle that operates exclusively on electricity (an EV) will not emit any tailpipe emissions.
- Electric vehicles (EVs) have no tailpipe emissions; however, emissions are created during both the production and distribution of the electricity used to fuel the vehicle.
- The car’s electricity generation process has to be assessed for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
- You have to look at how many Wh/kilometre or how many Wh/mile the car gets from it’s battery
- You then have to look at how much carbon is emitted to provide that power (via coal, solar or other electricity)
- In Singapore, for all electric vehicles, a grid emission factor of 0.5 g CO2/Wh is applied to the electric energy consumption. This is to account for CO2 emissions during the electricity generation process, even if there are no tail-pipe emissions
Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
- Calculating tailpipe emissions for PHEVs is more complicated. PHEVs can operate on electricity only, gasoline only, or some combination of electricity and gasoline.
- A PHEV operating on electricity only (like an EV) does not generate any tailpipe emissions.
- When a PHEV is operating on gasoline only, it creates tailpipe emissions based on the PHEV’s gasoline fuel economy.
- Tailpipe emissions for a PHEV operating on both electricity and gasoline cannot be calculated without detailed information about how the PHEV operates.
- The overall tailpipe emissions for a PHEV can vary significantly based on the PHEV’s battery capacity, how it is driven, and how often it is charged.
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (HFCV)
- A fuel cell vehicle operating on hydrogen will emit only water vapor.
Carbon Footprint Of A Tesla (Vehicle)
It does depend on the type of Tesla you buy, as some Teslas for example can solar charge from their roof for example, and others have better power efficiency or capability.
Technology will also change as Tesla upgrades it, and they bring out newer models.
But, for now…
- When comparing a Tesla’s carbon footprint vs internal combustion vehicles including hybrids …
- … the manufacturing of a full-sized Tesla Model S rear-wheel drive car with an 85 KWH battery was equivalent to a full-sized internal combustion car except for the battery, which added 15% or one metric ton of CO2 emissions to the total manufacturing.
- … this was trivial compared to the emissions avoided due to not burning fossil fuels to move the car
- Overall, a Tesla has a 53% carbon footprint reduction, even when taking into account the usually coal fuelled electricity a Tesla uses to power the battery
- Tesla are also able to recycle their batteries into completely reusable materials and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing Lithium-ion batteries.
- Unicore are able to recover 70% of the carbon in the end of battery lifecycle
- Some people have had their Tesla S models independently tested to provide 444 watt hour per kilometre (Wh/km)
- When applying a 0.5 g CO2/Wh for electric energy consumption, the Tesla S car has carbon emissions of 222g/km
The popularmechanics.com resource in the resources list at the bottom of this guide has more information about proving carbon myths about Teslas wrong.
Carbon Footprint Of A Prius (Vehicle)
For US sold models, the grams of C02 per mile from the tailpipe are:
- Prius 1st gen (NHW11) (2001 to 2003 model) – 217 grams of C02 per mile (135 g/km)
- Prius 2nd gen (XW20) (2004 to 2009 model) – 193 grams of C02 per mile (120 g/km)
- Prius 3rd gen (XW30) (2010 to 2012 model) – 178 grams of C02 per mile (111 g/km)
- Prius V (ZVW41) (2012 model) – 212 grams of C02 per mile (132 g/km)
- Prius C (NHP10) (2012 model) – 178 grams of C02 per mile (111 g/km)
- Prius Plug-in Hybrid (ZVW35) (2012 model) – 133 grams of C02 per mile (82 g/km)
You can read about Prius mileage, including in blended, hybrid and all electric modes and ranges here. You can apply a C02 per kilowatt or C02 per Watt hours rate to get an idea of how much of a footprint charging has
More fossil fuel is needed to build hybrid vehicles than conventional cars but reduced emissions when running the vehicle more than outweigh this
Carbon Footprint Of Different Foods
Diets higher in animal meat tend to have higher carbon footprints than vegetarian or vegan based diets.
But, there’s several ways to measure carbon footprints for food (overall diet, per lb produced, per gram of protein produced, per gram of fat produced, and so on).
Average dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day in 2014 (in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent) [for different types of diets] were:
- 7.19 for high meat-eaters
- 5.63 for medium meat-eaters
- 4.67 for low meat-eaters
- 3.91 for fish-eaters
- 3.81 for vegetarians
- 2.89 for vegans
The following table shows the greenhouse gas emissions produced by one kilo of each food. It includes all the emissions produced on the farm, in the factory, on the road, in the shop and in your home. It also shows how many miles you need to drive to produce that many greenhouse gases.
Meat, cheese and eggs have the highest carbon footprint. Fruit, vegetables, beans and nuts have much lower carbon footprints:
|Food||CO2 Kilos Equivalent||Car Miles Equivalent|
The greenhouse gas emissions produced by one kilo of some other foods are Farmed Salmon (11.9), Peanut Butter (2.5), Yogurt (2.2) and Broccoli (2.0)
In the report used and cited, they explain the production Life Cycle Analysis for each food type.
– From Greeneatz.com, with figures by the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guide and the EPA’s Guide to Passenger Vehicle Emissions.
Meat products have larger carbon footprints per calorie than grain or vegetable products because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy
The following foods produce the following amounts of pounds of CO2 per serving:
- Beef – 6.61 (lbs of C02 per serving)
- Cheese – 2.45
- Pork – 1.72
- Poultry – 1.26
- Eggs – 0.89
- Milk – 0.72
- Rice – 0.16
- Legumes – 0.11
- Carrots – 0.07
- Potatoes – 0.03
- Making a 1 kg hard cheese generates 12 kg of CO2 (the same amount of CO2 as a car travelling for 6 km)
- Making 12kg of carrots generates 12 kg of CO2
- If you’re eating 444 calories a day of red meat (the equivalent of about one 8-ounce steak sirloin), your annual meat-related carbon footprint is 0.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- If you consume a litre of milk a day, that’s 527 kg of carbon emissions per year
- Large cheeseburger – 2.5kg C02e
- Food – the food we buy can add up to 20% of our carbon footprint. And this is just at first glance, because if we count up the related damage of deforestation from big agriculture, this brings the impact up to 30%.
Carbon Footprint Of Different Meats
The C02 per kilogram of different meats is (It includes all the emissions produced on the farm, in the factory, on the road, in the shop and in your home):
- Lamb – 39.2 (C02 per one kilogram)
- Beef – 27.0
- Pork – 12.1
- Farmed Salmon – 11.9
- Turkey – 10.9
- Chicken – 6.9
- Tuna – 6.1
– Greeneatz.com, with figures by the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guide and the EPA’s Guide to Passenger Vehicle Emissions.
- Worldwide, new reports suggest that livestock agriculture produces around a half of all man-made emissions.
Carbon Footprint Of Different Appliances
The following appliances might emit the following amounts of C02 per year (measured in kg of C02 per year):
- Microwave Oven – 39 (kg C02 per year)
- Washing Machine – 51
- Electric Tumble Dryer – 159
- Kettle – 73
- Gas Oven – 38
- Gas Hob – 71
- Electric Oven – 91
- Electric Hob – 129
- Dishwasher at 55°C – 51
- Dishwasher at 65°C – 84
- Fridge-Freezer A ++ spec – 89
- Fridge-Freezer A+ spec – 116
- Fridge-Freezer A spec – 175
- Standard Light Bulb – 63
- Low Energy Light Bulb – 11
- Primary TV – CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) 34-37 inch, On power 6.5 hours a day – 203
- Primary TV – CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) 34-37 inch, On standby 17.5 hours a day – 12
- Primary TV – LCD 34-37 inch, On power 6.5 hours a day – 215
- Primary TV – LCD 34-37 inch, On standby 17.5 hours a day – 5
- Primary TV – Plasma 34-37 inch, On power 6.5 hours a day – 269
- Primary TV – Plasma 34-37 inch, On standby 17.5 hours a day – 10
- Primary TV – Rear projection 34-37 inch, On power 6.5 hours a day – 196
- Primary TV – Rear projection 34-37 inch, On standby 17.5 hours a day – 5
Carbon Footprint Of Households
- For each kilowatt hour generated in the U.S., an average of 0.954 pounds of CO2 is released at the power plant
- Coal releases 2.2 pounds, petroleum releases 2.0 pounds, and natural gas releases 0.9 pounds. Nuclear, solar, wind, and hydroelectric release no CO2 when they produce electricity, but emissions are released during upstream production activities (e.g., solar cells, nuclear fuels, cement production).
- Space heating with wood emits the least CO2e (31.4 tons per million BTU) followed by 64.2 for natural gas, with the highest being 210.5 for electric heaters.
- Refrigerators are one of the largest users of household appliance energy; in 2015, an average of 726.9 pounds of CO2e per household was due to refrigeration.
- The average U.S. household pumps 49 metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year
- But, actual carbon footprints depend on location. For example, electricity generation is relatively climate-friendly, so focusing on vehicular emissions has a greater impact
- Drying one load of laundry a week puts 0.1 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere
- The average bedroom lights produce about 0.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually when they are on for two hours a week
- Using toilet paper made from non recycled toilet paper for 1 year – 75kg C02e
- In the US, each household produces 48 tons of greenhouse gases.
- Food produces about 8 tons of emissions per household, or about 17% of the total.
- The average family of 4 creates 10 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year
Carbon Footprint Of A Dog Or Cat
- A medium-size dog could have a similar footprint to a large SUV
- Their food is a big contributing factor
- Meat-based diets for humans and animals alike have much larger ecological footprints than plant-based diets, because it takes lots of land, water and food to feed pigs, cows, sheep, poultry and farmed fish
- There are 163 million dogs and cats in the US regularly consuming animal products.
- US pet cats and dogs account for 64 million tons of nitrous oxide and methane
- The amount of meat likely to be consumed by America’s pet cats and dogs and found that their overall caloric consumption was roughly 19 per cent of what humans consume
- Dog and cat animal product consumption is responsible for release of up to 64 ± 16 million tons CO2-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide
- Meat-eating by dogs and cats creates the equivalent of about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, which has about the same climate impact as a year’s worth of driving from 13.6 million cars
- Cats and dogs are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States
- America’s pets produce about 5.1 million tons of feces in a year, as much as 90 million Americans
Carbon Footprint Of Plastic
- The carbon footprint of plastic (LDPE or PET, poyethylene) is about 6 kg CO2 per kg of plastic
Carbon Footprint Of A Plastic Bag
- 3 g CO2 emissions for very lightweight plastic bags
- 10 g CO2 emissions for standard disposable supermarket plastic bag
- 50 g CO2 heavyweight reusable plastic bag
- Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year
Carbon Footprint Of A Plastic Water Bottle
- one 500-milliliter (0.53 quarts) plastic bottle of water has a total carbon footprint equal to 82.8 grams (about 3 ounces) of carbon dioxide
- we consume 563 billion single use plastic water bottles every year
Carbon Footprint Of A Country’s GDP
- For every item bought or sold there is a rise in GDP, and with each 1% increase in GDP there is a corresponding 0.5 to 0.7% rise in carbon emissions
Carbon Footprint Of Using A Computer
- A typical year of receiving emails – 135kg C02e
- Using a computer every workday from 9 to 6, and at home during weekdays and on weekends for 2 hours (includes electricity, servers, networks) – 1.41 tonnes C02e per year
Carbon Footprint Of A Google Search Or Web Search
- 0.2 g CO2 emissions: Google’s estimate for the energy used at their end
- 0.7 g CO2 emissions from an efficient laptop
- 4.5 g CO2 from a power-hungry machine
- On aggregate, the annual global emissions from texting, e-mailing (roughly 90 trillion e-mails in 2009) and ‘googling’ could be as high as 360 million tonnes.
- Add to that the 130 million tonnes of CO2e it takes to store the world’s data per year (web pages, databases, applications and downloads)
Carbon Footprint Of A Mobile Phone, Or Smartphone
- An iPhone X has a 79 kg CO2e total greenhouse gas emissions. 80% comes from production, 17% from customer use, 2% from transport and 1% from recycling
- … a mobile phone, just two minutes’ daily use produces 47 kg of CO2 per year and an hour a day could produce the figure of 1,250 kg per year
- Using a mobile phone for 1 hour per day (includes manufacture, and usage emissions) – 1250kg per year
Carbon Footprint Of Different Materials
In Europe, carbon dioxide equivalent emissions footprints per kilo of textile at the point of purchase by a consumer were:
- Cotton: 8
- Nylon: 5.43
- PET (e.g. synthetic fleece): 5.55
- Wool: 5.48
Accounting for durability and energy required to wash and dry textile products, synthetic fabrics generally have a substantially lower carbon footprint than natural ones.
But, the precise carbon footprint of different textiles varies considerably according to a wide range of factors
The carbon emission footprint of different materials like Bricks, Cement, Concrete, Glass, Timber, Plastics, Metals, Minerals and stone, and more – can be found at:
Carbon Footprint Of Common Building Materials
The energy used in production for some common building materials is (in Gigajoules per tonne):
- Aluminum – 270 GJ/t
- Stainless Steel – 90
- Steel – 30
- Glass – 20
- Portland Cement – 5
- Timber – 2
- Bricks – 2
- Concrete – 1.4
- Aggregates – 0.25
Carbon Footprint Of Concrete & Cement
- Concrete has a carbon footprint of about – CO2e: 150kg per tonne
- The manufacture of cement produces about 0.9 pounds of CO2 for every pound of cement. Since cement is only a fraction of the constituents in concrete, manufacturing a cubic yard of concrete (about 3900 lbs) is responsible for emitting about 400 lbs of CO2
- Carbon dioxide emissions from a cement plant are divided into two source categories: combustion and calcination. Combustion accounts for approximately 40% and calcination 60% of the total CO2 emissions from a cement manufacturing facility
- The concrete industry is one of two largest producers of carbon dioxide (CO2), creating up to 5% of worldwide man-made emissions of this gas, of which 50% is from the chemical process and 40% from burning fuel. The CO2 emission from the concrete production is directly proportional to the cement content used in the concrete mix …
- One area of the concrete life cycle worth noting is the fact that concrete has a very low embodied energy relative to the quantity that is used. This is primarily the result of the fact that the materials used in concrete construction, such as aggregates, pozzolans, and water, are relatively plentiful and can often be drawn from local sources. This means that transportation only accounts for 7% of the embodied energy of concrete, while the cement production accounts for 70%. With a total embodied energy of 1.69 GJ/tonne concrete is lower than any other building material besides wood.
- Concrete compares favorably to other building materials such as steel, wood and asphalt when analyzing energy consumption and CO2 emissions
- According to the Department of Energy, cement production accounts for 0.33% of energy consumption in the U.S. The current level is low compared with other industries, such as petroleum refining at 6.5%, steel production at 1.8% and wood production at 0.5%
- [emissions depend] on the fuel type, raw ingredients used and the energy efficiency of the cement plant
- According to the most recent survey of Portland Cement Association (PCA) members, an average of 927 kg (2044 lb) of CO2 are emitted for every 1000 kg (2205 lb) of portland cement produced in the U.S.
- The U.S. cement industry accounts for approximately 1.5% of U.S. CO2 emissions, well below other sources such as heating and cooling our homes (21%), heating and cooling our buildings (19%), driving our cars and trucks (33%) and industrial operations (27%)
- The concrete industry is one of the largest producers of carbon dioxide in the world, producing around 5% of man-made carbon emissions.
- Approximately 88% of the emissions associated with concrete production are due to fabrication and use of cement
- Companies like CarbonCure are developing technologies for concrete manufacturing companies that will recycle carbon dioxide and use it to make stronger and greener concrete. Not only can this technology reduce the industry’s carbon footprint by up to 15% by 2030, but the improved strength of concrete means that buildings could last longer than the typical 60-80 years reducing the turnover rate
Carbon Footprint Of Steel
- The greenhouse gas of most relevance to the world steel industry is carbon dioxide (CO2). On average, 1.9 tonnes of CO2 are emitted for every tonne of steel produced. According to the International Energy Agency, the iron and steel industry accounts for approximately 6.7% of total world CO2 emissions.
- Efficiency with steel production is on the rise though – In the last 50 years, the steel industry has reduced its energy consumption per tonne of steel produced by 60%
Carbon Footprint Of Clothes Shopping
- Spending $100 of clothes each month will set you back 0.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.
- Throw in a $1,000 furniture purchase once a year and you’re up to almost a ton.
Carbon Footprint Of Divorced Families
- Divorced households used an extra 73 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity compared with married households.
- The boost in carbon output had to do with the additional homes needed to house the now-separated couples.
- There were about 16 million divorced households in 2000, which comes to 4,562.5 extra kilowatt-hours of electricity per household.
- Break that down into carbon emissions and you get an extra 2.8 metric tons per year per household
Carbon Footprint Of Having One Extra Child
- Having a baby will set you back 9,441 metric tons of CO2 over your lifetime
Carbon Footprint Of One Soccer World Cup
- The 2010 South Africa World Cup produced 2.8 million tonnes C02e for one month (included includes transportation of international and local players and spectators, energy used to run the stadiam, precinct and visitors’ accommodation, and the emissions from construction and material, but NOT those watching on TV)
Carbon Footprint Of Running On A Treadmill
- Running on a treadmill for 30 minutes three times a week will boost your carbon footprint by 0.07 metric tons per year
Carbon Footprint Of Staying In A Hotel
- Two nights in a standard high carbon use hotel – 120kg C02e
Carbon Footprint Of Hand Dryer vs Paper Hand Towels
- 3 g CO2 emissions drying with the Dyson Airblade
- 10 g CO2 emissions for one paper towel
- 20 g CO2 emissions for standard electric dryer
Other Carbon Footprints
- The Guardian has a series of articles called ‘What’s The Carbon Footprint Of…’ which you can read more about here
- The four largest generators of CO2 in the U.S. are: Heating and cooling homes (21%), Heating and cooling buildings (18%), Driving cars and trucks (33%), and Industrial operations (28%).
What Is A Carbon Footprint
For more information on what a carbon footprint is, you can read this guide.