Does Monitoring Your Carbon Footprint Help Fight Climate Change?
We’ve all heard the buzzwords — climate change, carbon footprint, recycle. For anyone seeking to live a greener lifestyle, these terms can be incredibly attractive when they come from brands. However, many consumers aren’t fully aware of how these concepts apply in their lives.
We all have an obligation to better understand our individual effects on the planet. If our impact is negative, we must be willing to take on the responsibility of correcting our actions and finding better alternatives for our needs. In this article, we’ll discuss how monitoring your carbon footprint can help you make a big difference in the fight against climate change. We’ll also offer tips on how you can do your part to promote a greener world, straight from your home.
Why You Should Conduct a Carbon Footprint Audit
While major corporations may be some of the biggest culprits behind climate change, individuals as a collective do a massive amount of damage in our world. In fact, the majority (72%) of global greenhouse gas emissions come from households.
A carbon footprint audit can help you live more sustainably. By calculating your carbon footprint — or the amount of greenhouse gasses your activities emit into the world — and figuring out what contributes to it, you can make better decisions to benefit the environment.
However, a carbon footprint audit doesn’t just help you help the ecosystem around you. It can also help you reduce your costs. The activities that produce the most carbon emissions are often highly inefficient and costly. The changes you make to make your household more eco-friendly can end up saving you large amounts of cash in the long run.
How To Identify Carbon-emitting Products in Your Home
To perform a carbon footprint audit, you can use a carbon footprint calculator to figure out what areas of your life are most detrimental to the environment. For example, this calculator from Carbon Positive Australia allows you to analyze your carbon footprint in categories like travel, water, transport, and waste. Plus, you can take a look at your estimated carbon emissions from a certain time frame so you know how certain lifestyle changes have affected your environmental impact.
As you complete your audit, you can start to analyze exactly what’s contributing to your carbon footprint, like specific appliances that are clearly inefficient. This allows you to determine how to eliminate those items from your home before replacing them with more energy-efficient options.
What To Do With Carbon-emitting Products
Tossing carbon-emitting products in the trash isn’t a green way to remove them from your home. Many products that end up in landfills don’t break down for years — sometimes decades or longer. However, that doesn’t mean you have to hoard your old, unused items or avoid getting a product replacement at all. Finding ways to reuse or recycle the things you don’t need is a great way to reduce waste and pollution in the world.
For example, taking your old washer and dryer to an e-waste recycling center can help you make greater use of the appliances you’re no longer using. There, washers and dryers can be dissected for scrap metal and quality pipes that can be reused later on for new appliances or repairs. Some manufacturers even offer recycling programs of their own, which can make your sustainable waste removal even easier.
Monitoring Your Carbon Footprint Online
A single audit won’t help you commit to improvements in sustainability. If you want to get more than a snapshot or estimate of your impact on the world and be more accountable for your consumption, you can use green monitoring apps for real-time updates about the effect of your devices and activities.
For example, the Smappee app can help you track your energy usage and optimize your sustainability efforts. Paired with Smappee products, it can even help you automate some of your green activities, like scheduling your car to charge using solar energy or turning off your boiler on weekday nights.
Apps like the Energy Consumption Analyzer on Google Play can help you analyze your consumption over time by reading gas, water, and electricity meters. Green monitoring and planning apps are diverse, so you can download one or many that help you achieve your sustainability goals.
How to Work Toward a Carbon-neutral Household
At the end of the day, a carbon-neutral household is the ultimate goal for many eco-conscious homeowners. While achieving net zero isn’t easy, you can take a few actions to start making your way there faster.
First, you can strive to eliminate waste by repairing what’s repairable. All too often, consumers toss items that are still usable simply because they’re aging or partly damaged, as is the case with clothing and electronics. However, there are plenty of repair shops and IT professionals in most cities who are readily available to help you fix your technology.
If your old items truly can’t meet your needs anymore, you can avoid contributing to waste emissions by gifting, donating, or recycling them. For electronics, many recycling partners of phone providers allow you to drop off smartphones, game consoles, printers, computers, and more, so you don’t have to worry about your entire device going to landfills. Old, broken tech can be disposed of responsibly, even if it takes a little extra consideration.
Another unique way to reach your carbon-neutral goals is by offsetting your carbon emissions. Services like Wren and Terrapass help you make financial contributions to projects involving reforestation and other sustainable causes. As a result, you’ll be canceling out the impact of your activities.
Fight Climate Change From Your Home
The battle against climate change starts in your home. If you want to make more sustainable decisions, doing a carbon footprint audit — and continuing to track your carbon footprint over time — will point you toward your most wasteful activities and products. This way, you can start building a greener lifestyle and save money along the way.
However, you don’t have to add to landfills to replace your products with energy-efficient ones. You can send your old appliances to recycling centers or donate them to people in need. Or, when you really need to toss out products, you can consider offsetting your carbon emissions by contributing to worthy sustainable causes.
About the Author
Amanda Winstead is a writer focusing on many topics including technology and digital marketing. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.