5 Best Free Apps to Calculate Your Carbon Footprint and Offset Emissions
Mankind’s behavior has taken a heavy toll on our earth, leading to several ecological problems. Carbon dioxide emissions are one of the leading causes. Here’s how you can calculate your own carbon footprint and offset these emissions.
Your carbon footprint is the total of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, that you release in the air. It’s not what you breathe out, it’s the direct and indirect emission of your every activity. From using a car for travel to eating meat and dairy, each choice and activity in the modern world carries its own carbon emissions.
Once you calculate your personal carbon footprint, you’ll be able to figure out how much of an impact these choices have on the environment. And through small steps, you can reduce your footprint.
1. UN Carbon Footprint Calculator (Web): Your Everyday Life’s Carbon Footprint
Many of the online carbon footprint calculators use American standards and averages to measure your emissions. The United Nations has its own calculator that adjusts for accuracy based on the country you live in.
The calculator breaks down your carbon footprint into three broad categories: household, transport, and lifestyle. You can get these data from your last bill or monthly budget should answer them. There will be times when you have to estimate the amounts, like guessing how many hours a week each member of your household uses different modes of transport. Answer the questions in each category as honestly and accurately as possible.
At the end of it, the app will calculate your carbon footprint and explain the numbers. The lower the number, the more environmentally friendly you are.
The UN’s website also packs methods to reduce your carbon footprint by supporting ecological projects around the world. Yes, you can actually spend money to help the right causes and thus bring your personal footprint down.
2. Map My Emissions (Web): Calculate Any Commute’s Carbon Footprint
How much difference would you make if your daily commute changed from a car to public transport? What is the total carbon footprint of any road-based travel plan you’re making? Find out at Map My Emissions.
The web app uses Google Maps at the back-end, so type the starting point and destination as you would in any mapping application. Then, choose whether you’re driving, walking, cycling, or using public transit. If you chose driving, pick if it’s a car, van, motorcycle, or taxi, as well as the fuel capacity of that vehicle.
Map My Emissions will calculate the carbon emissions of the trip, along with the social cost of your decision. A handy traffic signal icon shows whether you’re in the red, yellow, or green zone of carbon emissions.
Similarly, there are several other travel calculators to figure out the carbon footprint. A large number of them focus on carbon footprints of flights because that’s considered the most harmful form. But the good news is that you can now carbon-offset your flights if you know how to.
3. Food Emissions Calculator (Web): Environmental Cost of What You Eat
The food on your plate is a part of nature, and so it was bound to have some environmental cost. But you probably never guessed how high that cost it. The Food Emissions Calculator tells you how the carbon footprint of any food whether it is vegetarian, meat-based, or processed.
First, select the type of food from options such as beans, dairy, fruits, meat and poultry, seafood, oils, vegetables, processed, etc. Then select the food commodity, which will have options about how it was sourced. Based on your selections, you’ll have to add how many miles the food was transported from, the quantity you bought, and how much you wasted.
The app breaks down carbon emissions into three values: product, transport, and water emissions. It’s important to note that the calculator often doesn’t include variables for packaging, which has its own major carbon footprint.
4. Plastic Footprint Calculator (Web): How Much Plastic Waste Do You Generate?
Plastic is ubiquitous in the modern world as almost everything in our lives uses it in some way. Currently, only about 5-10% of plastic in the world is recycled, while the rest ends up in landfills or in the ocean. Without knowing it, you might be contributing to this planetary problem.
The big minds at Omni Calculator developed a Plastic Footprint Calculator to determine how much plastic you consume or waste every year. In a series of questions, you need to note your food and kitchen needs, bathroom and laundry products, disposable containers and packaging uses, and other miscellaneous items.
The calculator works in real time, updating how many kilograms of plastic you consume in a year, and how much that adds up to over your lifetime. Once you compare that to how long it takes for plastic products to decompose (shown in diagrams on the page), you’ll be shocked into wanting to make a change. Don’t worry, the calculator also suggests simple ways by which you can reduce your own plastic usage.
Omni Calculator also has other ecological calculators, including a meat footprint and a flight carbon footprint calculator. Check them out.
5. Secondary Carbon Footprint (Web): Environmental Toll of What You Buy
Every product and service that you buy has its own impact through manufacture, delivery, and disposal. How do you calculate the carbon emissions from this indirect act? CarbonFootprint.com developed the Secondary Carbon Footprint Calculator to estimate this.
This calculator focuses on money. In each category, you need to say how much money you spend on that per week, month, or year (which you can customize). Categories include food and drink products, pharmaceuticals, paper based products, clothes and shoes, education, banking, insurance, computers and IT, etc.
It seems like an arbitrary assortment at first, but there’s a method behind the madness. There is UK-based data on the estimated total upstream emissions for any product or service and in turn its industry. The Secondary Carbon Footprint Calculator uses that, and adjusts for inflation, to come up with your personal number. Use it as a guideline.
Global Warming and Climate Change
Carbon emissions are the leading cause of global warming and climate change. If you want to help the environment, reducing your carbon footprint is one of the best ways. Arm yourself with the best climate change tools to fight global warming and make a difference in the world.