Calculating Your Carbon Footprint
The journey to a greener future begins by understanding the damage that we are doing to our planet. This starts by understanding and calculating our carbon footprint and what actions we can take to reduce it.
What is a Carbon Footprint?
Our carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide produced by individuals, organisations or groups. Our footprint is made as a result of taking part in activities that produce carbon dioxide such as construction, driving, flying and consuming meat.
The Importance of a Carbon Footprint
Tackling climate change is a collective activity and not something we can do by ourselves. There are various global initiatives coming from the United Nations, governments with pressures also coming from environmentalist groups and a population more aware of the dangers of climate change.
However, it is our own behaviour that we have to consider by looking at our everyday carbon emissions. Pretty much everything we do leads to a certain amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere, but there are a wide variety of factors that decide how much is released. This means that everyone can increase or decrease their carbon footprint with everyday choices.
When we buy food, there is a carbon footprint attached to it. This is because it needs machinery and resources to grow, harvest, package and transport to the store we bought it from. At home, we will expend more energy cooking that food which adds to our carbon footprint.
That is why there is a bigger push to buy organic food, as no chemicals are used which lowers the carbon footprint. People with vegetarian and vegan diets contribute far less carbon emissions than meat eaters. Lastly, it’s vital to use 100% renewable electricity or green gas while cooking to further shrink your carbon footprint.
Garden Tools and Carbon Emissions
The choices at home don’t stop there. Traditionally, gardens have been looked after by petrol power tools – including leaf blowers, strimmers and mowers – due to reliability to get the job done and no affordable alternatives available.
Powering these tools requires regular buying of fuel, which when sourced and transported for sale does tremendous damage to the planet before they’re even added to tools. Once added to tools and powered up, emissions are released into the atmosphere while also harming the user through the vibrations of the tool.
The damage is even greater at a commercial level, where over a third of users admit to using over 240 litres of fuel a year – the average annual consumption of petrol for trade is 177 litres. According to the RAC Foundation, the average UK petrol car fuel consumption in 2016 was 50.5 miles-per-gallon with a gallon equalling 4.55 litres. If a car is filled with the same amount of petrol used by a typical trade user in a year, it could last for 2,000 miles, enough for two round trips between London and Edinburgh.
What is Carbon Offsetting?
Being carbon neutral is the end goal towards preventing climate change, meaning our carbon output is reduced to zero.
However, while making better choices is important, it’s also impossible to completely change everything in our lives. For example, while it’s easy to replace a petrol power tool with a battery-powered alternative, switching to a renewable fuel for a car is not as simple because the supply chain isn’t in place yet.
This is where carbon offsetting comes into play, where individuals or businesses invest in environmental projects around the world to offset the carbon emissions they produce. People and organisations can choose to offset their entire carbon footprint or neutralise the environmental impact of a certain activity, such as a flight. This is done by working out the emissions of the trip and paying offset companies to reduce emissions elsewhere by the same amount.
Countries with the highest Carbon Footprint
According to UCUSA, China has the largest CO2 emissions, contributing 28% of global carbon dioxide production. The USA are second at 15% while India is third with 7%.
The high placings for China and India mean Asia produces the most CO2 (19 billion tonnes) which represents 53% of all global emissions. Europe is third on the list, contributing 17% of carbon emissions at 6.1 billion tonnes of CO2.
What European countries are doing to reduce their Carbon Footprint
To combat climate change, the European Union created the European climate law, which included a set of ambitious targets for all member states to make the bloc carbon neutral by 2050. The agreement was adopted in June 2021, putting into law the plans that will reduce carbon emissions, spur sustainable economic growth, create jobs, deliver health and environmental benefits for all citizens and contribute to the long-term global competitiveness of the EU economy by promoting innovation in green technologies.
This is part of a worldwide push to meet the goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement, signed by 196 countries, to limit global warming by well below 2 Celsius and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
By 2017, the EU had already reduced its emissions by almost 22% compared to 1990, meeting the target it set itself for 2020 three years early.
The UK had already adopted the climate law before leaving the EU and also signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. In 2021, the UK Government announced its intention to reduce carbon emissions by 78% compared to 1990 levels by 2035 with a Carbon Budget in place to ensure it meets that target.
How to be Environmentally Friendly
We can become environmentally conscious and make emission reductions by following these actions:
- Recycle at home as much as possible
- Buy local food produce
- Save rainwater to water plants
- Use food waste to compost plants
- Install renewable energy sources such as domestic wind turbines and solar panels
- Use a footprint calculator to help reduce emissions
- Download The Report and make the pledge to switch from petrol garden tools to battery-powered garden tools.
How to Calculate Carbon Footprint
The first step to cutting carbon emissions is to understand how our garden tools are affecting our planet, which can be done by filling out a carbon calculator.
EGO and Challenge 2025 have created a simple carbon footprint calculator to find out. Simply enter the tools used most often and we’ll do the rest before offering suggestions on how to reduce your carbon footprint.
You can take the first step towards a greener future and to reduce your carbon footprint with the Challenge 2025 emissions calculator.