15 Aug
2015

There are a lot of new environmental hazards that appears from time to time and it seems that every time we incur a new hazard to our environment. Fortunately, we can do a lot of things to reduce the environmental hazards that our industries produce or even eliminate them completely. With that in mind, we will tackle yet another major problem that plagues our environment from the recent years, carbon footprint. What is it and what does it do?

Carbon footprint is defined as the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions from an organization, event, product, or person. In other words, it’s a remnant that is dangerous to our environment due to the emissions produced by human activities.

When people talk about climate change, the term footprint is defined as the total impact of something has. Carbon is probably well known as the definition of all the different greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Therefore, we can infer that the term carbon footprint is a shorthand way of describing the rough estimate of the climate change impact of a human activity, or even natural occurrences.

Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is the shorthand term for the amount of carbon emitted or being emitted by a certain activity or company/organization. According to the journal entitled “Carbon Management”:

A measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources, sinks and storage within the spatial and temporal boundary of the population, system or activity of interest. Calculated as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) using the relevant 100-year global warming potential (GWP100).

Direct and Indirect Emissions

There are two different kinds of emissions that can happen. Indirect and direct emissions are produced by a certain activity and/or product. One example to illustrate this is the use of a plastic toy. The toy can produce direct emissions during it manufacturing process and transportation, whereas carbon is released. It also has an indirect emission caused by the oil extraction and processing to make the plastic used for the toy. There are still a lot of things that can be involved in determining the total carbon footprint of the plastic toy.

For example, if we track back all the things that happen in between the toy’s creation to its final destination, there are a lot of things that can affect its overall carbon footprint. Let’s try following every pathways that the toy undergoes. First, the staff in the office of the plastic toy factory used paper clips made of steel and inside that steel is the amount of the maintenance used by a digger in the iron mine that the steel used to create the paper clip originally came from and so on and so forth. Therefore, accurately measuring the carbon footprint is nearly impossible.