Tracking personal CO2 footprint

22 April 2019

[ sustainability   footprint   impact   ]

I wouldn’t consider my self an ‘Eco-Warrior’, but I do care for this planet, and wish to see its full splendor intact (or as intact as can be) well into my old age and my children’s old age and my children’s children’s old age; I guess the more selfish argument for ecological sustainability. Regardless I like to try to figure out how much of an impact I’m having on the earth myself.


Now, large companies will always shift the blame on consumers, but we all know that is bullshit, and that really the strongest environmental protection comes from reasonable, scientifically backed regulations. However our individual behaviours do have a non-trivial effect, and it is something I personally want to work on.

Finding the Environmental sustainability is a god-damn tricky subject in of itself, without considering the issues with measuring and data collection, so how do we figure what are the most unsustainable aspects of our life? Sometimes it feels like we are shooting in the dark, being led by fads and marketing departments (“Buy coconut oil, its good for the environment!”, Is it though?).

Here’s when my unhealthy obsession with tracking everything and making a spreadsheet for the most trivial things comes in handy. Utility meters tell us much of our gas, electricity and water usage, so I just used that. Then I keep track of running costs for all my vehicles including fuel usage, so I have litres put into the car (which translates directly to CO2 emitted). Also, due to various reasons I had been keeping track of all my flights; so using some online calculators, you can figure out CO2 emitted pretty easily.

The excel with 2019 partially filled out The excel with 2019 partially filled out


The results will be continuously updated and monitored and can be found here in my footprint section.

Further Ideas

This is only really a start, and I would like to investigate my footprint further little by little, as time allows it. Some ideas:

Landfill and recycling waste stream impact.

Look, I’m not going to go count every piece of trash, nor can I realistically change my lifestyle to have zero landfill waste. However it would be interesting to know the household output of landfill vs recycling, and how it changes over the year and what can be improved. Maybe some sort of rPi weighing scale for bins? are smart bins a thing?

Food type and source impacts.

There are times I can’t believe the 100 mile diet and other locally sourced foods actually benefit the environment at all, but you have to admit, getting bananas and avocados shipped across the Atlantic in huge bunker oil burning ship can’t be good either. This would be more of a short term experiment I’d guess, as this is an absolute pain to do LCA (LifeCycle Analysis) on food and the supermarket infrastructure. Would also reflect the benefits of a low-meat diet (However I can’t see myself giving up bananas and avocados).

Track buy-vs-reuse-vs-upcycle.

I already am rather prone to fixing my devices, buying second hand, and attempt to freecyle everything, but it would be nice to some how measure this, or keep track? However no clue how to do so at the moment.

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