Carbon footprints of an email, a cup of tea & coffee, bags & bananas

By | February 2, 2017

Climate damaging effect of the fossil fuels is well known. Fossil fuels release the trapped carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. This and many other greenhouse gases trap the infrared portion of the sunlight after it gets reflected by earth surface. This causes the global warming.

Click here to know more about Carbon Footprints.

The idea behind calculating release of total greenhouse gases from an activity, product or process is to know how much eco-friendly or eco unfriendly it is. Read below to know the carbon footprint of some of the things and activities we never thought to be contributing to the building up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Carbon footprints of an email

Think about the times when you consciously chose to not print an email. Didn’t you get a feeling of gratification? The feeling of an environment saviour! Hold on! Although it is always a commendable act of being cautious while taking out prints, an email received or send in itself is not a carbon neutral process.

The short email that you have just sent, has already released about 4 g of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere. If you work a bit too much through emails than you may treat your last 65 emails equivalent to driving your average sized car a kilometre in terms of carbon emissions.

Now think about that email that carried with it a large attachment. This had added ~50 g gCO2e into the air.

You don’t work too much through mails. But you have an email I.D., you seldom use. Login to that email just to know how many spam mails you have received. Even if you don’t open those spam mails you become part of the global spam system annually emitting as much greenhouse gases as emitted by 3.1 million passenger cars by using 7.6 billion litres of gasoline. A single spam message without your checking it, without your any participation adds 0.3 gCO2e on your behalf to the atmosphere.

And this does not end here.

A simple, seemingly innocuous google search about anything adds 0.2 gCO2e into the air. This data is valid if your laptop is energy efficient. If that simple search was done from an old desktop computer, you have ended up adding 4.5 gCO2e into the atmosphere.

The reason behind this data! The calculation has taken into account the energy your computer uses, the energy internet server has consumed, the emission must have released during the manufacturing and assemblage and transportation of your laptop/computer.

Plastic vs paper

A half-litre plastic water bottle that you just bought has come with an emission tag of 160 gCO2e. Contrary, the same amount of tap water contributes only around 0.14 gCO2e.

The conclusion: The carbon footprint of water that comes in plastic bottle is 1150 times more than the water that come out from the tap water.

Carbon footprint of a cup of tea and coffee

When you boil as much water as you need for your black coffee or tea, the emissions can get as high as 21g CO2e, while adding milk to it takes the emission levels upto 53g CO2e. This extra emissions come when the emissions for raising the cow which produced the milk was also taken into consideration.

When you double the amount of water than what you actually (we don’t really measure that accurately at times!) need and prepare white coffee the emission level reaches up to 71g CO2e. In terms of carbon emission, a large cappuccino costs about 235g CO2e and a large latte about 340g CO2e.

What makes bananas a great fruit? Its Carbon Footprint

Each piece of banana comes with an emission tag of ~80g CO2e. This makes bananas a very good climate friendly fruit. By releasing 80g of CO2e, we get good nutrition including 140 calories, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and dietary fibre.

Bananas own this efficiency in terms of carbon saving to their growth in natural sunlight, no need of packaging and ease of transportation.

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