Wondered about this for a while – turns out there are many tools now to calculate it.
I saw a BBC News story about a New York woman who has created a blog and YouTube channel about drastically reducing the waste you throw out.
I’ve long worried about this so headed over to take a look. There are some fantastic tips there about going trash/rubbish free, and so I highly recommend it. They’re not too onerous too – although some of them I doubt you can do in a small UK town. E.g. buying conditioner from bulk jars rather than pre-packaged bottles.
My Carbon Footprint
The WWF have an excellent carbon footprint calculator. As you can see from the below, mine isn’t exactly stellar.
My bad score is down mainly to the fact I’m learning how to fly, and so I included 50 (one a week) UK domestic flights in my calculations. The breakdown is interesting.
I do use public transport to go to work mostly, so I’m no slouch there. Packaging and food waste are the other two big areas for me. I’ll have to take a look at those.
The Carbon Footprint of General Aviation
After a little research, I’ve found a web page that shows the emissions from general aviation fuel (100LL avgas).
This shows 8.35kg of CO2 per gallon of fuel used, or 18.40 lbs per gallon. This means for a Cessna 152 burning 6 gallons per hour, and flying for 1hr10, you’re creating 58.45kg of CO2. For a year of GA (General Aviation) flying, that’s 2922.5 kg of Carbon per year, alone. Ouch. Not quite sure how to Carbon Offset that.
People are working on all electric light aircraft, with one being shown at Goodwood this year, but they’re likely 6 years off being usable for GA flying, and probably 20 years off until small flying clubs and schools can afford them on the second hand market.
Interestingly, the Cessna 152 used by my flying club are allowed to run on specific unleaded automotive fuel too. This would, though, actually increase the carbon footprint – so that’s no help yet.
Might be interesting to see if there is an appetite for carbon offsetting GA flight time in clubs amongst pilots, and set up a scheme to plant trees local (although not right next to!) GA airfields.
Going Trash Free
This is gonna be really difficult. I tend to shop for most things, including groceries, online. Don’t think there is an online bulk, zero packaging, food shop.
I do have a local farmers market. Don’t have a huge amount of time for cooking though. I’ll have to check out some easy recipes using fresh fruit and veg from the farmers market to try and get my waste down.
I’m already fairly good at not buying loads of random stuff… mainly because I think I’ve already done that ten times over! My clothes tend to last years too. I just wear older stuff indoors when I’m working from home.
This is going to be difficult… Probably will be easier when I move to a bigger house with my own automated gardening system at large scale.
For now though, in order for you to get inspired, have a look at this TEDx Teen talk from Lauren, the lady from New York who lives Trash Free.
If you have any tips, let me know in the comments section.