Carbon Footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere over the entire life cycle of a product produced by a person, an organization, event, city, or state, directly or indirectly. We take into account the raw materials used, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of the product at end of its life. The impact of the product on the environment is measured in terms of the volume of CO2. Actually, CO2 is about 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions (excluding water vapor concentration, which does not tend to change).
Greenhouse gases cause the global climate change in the direction of warming; that is why many companies in the last decade tend to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) during their professional activity.
The contribution of different types of greenhouse gas emissions is calculated based on the set of coefficients that depend on the greenhouse gas “hazard.”
Take, for example, the carbon footprint of a loaf of bread. If we need new areas for planting, we are forced to cut down forests, and this is the first contribution, because trees consume carbon dioxide during the day. For growing grain, it is necessary to prepare fields for planting. This is when the machinery, which runs on fuel, has to be used. It is the second stage contributing to the carbon footprint. Then, for example, wheat growis and requires no maintenance, no special treatment. This stage is without a significant impact on the carbon footprint. After we harvest the crop and store it in the grain elevator, which the third phase of the contribution to the carbon footprint. The elevator requires maintenance – the fourth. The fifth stage is to process wheat into flour and bake the bread is a sixth step. The seventh is to transport it to the stores. The stores need energy to be lighted and heated, that is eighth. Add a bag for bread, which must also be made from raw materials – the ninth stage. Finally, we bought it, but we still have the old one in the house, which is not that fresh and attractive to eat, so it goes to dump.
The garbage or household waste is collected by the machine too, it is the tenth stage. At the landfill, this bread does not seem to pose a serious danger, but in the process of decomposition releases methane – one of the most harmful greenhouse gases – the eleventh stage. Plus, we all know that landfills are growing and need more space, i.e., again there is a need to cut down trees to expand the territory of these sites, which is the twelfth stage.
Thus, the life cycle of a harmless, it would seem, a loaf of bread includes twelve stages contributing to the carbon footprint.
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