In recent years, the drive for people to become greener and reduce their carbon footprint has become a hot topic.
Whilst the Government is working on schemes to help ensure we are all more environmentally friendly, there is much we can do as individuals to cut our emissions.
However, some may struggle with knowing whether what they are doing in their day to day life is problematic for the environment or not.
We have all heard about cutting our carbon footprint but what does this actually mean and how can we know whether our actions are beneficial to the environment or making things worse?
There are apps and websites that can help you cut down your carbon footprint this year
To help, there are now a number of apps and websites available which will tell you exactly that.
Some will advise if what you’re eating is good for the planet or not whilst others will tell you how much damage the plane journey you took on holiday did to the environment.
This is Money has put together a list of some of the most helpful apps and websites you can look at now to start cutting down on your carbon emissions today.
What exactly is meant by carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is defined as the amount of greenhouse gases – most often, carbon dioxide – released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation, or community.
Calculating the carbon footprint of industry, product, or service can be a complex task and there are several methods and calculators that have been created over the years.
Generally, it is measured by how many tons of carbon dioxide are emitted per year and takes into consideration all other noxious greenhouse gases.
Individuals can lower their carbon footprint in a variety of ways including eating less meat, taking fewer flights and line drying clothes rather than using a tumble dryer.
A new app, launched last month, helps users realise the impact they are having on the environment by what they spend their money on.
As the user spends, Yayzy shows them the carbon footprint of each purchase in real time.
It said it aims to solve the action gap that ‘stifles progress towards net zero by empowering millions of would-be climate change heroes’.
For example, when a user buys a train ticket, it will show them exactly how much damage the distance is equivalent to in various forms.
This could mean it is equivalent to 1,000 hours of a lightbulb being switched on or the equivalent of driving 900km in a small car.
The app asks users for their bank details so they can carbon offset the damage they create, for example, planting more trees or putting the money towards building new wind farms.
Mankaran Ahluwalia, chief executive of Yayzy said: ‘We have a lot of equivalences and comparisons within the app to help the user understand what their impact really means.
‘On the home screen a gauge puts the user’s carbon footprint in context of the UN 2 degree target. Anything above 400kg will put you in red.
‘We also show a lot of equivalences such as number of miles driven in a car, number flights between London and Rome, for example, to help the user understand what their carbon footprint means. This is shown for the total monthly carbon footprint and for each individual transaction.
‘The carbon footprint of a flight from London to Paris (economy) is about 253 Kgs.
‘This is equal to 1,645 km driven in a car, would cause approximately 8.2sq ft of arctic ice loss, take approximately 4,071 days for one tree to absorb these emissions and so on. All these equivalences would be shown within the app.’ Find out more here.
Change: The Yayzy app will tell users how much their purchases could affect the environment
2. United Nations Carbon Offset Platform
This platform from the United Nations aims to show users how much their home, energy usage and food intake can affect the environment.
It asks users to say how often they eat meat products, how much of their energy source is renewable and how often they fly abroad.
After this it calculates whether your annual emissions are more or less than the UK and world average.
Along the way it provides facts to help you understand why your lifestyle may be damaging the environment.
For example, it reveals that 90 per cent of the energy used by traditional bulbs is wasted in producing heat.
The United Nations is endorsing users to carbon offset their usage, saying it is an accessible and effective climate action and claiming the more people that do it, the bigger the impact.
Click here to use the calculator now.
3. Carbon Footprint & Co2 Tracker
This app helps users automatically measure carbon emissions from everyday choices and provide practical tips on how to reduce these.
It also selects projects to remove the equivalent amount of carbon emissions you’ve produced.
Users put in how often they travel each day and by which method of transport. It also asks them how many flights they take a year and how much meat, fish and dairy products they intake on a regular basis.
It will then give users their monthly carbon footprint and reveal how it is made up, for example, if most comes from transport, food or energy usage.
The app can track how much you emit each day when you input what you have eaten, where you have travelled and by what method.
The app also has tips and tricks to help you reduce your emissions on a daily basis.
Tracking your carbon footprint can help you make changes to your daily life to trim it down
4. Trees for the Future
This website offers a calculator to show users how many trees they need to plant to offset their carbon footprint.
Users have to answer questions about their habits including travel and energy usage before it calculates the figure.
It will then take users to another page where they can choose to pay to offset their carbon footprint and pay for the number of trees that need to be planted.
Both individuals and businesses can use the site. Click here to give it a go.
5. Map My Emissions
This handy website will show you how many emissions you are emitting on a journey whether that be by walking, driving, public transport or cycling.
If you’re driving, you can choose whether that is by van, taxi or car and what size engine it has to accurately find how many emissions will be released en route.
You will see the total emissions in pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e), as well as an estimate of the costs those emissions impose on society, based on the American government’s ‘social cost of carbon’.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gas emissions pose long-term costs onto society as ‘climate change damages… includes, among other things, changes in agricultural productivity, human health, property damages from increased flood risk and changes in energy system costs, such as reduced costs for heating and increased costs for air conditioning.’
It is hoped that by using the site, those driving to work may see the benefit of taking public transport or walking instead.
To find out how much emission your journey produces, click here.
6. WPD Carbon Tracer
Western Power Distribution and the Carbon Trust created this UK based app and website to calculate the types of energy that make up your local electricity supply.
Generating different types of energy produces different amounts of carbon with the less carbon emitted the better.
It will show how much has been made from wind power, solar power and how much renewable energy you are likely to be using.
It has also created a map of the Western Power Distribution area that displays the carbon intensity for every substation, to give an overview of generation resources and how each substation compares to others in the area.
However, only those in the East and West Midlands, South Wales and the South West are able to use the app and website to see their energy mix and carbon intensity.
Click here to find out more.
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