What is the carbon footprint?

The carbon footprint is a method of measuring the environmental impact of a product expressed in terms of CO2 generated. Precisely, it expresses it in terms of “CO2 equivalent”, since the greenhouse gases are many, where the main one is carbon dioxide (CO2), but also important are methane (CH4), nitrous ‘oxide (N2O), etc.

Number of trees required to compensate the CO2 emission

The analysis of CO2 equivalent includes all sub-components and materials of the object and analyzes the entire product life cycle, from production to usage and to the disposal of it. The weight of each phase is different in different product: for example production phase is more important for a sheet of paper while for a car the most important phase is the usage one. When we apply carbon footprint to people, we take into account the carbon footprint related to all objects and all the things that you consume in a given period of time (day, month or year). If we are considering the emissions of a person in one day, we consider how much we used the car and how many sheets of paper we had.

The difference is that for the car we will only consider the kilometers done on that day (based on an average CO2 emission per km which takes into account the also production and disposal phases), while for paper we will consider the number of sheets consumed multiplied for the entire carbon footprint of a single paper sheet. Beside this, of course we will consider the food, the fuel used to warm, etc., etc.

The Carbon footprint effectiveness is the relative simplicity which allows to calculate the environmental impact of a complex object, starting from the sum of the carbon footprint of the simpler components.