How bad are bananas?
The first step in order to change is to realize the need for change. Thinking about carbon footprint for a little while, I started making minute changes last year largely based on randomly gathered ideas I had about what is carbon efficient or not.
To progress further, I needed data. A good friend told me about this book How bad are bananas that comprises a hundred different items and their footprints. It turns out only some of my ideas were correct, and that my correctness was not correlated with my confidence level; I got surprised.
This is a must-read to whom want to dive a little bit deeper in the world of carbon footprint, and will provide easy yet powerful steps to reduce one energy consumption.
As for me, I realize that my random small efforts help, but a more thought-about plan would probably bring better results. Below are a couple of noteworthy information that will be extended in the future.
- Base unit is carbon dioxide equivalent CO2e than encompass all greenhouse gas and normalize their impact
UK average 13tons/Co2e/person/year
- Author propose to reduce to 10tons as need only small effort and would make situation better for the planet
My current small efforts
- Shower every other day
- Commute by bike and public transportation
- I had no car until 2019
- No beef or lamb
- Reduce long distance transport
- Avoid plane where possible
- Use single-blade metal only razor blade
- No packaging for soap and shampoo
- Planned additional ones
- Low car use, maybe 3000miles per year
- Reduce dairy, no milk in coffee, oat milk in tea
- Measure and offset carbon footprint of car, train and plane
- Offset by paying for charity planting trees
- This book is about carbon footprint only, there are many more dimensions when making life choice including pollution, efforts needed and other side-effects
- ME –> It is all about reducing the day-to-day consumption as exceptional events are both very hard to quantify and rare
- Banana actually quite good at 480g Co2e/kg, no packaging, little farming energy, good nutritional content
- Apple avg. 550g Co2e/kg - 60g for local seasonal, 271g UK apple, 185g New Zealand!
- Fresh tomatoes in season 500g Co2e/kg but 20kgs Co2e/kg not in season!
- Strawberries 600g Co2e/kg in season, 2.7kgs Co2e/kg otherwise
- Orange 500g/kg but juice 3kgs Co2e/kg
- Rice plantations emits methane, 20x more carbon footprint than potatoes
- Only yearly available fresh fruit not grown artificially: bananas, apple, orange, pineapple
- Conclusion is eat local and in season!
- Small TV 1hr/day 32kgs Co2e per year, not much
- ME –> Apple laptop 2015 was 710kgs Co2e, 2019 model is 222kgs Co2e
- Personal laptop 2hours per day about 200kgs Co2e per year if 2015 laptop kept 4 years
- Plug power meter is only about £10, need to get one for more precise measurements
- Coffee/tea + water 40g Co2e
- Coffee/tea + Milk 70g Co2e
- Large cappuccino 235g Co2e
Nappies 550kg Co2e per child, washing reusable nappies not better for carbon
Plastic bags do not matter - 5bags/week for a year is equivalent to 1 cheeseburger or about 15kms in a car, about 2.5kgs Co2e