Sunday, October 2

How to reduce your personal carbon footprint with the help of these ‘apps’



If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, have more sustainable lifestyles and contribute to leaving a better world than the one we are in, you may have thought of downloading a mobile application to help you achieve these goals. Yes, those that measure your personal carbon footprint and give you tips to reduce it.

During the last 10 days we have been using some of them and, although they may not be enough to seat the chair, these are some of the impressions and conclusions that we share to help those who are considering the purpose for next year to lower the figure of individual energy expenditure.



Calculating our personal carbon footprint is quite difficult because there are so many variables that must be taken into account that what we can actually do is an estimate.

As soon as you download and open some of these mobile applications (we use The Planet App or The Good Goal) you have to configure a profile of the type of person you are: age, type of house where you live, energy consumption at home, means of most used transport, style of eating that is followed in the family …

With this information, the application creates a type of profile and calculates your total carbon footprint and for each segment, so it also allows you to compare yourself with the average of other people in your environment.

If, for example, you are a person who usually travels by plane (even for work reasons), your impact will skyrocket. If you eat meat more than one day a week, too. If you use a single-dose capsule coffee maker, you are invited to change your habit.



From this profile, the applications will also ask you about your habits in order to set weekly challenges: use cloth napkins, reusable cups, compact trash, reuse certain waste to compost, buy organic food, use shared means of transport (type ‘car sharing’), reuse the water in the shower, run the dishwasher only when it is full, climb stairs instead of using the elevator …

The actions you take must be recorded every day. In other words, the first habit you should add is to consult this app every day to remind you of what you have and what you don’t have to do to reduce your carbon footprint. If one day you forget to record your habits, you will not be able to amend it and you will no longer get the challenge of that week.

It is true that to encourage you to achieve these goals, some applications have small articles in which they give you new advice: if you are not in shape at first, it will be difficult for you to climb the stairs but, as you get into the habit, you will feel better and it will be easier for you. ; how you should place utensils inside the dishwasher to make this task more efficient; make a shopping list and never go to the market or grocery store on an empty stomach …



In these 10 days, the ‘apps’ have not changed the challenges they posed me, perhaps because on the second day I forgot to write down my achievements. All the challenges were simple to meet and many of them were already acquired habits (always walking up the stairs may not be among them).

Others were simply impossible: where I live there are no scooters or electric bikes that can be shared, so these alternatives do not exist when it comes to wanting to leave the car at home and opt for other more sustainable means of transport.

In any case, the applications motivate you and congratulate you for each challenge achieved. In one of them, I am considered to have a 28% level of ‘sustainability aware’. In these ten days of use, I have saved 0.29 tons of CO2, which is reduce my carbon footprint by 5.50%.

In another of these tools to carry on my mobile, the result of my efforts adds other parameters: I have reduced the generation of waste 0.6 kilos, I have saved 80 liters of water and I have stopped emitting 12.8 kilos of CO2. Of course, I have not yet achieved a good sustainable habit, according to this same ‘app’.



Perhaps 10 days are too few to make a value judgment of these applications. Perhaps these do make more sense when challenges are raised at the corporate level and all employees of a company can participate and score points (option that includes some of them).

In any case, they are a useful tool to have an approximate calculation of all that entails, environmentally speaking, each of our life habits and what is the impact that a minimum alteration in these routines can have.

However, they do not say anything that, in general terms, we do not already know: that the car pollutes; that public transportation or shared vehicles is better; that we must bet on seasonal fruits and vegetables; that animal consumption (especially meat) should also be reduced; and that we should use more reusable tableware and tupperware compared to plastic.

Perhaps no one who is not aware of the environmental challenge that lies ahead would download an application of these characteristics. But for stakeholders who don’t know where to start, they can be a good help (or a good reminder) of things that can be done even if they are not always accomplished.

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