Usually I just try to lower my consumption of these instead of focusing on numbers (especially on the bills my husband is taking care of). But visiting the wonderful Resurgence & The Ecologist site for a magazine issue I noticed another offer of a carbon calculator. Took a quick look at that. And there.. I immediately made a decision to follow everything I consume in the next month. Unfortunately my husband is not so eager to participate. Well, I'll try to cover him as much as possible and then hope that he will find it exciting to join in!
It is a difficult period to choose since we have planned a family ski trip at the end of the month. But I will try to keep up everything as much as possible.
So basically as of today I am writing down such things as direct resource amount we consume:
- electricity usage
- cold and hot water usage
- gas usage
- heating parameters
- fuel usage
- miles driven by car
- public transport usage
- journeys (flights, taxi, buses, railway etc.)
I also decided to add a list of what we consume:
- food consumption (what comes into our kitchen from stores, garden, market etc. I think of also separating the organic produce, meat and fish, eggs and diary, seasonal produce, conventional produce, sugar and treats )
- everyday household and grooming product consumption (what new items come into our bathroom and kitchen)
- baby products consumption (new nappies, toys etc.)
- clothing consumption ("new" clothes, accessories, shoes etc. I think of also separation of really new items and secondhand, hoping to increase the latter. Another section is for organic textile clothing )
- other unclassified items that come into our household (usually occasional large purchases like sports, educational or electronic items)
Then I should see also what goes out of my home:
- number of bags of unrecycled rubbish
- number of reused plastic items (these are to be both multi-use plastic items that I still haven't replaced in our home such as take away food containers and things that were designed for single use but we use multiple times)
- number of recycled plastic items
- number of reused glass (same as with plastic items)
- number of recycled glass items
- weight of recycled paper
- weight of compost
- donated or given away things
Some would think that the first section is the most important, since it releases the most CO2 directly by us. But I believe the second section is as important, sometimes even more important, because every item that we buy, has produced more Green House Gases (GHG) in its production and logistics. The second section will also help me to see, where I could reduce and improve our consumption rates (reducing resource wasteful consumption, increasing organic produce and secondhand item proportion). It should also work as health improving system. Usually when you have to write down things you buy to eat, you tend to avoid things you don't want anyone to see on your list. Funny, isn't it? I mean, it's your own health in the end.. However, if it doesn't work, then you will be able to see on the list later on and maybe decide that you perhaps eat too much bread or chocolate and too little fruits and nuts.. This however will work only in longer term, since I'm not gonna list everything that already have at home in bulk... but someday I will have to replace it..
Since there is no such place as "away", it is important to find out how much we put out there for our planet to deal with, since I have no idealistic thoughts of our waste management system here. That should really help to move towards less waste and maybe someday I would be so lucky and happy to share zero waste home idea..
Do you have any suggestions, what else I am missing out?