Take a look at the device you are reading this post on, whether it is a phone or a tablet, a laptop or even from a projector. You can ask yourself how that device was designed, built, and ended up in your possession.

Each item in your room has certain environmental impacts specific to that item. From the manufacturing of each individual component, until the time that it is recycled, there can be a quantifiable number associated with the energy use it takes to produce each item, as well as the emissions involved with manufacturing and transporting.


This analysis is done through a technique called Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). The method takes into account everything from the gathering of raw materials for each component, manufacturing, delivery to the retail store, power use through it’s life, and how it is recycled or landfilled. As each item has a different life cycle, these numbers can greatly vary. Much like humans, the life cycle for each item varies from the fruit on your kitchen table to the bowl holding the fruit has its own unique life cycle.

Many companies have publicly available reports for consumers to view before making their purchasing decisions. You can take a look at examples from AppleNike, and Lululemon.

If you wish to reduce your carbon footprint there are many steps you can take, from doing research before buying a new electronic device, or choosing to buy your food from local vendors. Buying an apple from your local Farmer’s Market, for example, will have a significantly lower LCA than buying an apple from South America at a nearby grocery store.

The LCA of organic materials can be extended by thousands of years (i.e. staying in a solid, inert state) through the process of pyrolysis. This will prevent the carbon, and all of the GHG its porous structure can hold, from entering atmosphere. You can learn more about pyrolysis here.