We've chosen to reduce the carbon footprint of our new printed GOOD Sheets by supporting renewable energy and carbon offset projects. An explanation of why and how below the jump.What is the GOOD Sheet? It is a series of infographic broadsides, available in print and online here. Each sheet attempts to breakdown an important topic or issue to help make sense of the world around us.The printed versions are available for free nationwide at Starbucks throughout the fall. Since we're printing so many of these, and shipping and paper aren't all that great for the environment, we decided it was important to do what we could to mitigate our impact and offset the rest.Here's the dealTo balance the impact of creating the GOOD Sheet, GOOD is supporting the generation of renewable energy by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset the electricity. It is also purchasing carbon offsets equal to the amount of carbon that was produced to bring the GOOD Sheet to readers.We took several areas into consideration when calculating the energy and emissions created by the GOOD Sheet including the lifecycle and manufacturing of the paper, and the printing and shipping of the GOOD Sheet.We offset the energy and emissions from the following areas related to the production of the GOOD Sheet:
- Emissions from the lifecycle and production of the paper: 554.54 MTCO2e
- Electricity in the building where the GOOD Sheet was printed: 948 kWh
- Emissions from heating the building where the GOOD Sheet was printed: .38 MTCO2e
- Emissions generated from the transportation and distribution of the GOOD Sheet: 108.74 MTCO2e
- The total comes to 1005.14 tons of CO2 \n
Information from papercalculator.orgIn addition, as one of GOOD's strategic partners, Florida Power and Light has donated renewable energy credits to offset the electricity needed to print the GOOD Sheet. Learn more here.How carbon offsets workAvoiding the release of carbon into the atmosphere in one location by implementing an emissions reduction project in another location is known as offsetting. A carbon offset ensures that a metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2), or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases (GHGs), is removed from the atmosphere or prevented from entering it. Carbon offsets are measured in metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e). One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide, or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases such as methane.The best way to contribute to the solution to pollution is to reduce travel and energy that emits greenhouse gases. At GOOD, we reduce what we can and offset what we can't by supporting projects that reduce carbon emissions and other green house gases. Carbon offsets are generated by projects that reduce or eliminate quantifiable amounts of carbon emissions or their equivalents. For every metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) a project reduces or eliminates, it can sell one metric ton of carbon offsets.
Carbon Offset ProjectsThe range of carbon reduction projects that we support through Renewable Choice Energy meets stringent environmental standards and does not benefit from regulatory support. Carbon offset project types can include land-use (i.e. forestry), methane capture and destruction, renewable energy, energy efficiency, small hydroelectric and others. Here is one of the projects we support.Upper Rock Landfill-Gas-to-Energy Project, USAThe Upper Rock project is located on a 195-acre landfill in East Moline, Illinois. Historically, the landfill had released harmful methane gas, twenty-one times more potent than carbon dioxide. With this project in place, machinery was installed to cap the methane emissions and prevent those emissions from entering the atmosphere.Carbon Offset FAQsWhat is landfill gas?As waste decomposes in landfills, it releases a significant amount of pollutants, mostof it a mix of carbon dioxide and methane.Why is methane gas bad?Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are measured according to their Global Warming Potential (GWP) that reflects both the heat-absorbing ability and longevity in the atmosphere of a specific gas.Methane, with an atmospheric lifetime of approximately 12 years, does not last long in the air, but its heat-absorbing ability is significantly greater than CO2. Methane is estimated to be 21 times as damaging to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide over 100 years, and 62 times as damaging over a 20 year span. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, landfills produced roughly 25 percent of the human-related methane emissions in the United States in 2004.How can you reduce the environmental impact of methane?Instead of allowing methane gases to escape into the air, facilities capture the gas from landfills using a series of wells and a vacuum system. Once captured, the methane can either be flared and/or used to generate electricity. The methane is then destroyed and prevented from entering the atmosphere which is what would have happened without the project in place.Aren't landfills required to prevent these gases from entering the atmosphere?The answer is not always. Some facilities are required by laws and regulations to capture these emissions, but most are not. Renewable Choice works with developers installing capture and recovery systems at landfills not required to control these emissions.