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Sustainability Quiz Answers and Insights

We recently offered our community a chance to win a free Issue of Dumbo Feather (sustainability magazine) by taking a Sustainability Quiz. 

What we didn't expect was that out of over 50 responses, there wasn't one perfect score.

If you're interested in living a more sustainable life, here are some FAQs that you might be interested in:

 

Sustainability Quiz Answers

 

Question 1: Which key elements add up to equal your carbon footprint?

1. How much electricity you use
2. What kind of food you eat
3. How many flights you take
4. How much you send to landfill
5. How many trees you plant

They're all correct!

Although, the least meaningful to reducing your carbon footprint is actually tree planting!  Let's explore how it all adds up.

The largest impacts come from your electricity and travel.

To reduce your electricity carbon footprint, you can find a solar solution (or a solar energy provider such as Amber Electric), or you can just use less energy. Here’s the full story from Small Changes, Big Impacts: Energy.

To reduce your travel carbon footprint, it’s as simple as walking a bit more and taking public transportation.

To reduce your food carbon footprint, the simplest strategy is to start replacing meat with veggies. This can half your footprint. The next step is to reduce the transport emissions associated with food by shopping at farmers markets, ordering online (surprisingly has a lower CO2 impact than driving to the shops), and finding local produce and products (eg. If you’re buying a can of tomatoes, the Australian farmed have a much lower impact than the Italian farmed can).

To reduce your landfill emissions, compost and recycle as much as you can. We’ll tell you the impact of composting compared to landfill in the question below.

Planting trees (through a company such as Tripod or through purchasing carbon offsets) is a helpful activity but unless done at scale has a smaller positive impact than you might think.

For example, to offset the average Australian’s footprint for a year, you’d need to plant 80 trees a year - these 80 trees would then need 5-10 years to mature enough to draw down this amount of CO2.

We offer a $2 carbon offset at checkout, that offset covers your coffee and a lot more, offsetting roughly 76 kgs of CO2. The average Aussie carbon footprint is 12-15 tonnes of CO2 per year. 

 

IPCC image

 

Question 2: How does Australia rank amongst the 193 United Nations countries on Climate Change actions?

A. 10th
B. 100th
C. 180th
D. 193rd (CORRECT)

Australia scored a perfect zero of 100 for climate policy. We're in the same category as Russia and Saudi Arabia.  

 

Landfill image

 

Question 3: What happens to compostable items (food, coffee pod, etc) when they're sent to landfill?

A. They still break down
B. The items are sorted and compostables go to industrial compost
C. Items are buried and preserved to avoid degradation of all items (CORRECT)

This one’s a little tricky. Modern landfills are designed to essentially “trap” garbage as air tight as possible to avoid degradation and toxins seeping into the earth and surrounding ecology.

While this design reduces soil toxicity, it means that what does breakdown in the landfill creates methane gas instead of carbon dioxide. Methane gas has an 84x worse effect on global warming that carbon dioxide.

 

Question 4: Which of these items should NOT go in the compost?

1. Tripod Coffee ome compostable capsules
2. Cardboard fruit and veg scraps
3. Oil, meat and cheese (CORRECT)
4. Items claiming to be compostable but lack certifications (CORRECT)

You might be surprised that oils, meat and cheese shouldn’t be put into composts. These items are 100% natural and will breakdown over time, but shouldn’t be mixed in with household composts. Oils, meats, and cheeses can attract unwanted pests and or can contaminate your current compost batch. It’s best to steer clear.

You also want to avoid any materials that brand themselves as compostable but aren't certified. Without the Australian Home Compostable Certification, you don't know if your product will actually breakdown or if it will breakdown into harmful micro-pieces.

 

Question 5: Composting compared to sending to landfill reduces your carbon footprint by how much?

A. 20%
B. 50%
C. 75%
D. 98% (CORRECT)

Items in landfill have an 84x worst impact on global warming. Landfill conditions create methane gas instead of carbon dioxide. 1kg of methane has the same effect as 84 kgs of carbon dioxide.