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FLEXO Magazine : August 2011
28 FLEXO august 2011 www.flexography.org Calculating Your Facility’s Carbon Footprint First in a series: Documenting Plant sustainability Performance Greenhouse gases (GHGs), including carbon dioxide (CO2), absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range, trapping heat in the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. For most printing/converting facilities, GHGs are primarily emitted from energy purchases (natural gas and electricity) and vehicles. They may also come from the use of refrigerants and on-site combustion. Together, these emissions from a facility are referred to as its carbon footprint. In manufacturing, the total amount of heat-trapping gasses emitted over one year is called the site carbon footprint and reported as the carbon equivalency in metric tons of CO2. A metric ton is 1,000 kilograms or 2,205 pounds. Frequently, printing facilities are being asked by their customers to disclose carbon emissions in an effort to dem- onstrate sustainability performance. In a FTA survey from late 2010, more than 27 percent of those companies with a TargeTing reducTions • Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, strate- gies can be devised to reduce it by technological developments and/or better process and facility management. • Each of six GHGs has a different heat-trapping abil- ity. To obtain a unified number they are weighted and rated to have the same heat-trapping ability of CO2. • Purchased electricity represents one of the largest sources of GHG emissions and the most significant opportunity to reduce these emissions. Plants & Processes