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Energy: King Coal
Infographic: Hitting the Scales
Interview With Glenn Olson: The Bird Ambassador
Wildlife: Inherit the Wound
Sealife: The Friendliest Catch

Elephant text-messaging; 90-year-old ladies’ man; bicycle valet service; more.

Illustration by James Joyce

Hitting the Scales

Besides padding your waistline, those potato chips you’re eating are also creating health issues for the planet. Their carbon footprint, which includes everything from the fry oil to the shipping trucks, accounts for 0.2 pounds of carbon dioxide per serving. To help consumers trim their total emissions, a variety of products, including books, clothes, and groceries, may soon sport carbon labels. Retailers like the United Kingdom’s Tesco and France’s Casino already use the scheme, and Wal-Mart is asking the companies whose goods it carries to provide footprint information. U.K.-based Carbon Trust is one company helping corporations calculate carbon outputs and create carbon labels, like the one now on every Tesco-brand milk carton. “The companies that typically do the carbon footprinting exercise find a way to reduce their emissions and cut their energy costs,” says Euan Murray, the group’s general manager of carbon footprinting. To date Carbon Trust has undertaken more than 65 footprinting projects and assessed 2,500 individual product lines. The next time you make a purchase, be on the lookout for labels with not just calorie counts but carbon poundage, too.—Susan Cosier     

Fat Tire beer: 7 lb CO2/six-pack

Google search: 2.2 lb CO2 /5,000 searches

T-shirt: 1.4 lb CO2 each

Light bulb: 75 lb CO2/1,000 hours of use

iPhone: 121 lb CO2/phone

Gruyère cheese: 9 lb CO2/2 lb cheese

Cheeseburger: 7.9 lb CO2 each

Toilet paper: 0.002 lb CO2/sheet

Liquid laundry detergent: 1.5 lb CO2/wash

Internet bank account: 0.44 lb CO2/year

Electric bike: 200 lb CO2 to manufacture; 210 lb CO2/year to charge

Orange juice: 6 lb CO2/64-oz carton

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