Calculating Product Carbon Emissions with Ditch Carbon πŸ˜Άβ€πŸŒ«οΈ.

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Every Year Mozilla conducts its Privacy Not Included product review - evaluating products on their level of Privacy, Security, and use of AI.

I wanted to see if next year we can include the energy usage or carbon footprint of these products in the review. So I decided to build a carbon footprint calculator for the products in this year’s privacy not included review as a prototype in order to hopefully persuade the team to include it next year.

I had to find a source for that carbon data so I reached out through a Slack group called and found an API service called Ditch Carbon.

Ditch Carbon allows you to pass products to the API and get a carbon footprint for their product life cycle. The API requires product name, price, and (optionally) category. If a product does not conduct a specific Life Cycle Assessment, it uses a category average as a fallback. If this is not available, the API uses a category spend method, hence the price requirement.

Mozilla’s sustainability lead, Jenny Wong, informed me that individual Product Lifecycle Assessments can be incredibly expensive and so very few companies currently perform them for their products. While you might see Apple or Google doing them for a phone or tablet, it’s unlikely you’ll see it for, say, a smart speaker.

Once I had that info I aggregated all the data together and used Ditch Carbon to calculate the CO2 emissions.

I made a mock up of what that would look like for next year’s website.

Graph of Carbon Footprint of All Products

You can view the code on GitHub here, but to adopt it for your own use you’ll need to get an API key from Ditch Carbon.


Not surprisingly most of the products I ran through Ditch Carbon did not have a specific product LCA, and because I didn’t pass the product category to Ditch Carbon, none of the products used the product category calculation method either. However this data was available to me from Mozilla, so in the future I will try to include it.

I put the final data into Google Sheets to analyze things. While a number of the products I ran through Ditch Carbon we’re not found, of the ones that were, the Kohler smart Tub (a hefty 4,600 kg CO2e) was almost five times higher than the next closest product - the Dyson Heurist Vacuum (926 kg CO2e). To put that into perspective, you could drive a car 11,418 miles to create the same emissions, and you’d have to grow 76 tree seedlings for 10 years to offset that amount of CO2 (source)

Graph of Carbon Footprint of All Products

Only Google, Apple, and Lenovo published their own Life Cycle Assessments, and of those, the Apple iPad was highest at 133 kg CO2e.

Graph of all Published Products Carbon Footprints

It is obviously problematic if only companies with deep pockets can publicize information about the environmental impacts of their products.

Hopefully, in the future, we’ll see more companies publishing their own Life Cycle Assessments so that consumers can make more informed decisions about the products they buy.

If you compare products across categories, you can see certain products have truly outsized carbon impacts compared to their competitors, for example here the Garmin Fenix (126 kg CO2e), as compared to the Huawei Band (4 kg CO2e).

Graph of Fitness Tracker Carbon Footprints

It’s ironic that a device that is supposed to tell you how healthy you are may be contributing to an environment that most certainly will be unhealthy for you.

While I’d take these numbers with a grain of salt until they are qualified with a more robust evaluation, you might think twice about buying an $800 iPad that’s responsible for 133 kg of carbon over its lifetime, when you could buy one for $150 that’s responsible for a tenth of that.

I’m hoping that we surface some of these insights in the 2023 version of Privacy Not Included.