Scan your grocery receipt in the app to log the carbon footprint of your purchase
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In the capitalist society we currently live in, we do vote with our wallet. Knowing the carbon footprint of everything we buy would be a huge step towards making us aware of our impact on climate change.
I agree with @Flo on his point that receipt scanning is not the right path towards this goal. Paper receipts will disappear for ecological reasons and be replaced with electronic receipts containing structured data. Computing the carbon footprint will thus simply boil down to querying a table associating products with carbon footprints.
Is there any standard database already in place where companies have to register the carbon footprints of their products?
@Valentin Iovene: That's a very good point. There are actually many initiatives that are trying to digitise receipts, like Storebox or Zeipt. I agree that it could make more sense for us to focus on connecting to those initiatives than to do it ourselves!
@Valentin Iovene: Fully agree. The focus here shouldn't be building a universal receipt scanner computer vision system, but rather querying against a huge database with CO2e entries for everything.
I am not aware of such a database but also didn't do any research yet. I think this is something very interesting and important, so I'll do some research today.
(Funny enough: This morning I read the text of my Oatly packaging (Oat based milk replacement, if you don't know what that is). They call for uniform CO2e labeling on groceries. On the other side it says "0.38kg CO2e/kg; Source CarbonCloud". CarbonCloud is apparently a for-profit consultancy that helps you in calculating your foods footprint.)
If this database exists (or we build it) then this task here also takes care of the "Barcode Scanner" at the same time, I think. CC @Olivier Baumann. Maybe it should be rephrased and merged under "CO2e database (for groceries)".
@Flo: that's awesome! Thanks for sharing. To me, building a database that is both accurate (sensible CO2 emission estimates) and complete (available for all products) would require creating public policies that any product sold in the EU would have to comply with (and creating a European organisation that would enforce such policies). The only way for CO2e data collection to be systematic for all products is for it to be mandatory. Businesses won't invest money for computing their carbon footprint if they don't have too. I feel like what I'm saying in this message is so obvious that there must be people in EU orgs working on this already.
Love that idea! Seems like a fairly low hurdle to scan a receipt if you're interested in your footprint.
Long term it might be good to think about other ways to track shopping, especially as paper receipts are pretty bad for the environment as well.
(See e.g. here: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/receipt-recycling-uk-thermal-paper-digital-receipt).
This might be a cool integration partner for that, though probably not now (supports about five different shops): https://tryflux.com/
Btw, is this idea open-source to work on? I always wanted to play around with scanning receipts.
Tomorrow could also connect to existing "diet" apps that already follow our nutritions (eg lifesum, myfitnesspal, etc...)
@Charles C: Hey Charles, thanks for your feedback. This is indeed something we are currently looking at. Lifesum doesn't currently have an API. Ideally we'd want to go closer to the source of the emissions, meaning measuring the emissions of groceries or meals you purchase.
@Olivier Baumann: Makes sense, thank you.