Carbon cleanup

Carbon cleanup

When you flip on the television, you are using electricity. Much electricity comes from power plants, where fuels–such as oil–are burned to create electricity.

The downside: Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide. This greenhouse gas can trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to an overall warming of the planet. But trees can help to remove some of this gas. These green giants take in carbon dioxide from the air to carry out photosynthesis. In this process, plants capture energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide and water into food.

How many trees would it take to absorb the carbon dioxide that’s produced when you use everyday appliances? Use the equation below to find out. Then, fill in the table and answer the questions that follow.


a. Each mature tree can remove roughly 11 kilograms (kg) of carbon dioxide a year.

b. Use this equation to calculate the number of trees needed to absorb the carbon dioxide released each year from the use of certain appliances: (kilograms of carbon dioxide released) / (11 kilograms of carbon dioxide absorbed per tree) = number of trees. HINT: Round up your answer.

 Average carbon Number of

dioxide released trees needed each year per

to absorb the Home household released appliance

(kg) carbon dioxide Television 62 Home computer 119 Refrigerator 562 Central air- conditioning 1,256 Source: U.S. Department of Energy

1. Which household appliances require more than 40 trees to offset the carbon dioxide that is produced from powering each?

2. The use of which home appliance would cause the most carbon dioxide to be produced? How much?

3. Suppose a household used all of the appliances on the data table. What is the total amount of carbon dioxide produced in one year from using the appliances? How many trees would it take to absorb that amount?

 Carbon Cleanup Average

Average carbon number of dioxide released trees needed Home each year per to absorb the appliance household released

(kg) carbon dioxide Television 62

6 Home computer 119 11 Refrigerator

562 51 Central air- conditioning 1,256


1. refrigerator, central air-conditioning,

2. central air-conditioning, 1,256 kg

3. 1,999 kg, approximately 182 trees

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