In addition to energy consumption, the use of cutting fluids, deposition of worn tools and certain other manufacturing activities can have environmental impacts. All these activities cause carbon emission directly or indirectly; therefore, carbon emission can be used as an environmental criterion for machining systems. In this article, a direct method is proposed to quantify the carbon emissions in turning operations. To determine the coefficients in the quantitative method, real experimental data were obtained and analysed in MATLAB. Moreover, a multi-objective teaching-learning-based optimization algorithm is proposed, and two objectives to minimize carbon emissions and operation time are considered simultaneously. Cutting parameters were optimized by the proposed algorithm. Finally, the analytic hierarchy process was used to determine the optimal solution, which was found to be more environmentally friendly than the cutting parameters determined by the design of experiments method.