Questions tagged [environmental-impact]

describes all effects (positive or negative) of the production, consumption and/or disposal of a product, service, policy, or project on the environment.

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5answers
7k views

Why don't toilets use saltwater?

My question is in the header. It would seem to be a major environmental benefit if toilets used saltwater in stead of potable fresh water, right?
23
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8answers
20k views

Palm oil vs coconut oil, which has the smallest ecological impact?

There is a valid fuss and concern about palm oil for a few reasons. To myself the main concern is the destruction of ecology and habitat for species in the countries which are increasingly producing ...
22
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2answers
369 views

Local greenhouse/hothouse vegetables vs. remote naturally-grown vegetables

I've often wondered what is ecologically better: A tomato from the region grown in a (heated) greenhouse/hothouse A tomato from several thousand km away grown naturally Ceteris paribus, are there ...
20
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4answers
448 views

Is Linux more sustainable than Windows?

One of the many advantages of GNU/Linux systems, and probably *NIX in general, is that they can run on older and lesser hardware than the children of Microsoft can, i.e. has lower "system requirements"...
15
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2answers
389 views

Is buying online more sustainable than in local shop next door?

I was planning to buy a toy. I can buy it online and in local shop next door. Price is (including shipping in case of online shop) more or less the same. Is one more sustainable than the other?
15
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4answers
4k views

Pros and cons of bamboo clothing compared to cotton?

I've read that clothes made from bamboo fibers require about 1/3 the amount of water compared to cotton. Also bamboo grows much faster than cotton and it requires little or no herbicides or fertilizer....
14
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3answers
2k views

Are plastic cups more environmental friendly than ceramic mugs?

Many years ago I read that plastic cups, like this: are more environmental friendly than ceramic mugs, like this: This is rather counter-intuitive. If I remember correctly, I believe the argument ...
14
votes
6answers
854 views

Are there any more sustainable alternatives to conventional commercial toothpaste?

Are there any sustainable (and useful) alternatives to toothpaste? I've tried so far this kind of tooth tabs and I'm also aware of the existence of tooth powder but I haven't tried it yet. I liked ...
13
votes
4answers
8k views

What kind of nuts are eco-friendly?

I'm vegetarian but I need a high-protein diet. I was eating a lot of beans but they're not so great for my digestion. My belly really prefers nuts instead. I know a lot of veggies eat cashews, but ...
13
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2answers
177 views

What is the environmental impact of replacing a vehicle?

I'm currently driving a Suzuki SX4 2008. It gets (supposedly) 30 MPG (9.4 l/100km) on highways, though I suspect it's much lower now because of the beating I have given the poor car and lack of ...
11
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3answers
743 views

Most environmentally friendly mode of transport

You often hear "Walk, it's better for the environment", but is that actually true? If I walk 5 miles instead of taking say a public bus, given that I now will need to replace the energy I spent ...
11
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3answers
1k views

Is an electric shaver more sustainable than water-based shaving ? And how to determine so for one's context?

I have tried both, a low-cost electric shaver and a medium-cost regular razor for water-based shaving. Water and Electricity, are both, equally important factors to be considered for sustainable ...
11
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3answers
149 views

Is it better to put something potentially unrecyclable in the recycling bin or to put something recyclable in the waste bin?

This may sound like a weird question, but the other night I was about to throw away a plastic package which didn't have any recycling information on it, and I hesitated before throwing it in the waste ...
11
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2answers
208 views

Should I replace existing inefficient light bulbs?

Similar to this question (except that's about cars), if I can buy more efficient light bulbs than the ones I'm using right now, should I? Or is it better to wait until my current light bulbs expire, ...
10
votes
2answers
426 views

What to look for in a pair of sustainable shoes?

Let's limit ourselves to "casual sport" shoes (e.g., everyday trainers, casual, etc.) . I have been doing some research online, essentially along two different lines: sustainability, using http://...
9
votes
6answers
159 views

Does responsible living leave more space to unresponsible living?

It looks to me that the efforts I'm doing to make my living more sustainable are worthless. Indeed, when some of us make efforts to lower energy consumption, doesn't it only leave harvestable ...
9
votes
2answers
348 views

Which consumes more carbon dioxide: a fully grown forest or a newly planted one that is growing?

I was talking to some friends and one of them claims that it is more efficient to combat global warming by cutting the trees and replanting them because a growing forest consumes more CO2. (Firstly, a ...
9
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4answers
3k views

Is gasoline or Diesel refining less sustainable, per energy output?

Inspired by my own answer here, I'm wondering what the actual numbers are regarding gasoline and Diesel fuel refining. I have read (don't remember where) that refining of Diesel fuel is less ...
9
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3answers
144 views

What is the environmental cost of encrypting your communications?

I am concerned by people's privacy in the Internet age, and the security that communication software and services offer, which is why I try to promote encryption in different everyday activities (...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

How bad are nylon and polyester clothing for the environment?

A few weeks ago I heard a news story about new research that found that polyester clothing is more of an environmental concern than previously thought. The reason for this is that each time you wash ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Which is the most sustainable type of pencil?

Which type of pencil is the most sustainable one? Wooden pencil Automatic (propelling) pencil/Clutch pencil The types I'm referring to: I've read related questions about comparing pens and ...
9
votes
1answer
309 views

Wood vs. plastic vs. metal furniture and other items, is the wood product generally most environmentally friendly?

Consider a bed or a chair, one made of wood, another of plastic, another of metal. All else being kept similar between the materials to the extent feasible, is the wood product generally the most ...
8
votes
2answers
401 views

How to account for environmental impact of second hand goods

I've been trying to understand and reduce my impact on the environment, and particularly to understand what a really sustainable lifestyle would look like. I (roughly) get the concepts of ecological ...
8
votes
2answers
135 views

How to choose a more sustainable vacation option?

Background In general, for a given transportation medium, modes of transport that are more densely populated are more efficient than those that are more sparsely populated. For example, it is not a ...
8
votes
3answers
316 views

One single person's equal share in the world's resources

This question has been intriguing me quite some time. While regulating my own consumption of the world's resources, I keep on wondering: With the current world population, what would be each single ...
8
votes
1answer
271 views

What is the environmental impact of toilet paper processed at a water treatment plant?

After toilet paper is flushed down a toilet and it goes to a water treatment plant, what happens next? Does it decompose, if so what gasses are released? Is the carbon sequestered in any significant ...
8
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2answers
272 views

Additional load of using kitchen sink waste disposal units on municipal wastewater treatment

Organic (in the generally-from-an-organism sense of the word) waste can be difficult to dispose of from dwellings with no outdoor space for composting, and (in New Zealand, at least) it is not ...
8
votes
1answer
94 views

What is the maximum sustainable population of the earth?

This question prompted by discussion regarding this answer to a question about vegetarianism. I recently came across a U.N. review of studies seeking to determine the earth's maximum sustainable ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

Impact on environment: a million horses vs a million cars

Would commuting on a horse be more eco-friendly? What if there were millions of people did that? Would millions of horses be better than millions of cars?
7
votes
1answer
755 views

How environmentally friendly is the production process of vitamin B12 supplements?

A vegan diet recommends the use of fortified foods and supplements (Wikipedia). How environmentally friendly is the production process of these vitamin B12 pills? Might it maybe even be better for ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the IPAT identity, and does it still matter?

A few years ago, the IPAT identity was all the rage when talking about the aggregate human impact on the global ecosystem. What is the IPAT identity exactly, and is it still relevant, or has it been ...
7
votes
3answers
184 views

What is the environmental impact of meal kit subscriptions (Blue Apron, etc)?

According to Wikipedia, a meal-kit is... ...a subscription service that sends customers pre-portioned food ingredients and recipes for them to prepare homecooked meals. Well-known examples include ...
6
votes
2answers
153 views

What is the impact of switching to smart metering?

Is there some way to estimate the environmental impact on overall carbon emissions of a community switching from normal to smart meters, with all the integrated solutions(monitoring, for instance)? I ...
6
votes
2answers
105 views

Is it environmentally sensible to clean a paint roller?

I'm currently decorating a room and conscious of how much water it's taking to clean the paint out of a paint roller. At what point does the environmental cost of cleaning exceed the environmental ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Environmental impact of toner versus ink cartridges?

I'm trying to decide what type of printer to buy. I've read a number of posts on the web where people claim that laser printers are more durable than ink-jet printers. Some people say this is because ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

What is an environmentally-conscious replacement for white yogurt?

I am looking for an environmentally conscious replacement for white yogurt. I do have a couple of ideas for foods that could work well, but I have very little clue if they are a better choice from the ...
6
votes
1answer
373 views

How did the people living on Easter Island go extinct?

According to a professor in this article on phys.org it's because the population exploded when they wiped out all the forests. What caused the population explosion? Was it the development of a new ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Ecological wood-burning fireplace

We are in the process of choosing a fireplace for our house (which is being refurbished). Is it possible to have a wood-burning fireplace that doesn't cause any harmful emissions or contribute to smog ...
6
votes
1answer
259 views

What is current best practice for setting up recycling?

I'm interested in public policy as regards recycling. I recently read an interesting Atlantic article on single-stream recycling, which noted that single-stream certainly makes it as easy as possible ...
6
votes
1answer
135 views

How can I change my computing hardware and software for greater sustainability?

I currently use Mac OS X on a Retina Macbook Pro. Apple is known to be quite a green company, in terms of its hardware and the power required to manufacture, sell, and market it. But I think I can do ...
6
votes
1answer
111 views

What is the global environmental impact of holiday decorations?

Just a random curiosity question here. How much do all the holiday lights and other such decorations affect the environment? Relative to the footprint of a house a set of outdoor lights is probably ...
6
votes
0answers
58 views

How do you decontaminate land?

How do you decontaminate land that has been contaminated with various toxic materials? Is it safe to just unearth everything? I live around a lot of contaminated fields and it looks like companies ...
6
votes
2answers
248 views

Is there any eco-friendly option for condom?

I am from India and there is no availability of vegan condom. I am a hardcore practitioner of sustainable living and don't wanted to create waste with single-use condom which is definitely resulting ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Is heating with candles economically and/or ecologically worthwhile?

Considering my home doesn't have a heating system nor chimneys, I wonder if it's worthwhile to heat using only candles. There are multiple dimensions to consider: Does it cost less than electric ...
5
votes
2answers
673 views

Which is better for carry-out eating: disposable bamboo chopsticks or disposable plasticware?

Assuming that I throw them away each time, and taking transportation out of the question, which is the most environmentally sound choice: single use bamboo chopsticks, or single use plasticware? What ...
5
votes
2answers
641 views

If coffee pods are made of aluminium, what are the negative environmental effects?

The boss of Nespresso has called coffee pods an environmental disaster. One of my friends recently commented: Coffee pods are the environmental equivalent of beating baby seals to death. I'm ...
5
votes
1answer
79 views

What is life cycle assessment best used for?

What is the best use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)? Can it be used for eco-products? Can it be used for products like phones and computers?
5
votes
1answer
59 views

How much soya is needed to produce a glass of cow's milk?

Producing soya beans is responsible for some significant amounts of deforestation in tropical areas and relying on soya introduces a demand for transportation in countries where soya is not grown. I ...
5
votes
1answer
263 views

How do the environmental impacts of sky lantern and firework displays compare?

http://theguardian.com/environment/ethicallivingblog/2009/jul/31/sky-lanterns and http://bbc.com/news/magazine-23129276 are critical about use of lanterns which float into the sky using hot air ...
5
votes
1answer
126 views

How do word processing on a laptop and writing with pen and paper stack up sustainability-wise?

I suddenly had to write a packing list for a trip I'm going to make (a really sustainable one), scribbling it off the top of my head while it was on my mind. I had the choice of writing the list with ...