Questions tagged [waste]

materials which the initial user wants to dispose. For questions about [reuse] or [recycling] waste use those tags.

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30
votes
9answers
28k views

What to do with old, unused incandescent light bulbs

Over the years, my family has built up a small stockpile of incandescent light bulbs. More recently, we have been replacing our incandescent lights with more energy-efficient alternatives. ...
27
votes
5answers
476 views

Is it sustainable or necessary to use potable water to wash waste before recycling?

I live in a major metropolitan area in the United States, and we have a municipal recycling pick-up program. They advise us to wash food containers prior to putting them in our bins, and if an item ...
27
votes
1answer
459 views

What to do with wood ash?

I have a wood burning fireplace which I use on occasion, and I have a decent amount of wood ash each time I have a fire. How can I dispose of the wood ash without just throwing it in the trash? I live ...
21
votes
5answers
9k views

How to unsubscribe from junkmail and circulars?

I use Catalog Choice to unsubscribe from catalogs. However, I'm not sure how to stop receiving other junkmail and circulars that routinely come in the mail, such as ValPak coupons, ClipperMagazine, ...
19
votes
2answers
304 views

Why should I compost?

I've seen a number of question about composting here. Five, if the composting tag is a good way to measure. In my sustainability efforts (no car, no meat, no flying) I've never really considered ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the most sustainable way to handle food waste...throwing food scraps into garbage or down my sink's garbage disposal?

Every night when I wash dishes, I either throw food scraps down the garbage disposal or throw it in the trash. Is it more sustainable to throw food scraps down the garbage disposal? I think things ...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

How to properly dispose of bubble wrap envelopes?

In those envelopes paper is often glued pretty well to bubble wrap portion, making it hard to separate. On top of that bubble wrap itself is seldom recycled - for example in my area of Ontario, Canada ...
15
votes
1answer
206 views

Does transporting plastic offset the benefits of recycling it?

Apparently China has been processing about half the world's waste until this year, and most of that waste is transported over the ocean in large container ships. Recycling plastic uses less energy and ...
15
votes
1answer
400 views

What percentage of plastic drinking bottles is recycled after use, worldwide?

I often hear that, although plastic bottles can be recycled quite efficiently, only a percentage of them gets effectively recycled. I have heard about shipments to Africa to pile them up without a ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

How can glass be recycled/reused locally in rural communities?

I live in a "remote" part of the USA, where it is prohibitively expensive to ship glass elsewhere for recycling. Because of the small population (the nearest city over 10k people is 110 miles away), ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Can organic waste be turned into fish food?

I have heard that catfish (and perhaps other fish too) eat about anything. Would catfish also eat my organic waste? If so I could breed catfish in aquaponics. So can my waste be turned into fish-food?...
13
votes
5answers
664 views

(Non-compost) uses for egg-shells?

Like many families, we eat eggs and this produces egg shells. While I am aware that composting is a possibility I am wondering if there are other things we can do with them. We are not raising ...
13
votes
1answer
110 views

How can an employer induce snack food companies to package in compostable materials?

My employer provides snacks to employees and generally uses compostable plates, cups, and utensils. However, a significant portion of the waste stream comes from the wrappers for things like chips ...
13
votes
1answer
90 views

Co-firing fossil fuels use in waste incineration

I know from shop talk among previous colleagues that waste incinerators often need natural gas to sustain firing. AFAIK this is mostly because mixed household wastes have a high moisture content, ...
12
votes
6answers
7k views

How can ceramics be recycled?

How can ceramics be recycled? Does the answer vary greatly depending on glaze or other factors, and if so, how can those factors be determined (i.e. how can I tell if a glaze contains lead or not)? ...
12
votes
3answers
905 views

What is the most efficient way to deal with electronic waste?

What is the most efficient way to deal with electronic waste like old computers, TVs, etc? More specifically, I have some old CDs and DVDs. I don't want to just dump them. What should I do with these ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What can I do to give second life to half-drained batteries?

Suppose I'm replacing batteries in some powerful device like a flashlight - the flashlight will not even run on those batteries but some low power device like a TV remote or a wall clock will continue ...
12
votes
2answers
546 views

Which funeral methods are more sustainable than burial or cremation?

All living things die. I will die. What are some sustainable options for handling dead bodies?
12
votes
3answers
5k views

Reusing, recycling or disposal of used or expired cooking oil

I have found the article How to Dispose of Cooking Oil where are these suggestions: reuse: filter and put into a freezer or a fridge for later reuse different purpose reuse: lava lamp, snow shovel ...
12
votes
2answers
169 views

Is using a menstrual cup better for the environment than using pads or tampons?

Menstrual cups can last between 5 to 10 years depending on the brand and care in use. There are many different brands and designs. E.g. Diva cups only last about the average of 5 years, while Mooncup ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there any viable DIY or commercial solutions to convert waste heat to electricity?

Apparantly there are some advances in converting heat to electricity such as here or here. But are there any commercial solutions/devices/DIY projects or is this at the moment (as stated in the ...
12
votes
2answers
225 views

What's the most sustainable way of disposing with a used battery?

We are advised by our various governments that the most environmentally-friendly way to dispose of a battery is to give it in to a designated battery recycling plant. But could the process of doing ...
11
votes
7answers
30k views

Getting rid of immature windfallen apples

What are the (easiest) sustainable ways of getting rid of immature (windfallen) apples? Is it OK to put them into a compost? What part of compost can they make? Is it good to crush them before ...
11
votes
7answers
4k views

What is the most sustainable way of making coffee?

Which method of brewing coffee is the most sustainable? The criteria being: minimal waste, minimal energy (no matter where it's produced) I guess for the optimal solution it would be necessary to......
11
votes
3answers
244 views

When do you know you're generating too much waste?

I (a single person, me, myself) fill and dispose a 30 liter bin every couple of days, and I feel uncomfortable with it, but I don't have a benchmark. What I want to know is considered normal waste ...
11
votes
5answers
19k views

Are used "blister packs" recyclable?

Now, in management of recurring everyday waste, this is something totally unavoidable. Are tablet strips (what they call blister pack strips), after use, recyclable? Can they be dumped with dry ...
11
votes
2answers
183 views

How do plastic bags and other waste end up in the ocean?

There are many photos of the ocean, which in some parts is littered with all sorts of waste, often plastic bags, containers etc. I just wonder - how do such large amounts of plastic land in the ocean/...
11
votes
3answers
189 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
votes
3answers
266 views

Can solid dog waste be safely added to a backyard composting heap?

My dog poops in my backyard and the poop is either a) forgotten or b) picked up in a biodegradable bag and thrown in the trash which is ultimately incinerated for electricity by my municipality. Both ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

What alternative to composting is there to manage organic waste at home?

Organic waste (cooked food waste, uncooked food waste and garden waste) can usually be used productively in composting. However, in Kathmandu, where I am trying to find domestic solutions for organic ...
11
votes
1answer
194 views

Is there any cold-resistant anaerobic bacteria for biodigestion?

After trying and failing batch domestic anaerobic digestion in Kathmandu at its coldest (December, January), a biogas expert observed our system and explained the bacteria could not operate because of ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

Is it a good idea to throw organic waste in a river?

I live in an apartment in an urban area that doesn't offer municipal compost. I store my food waste in a paper bag in my freezer. When the bag is full, I run it over to Whole Foods and dispose of ...
10
votes
2answers
687 views

How can we use fallen leaves from tree in best way?

In my neighborhood, there are so many trees along the road. So every day many leaves fall and everyday road-cleaning workers wastefully just burn it. I was hoping to use that waste in a more ...
10
votes
3answers
7k views

Uses for fish bones?

We eat fish. I know some small fish bones are fried and eaten as food in some parts of the world, and they can be composted for mineral content. I do compost some already, but we don’t have that ...
10
votes
1answer
69 views

Source for comparison of garbage companies sustainability efforts?

I am looking for a source for info on how effective their recycling programs are, how much gas they use based on spread of trucks to garages, their greening efforts etc. I live in New York, so even ...
10
votes
3answers
328 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
313 views

Any food and grocery buying systems that lead to less food waste?

I am not asking for specific diets or reducing plastic waste. Many people may not want to change their diets. How do people buy food so that they throw away as little food as possible? There must be ...
9
votes
2answers
166 views

Compost yourself or let the city handle the organic waste?

From a sustainability perspective. Is it better to let the city handle the organic waste or compost yourself locally when possible? I'd suspect city's larger scale organic waste management facilities ...
9
votes
1answer
497 views

Can wood wool be produced from plywood waste?

For packaging of parcels, is it feasible/ possible to produce wood wool from the waste of plywood products? If not, what alternative packaging uses are there for plywood waste?
8
votes
5answers
8k views

Alternatives to garbage plastic bags

I currently use plastic garbage bags in the kitchen. I would like (if possible) to use something plastic free, as hygienic as the usual plastic bag and easily obtainable in Europe. Is there any ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I compost vegetable oil?

I have a quart (0.9 liter) of vegetable oil, and was wanting to get rid of it. I know you're not supposed to pour it down the drain, and was thinking that if I put it in the compost bin I would be ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the environmental effects of discarding radioactive smoke detectors?

I called Kidde about mailing back their radioactive smoke detector now that it has exceeded its usable life. It is labeled that it contains 0.9 micro curies of Americium 241. They claimed over the ...
8
votes
1answer
254 views

Scrapping a mouse - what should I focus on?

First of all, I would truly appreciate your help since I'm still a rookie when it comes to scrapping. I stumble upon e-waste quite often which is the prime reason why have I decided to become a ...
8
votes
1answer
65 views

Are there any hard numbers on energy spent on recycling?

I have heard arguments that the energy spent recycling some materials eclipses the energy spent gathering and working raw materials into new products. I can see how this is possible but without hard ...
8
votes
1answer
255 views

How can I clean old cooking oil for use in candles?

I have a tupperware of old cooking oil in the fridge that I've been debating throwing away - but I would rather re-use it than just toss it. Can I render it and make it into jar candles? It's ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Freezing Bananas With Less Waste

My wife likes to freeze bananas by removing their skin, wrapping them in aluminum foil, and placing them in the freezer. She eats a couple of bananas per day. So, this is using up a lot of aluminum ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it more environmentally friendly to use laptops or desktop PCs?

I've often wondered whether it's more environmentally friendly to use a desktop or a laptop. To compare purely the electricity usage, I can of course calculate how long I leave my computer turned on, ...
7
votes
2answers
258 views

How do I dispose trash without using plastic bags?

Everyday, we dispose of our trash using plastic bags. This prevents the trash (especially liquids) from leaking out and contaminating our garbage disposal systems. Obviously, things such as paper bags ...
7
votes
2answers
249 views

How many times do you need to re-use cloth napkins to offset their impact?

My local municipality has a "Waste Watchers" program that provides resources for reducing the quantity of waste sent to landfills. One of their tips is to use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. ...
7
votes
1answer
90 views

Is there any harm in not sorting biowaste?

I mix biowaste with mixed waste (ends up to a landfill). In my household the amount of produced biowaste is minimal, mostly consisting of leftover pasta and fruit & vegetable peels. Will I cause ...