All Questions

10
votes
2answers
148 views

More sustainably growing Asparagus?

One of the basic points of permacultural design and water usage is that bare soil is the single greatest source of loss of water in growing food. The principle of layering plants in space and time ...
15
votes
2answers
719 views

Is there a deodorant with minimal packaging waste?

I have been trying to look around me to find ways to minimize non-organic wastage...and one of the everyday things is Deodorant. I read somewhere that solid deodorants are way much greener than spray ...
24
votes
4answers
395 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
34 views

How can I assure that fish stock for my aquarium are coming from sustainable sources?

If I want to start an aquarium I will need fish stock to get it going. How can I assure that fish stock for my aquarium are coming from sustainable sources (e.g. being farmed) as opposed to coming ...
38
votes
5answers
19k views

Is it better to recycle or compost brown paper bags?

When you go to the grocery store, you may get brown paper bags. These can be readily recycled, however, they could also be composted. I would think that recycling requires energy, whereas composting ...
17
votes
3answers
274 views

Filtering indoor air with plants?

I have a daughter that has bad allergies. To help keep her allergies in check I use an electrical air purifier to keep the air in my house clean and filtered. I heard that houseplants could in ...
14
votes
2answers
70 views

Is there a recipe for sustainable dishwasher soap that brings out the shine?

We currently use a recipe that involves lemon and salt (the particulars of which are known only to my wife) and though it works and cleans the plates we don't get that beautiful shine that you get ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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?...
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 ...
39
votes
5answers
175k views

Can I recycle plastics at home by melting and molding?

I would like to know if it is possible to recycle plastic at home by melting and molding. Is it at all possible? What technique or technology do I need? Can it be done with any plastic? Are there ...
11
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
49
votes
9answers
2k views

How can I be more energy efficient in an apartment?

Usually when I see lists of things to do to be more energy efficient, they require one to own their own home. What can I do to be more energy efficient in an apartment? For example, I can't install ...
-1
votes
1answer
62 views

How can I find local permaculturalists in my area? [closed]

I am interested in permaculture, and have read some of the classic texts on the subject. What are some good general ways to find other people in my local area who are doing the same to share ideas ...
15
votes
2answers
435 views

How can I detect leachate from a compost pile?

It's possible that a compost pile will leach in to the ground, possibly contaminating groundwater and nearby wells. If you're composting human or animal manure, the risk is greater, as is the concern ...
24
votes
6answers
3k views

Alternative for electrical washing machine

I don't by any means live an electricity-free life, yet, but more than any other household item, I think I would miss the washing machine the most. Sweeping with a good broom is a good alternative to ...
11
votes
1answer
354 views

How can I cultivate mycelium for food and fertilizer in my apartment?

Having watched Paul Stamet's TED Talk, Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World, I'd like to be able to cultivate mycelium in an urban environment. I would like to harvest it for food I don't have a ...
4
votes
0answers
53 views

How do I start composting? [duplicate]

I want to start composting after a few failed attempts at vermicomposting indoors (I didn't have a balcony or any access to land back then). I have a rather large apartment balcony and I think I could ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Which kind of paper should be recycled and which should be burned?

Paper has a relatively short life-cycle (compared to natural gas or crude oil) and belongs to sustainable materials. Paper can be nicely recycled by: reusing making notes on the other side of one-...
10
votes
5answers
226 views

What reuses are there for surplus building materials?

I am remodeling a room in my house and have a bunch of material that may end up in the garbage. I would be throwing away carpet, plaster and planks, trim and etc. I would like to not throw this ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How to avoid plastic in aquaponics designs?

Ignoring the question of whether aquaponics is a sustainable process (which it may not be due to seemingly high energy input required for water movement and filtration). Most aquaponics designs use ...
9
votes
1answer
59 views

Eliminating fleas on pets

I have an inside cat that periodically has flea problems. The fleas must be getting in via friends of mine that have pets. I believe the cat is allergic to flea bites because it gets bumps on its ...
11
votes
1answer
146 views

Solution To Cat Litter

I have a cat that is fixed and fully de-clawed. It is strictly an inside cat only and never goes outside. I buy regular cat litter from the store frequently. I would like to find an alternative. I ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Which is more sustainable: Paper Bags or LDPE Bags?

At the grocery store, many offer a choice between brown paper bags (often doubled) or Low Density Poly-Ethylene (LDPE) plastic bags. If you plan to recycle in either case, which solution is more ...
12
votes
1answer
200 views

Which plastics should I avoid and what qualities of plastics are important to consider?

I see a lot of DIY projects that use various plastics, even projects with a focus on sustainable processes and methods. Is the use of plastic contrary to the idea of sustainability entirely? Are ...
6
votes
1answer
42 views

Good uses for sweet whey

I make cheese from time to time which produces copious quantities of whey (often more than I can drink in the mean time). Are there any extra uses for whey that I may be overlooking?
19
votes
8answers
2k views

What is an easy way to cool off during the summer without electricity?

What are some easy ways to stay cool during the day without using electricity?
5
votes
4answers
114 views

Better to get a kombucha Mother from friend or buy from a catalogue?

I am looking to get started with creating my own kombucha. Is there any risk with getting a seed mother from a friend, or is it best to buy from an online store?
14
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the virtual water content of a cell phone?

Values for virtual water content, that is, all water used in the production of whatever product you are analyzing, are usually available for a meal, a piece of clothing, a fruit, but not very easily ...
22
votes
4answers
9k views

How can I seal a pond without using a plastic pond liner?

I'd like to create a pond in a wet spot in my yard so that I can plant some beneficial water plants and possibly attract frogs and toads to help control pests. Is it possible to seal the pond so that ...
0
votes
1answer
77 views

How do I innoculate a 3 year old tree with a mycorrhizal fungus? [closed]

I have a number of fruit trees that have been in the ground for several years. I did not have access to mycorrhizal innoculants at the time of planting. Can I inoculate them somehow now? How?
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What species of mycorrhizal fungus do well with apple trees?

In Mycelium Running, Paul Stamets talks about inoculating seedlings with mycorrhizal funguses. He shows a side by side of young Maple saplings, one with and one with out showing the immense ...
22
votes
5answers
1k views

What can I grow for chicken food?

I live in the northeast US, with relatively cold winters (USDA zone 5, about -15°F ) and a short growing season (about 90 days frost-free; snow possible October through April). I have a small flock (...
10
votes
1answer
222 views

What to use as an alternative to store-bought hay?

Given the chance and with endless cashflow I would use store-bought hay everywhere. This keeps animals dry, they like to munch on it and it also reduces the smell for those animals (like ducks) that ...
19
votes
2answers
256 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
321 views

Organic aphid control on houseplants

What is the best option that's going to be safe for children/pets and require the least amount of reapplication? I'm looking for something that has little to no phytotoxicity between plant species.
29
votes
5answers
954 views

Estimating the cost of solar panels and return time?

I'm interested in installing a solar array on my property, and am trying to find tools that can help me do a cost analysis so I can optimize my budget and see how long it will take to balance the ...
19
votes
2answers
313 views

Can solar panels be recycled?

There are plenty solar panels installed in the recent years. Their operation expectancy as far as I know is about 50 yrs. This will produce waste for our grandchildren. Please, reassure me, that these ...
16
votes
1answer
221 views

What factors should I consider when deciding if cob construction is appropriate?

So I've read quite a bit about cob construction and even after this kind of research, I don't feel equipped to answer this question. What climates or locations make cob a good or bad idea? One ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What alternatives to Polypropylene bags could be used in Earthbag construction?

Given that Polypropylene bags are still a plastic product and not very biodegradable or earth friendly, if Earthbag construction became widely used how could this method be improved upon even further? ...
10
votes
1answer
77 views

Are there any 'home-grown' substances that can be used to clean carpet stains?

I've heard of using walnuts to remove scratches on wooden furniture. Are there any plants that can be grown or foraged that have the ability to remove dirt/stains from carpets?
7
votes
2answers
68 views

Minimum amount of time to use a consumer electronic?

I have read that the total embodied energy cost of consumer electronics (e.g. computers, smart phones, digital cameras, etc.) identifies these devices as products of an unsustainable energy economy. ...
-1
votes
1answer
142 views

Can I measure the average electricity consumption of a specific website design? [closed]

It is said that websites with a black background are more sustainable from an electricity consumption perspective. Is there a tool to measure the most sustainable website design you can use while ...
4
votes
0answers
55 views

How can you compare the costs of using public transportation versus using a personal car? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Impact of various travelling options Freakonomics makes the claim that for public transportation, provided ridership is sufficiently high, that the most energy efficient means ...
22
votes
1answer
432 views

Do small portable solar chargers generate more energy than it costs to produce them?

I know large solar panels generate more energy than is needed to manufacture them, but what about small portable solar chargers for mobile phone or radio? I've read somewhere that their efficiency is ...
16
votes
1answer
180 views

How can I save seeds from a tomato for replanting?

I am a first time seeder and I am trying to save the seeds from the fruits and vegetables I consume so I can plant them later. I understand how to properly save most seeds like. However, I am unsure ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the typical energy usage of automatic light switches?

A good way to cope with forgetting to turn of the lights is automatic light switches. But they must be using some energy to do their job. What's the rate of energy use for a typical automatic/sensor ...
16
votes
1answer
189 views

How can consumers persuade manufacturers to make their products more sustainable?

How can we, as consumers, persuade manufacturers to make their products more sustainable? The only things I've come up with (and try to do myself) Buy the most sustainable version of products. The ...
63
votes
10answers
12k views

What is an energy efficient way to get fresh air indoors during winter?

Letting some fresh air inside is always a good idea, but during the winter it seems a bit wasteful to fling open the window and let the fresh air in at the expense of all that hot air going out, and ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

When are you a locavore? [closed]

I mentioned to someone that I admired the person because they were a locavore. They responded that they weren't a locavore because not all their foods were local, just like they weren't a vegetarian ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Any use for Norfolk Island Pine leaves?

We have a giant (at least 30 metre high) Norfolk Island Pine in our back yard. Is there anything I could do to put the leaves to good use? They don't make good use for composting or as part of the ...

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