All Questions

45
votes
6answers
1k views

Is it feasible to compost in an apartment in a city like New York?

I would like to start composting but live in New York City and have no yard area. Is it feasible to try composting on my very small outdoor porch balcony area (6 feet x 3 feet)? The porch is shaded ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Which solar power technology has the highest energy return on investment (EROI aka EROEI)?

Which solar-electric technology had the highest EROEI? Energy Returned On (Energy) Invested, also known as EROI and as EROEI, has become something of a fashionable metric *but see footnote. It is ...
70
votes
10answers
56k views

Why shouldn't meat be placed in my compost pile?

I've heard claims that it is a bad idea to place meat in your compost pile. What is the reason for this? I'd like to be able to compost all my table scraps to reduce my waste stream, however, if ...
38
votes
5answers
154k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
894 views

What are the Carbon-Nitrogen ratios of common household wastes?

Making a good compost requires the right Carbon-Nitrogen ratio of the mixture. But most of the compostable household wastes don't have an ideal 25-30:1 ratio and we call them "greens" or "browns". And ...
10
votes
1answer
889 views

Which compostable plastic types can be composted at home?

There often is confusion about compostable plastics (see for example this question on greenware items or this gardening question on plastic bags). 'Compostable' suggests that you can compost the ...
62
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 ...
36
votes
10answers
76k views

Which tree consumes most carbon dioxide and poisonous gases?

I want to suggest to a gardener to plant trees for reducing pollution and poisonous gases emitted from a factory. Which species is preferable to plant in the area around the factory?
33
votes
3answers
3k views

Are electric cars as environmentally friendly as we think they are?

Given the fact that the average lifetime for a car battery is 3 years and all of the batteries end up at a landfill at the end of their lifetime, how sustainable are electric cars in providing a ...
31
votes
3answers
597 views

Impact of various travelling options

Are there any objective resources to estimate the ecological impact of various travel alternatives? Sites like Bahn.de offer to calculate it, but they obviously favour trains. I've asked a question on ...
20
votes
8answers
20k views

What is the most sustainable house insulation suitable for a cold climate?

This is a "derived" question from What is the most sustainable heating strategy for a home? . When talking about a home that has to withstand cold winters (-20 C), insulation is a big part of keeping ...
28
votes
4answers
469 views

Reading on paper vs. screen

I was wondering if there are any numbers comparing the sustainability of reading conventional paper vs. reading on screens. Standard LCD screens emit light while you are reading. Power consumption ...
15
votes
1answer
517 views

How do I estimate my personal ecological footprint?

In 2000, I was introduced to the concept of the ecological footprint, and for the first time I realised how fundamentally unsustainable my lifestyle was. An environmental group had a small ...
14
votes
6answers
673 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

How can I get my landlord to install better insulation?

We live in an apartment that has a lot of gaps in the doors and windows and poor insulation in the walls. Is there a way to make the landlord fix this? Some sort of property codes or something? He ...
28
votes
4answers
870 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 ...
57
votes
5answers
10k views

Which is more sustainable: aluminium can, plastic bottle or glass bottle?

I was wondering which drink container is the most sustainable one, when looking at the big picture (complete life cycle analysis). So far, I can see the few following points: Transport: plastic and ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

How to determine whether hybrid cars are really more sustainable than traditional cars?

I purchased a Prius many years ago, but many of my friends have put forth claims that the batteries are very toxic and thus I may in fact be creating more harm than good in using a hybrid and that ...
15
votes
6answers
768 views

What life-style decision can I make to reduce my carbon footprint most efficiently?

I'm interested in the sustainability, especially the carbon footprint, of life-style decisions regarding: transportation (i.e. get an electric car, use bike and public transport) dietary: going ...
21
votes
19answers
60k views

Prevent concrete roof from absorbing too much heat during summer

I live in India where most of the building roofs are made of concrete. In summer during night, the roof emits too much of heat that were absorbed during day time. I was aware of the options like ...
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
682 views

When recycling paper or cardboard, what level of contamination with (food) oils is ok?

It's widespread knowledge that paper or cardboard contaminated with oil can cause problems in the recycling process, and an often stated rule is that contaminated material should not be recycled. ...
8
votes
2answers
156 views

What are the greenhouse gas benefits of vegetarianism?

I'm looking for a range, or better yet, likelihood distribution, compared to: The average US meat consumer. The average world meat consumer. How significantly are those averages affected by: ...
22
votes
4answers
759 views

What form of electrical lighting has the smallest energy-footprint?

We all know that when it comes to household electrical lighting, LED lights consume the least amount of energy for a given amount of light, followed by fluorescent tubes, halogens, and Edison-age ...
13
votes
2answers
87 views

When to buy new, when to keep the old?

How can I calculate if it makes sense from a resource-conservation perspective to purchase a new, more energy efficient appliance, and when it makes sense to use an old appliance until it is beyond ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Are “eco-friendly” pens and pencils actually more sustainable than the conventional models?

There are a number of "eco-friendly" pens and pencils on the market advertising recycled content and other "green" features, but are they really as good as they look? Many standard wooden pencils use ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How is compostable plastic recycled/composted industrially?

I know that you need industrial facilities to compost compostable plastics within a reasonable timeframe. But how does this process work exactly? How long does it take? Is it simply a matter of doing ...
50
votes
15answers
10k views

Alternative to Toilet Paper?

Are there any sustainable alternatives for toilet paper? This could either be done by recycled paper (if such exists), but perhaps some other creative solution could be interesting.
23
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does cheese have such a high carbon footprint?

(Source of information here) As you can see, cheese has the third highest carbon footprint. Only beef and lamb have a higher footprint. Several other sources (such as this) corroborate this. Why is ...
42
votes
6answers
811 views

Producing my own energy options in urban area with windows but no roof access?

I'm wanting to produce my own energy, but I live in a condo with no access to the roof. I'd like to produce electricity, so maybe turning that energy into electricity safely. I have windows that have ...
34
votes
2answers
537 views

What’s the best strategy for turning off CFLs that will save energy but not reduce lifespan so much

With ordinary bulbs, I was used to turning the lights off even when I left the room for a few minutes (mostly because I know that I'll find other business and forget to return :-) ), but I've heard ...
22
votes
5answers
6k views

Planting trees for firewood - how many?

I'd like to heat my house using self-grown firewood. How do I go about calculating the number of trees I'd need to plant each year to make it sustainable - same number of trees harvested each year as ...
37
votes
8answers
26k views

How effective is turning a car's engine off while standing at a traffic light?

I know some countries enforce having cars automatically shut down the engine when stopping at a traffic light. How much resources are really saved by this process? Does the car need to be ...
25
votes
2answers
5k views

Are mouldy kitchen scraps okay to compost?

I was reading about the dangers of introducing pathogens in a compost pile. As you know, some moulds can be toxic. So I am curious if the normal household mould that appears in the kitchen or the ...
22
votes
8answers
19k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I determine what my biggest personal impact on global warming is?

This question is basically a follow-up question on something EnergyNumbers mentioned in his answer to this now closed question. He wrote that together, our impact (on fighting global warming) can ...
21
votes
4answers
663 views

How to drive to be the most fuel efficient

I saw a poster at a thruway rest stop once that said something along the lines of accelerating quickly is worse for fuel efficiency and carbon emission than idling for several hours (I don't remember ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the most sustainable heating strategy for a home?

I am looking for a new place to live and I know the winters will be very cold (-20 C). Coming from a warm climate country, I want to learn what to look for in a heating system. From the bit I ...
9
votes
4answers
201 views

How to construct a composting toilet

I want to built a composting toilet. What are the main construction aspects to be considered? Does anyone have a manual to share? I am especially interested in construction schemes which include the ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we think of biodegradable plastic as recycled and sustainable?

I look at the questions here and see what is taught to us by the mainstream propaganda: non-degradable plastic is unsustainable and, thus, we must prefer the biodegradable one. But let us consider the ...
5
votes
3answers
52k views

How many kilowatt hours of electricity does it take to heat 180 litres of water from 15 to 60 degrees C?

I think this calculation uses the specific heat capacity for water, which is from memory a bit over 4. Can someone please do the math? Also, if we assume electricity costs $0.30 per kilowatt hour, ...
28
votes
4answers
129k views

Which type of portable electric heater is better?

When one is buying a portable electric heater, there are at least three different types available: Radiative halogen heaters Fan heaters Oil-filled radiators and similar Images of examples of each ...
28
votes
1answer
337 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 ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Lowest impact transatlantic crossing

What is the lowest-impact regular¹ method to cross the Atlantic Ocean? Specifically, which method has the lowest carbon dioxide equivalent emission per passenger-kilometre? I'm aware there are other ...
14
votes
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How are pollution and sustainability related?

In discussing "green" policies, the words "sustainability" and "pollution" are occasionally mixed together, as if they were antonyms. My gut feeling is that something that is polluting is by ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

How can I tell biodegradable plastic bags apart from non-biodegradable?

I keep a lot of my stuff organized in normal disposable plastic bags I have left after shopping at various markets. And it works fine, except after a couple years I often find a bag in shreds, simply ...
9
votes
3answers
379 views

Are there types of solar panels that can be made completely locally and independent of fossil fuels?

I want to know if there are any kinds of solar panels that can be produced completely locally, from gathering materials to manufacturing to installing, without fossil fuel inputs anywhere in the ...
9
votes
1answer
933 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
310 views

Optimising crop yields without using fossil-fuel-manufactured fertiliser

The green revolution produced a step change in crop yields. Although nitrogen-based fertilisers have been produced without fossil fuels, a very large proportion of global fertiliser production depends ...

15 30 50 per page