All Questions

70
votes
10answers
59k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
50
votes
15answers
11k 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.
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 ...
46
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 ...
42
votes
5answers
11k views

How to preserve meat during warm months without electricity?

It's so easy to preserve food with a fridge. But if you don't have electricity, because of some big disaster or resource depletion, how would you handle preserving meat? In winter it is relatively ...
42
votes
6answers
820 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 ...
39
votes
8answers
27k 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 ...
38
votes
14answers
84k views

What is the most sustainable way to dispose of shoes?

About once every year or two I come to the point where I have to part with the shoes I've bonded with over my day in day out walks to work, the market, around the block yada yada. Trust me I wear my ...
38
votes
4answers
2k views

Are pizza cardboards stained with oil still recyclable?

I was told some months ago that paper and cardboard recycling processes need clean raw material. In particular, paper stained with oil may be inappropriate to recycle, and should rather be thrown away....
38
votes
5answers
163k 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 ...
37
votes
10answers
80k 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?
37
votes
5answers
18k 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 ...
34
votes
2answers
551 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 ...
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
615 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 ...
30
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 ...
29
votes
7answers
18k 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. ...
28
votes
5answers
1k views

Should I use my wood fireplace?

I live in a relatively modern (built 1983) home, which has a fireplace in the living room. How should I decide if I should use the fireplace for heat, or strictly use use the natural-gas central ...
28
votes
4answers
875 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
133k 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
345 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
481 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 ...
27
votes
7answers
9k views

How do I find an eco-friendly laptop?

I am looking to replace my laptop. Being in a conscious path of my own, I want to choose a laptop which is a product of good and sustainable procedures. I am saying good because most popular brands ...
27
votes
4answers
175 views

Biodegradable cleaners to remove mold?

I've relocated to an apartment with considerable mold in a couple of closets and bathroom. Is there a way to remove this mold with a biodegradable solution?
25
votes
5answers
13k views

What types of plugged in electronics use energy even when turned off?

I just need some convincing before I start unplugging everything. I kind of assumed that USB type computer, phone, or printer chargers would use electricity. And obviously my computer, sound system, ...
25
votes
4answers
7k views

Is there a difference in insulation to keep heat in or out?

I know that one of the best ways to save energy at home is insulation. The question is, is there a different method for keeping the heat in when it's cold and keeping the heat out when it's warm? I ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

Does a dishwasher save water in the long term?

I've been considering a dishwasher, but there are a range of different opinions on if they save water (or even energy) or not. Do we have any sources one way or the other?
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 ...
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 ...
24
votes
4answers
387 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 ...
23
votes
10answers
758 views

How can I manage my fridge's contents better?

Sadly, about 30-50% of the Western world's food is thrown away. Personally, I waste about half of my food, due to poor fridge management. I forget what I have bought and find expired food located in ...
23
votes
4answers
6k views

How to recover water from washing machine for toilet

In the last years I have been very concerned about the incredible waste of water from washing machine that could be easily used for toilet use, but up to now I have not found an easy way apart from ...
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 ...
23
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
23
votes
6answers
12k views

How can I add thermal mass to a woodstove, without a lot of weight?

It's well-documented that adding thermal mass to a woodstove will improve efficiency. You can burn smaller splits of wood hotter, causing more complete combustion. The additional heat output won't ...
23
votes
1answer
636 views

Before drilling a well, how can I determine any water table impact?

I own a property that has no water service and thus I need to drill a well. My neighbors have expressed concern about the water table being lowered by too many people with wells in the area. Before ...
22
votes
19answers
63k 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 ...
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 ...
22
votes
5answers
193 views

What non-toxic products can I use to keep my kitchen counters clean and safe?

I'm wondering what kind of products I can use that are not dangerous to keep kitchen surfaces clean and safe. Should I get different products for different types surfaces (e.g. granite top vs. ...
22
votes
5answers
17k views

How should I collect and convert rain water into drinking water?

I would like to convert my current rain gutter system into a collection and recycling process. Currently the water is just runoff and ends up in the storm sewer creating more work for my cities aging ...
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 ...
22
votes
4answers
771 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 ...
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 ...
22
votes
1answer
425 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
168 views

Do “100% renewable” electricity plans increase renewable electricity production?

In the advertising for this year's earth hour in Sydney, Australia, it encourages people to switch from conventional electricity to renewable energy. A number of electricity providers offer "100% ...
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 (...
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
219 views

Does a compost pile for food scraps need some kind of starter material?

When starting a compost pile from scratch for kitchen food scraps, do I need some kind of starter material? For example, should I take any material from an established composting pile to seed it with ...

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