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48
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 ...
32
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 ...
47
votes
5answers
223k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
76
votes
10answers
86k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
63
votes
10answers
13k 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 ...
40
votes
10answers
95k 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?
35
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 ...
35
votes
5answers
749 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
737 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
22k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
702 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
470 views

What is marginal energy?

I answered to a question and used the term "marginal energy". The answer wasn't understood by all, so I'm going to expand on the term to illustrate how it works. So, what is marginal energy?
14
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
748 views

What has a lesser carbon footprint? Continue to drive my current car until it is no longer useful or to buy a new car?

I have 2003 Honda Accord. It gets ~20 MPG CITY (8.5 km/liter). I'm trying to figure out if it is more sustainable in the long run to: continue to drive the Accord until it dies (it's still in great ...
17
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
12
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 ...
56
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
23
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
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
6answers
902 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 ...
40
votes
8answers
30k 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
8k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
186 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 ...
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
2answers
222 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: ...
28
votes
7answers
5k 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
4answers
829 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Which gases increase the greenhouse effect more than carbon dioxide?

Everywhere can be read that carbon dioxide increases greenhouse effect. But there are other gases having worse effect than carbon dioxide, e.g. methane. Is carbon dioxide emission the real threat, or ...
14
votes
2answers
992 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. ...
23
votes
1answer
487 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
5k views

When does using a car's start-stop system become more economical?

In this question it was asked how economic it is to turn your car's engine off when waiting for a traffic light. In the accepted answer it is said that it becomes more economical to turn it off if you ...
12
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
1k views

How is Natural Gas more sustainable as fuel than Gasoline?

In California, there are many natural gas vehicle options that are being promoted as more sustainable than regular gasoline vehicles. Natural gas is a by product of the natural processes that create ...
53
votes
15answers
18k 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.
41
votes
6answers
909 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
34
votes
2answers
656 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
280 views

Reusable vs. disposable diapers: which is better?

My wife and I have been using reusable diapers for our two kids. We've made them from old curtains, old bedsheets, etc., pretty much all "recycled" materials. They've been working perfectly fine, but ...
23
votes
8answers
22k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
13
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
235 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
268 views

What are the natural alternatives for toothpaste? [duplicate]

According to culture and countries, people must have using alternatives for toothpastes. What all things can be used as effective alternatives for tooth cleaning and whitening? For example, in ...
-5
votes
4answers
41k views

Solar energy without the sun: Super LED light on top of solar panels? [closed]

Some questions: Can LED light provide same amount of energy as sunlight? Can humanity get rid of the sun and charge solar panels from LED light alone? If this is feasible, this would be truly ...
30
votes
9answers
24k 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. ...

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