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14
votes
3answers
371 views

Best way to dry hands

In our office toilets at work we have paper towels and a hand dryer. Is it better for the environment to use the towels or the dryer?
14
votes
2answers
197 views

How to utilize a boreal forest for animal husbandry?

Forests are the great producers of oxygen, and sustainable living is hardly imaginable with meadows and farmlands only. But how to best utilize a forest for animal husbandry, in the way that ...
14
votes
2answers
290 views

Is drip irrigation more water-efficient than conventional watering?

I have set-up a rooftop garden at home. I am too lazy to water it every day so I am planning to set up a drip irrigation system. But the question remains: is drip irrigation more water-efficient than ...
14
votes
1answer
231 views

If I can create enough electricty from solar should I store and use it rather than feed back to the grid?

When we installed our solar PV system in 2010 there were several reasons it wasn't feasible at that time to store and use the power we were generating instead of feeding into the grid. The main ...
14
votes
5answers
963 views

How to store plastic bags for easy access?

I bring some plastic bags to my flat almost everyday. I do not throw them out, instead I reuse them on a daily basis until they wear out. But I have a problem organising them and I am yet to find a ...
14
votes
2answers
72 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
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
14
votes
1answer
131 views

Reuse or “dollar vote”?

I'm a big fan of reusing and if I really need to buy something, I buy it used. For example, I've been using second hand or refurbished phones for many years. However, while that is good for the ...
14
votes
1answer
356 views

What type of photovoltaic cells are the most environmentally friendly?

Some solar panels use silicon crystals that required careful purification and enormous quantities of energy. Some types use cadmium, which is highly toxic. Several types are noted by Wikipedia. If we ...
13
votes
4answers
11k views

What kind of nuts are eco-friendly?

I'm vegetarian but I need a high-protein diet. I was eating a lot of beans but they're not so great for my digestion. My belly really prefers nuts instead. I know a lot of veggies eat cashews, but ...
13
votes
5answers
577 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
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
14k views

Dealing with flies indoors: Carnivorous Plants

I was wondering about a sustainable chemical free way of dealing with house flies. Specifically, I thought to keep this from having too many possible answers and evolving into a discussion I am ...
13
votes
5answers
308 views

How 'clean' should something be for recycling?

Outside my apartment, there are 3 rubbish bins. One for glass, another for metals, paper and plastics and a third without a label, for bio-waste I guess. So I wonder what are some guidelines for when ...
13
votes
6answers
952 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it legal to have chickens in NYC?

I have a small backyard and live in a densely populated part of Brooklyn. I'm interested in exploring the possibility of getting two chickens for eggs. I was wondering if anyone has any advice for ...
13
votes
3answers
214 views

Is eating beef unsustainable?

I recently saw a poster somewhere saying that some type of emission or byproduct that comes out of cattle production is extremely wasteful and harmful to the environment. What exactly is this ...
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
2answers
469 views

Tea in the microwave

I occasionally need exactly a cup of water boiled for tea. Whenever I boil the kettle to do so, I wonder if it would be more energy efficient to use the microwave, as then I would have exactly the ...
13
votes
3answers
992 views

Complete composting novice with a bucket of stinky black slime--toss or keep?

We decided to start composting without doing any research on how to do it. Thus we began filling an old painters bucket with food scraps. No meat or milk or anything, but veggie and fruit scraps , egg ...
13
votes
3answers
902 views

How to aerate compost without turning?

Are there any sound methods that will allow my compost heap to stay aerated without me having to turn it? I realize that if left alone, it will still compost, but I would still like to speed up the ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

How plants survive in aquaponics?

Normally, we see in our garden that if there is an excess of water for certain plants (e.g. vegetable), they do not survive and their roots rot because of being soaked in water 24 hours a day. The ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I support the recycling, but not the new production of aluminum?

While the initial production of aluminum is a waste-intensive, energy-intensive process that has negative environmental and social impact through deforestation and contamination of waterways, aluminum ...
13
votes
2answers
504 views

How difficult is it to build your own dry, self-composting toilet?

I live in the country and have space on the north-side of my house where it doesn't get too hot in the summer. I think this could be a good place to implant a water-less or dry toilet. I read here ...
13
votes
2answers
279 views

Purpose of a bottom container beneath a worm farm

I followed a video on building my own worm farm using styrofoam boxes. The video suggested having a box underneath the main box to collect the worm castings, so it required I put holes in the base of ...
13
votes
3answers
18k views

Why can't black plastic be recycled?

My local council now takes most types of plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays in the recycling bin. But they specifically exclude black plastic containers. Is there a reason for this? Why can't ...
13
votes
2answers
126 views

Should I raise my own animals, or support a local farm?

This winter we raised two hogs. We don't have too much land, and don't grow the grains that would be required for fully feeding them from products grown on our hobby farm. My question is whether it ...
13
votes
6answers
4k views

What is the relationship between energy efficiency and sustainability?

What are the sound reasons (let's put aside the unsound reasons) why increasing energy efficiency takes us further down the road to sustainability? Are there real-world circumstances whereby ...
13
votes
2answers
396 views

How to keep warm with limited use of fire?

The general rule for keeping warm in wilderness in cold climate is to make fire, as big as possible. While being effective, it's not sustainable in longer perspective because it is depleting natural ...
13
votes
3answers
12k views

What is the relationship between recycling and sustainability?

What are the sound reasons (let's put aside the unsound reasons) why increasing recycling is taken to improve sustainability (or equivalently to reduce unsustainability)? Are there real-world ...
13
votes
1answer
23k views

Can carbon fibre be recycled?

Over time the range of products using carbon fibre appears to be increasing. Carbon by itself is probably quite environmentally friendly, but manufacturing of carbon fibre is probably quite expensive ...
13
votes
5answers
240 views

What is the least environmentally damaging way to start a fire?

I'm used to burning matches to ignite my incense. What is the least environmentally damaging way to start a fire ? to use matches or a lighter ? something else ? Of course a lighter would use ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Cooked food composting

Recently I started composting at home. As many sources told me not to put cooked food and several other things. Mainly to not attract animals. I don't put them on on my compost pile, but put put it ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Compost in the sun or shade?

Is it better to have my compost pile in the sun, or in the shade? I have space on the north and south walls of my house, and want to know which would be a wiser place for the pile.
13
votes
3answers
205 views

What to do with an old vehicle?

I have a 1975 Ford F-350. It gets 6 miles per gallon. I don't use it any more. If it was fuel-efficient, I think I should get it in to someone else's driveway, so it can reduce the demand on new ...
13
votes
2answers
181 views

Heating water with compost

We've been experimenting this year with hot composting, and are now looking at how we can go about using the heat generated in the pile to heat water, either to use directly or to pump around as ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Which is more sustainable: Almond, Soy, Coconut, Cashew or Other Milk?

As my question indicates, what is the most viable dairy alternative from a sustainability perspective (ignoring the importance of nutritional value)? From a life-cycle analysis are some options more ...
13
votes
4answers
31k views

How much power does a computer monitor left switched on use?

It's a little niggling annoyance that always gets me in my office that when I work overtime and leave the office after everyone else I see row upon row of little orange lights where people have turned ...
13
votes
2answers
133 views

Dealing with seeds in a compost pile

We have moderately sized (under or around 0.5 m3) backyard composter. It is of simple cubic form with hatches at the bottom where the ready stuff is being taken out. Mostly food scraps go in there, ...
13
votes
1answer
160 views

How to incorporate browns in apartment food scrap compost?

I want to start composting my food scraps, however I want to make sure I have a good mix of browns and greens to minimize odors. I live in an apartment, so I don't have any soil, leaves or other yard ...
13
votes
2answers
300 views

Should I replace existing inefficient light bulbs?

Similar to this question (except that's about cars), if I can buy more efficient light bulbs than the ones I'm using right now, should I? Or is it better to wait until my current light bulbs expire, ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

How do white roofs cause global warming?

Another user asked the question, and I think the question is important enough to deserve it's own post. I've heard that white roofs drive away clouds and cause global warming. How can this be?
13
votes
2answers
219 views

What is the environmental impact of replacing a vehicle?

I'm currently driving a Suzuki SX4 2008. It gets (supposedly) 30 MPG (9.4 l/100km) on highways, though I suspect it's much lower now because of the beating I have given the poor car and lack of ...
13
votes
2answers
971 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. ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it ok to recycle glass bottles and jars with paper stickers on them?

It's kind of hard to remove paper labels glued onto glass bottles and jars, especially if you have a lot of them. Does leaving them on cause a problem in recycling the glass? Does it require a lot ...
13
votes
2answers
133 views

Home delivery versus going to stores: how does fuel usage for transport compare? Any studies available?

We see more and more trucks riding through our streets delivering individual items. This hardly looks sustainable. I wonder how the transport footprint compares with the 'old' delivery model of ...
13
votes
1answer
122 views

How can I extend the life of mobile phones that can't be used in my country anymore?

I own two "dumbphones" that are now useless in Australia because they rely on the 2G network, which is being phased out entirely this year (2017). The two phones work perfectly fine, an I'd rather ...
13
votes
3answers
361 views

Older biodiesel vehicle or newer but used hybrid, which is actually more sustainable?

I've heard a lot of back and forth on this issue, but when purchasing our next vehicle which is actually the better way to go? For us, we cannot go fully electric at this point due to drive times, ...

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