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12
votes
9answers
25k views

Alternative to paper towels for draining fried food?

When frying food, what's a good alternative to paper towels for soaking up/draining excess oil?
12
votes
2answers
577 views

Improving natural light access

I get relatively little natural light into one room as shown below (this is the only window): Is there a way to increase natural light into the room so that I don't have to use the electic light ...
12
votes
7answers
889 views

What are ethical ways to curb the global human population increase?

The growing global human population is and will be a massive challenge, in particular because of the strain it puts on natural ressources, which might in turn increase tensions between groups and ...
12
votes
6answers
21k views

Aerogel as home insulation?

I see that www.buyaerogel.com has begun to offer various insulating blankets, though it seems targeted for industrial use rather than consumer use. Does this aerogel look like a suitable technology ...
12
votes
10answers
14k views

How to deal with leafcutter ants?

The picture says it all. They strip a complete tree in a day of all its leaves. Can't blame them, because they use the leaves to make their own food, but they do attack my fig tree, roses, hibiscus, ...
12
votes
3answers
226 views

When do you know you're generating too much waste?

I (a single person, me, myself) fill and dispose a 30 liter bin every couple of days, and I feel uncomfortable with it, but I don't have a benchmark. What I want to know is considered normal waste ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the most sustainable way of making coffee?

Which method of brewing coffee is the most sustainable? The criteria being: minimal waste, minimal energy (no matter where it's produced) I guess for the optimal solution it would be necessary to......
12
votes
4answers
908 views

Why the tiny input openings on recycle bins?

My local recycling bins look somewhat like these: As you can see, the opening can facilitate a single item at a time. How is one supposed to dump a large sack of plastic packages in the plastics bin?...
12
votes
5answers
11k views

Are used “blister packs” recyclable?

Now, in management of recurring everyday waste, this is something totally unavoidable. Are tablet strips (what they call blister pack strips), after use, recyclable? Can they be dumped with dry ...
12
votes
2answers
152 views

How to sustainably deal with garbage?

Is it a bad idea to throw garbage down the public garbage chute? Sustainably speaking, garbage "dumps" & toxic incinerators don't seem like a sustainable method over time. Although maybe someone ...
12
votes
3answers
863 views

What is the most efficient way to deal with electronic waste?

What is the most efficient way to deal with electronic waste like old computers, TVs, etc? More specifically, I have some old CDs and DVDs. I don't want to just dump them. What should I do with these ...
12
votes
3answers
270 views

Are there projects that use renewable energy sources to create renewable energy sources?

I recently fantasized about a project that starts from a small solar furnace (small, but can melt steel), and a small solar farm (that control the electronics). Then all the energy is used to build ...
12
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 ...
12
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 ...
12
votes
3answers
6k views

Why can't solar stills convert sea water into fresh water?

If I replaced the foliage in this diagram with a gallon of sea water - would the resulting "fresh water" be pure enough for agriculture? For human consumption? Is the process really that ...
12
votes
5answers
589 views

What is a permaculture solution for dealing with deer in a suburban environment?

The old problem of the deer moving into the city. My neighborhood is overrun. So far the best solution I've seen to keep them at bay is fences or hedges. The true permaculture solution would be to ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Forcing water circulation in solar hot water installation

I'm planning an installation for heating water using solar "exchanger" panels (solar used to heat water directly, not through electricity). I don't want to bind the reservoir, panel and tap locations ...
12
votes
2answers
693 views

Which consumes more carbon dioxide: a fully grown forest or a newly planted one that is growing?

I was talking to some friends and one of them claims that it is more efficient to combat global warming by cutting the trees and replanting them because a growing forest consumes more CO2. (Firstly, a ...
12
votes
4answers
323 views

Water heating / electricity production by using earth's warmth?

I'm very curious, why hasn't anyone done this? In most places on earth, the temperature gets 25 degrees higher (celsius) for every kilometer in depth. How hard would it be to drill 4-5km, put a U-...
12
votes
3answers
156 views

Reusing buckets for flower pots?

Is reusing old food buckets as flower pots actually a good sustainability practice or a bad one since I'm ruining good buckets by poking holes in the bottoms? I get the buckets for free from my ...
12
votes
5answers
391 views

Lowering the heating thermostat at night: is it really worth it?

I've heard some very conflicting information regarding the effect of lowering the house heating thermostat at night. On one hand there are academic papers (such as Thermostat strategies impact on ...
12
votes
2answers
152 views

How do plastic bags and other waste end up in the ocean?

There are many photos of the ocean, which in some parts is littered with all sorts of waste, often plastic bags, containers etc. I just wonder - how do such large amounts of plastic land in the ocean/...
12
votes
3answers
226 views

Options to suggest to landlord for cost savings via renewable energy?

I have a landlord who is very interested in saving money. I wanted to suggest options to her to help her save money while reducing environmental footsteps. However she is not motivated to save the ...
12
votes
3answers
455 views

Sustainable Roofing Materials

I want to re-roof my home, but want to use a sustainable option. Is there a resource where I can compare different sustainable options and find the best choice for my budget and situation? I'm trying ...
12
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 ...
12
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.
12
votes
3answers
5k views

Reusing, recycling or disposal of used or expired cooking oil

I have found the article How to Dispose of Cooking Oil where are these suggestions: reuse: filter and put into a freezer or a fridge for later reuse different purpose reuse: lava lamp, snow shovel ...
12
votes
2answers
321 views

How do I keep my solar panels clean?

What sort of cleaning regime should I have for a solar energy system, and do PV and solar-thermal panels need to be treated differently?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Mulching or “Mini Septic” for Solid Dog Waste?

(I asked this on gardening.se but it was suggested I try asking it here. Hope this is an appropriate place to ask...) I'm a relatively new dog owner. Living in a relatively woodsy area with an acre ...
12
votes
1answer
422 views

What's a sustainable way to stain and protect wood?

What substances can I find to stain and protect wood that are produced without serious pollution and can be disposed of safely?
12
votes
1answer
188 views

Is plastic food packaging 100% reusable?

There is the prominent argument that we should buy food without plastic packaging because plastic is made of oil and thus bad. I'm wondering, however, what if the plastic packaging remains in the ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there any viable DIY or commercial solutions to convert waste heat to electricity?

Apparantly there are some advances in converting heat to electricity such as here or here. But are there any commercial solutions/devices/DIY projects or is this at the moment (as stated in the ...
12
votes
2answers
276 views

Where are commercial conditions for a CCS NG or coal plant most likely to emerge in the US?

The first (likely) commercial scale coal ccs plant is scheduled to begin operation at Boundary Dam in Canada by the end of the first quarter of 2014 (Estevan Mercury). A few key points about the ...
12
votes
1answer
247 views

Is it economically sensible to install a heat exchanger on my wastewater pipes?

In the winter, I rather enjoy hot showers. I try to keep them short (5-6 min), but it's still a lot of heat going down the drain and out of the house - particularly with 3 other people who do not have ...
12
votes
1answer
957 views

What equation should be used to determine fish load to grow bed (filtration) ratio

When building an aquaponics system in general, what is the best equation to use to determine fish loads (waste generation) to grow bed (filtration) ratios. Is it a simple calculation of pounds of ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How to get rid of greenfly in roses and grapes without toxic chemicals?

We lost all our roses last summer, due to greenfly. The only solution we have so far found was highly toxic. Are the more sustainable alternatives?
12
votes
1answer
464 views

How effective are rotary composters

We now have a large house (a guesthouse) with capacity for generating a lot of compostable waste. At our previous house we used a number of static compost bins, turning between them. In the new ...
12
votes
1answer
6k views

Which types of spare electric motors from common consumer appliances are suitable to repurpose as generators?

I've heard that washing machine motors (in particular, the Fisher & Paykel branded ones which are local to me in New Zealand) are quite suitable for repurposing for generation use. Other types ...
12
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
158 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
15k views

What are the key principles for designing a rocket stove?

I have some spare bricks lying around that I'm interested in using to build a rocket stove for cooking. What are the key principles I need to understand to build a rocket stove? Is there a maximum ...
12
votes
1answer
83 views

How much area to feed the colony of snails?

Snails are good source of proteins. How much area should I have to provide food for the colony of snails producing about 100kg of "meat" every year?
12
votes
1answer
190 views

What chemicals are used to replace BPA in plastics?

And is there any reason to think that the replacement is any better than Bisphenol A (BPA) itself?
12
votes
1answer
159 views

How can I remove PCBs from my soil?

I live in a neighborhood where there is a very real chance my soil will be contaminated by PCBs. I may need to potentially be able to clean them up, with out breaking the bank. Are there any ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are hemp clothes so expensive?

Being hemp so easy, sustainable and economic to grow, one would expect it to be much cheaper than it is at the moment. Why, therefore, is it so expensive compared to cotton? Is it because of the ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

How food producers calculate “best before” date?

How food producers calculate "best before" date? Why I'm asking on SL? Because I'd rather not waste food to be sustainable. And many times I'm advised (by "best before" date put on food package) to ...
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
154 views

Independent retirement vs moving in with the kids

Living in Indonesia at the moment and under long-term discussions regarding whether to move back to the US. One issue is retirement and one aspect of that is sustainability. In Indonesia, multi-...
12
votes
1answer
209 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
223 views

Is biochar actually a viable way of carbon sequestration?

Biochar is often heralded as a great combination of soil improvement and carbon sequestration. However, at least on the carbon sequestration front, it seems to be a mixed bag. Biofuelwatch cites a ...

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