14 votes

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

TLDR; cadmium telluride panels have the highest EROI of the mentioned PV panels (around 34.2) EROI estimates vary widely. This is because of differences in the method of calculation, scope of the ...
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  • 14k
13 votes

Are plastic cups more environmental friendly than ceramic mugs?

It's correct that the production of 1 ceramic mug requires much more material and energy than the production of 1 plastic cup, but this isn't a fair comparison. Plastic cups are generally used once or ...
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  • 14k
11 votes

Are plastic cups more environmental friendly than ceramic mugs?

You've pictured a disposable plastic cup. If you assume that you can use it a few times, then you might consider that you get through one a day. A ceramic cup lasts until you drop it. The cup in your ...
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  • 2,037
9 votes
Accepted

Is an electric shaver more sustainable than water-based shaving ? And how to determine so for one's context?

Your most sustainable choice is an old straight razor, but there's a reason the replacement is called a "safety razor"... you're much less likely to kill yourself with a safety razor. But these last a ...
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  • 1,297
9 votes
Accepted

Is it more environmentally friendly to use laptops or desktop PCs?

"To compare purely the electricity usage ... Desktops are clearly worse for the environment in this respect." — That certainly used to be the case, and still often is, but only because people buy/...
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  • 2,734
8 votes

Environmental impact of toner versus ink cartridges?

Unless you're into printing color photos, the laser printer is the way to go. The retail prices of toner cartridges may seem a bit steep, but there are ways to refill them. The toner lasts a long long ...
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  • 549
7 votes
Accepted

What is more sustainable, using a mechanical pencil or a pen?

It is hard to say because there is such a wide variation in ink formulations. Also, no company is going to tell you what is in their ink, as they will consider that a trade secret. That being said, ...
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7 votes

Whole-of-life impact of liquid soap vs solid bars of soap

While I have no clue which one does biodegrade better I'd like to focus on some other life-cycle aspects of liquid soap vs solid bars. But of course it's certain that liquid soaps (need to) contain ...
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  • 456
6 votes

Is an electric shaver more sustainable than water-based shaving ? And how to determine so for one's context?

This will depend on where you live. It is a question of energy; First of all take into account the carbon footprint of the electric shaver relative to it's expected lifespan - this is likely to be ...
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  • 496
6 votes
Accepted

What is life cycle assessment best used for?

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is about assessing the environmental impacts of a product, process or service over it's full life cycle, so from production, usage and disposal. This assessment includes ...
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  • 14k
6 votes

What is an environmentally-conscious replacement for white yogurt?

Diversify In a paper unearthed recently by our friend LShaver question, a key point is that the worst identified menace today is Biodiversity loss, beyond Nitrogen cycle disruption, and way beyond ...
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  • 1,365
5 votes
Accepted

Environmental impact of using paper towels for hand drying

I was able to find several different news articles discussing this topic: "Paper towels least green way of drying hands, study finds" - The Guardian "Electric Hand Dryers vs. Paper Towels" - Slate "...
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  • 11.2k
5 votes

Environmental impact of toner versus ink cartridges?

The question seems to be asking only about the environmental impact of the cartridges, so I probably shouldn't talk about how a laser printers use 100 times more power while they are printing, but ...
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5 votes
Accepted

What is the scrap value of wind renewables?

Executive summary It's too early to tell what the resale value is, as contemporary turbine designs are not as old as the lifetime of a wind-turbine, so we have very little experience of the economic ...
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  • 14.6k
5 votes

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

What's best is if you pipe the water into your house, making for huge savings in transport costs. Now, while this doesn't really apply to fancy things like pop and beer, it's really, really better ...
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  • 426
4 votes

Is there an "energy returned on materials invested" index for energy sources?

Measuring impact I've yet to see a meaningful metric that relates directly to materials, other than the EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested); and there's discussion about whether or not EROEI is ...
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  • 14.6k
4 votes

What are freely available tools or databases for Lifecycle Assesment?

Software The most basic, free tool to create an LCA would simply be a spreadsheet like OpenOffice Calc. However, dedicated LCA software does make things easier for you, but most software is not free. ...
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  • 14k
4 votes

How do you identify what is sustainable without reverting to lists and other people's ideas?

The issue with answering this question is that there are inherent assumptions in how one creates a boundary for answering. For example, Voreno's answer suggests comparing two similar products in ...
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4 votes

Environmental impact of toner versus ink cartridges?

Inkjets are the Hummer of printers If you care about the environment, give that inkjet printer to the next person you can find for whom your gift/sale will prevent them from buying a new inkjet. ...
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4 votes
Accepted

What is the most commonly available eco-friendly writing instrument?

From least damage to most: Wooden pencils. Provided the manufacturer is eco-friendly and uses wood from properly managed forests and non-toxic paints. Faber-Castell (just chosen because I happen to ...
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3 votes
Accepted

What are the carbon emissions from the manufacture of the hybrid components of a Prius?

Update. In my original answer I inadvertently divided at one point when I should have multiplied -- I found the mistake thanks to comments from Frank and THelper. So here's a new tl;dr: By mile 4,000 ...
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  • 11.2k
3 votes

What are freely available tools or databases for Lifecycle Assesment?

Various places with free LCA info/DBs seem to exist, but among them at least one I'm aware is large-scale and with a lot of free elements - plus relatively convenient: OpenLCA is a Software combining ...
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  • 141
3 votes

Is an electric shaver more sustainable than water-based shaving ? And how to determine so for one's context?

One-piece safety razor with replaceable blades might be an option. They are vegan (unlike your Mach3) and you only throw out the blades (although I'm not sure that you can recycle them).
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3 votes

Whole-of-life impact of liquid soap vs solid bars of soap

Liquid soap can and should be diluted. As with toothpaste, manufacturers profit from consumers inadvertently using too much – often far too much. Dish soap in particular is usually sold explicitly as "...
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  • 317
3 votes
Accepted

What is the energy and greenhouse gas footprint of Skysource/Skywater water generator?

There's a little bit of information on their FAQ: Energy ranges from less than .4KWH/Liter to over kWh depending upon climatic conditions. And that's just as they've written it. The upper limit is ...
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  • 14.6k
3 votes

Is it more environmentally friendly to use laptops or desktop PCs?

To add some numbers to the discussion, I found a white paper from Fujitsu about a desktop (2018) production energy usage: 6.8 GJ or 450 kg CO2 equivalent use phase energy usage: 9.2 GJ or 30 - 500 ...
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2 votes

What is the carbon footprint of energy transfer across power lines?

From what I've read, the energy losses during electric power transmission are usually less than 10% of the original power. This loss decreases as voltage increases, up until a certain point when ...
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2 votes

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

I find the site CarbonCounter.com, developed by MIT, useful in approaching this question. You can play around with some of the assumptions on e.g electricity supply, battery manufacture emissions and ...
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  • 139
2 votes

What are freely available tools or databases for Lifecycle Assesment?

I would like to add GaBi to the list. It is a fully suited life cycle assessment program and therefore quite complex. It is free for students (up to Master level) and phd students in non-OECD ...
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  • 1,679

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