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37

I found a comparison here. My take on reading that is the following: Aluminum is the most efficient in terms of energy saved in making a new can taking only 5% that compared to working from scratch. Glass comes in second saving 20-30% of the energy in making new glass. Plastic is a distant third since you keep degenerating to a lower quality plastic ...


33

According to Stanford University, soiled food packaging should not be recycled like unstained paper and cardboard waste: Q: Why can't pizza boxes be recycled? A: Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard, however the cardboard becomes soiled with grease, cheese, and other foods once the pizza has been placed in the box. Once soiled, the paper ...


29

I would like to know if it is possible to recycle plastic at home by melting and molding. Yes it is possible. One guy makes chairs out of melted plastic. There are several guides on melting plastic that show up when you search google for it. This one, on ehow shows how to melt plastic in a toaster oven. Basically, wash the bottles, cut 'em into small ...


29

it is worth noting that although you can't recycle pizza boxes as cardboard, this doesn't mean you have to merely throw them away either. They form an almost perfect barrier layer for sheet mulches for example and you can compost them otherwise keeping in mind that they are a "brown" (i.e. high carbon, low nitrogen) and therefore act as a bit of a nitrogen ...


22

Nike grinds up worn-out athletic shoes to make sports surfaces. They even use the fabric parts: http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/better-world/reuse-a-shoe Leather shoes are a bit different, but many modern dress shoes use rubber and plastics in the soles. In theory, those soles are recyclable but it looks like Nike only takes athletic shoes. I couldn't find ...


21

Before plastic bottles became popular, recycle meant something different than today. It used to mean 'reuse' not 'remanufacture'. I would think reuse of glass bottles would be the most sustainable. Although I'm not aware of any soda manufacturers that reuse bottles in the US, there are dairies that reuse milk bottles now that glass milk bottles are making a ...


21

Most washing machines pump water out. The pump is not intended to have a very high "head" or lift distance above floor level, but must have enough pressure to pump water above the level of a wash-tub as this is usually what is used as the water drain. Such pumps will be able to pump water "somewhat higher". Flow rate will drop with increasing height, but a ...


20

A detailed answer is probably beyond the scope of Stack Exchange, but here's an introduction: The hard thing about collecting rainwater from your gutters is that it gets dirty when it hits your roof. If you have a metal, slate, or clay roof it's cleaner than roofs based on oil products, but it still needs cleaning before drinking. The easiest approach is ...


19

Strictly in terms of energy efficiency, you're not gaining or saving energy by composting, but you're offsetting the energy needed to cut and process new trees by recycling the bags into new bags. So, from an energy perspective, recycling probably wins. For which one is 'better' (in the question title), we'd need to define better. It might also be good to ...


19

reduce, re-use, recycle, in that order. Get the uses you can out of the bags first. When that's done we get to the recycling bit. This includes basically three things you can do: Official recycling. This is probably the best thing to do with bags you have no other specific uses for. However in addition you can: papermaking (there are good how-tos on ...


18

Interestingly, it appears that teabag paper commonly includes "food-grade" polypropylene, which doesn't readily decompose. The link contains a quote from Tetley, amongst others: The material used to make the actual tea bag is a mixture of mainly cellulose fibres and a small amount of polypropylene fibres to give the heat seal. Under normal composting ...


17

One idea is to repurpose/upcycle them as planters. I saw this one at a street fair in Jerusalem last week. The artisan manning the table said that it requires only one change - drill or cut a hole in the bottom for drainage.


16

To contribute to the options offered by Elssar's answer, here is an interesting thing I read about just a few days ago: Filabot is a project of compact 3D printer that directly recycles plastic objects at home to create new shapes. It was launched for funding on the 19th of December 2011 on Kickstarter and tripled its goal by the 23rd of January 2012. Here ...


16

Do you know the rationale behind washing the containers? There's a large-scale system for, among others, plastic containers in place in Germany, and here you are explicitly advised not to wash the containers. My gut reply would be to not wash the containers. This is based on the assumption that they will either be recycled, and no recycling plant can rely ...


16

While this doesn’t answer of how to dispose of any which shoe, it may point to the types of products that are designed in more sustainable ways to begin with. There are manufacturers like Okabashi (flip-flops and sandals) that ask their customers to return worn-out shoes to them for discount towards new pair, and fully recycle it.


16

The mantra of Reduce - Reuse - Recycle is one of the most common in environmentalism/sustainability. The mantra and thus logo distils the essence of: Reduce what you use, reuse what you can, recycle what you can't [reuse] In other words, your primary responsibility to the environment and to the generations to come is to minimise your use of the world's ...


15

From e.g. the Severnwaste recycling company (UK): Plastic items are sorted by optical scanners which use the reflection of light to identify the types of plastics. Black plastic doesn’t reflect light, so can not be seen and sorted by the scanners and could end up contaminating other materials such as glass bottles. Microwave food trays which are normally ...


14

these are shoes that can't be re-used. Without pictures, I can only guess here. But, if you're (a) in the US, and (b) have the time and internet access to be posting here, there's a good chance you still have a higher standard for usable footwear than many people in the world. If that's true, then I would recommend donating them. (If not, consider this ...


14

Not an exact answer to what you're asking, but: Re-use them! Re-using is almost always better than recycling, since recycling isn't 'free' (it still takes energy). They take up little space, you can save them for years, you don't have to go to the post-office when you do need them, and it saves you some money!


13

Interestingly glass and aluminum have the same specific heat or close to it (about 0.2 J/g) but the mass of he container is much different, and aluminum has a much lower melting point (about half that F of Glass). Estimating weight of a 12 oz beer bottle at 140 grams (that's prob. low), and going by internet searches to find that empty soda cans weigh about ...


13

on my homestead we save the rainwater in a cistern then filter it with a reverse osmosis filter powered by a solar panel. Its worked pretty well for three years. I know we'll have to replace the membrane every so many years, but thats pretty low waste. I'd call that sustainable.


13

In Germany there is a system, just the way you describe it. It is something like, anything container that contains a drink, which is not a milk product has to charge extra money for the container (e.g. bottle), which is to be refunded on return of the container. (Aluminium cans are also exempt.) There is a special word for this amount of money, which at the ...


13

The big problem in the US is with expectations. I remember the first time I ordered a beer in Quito and it came in an obviously re-used bottle and I was both amazed (in a pleasant way) and shocked at the same time. Bottle re-use is obvious. You see wear lines develop around the bottles. This is one reason I think remanufacture is preferred to re-use in ...


13

Like many substances, carbon fiber can be recycled, but it may (currently) be better described as downcycling, vs. recycling. Aerospace Carbon fiber composite materials, for example, are being used increasingly in aircraft manufacture. Although this has been the case in more expensive military aircraft for decades, only recently have large commercial ...


13

The original K-Cups are made from plastic resin 7, the catch-all 'other' plastics category. This means that the precise composition of the plastic is known only to the manufacturer. Because of this, plastic resin 7 is hard to recycle and usually goes to landfills. A second problem is that the K-Cups consists of several materials that need to be recycled ...


13

In general most collected garbage will be either incinerated or end up in land fills. The garbage that is "recycled" (like PET bottles, say) is usually downcycled (into carpets, say). A well-known motto is Reduce Reuse Recycle (in that order) As for point one, there are more and more products, which are sold with a lifetime warranty. ...


13

Just about anything you would normally do with rags, but these ones are already in tube and bag form: Use for washing, polishing and cleaning - just put your hand inside Use to keep stuff in - small items like wingnuts, earrings... Use fancy socks for wrapping presents - tie a ribbon round the top Put stones inside and use to hold down bird nets or apple ...


12

Both incandescent and fluorescent are quite old technologies, and have been bettered in terms of efficiency and lifecycle impact. Furthermore, compact fluorescents aren't the only type of fluorescents. So although the compact fluorescents are superior to incandescents anywhere with a high-carbon marginal electricity supply (so almost all the world, in 2013, ...


12

I see two main aspects to the answer. First, for a disposable object it's better to use a biodegradable plastic than one that is effectively permanent so that after the disposable object is used it doesn't stick around. That's true even if the biodegradable plastic is made from equally unsustainable materials. Our seas are already full of disposable ...


12

The logo means that the packaging consists of both PET and PE. Logos like this are common on packaging and are often (incorrectly) called 'recycling logos' or 'recycling codes'. Contrary to popular belief the presence of such a logo does not mean that the material is recyclable. Compostable plastic for example has code #7 and is not recyclable. Also, whether ...


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