Hot answers tagged

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 ...


14

The cheapest reusable bags round here are made of the same plastic as disposable bags. In this case the number of uses required is simply the ratio of the weights. Without getting the scales out I think this is around 10-20 times. They're also bigger so that's not even 10-20 shopping trips unless you only ever buy a little. I know I've had a few hundred uses ...


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

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 ...


12

First of all, it sounds like there might be some confusion regarding the claim. As I read it, the claim is not that steel is inherently better than plastic. It's not an apples-to-apples comparison. The claim is that one reusable steel bottle is better than continually buying many disposable plastic bottles. Certainly, one steel bottle has a much bigger ...


12

There's a growing market for reclaimed/salvaged building materials. Check out Planet Reuse or http://www.build.recycle.net/, or there are probably similar local organizations in your area. I believe Habitat for Humanity tries to use reclaimed material as well; you might look into donating yours. If you're talking DIY projects, I'd say your imagination is ...


12

The mantra of sustainability is Reduce Reuse Recycle i.e. Reduce what you use, reuse what you can, recycle what you can't. This order is important, recycling should always be the last resort. It sounds like you are being sensible when you wash the bags for re-use, since you are only using water, energy and detergents which were left over after other ...


12

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 ...


10

It is certainly preferable to recycling, since you can always recycle when you are done. I think the simple answer is that generally repurposing something and using what would otherwise be discarded (recycled or sent to a land fill) is usually good practice, particularly if it does not interfere with recycling later. There may be exceptions but generally ...


10

Obviously, the most effective way to avoid generating a lot of waste is not to do the remodeling project, or to do only a small part of it that gets you the most value. Construction generates a lot of waste! Drywall & plaster can be broken up and used as a soil amendment. The older trim and lumber, the better that wood will be. If you have any old ...


10

I have seen broken glass (± 1" (~25 mm) square pieces) used effectively as the drainage backfill around a residential foundation. The owner reported that it worked very well. An internet search shows other situations where the crushed glass is used as aggregate in construction, including some cases where the aesthetics are used to an advantage. See ...


10

Technical terms To partially understand the process of draining batteries it is important to know some technical parameters: voltage - Battery operated electric devices need certain minimal voltage level and current to work correctly. As a battery is being drained the voltage drops down. In some batteries the voltage goes down very slowly during most of ...


10

There is a difference between reuse and recycling. Reuse is using a container again without major modifications. Recycling is transforming a container into its core elements and using that to make an entirely new object. AFAIK industrial reuse of plastic food packaging isn't done anywhere because of the risk of bacterial contamination. Many plastics are ...


9

How about candied orange peel? You can't eat too much of it, but if you like oranges, then you should like it. Of course, the saucy version of candied orange peel is marmalade. Otherwise, you can put the peel into your hot bathwater, which should release some of the essential oils (popular in Japan). Drying the peels and adding them to flavour your black ...


9

Something that doesn't break down fast -- like pine needles/leaves -- sounds like a great candidate to use as mulch. Since they break down slowly and will slightly lower the soil pH, so you might want to use them around perennial, acid-loving plants like blueberries or azalea-family shrubs (as opposed to using them around annual, neutral-pH plants like in ...


9

If you really want to do it yourself: Shred them. Fireproof them. Insulate. It is extremely important to treat newsprint with fire-retardants before using them as insulation. Without treatment, newsprint stuffed into wall cavities or attics is a serious fire hazard. A better option is to simply purchase cellulose insulation. It's made from recycled ...


8

Working in Reuse I have heard Rethinking Waste - The 5 R's Mantra: 1. Refuse> 2. Reduce> 3. Reuse> 4. Repurpose 5. Recycle> To recycle any product takes energy. These recyclable products are seen as a commodity in the market place. Maybe #5 plastics don't have a high demand right now; it could sit for a long time, maybe months, maybe years depending ...


8

It's very unlikely: all the modern chargers I've seen have an automatic cutout that prevents over-charging, by monitoring the batteries' voltage, and stopping the current when it reaches a certain level. As rechargeable batteries reach fully charged, the voltage rises relatively quickly, and the cutout gets activated. If the batteries were exceptionally ...


8

I prefer to cheat - I use the disposable bags brought home by my housemates. One way or another our household seems to accumulate enough plastic bags that there's rarely a shortage, and if there is my workmates could easily fill it. So the simple option would be to look for a source of plastic bags that you can re-use. My local supermarket will happily ...


8

You can use old nylons as Stuffing for pillows/cushions Polishing or cleaning cloth (no worry that you'll make scratches, plus it's great for attracting dog and cat hair). Hanging storage to dry unions As a filter in a drainpipe (e.g. to keep any leaves out of your rain barrel) Protection cover for fruit (this one is not from personal experience, but I've ...


8

Your best bet is already-made second hand furniture, both on environmental grounds and cost. I've been building my own furniture using basic DIY skills for quite a long time and it is rarely cheaper than Ikea-level new stuff. That's mostly because I can't bring myself to build with MDF or other cardboard-like materials, though. Your first choice should ...


7

FYI - you don't have to have a spinning wheel to spin small to moderate amounts of yarn. A hand-spinning spindle will work great, is much less expensive to buy and far less complicated to make, and is also very portable. I spun great yarn using a top whorl drop spindle for a couple of years or so before I finally (mostly) moved on to using a spinning wheel. ...


7

This only addresses part of your question, but this question could be answered with a whole book. Homebrewing Biodiesel I do want to clarify that biodiesel is not only a potential "industrial" reuse for used cooking oils. Used cooking oil can be processed into biodiesel by a modestly savvy do-it-yourselfer at home, with a simple processor that you can ...


7

I've rebuilt two single-battery operated appliances in our home to a "battery juicer". I'll describe one of them here to explain the idea, the other one is remade in a similar way to this one. Both of them operate happily with half-drained batteries and I've reached the balance of incoming half-drained batteries and draining them almost totally in those ...


7

I've used them as ties to fasten tomato bushes to trellises. They work pretty good for that. Curious to see what others come up with.


7

The market value of the goods is often indicative of the remaining useful life of the goods. If you know the environmental footprint of the product when new, it seems reasonable to assume that a purchaser of the goods (second hand) is to be responsible for a share of that impact based on the proportion of useful life remaining. For example, if there exists ...


7

In my experience plants suffer in the long term from accumulation of salts in the soil, so fresh water would be better than reusing the water. Even better would be to get hold of fresh rain water (tricky in an apartment though, unless perhaps you have a balcony that gets rained on) for watering them, as that won't contain the salts that tap water does. More ...


7

TLDR: CDs and DVDs can be safely reused or recycled as long as you don't heat them. Specialized recycling companies can recycle them for you, but this may cost you money. CDs and DVDs are mainly plastic (polycarbonate), with a thin reflective layer (usually aluminum), and a protective acrylic lacquer. CD cases are usually made from polystyrene and DVD ...


7

I'm not sure about donating leftover bits... But for recycling/reusing, what I normally do is grab a new bar, and at the end of my shower/bath, get both the new bar and the small used piece(s) wet and squeeze them together relatively firmly. Leave it in the soap dish / on the shelf and they will dry that way. The next time you shower/bathe, you'll have a ...


7

You are talking about black gold that has a value of AU$40 per 25 litre bag in my area. I would suggest either selling it or putting it back into the soil. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar for uses of charcoal as a soil amendment. You can collect (cool) charcoal in a plastic bag until you have a volume worth doing something serious with. Because ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible