Chris H
  • Member for 6 years, 1 month
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How many times do you need to use a cheap re-usable bag to offset its impact?
14 votes

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 ...

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Are plastic cups more environmental friendly than ceramic mugs?
11 votes

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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What to do with expired food?
10 votes

Eat them. Then look into what the different types of expiry date mean. Tins, dried pasta and many other foods have a best before date based on guesswork about quality. Most foods sold chilled and ...

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What are effective ways to make a home significantly more sustainable when renting?
9 votes

Thermal lined curtains would make a big difference especially if the windows are single glazed. Draught proofing using self-adhesive strip is both subtle and removable. Topping up loft insulation, as ...

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How to reduce humidity in the home?
8 votes

The outside relative humidity may be almost as high but the absolute amount of water held in the air is lower. So removing the most humid air is effective. That's the principle behind shower extractor ...

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Do USB outlets waste energy just like conventional wall warts?
8 votes

Electronically they're the same and will waste as much energy as a conventional adaptor. Depending on your electrical regulations they may be forced to be at the good end of adaptor efficiency, or ...

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What is the most sustainable way of making coffee?
7 votes

Your grinder may be less efficient than a commercial unit, and shipping beans rather than ground coffee may affect the bulk for shipping. If you use extra (hot) water in washing a permanent filter you ...

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Reusable alternatives to plastic wrap?
Accepted answer
7 votes

You don't need a perfect seal in the microwave - in fact the reason your plastic wrap doesn't explode is that the seal isn't perfect. So placing a plate or saucer on top of your microwave container (...

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How do I set myself up to not have to mow the lawn?
7 votes

Some of the alternative lawn plants don't need mowing. We looked into chamomile but decided it was too expensive or initially labour intensive. You probably don't need to cut it as often as you ...

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How to get the most out of computer hardware before it becomes obsolete?
Accepted answer
6 votes

There are some differences began the situation for laptops and desktops, as well as some common solutions. Desktop machines obviously use more resources in manufacturing, and may use more electricity, ...

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Converting from W/m² to kWh/m²/day
6 votes

If your data is minute-by-minute then that's exactly what you need to do. Adding all the minute-by-minute W/m² figures for a day (you should have 1440 of them, so use a spreadsheet or script) will ...

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Is it better to leave your computer on?
5 votes

It undoubtedly uses more energy to leave a computer on than to turn it off. A PC will draw a few hundred Watts when on, compared to a few Watts powered down but plugged in. The biggest hardware ...

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How to reduce energy usage of refrigerator while away?
4 votes

Some models have a holiday mode which can be used with care. On a fridge-freezer it often stops cooling the fridge compartment (AEG) or at least stops cooling it enough to keep food fresh. Check the ...

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Should I turn vermicompost?
Accepted answer
4 votes

Summarising from the instructions that came with mine (a similar shape) you should add material in layers, first filling the bottom layer and only then moving on to the top. It's quite easy to add ...

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Are there any take-out restaurants where you can bring your own dishes?
4 votes

I know of one independent place that happily refills the containers they use, if you bring them back clean. In this case the container is used as a portion measure so it wouldn't work with arbitrary ...

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Do worm farms smell?
Accepted answer
4 votes

I have one, and I would have to say it's possible but not certain that it will smell. With care you could avoid it as demonstrated by people using them indoors. You would have to be more careful than ...

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About the hygiene of my organic trash can/rubbish bin
Accepted answer
4 votes

Our system works differently (we're responsible for an outside container as well as the indoor one) but I clean it as little as possible. The inside one can be lined (unusually, we can use plastic ...

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What measures could be taken to decrease the air pollution in a big city?
4 votes

Plant a lot of trees -- assuming you mean partciulate pollution: See for example Estimating the removal of atmospheric particulate pollution by the urban tree canopy of London, under current and ...

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Should I worry about the minimum mark on our kettle?
4 votes

There's another reason for minimum water levels: when the steam is used to trip the temperature sensor, a certain minimum amount of steam (or rate of steam delivery) is required. This will depend on ...

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What should I pick for sportswear if synthetics are bad (microplastics)?
3 votes

A couple of further suggestions, that don't involve buying new products (though a similar bag could be made from an old pillowcase): Use a gentle wash cycle, to reduce the agitation that releases ...

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Are there any insect-based waste-separation techniques?
Accepted answer
3 votes

I don't have hard evidence that it doesn't exist at all, but it's certainly not common, and for good economic reasons. One difficulty is that organic matter in unsorted waste is much more likely to ...

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How to reduce the environmental impact of drinks containers
3 votes

Have they considered post-mix soda/coke served in a glass? There's a significant up-front investment but in the long term it should pay for itself, but only if they sell a fair bit. I don't know how ...

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How to reduce evaporation of a dam/catchment water source?
Accepted answer
3 votes

Two technologies I know of are plastic balls and solar panels. Both are very visible, and may not be aesthetically acceptable. Shade balls are used to reduce the exposed surface area and reflect ...

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Biomass plants. Why do we use them?
Accepted answer
3 votes

The article you mention in the comments under the other answer describes several ways in which (at least some forms of) biomass for energy are problematic from a carbon point of view. In summary: ...

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Why are new cars being built in the UK / europe without Start-Stop technology when it seems it can lower pollution?
3 votes

The simple answer is because any feature costs money, so car makers won't include it unless they're forced to. On some models it's available as an option for extra cost - which relies on the purchaser ...

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Does Start / Stop technology in cars have an impact on air quality and by how much?
3 votes

Idling is particularly bad for NO2 emissions, which are a major concern for air quality. Here's an old paper showing that an idling engine emits more NO2 than one driving at 40 km/h, despite emitting ...

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How to recycle almond shells?
3 votes

They compost slowly even by the standards of my undersized compost bins. But the big lumps can always go back in for another go. If you have access to a garden shredder, put them through that first. ...

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Organic or Homemade equivalent White board Cleaning liquid & scrub?
3 votes

I use lab alcohol for the ones in work. You need a solvent to free up the inks. At home I'd use methylated spirits (alcohol stove fuel). Flambe alcohol might work. You could test some vodka but the ...

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Coffee substitute with less water use
3 votes

You could choose to buy coffee from somewhere that's not short of water. I've got a rather nice Costa Rican fairtrade on the go, for example. This doesn't deal with the transport or roasting energy ...

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Preventing idling - ideas to keep warm in a car when the engine is off and it is cold outside
2 votes

It's possible to fit a dedicated heater run off the fuel system. This is a much more efficient way of turning fuel into cabin heat. They're common in motorhomes in a form that directly heats the ...

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