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How To Make A Difference ? > Recycle more, buy less

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message 1: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Lifehacker has a few handy articles on the age-old vexing questions. Like, should I really rinse the recycling stuff? Doesn't that waste water? The obvious answer is to use cold water rather than hot, and to rinse in a bowl rather than a flowing tap... then you have the option of re-using the water in the garden too.

message 2: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
For summer, try to cut out plastics, especially single-use ones.

message 3: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Ravelry, a site devoted to crafts like knitting and crochet, can be your source for ideas on using strips of plastic bags to make plastic bag yarn.
I'm not a member so no link, but google it.

message 4: by Anne (new)

Anne Ipsen | 96 comments The title of this thread is backwards. It should be: buy less, recycle more! Remamber that the mantra is: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, in that order.

message 5: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Hi Anne, thanks for chipping in to the discussion. Personally I have stuff already, so I figure if I get more use out of the stuff I already have, and recycle it well at end of life, I will not need to buy more stuff.
For instance my van was bought new in 2001.
Another instance, my phone is now a few years old and I keep getting more and better use out of it.
I do not buy a lot of stuff, but for those who do, I can see that buy less would be a good first principle.

message 6: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
A few tips on keeping your vehicle running longer.
If you are the first owner that helps a lot. Otherwise you do not know if the oil was ever changed.

Change the oil every year (more often if big mileage) and if diesel engine, the oil filter too. When you start the engine, don't rush off. Sit for a few seconds. The oil has sunk down into the sump. Running the engine brings the oil up again to protect the engine's moving parts before you ask it to do any work.

Add carbon cleaner to your fuel tank every year; more than once a year if you do a big mileage. This cleans the engine internally, and the fuel injectors in a diesel. The exhaust fumes will be cleaner and the running smoother.

Keep your tyres at recommended tread and inflation pressure and do not brake hard - also, avoiding short bursts of speed with stamping on brakes saves you fuel. Carrying tools and boots and clutter adds to the weight and fuel use.

That de-icer rots the paintwork and causes rust. Try not to use it. Cool or slightly warm water is better for the windscreen and paint. Not hot water, which might crack the glass.

Put rubber mats or carpet on the floor of the footwell to stop wear on the floor.

Touch up any paintwork scrapes early to avoid rust. Fix any small issue as it quickly becomes a big issue.

If you tow anything this will put added wear on the clutch. When the clutch plate goes (you will know as it gets harder to get into gear and only the lowest gears work) ask for a heavy-duty clutch plate to be fitted, which will allow you to tow.

Parts, even if they are not in general production, can usually be made by the manufacturer, provided a main dealer for the car brand asks them. Otherwise you can try for reconditioned parts (with a warranty) and look for secondhand parts on line. Specialist parts can be made by specialist workshops, for classic cars etc. Three-D printing may soon make hard-to-find parts.

If you do have to part with your vehicle, make sure you buy something less polluting.

Small or small engine cars are being made with cheaper materials and this is to keep the weight down, which means they look like they use less fuel. To this end, some no longer come with a spare tyre. That would not be my choice.
Hybrid petrol/ electric cars are a good idea if you are nervous about going all electric.
Fully electric cars only need the wipers, windscreen water and tyres changed, and pollen filter cleaned. So maintainance should be cheaper in the long run. They may also get you a motor tax break.

message 7: by Robert (new)

Robert Zwilling | 2192 comments I buy less and most books I get are used.

message 8: by Brian (new)

Brian Burt | 449 comments Mod
Robert wrote: "I buy less and most books I get are used."

Amen. Thank god for library book sales! ;-)

message 9: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
I'm in three libraries including college. I buy books every way, but new titles often are not on the shelf for more than a couple of months, so secondhand is the only way to get them.
And don't forget e-books.

message 10: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Yesterday my husband and I went out to the back garden and produced paper bricks from the last few months' worth of newspapers. All it takes is paper, water and a handy brick maker which I bought from The Irish Times years ago.
The bricks will dry in the strong sun we're getting now, and maybe next week we'll make some more. The fuel lights easily, burns nicely and leaves a small bit of residual wood ash which goes on the garden. We'll use a couple of bricks per night as well as wood when we're lighting fires over winter.

message 11: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey (kelso30) | 2 comments I love using my old clothes that can't be modified to something I'll keep wearing, into napkins, cleaning towels, purses, coasters, dog toys. anything I can think of.

message 12: by Clare (last edited Jul 17, 2018 01:10AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Great tip!
My old t-shirts tend to go for dish cloths and floor cloths. A handy way to make a cat bed is to stuff an old pillowcase with cloth... not too much so the cat can settle down into the centre.

message 13: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Some tips for using up all the odds and ends of food - everything from citrus peels to breadcrumbs that might get composted; which is a good final alternative.

We tend to compost and feed the birds, but we also use up leftovers and some of the food scraps mentioned, like celery leaves.

message 14: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Found this on a UK site called Supersavvyme, which is run by and promotes various brands of home products and beauty goods.

"Most of us know that you can recycle paper, certain plastics, cans and glass. However, some people go the extra mile, and know they can recycle so much more.

The pupils at Wooler First School in Northumberland, for example, know that you can recycle all aircare and homecare product packaging – even the knobs and nozzles!

This is because their school is signed up to the Air and Homecare Recycling Programme. This means they have special boxes where pupils can drop packaging that is not usually recycled locally, and send it off to Terracycle. Here, the waste is reused, upcycled or recycled, instead of being incinerated or sent to landfill.

Their efforts even won their school a playground, which is made from recycled plastics such as milk bottles, plastic drink bottles, plastic food trays and containers."

message 15: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Do you have something broken, awkward to use or on its way out? Lost the manual? Need a spare part? Google is your friend.
Google 'repair' or 'user manual' for your item and you may be surprised by how people will have put answers to your queries on line.

I once googled a lightbulb cover in the bathroom because I could not get the globe shaped cover off the fitting. Straight away I got a discussion on a forum called 'The Straight Dope' in which guys who know how to mend things chat about how to mend them. I got my answer, which was that a vacuum had formed inside and I should just keep rocking it gently to break the seal.

My husband googled replacing a particular bit of plumbing and found a YouTube video in which a pair of plumbers demonstrated how to do exactly what we needed. We were able to carry out the work with no hassle.

We had a query about an electronic item and the manual was on line. (This is also an excellent way to check out prospective purchases using terms 'faults and returns' )

If you are not sure what kind of glue to use, whether an item is recyclable or how to upcycle something, the answer will be awaiting you.

message 16: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
This lady, Jen Gale started a blog to document a year of buying nothing new. She learnt how to make do and mend.

Personally I often go a year without buying more than a couple of items new.

message 17: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Apple is making efforts to recycle materials from their phones. This reduces mining, though they presently are only re-using tin. So they encourage trading in old phones.

They also donate to keep mangroves protected, reducing carbon.

Of course the best way not to contribute to phone rubbish is not to keep changing a perfectly usable phone for a different one; also an easily repairable phone would be nice.

message 18: by Brian (new)

Brian Burt | 449 comments Mod
Clare wrote: "Apple is making efforts to recycle materials from their phones. This reduces mining, though they presently are only re-using tin. So they encourage trading in old phones.

They also donate to keep ..."

I hear you, Clare. I have the oldest iPhone of any "IT geek" I work with. It's slow... but it still works. (Kind of like me... ;-)

When we do have a dead phone on our hands, if it's not acceptable for trade-in, we take advantage of the free recycling option:

Take Back Electronics

message 19: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
We're on Android, Brian, and I have only ever used Windows and DOS on PC. So in college the other day I was suddenly faced with a bank of Apples. "Oooh, shiny"!" I said and had to start getting acquainted. It's a pain. Even the mouse scroll works the wrong way for me. Though it might be the right way for you.

message 20: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
On the replacement of computers issue -
Some members may not be aware that bloatware is commonplace in the computer industry, in other words new programmes and games require bigger memory and more powerful power units and graphics cards. This forces most users to trade up for better computers.

More recently, makers of phones have been castigated for releasing internet updates of their older makes of phone which make that phone work more slowly.
The couple of days after a new iphone was released, Google searches for 'iphone slow' went through the roof.

Here is a more technical version from Vox, also more recent, as Apple was presented with proof and admitted it was slowing down older phones as they had older batteries which could not cope.

"Poole said the battery explanation is legitimate. Lithium-ion batteries age over time. That wear and tear makes them less capable of meeting the power and processing demands in the same way as a youthful iPhone. This is also intensified with the iPhone, which has a particularly speedy processor — which puts even more stress on the batteries.

“I have a feeling this is a weird confluence of Apple’s desire to have very thin, very sleek phones coupled with also having the fastest processors in the industry,” Poole explained.

“The fact that Apple is using these very fast, very high-end processors that they design — whereas Android phones might use slower processors — these fast processors are putting a greater demand on the battery,” he added. “I think that’s why it’s a problem that’s particularly unique to the iPhone.”

Yet Apple had not been forthcoming about slower speeds until this week, and, as CNN points out, the company doesn’t regularly notify you if your iPhone 6 battery is in poor health. (The company did alert some iPhone owners and replaced batteries for certain iPhone 6 users whose shutdown issues couldn’t be fixed by the software upgrade.)"

So this comes down to replacement batteries which, we hope, will be recycled, rather than necessarily replacing phones. Apple made specific batteries available at a discount.

message 21: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Have a good festive season and if you only manage to trim waste or power use in one area, one is better than none. Next year you may be able to keep up to a few of these tips.

My simplest tip is no wrapping paper- re-usable gift bags or re-usable shopping bags.
Got a tip to share?

message 22: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
More tips for a cleaner greener 2019, including clothing, plastic and food.

message 23: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Apple is trying to up its recycling rate but the recycled aluminium it uses is the scraps from its own floor. Some help but that won't end mining.
Try post-consumer-use metals.

Apple also uses many rare earths and scarce metals in its computers and phones; this article explains how progress is coming along at recovering them from scrap items and whether the firm wants to make items that last longer.

message 24: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Baking soda is currently mined but can be recovered from the air, especially near power plants.
Here is a list of uses for baking soda around the home so you would not need to buy chemical products.
They include cleaning dentures, deodoriser, putting out small fires.

message 25: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
100 Things to Recycle and Make

100 Things to Recycle and Make by Fiona Hayes

Recycling and keeping kids happy at the same time. See my review.

message 26: by Clare (last edited Jun 15, 2019 11:44AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Sticks and Stones A Kid's Guide to Building and Exploring in the Great Outdoors by Melissa Lennig Sticks and Stones: A Kid's Guide to Building and Exploring in the Great Outdoors

Have fun outdoors, recycling dead wood and other materials into constructive play.

message 27: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
I have to hand it to these guys at Make Use Of; this is an Australian website for computer users - which is all of us nowadays. They suggest ten projects to recycle, re-use etc. your old computer instead of dumping it. And they explain how, so you won't need to buy a web server, or a home security system, or wall mounted art.

message 28: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Earth Overshoot Day; earlier than ever, in July.

message 29: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Here on a great site called Make Use Of, which is about personal tech, I found a list of 12 sites offering how-to guidance. How to do everything from car maintenance to paper art.
Anyone wanting to recycle, upcycle, repurpose, make from scratch instead of buying and so on, can get a fantastic start.

message 30: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
The EU is bringing in regulations that home appliances must be easier to repair. Bless the EU which brought in the rule that all the firms had to make the same kind of chargers - remember every phone and other kind of gadget had its own particular charger with its own shaped stick-in part? Now we are using USBs.

The comment is made in this article that firms might make spare parts too expensive to be worth the repair.

message 31: by Clare (last edited Nov 16, 2019 06:56AM) (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
This list of five tips from RTE includes buying an e-car and insulating your house, but goes on to look at other ways to save and go green. While grants mentioned apply to Ireland, the principle of checking for grants or cheaper home-repair loans applies anywhere.

message 32: by Candice (new)

Candice | 57 comments Mod
Recently, I read How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time, which includes many helpful resources, including websites. I particularly like this one:


message 33: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
The good folks at Make Use Of have put together an article of explanation about what actually uses power inside your computer, how to save power, and why you should buy new hardware for efficiency or scale down to a different machine.

message 34: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Definitely buy less fashion. In case you need persuading, this article from Gizmodo tells us that fashion has at least four seasons now, some brand many more.

"According to the United Nations, the clothing industry is responsible for some 10 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Producing clothes also pollutes rivers and streams normally used for drinking water or agriculture."

message 35: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
In my day we used cardboard boxes for every purpose. Samsung has decided to make shipping boxes ready to convert to cat homes or furniture.

message 36: by Brian (new)

Brian Burt | 449 comments Mod
Clare wrote: "In my day we used cardboard boxes for every purpose. Samsung has decided to make shipping boxes ready to convert to cat homes or furniture."

Ha! We have several boxes spread around the house for our cat to play with / in. She loves to launch sneak attacks whenever unsuspecting people wander too close to a box she's hiding in.

message 37: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Eco Watch gives us a good long list of recycling and making projects, and creatively using skills, while stuck at home.
Plenty of links to follow to demonstrations and tips.

message 38: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Science projects are also able to recycle previously held data rather than go out and burn carbon and waste people's time constructing or providing new datasets.

"A pair of researchers with New York University Abu Dhabi has found a connection between the location of post offices in the formative years of the United States and modern crime rates. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jeffrey Jensen and Adam Ramey describe collecting data on early U.S. post office locations and mapped them with data from modern crime statistics and what they found."

"To find out, the pair collected data on early post offices, finding their locations in 1890 and comparing them graphically with modern data. In mapping their data, the pair took note of possible factors that could impact the history of an area that was the site of a post office, such as racial makeup, degree of manufacturing in an area, railway connections and even how many people in a given area turned out for presidential elections. They then added modern crime rates to the maps to see if there might be anything that stood out.

The maps showed lower crime rates on average in the areas surrounding the former post office sites—most particularly, murders and rapes. They also found that people who live in those areas in modern times tend to live longer on average than the general populace and tended to be more likely to vote in the 2012 presidential election."

What used to be near post offices, because they started out as also telegraph offices? The newspaper offices.

"They suggest that the local presence of the newspapers may have helped to push governments to put in place local laws to keep crime rates down—and that could have been perpetuated through the years to the present day."

message 39: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Make Use Of shows us ideas for re-using scrap printer paper rather than just recycle. Fun ideas like learning to draw optical illusions - practical like shredding and using for packing - origami including a wallet - kid's costumes too. Go for it!

message 40: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 6629 comments Mod
Taming the carbon output of your computer - which these days, means your phone, tablet, laptop, work computer and cloud computing.

"1. Sort Your Emails
It’s true that every piece of tech, whether hardware or software, draws electricity. This includes the process of sending and storing emails. What you can do is take an active interest in cleaning up your folders, from your inbox to your junk file.

No matter how boring, this can keep your carbon footprint in check. Delete old emails, unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read any more, and block spam as best as you can.

2. Use a Laptop and Take Care of Its Battery
Plugged in devices siphon electricity more than anything else. On average, a desktop computer can consume between around 60 and 250 Watts per hour when on—a laptop at least 15 Watts. Even sleep mode needs some power to function.

The answer here is to unplug, which makes mobile devices the best option, especially those with good battery life. The longer they can go before you need to charge them, the better.

So, if you need a computer, invest in a good laptop—and use it remotely as much as possible. Also, learn how to take care of it, the battery in particular—starting with not leaving it plugged in after it’s fully charged."

Ten good tips, including getting offline more!

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