Author Topic: Reduce your environmental impact 2019  (Read 2047 times)

nessness

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Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« on: December 30, 2018, 03:25:54 PM »
My new year's resolution is to reduce my family's environmental impact, and I thought I'd see if anyone else wants to join, so we can share tips and keep each other accountable.

I want to reduce our impact in all areas, but some specific goals are:
- Reduce food waste
- Reduce food packaging waste
- Buy less stuff
- Buy used whenever possible
- Eat fewer animal products
- Potty train my younger daughter (yes, I should have used cloth diapers from the beginning, but now that she's almost 2 I think it makes more sense to potty train her than to switch to cloth now).

Anyone else?
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 03:29:24 PM by nessness »

nessness

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2019, 01:41:50 PM »
*Bumping this thread now that it's 2019.*

Any takers?

krmit

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2019, 03:02:54 PM »
I'm in! Mr krmit and I just bought a house, which I know increases our impact, but we intend to use our control over the house/yard to make it as efficient as we can.

Goals:
Reduce food waste; compost as much as possible on-site
Expand food gardening
Reduce plastic packaging
Buy used
Minimize energy bills
Minimize driving and flying - see if Amtrak is a possibility for some family-related travel later in the year.


Frugal Lizard

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2019, 04:45:41 PM »
I am in
My main goal is to reduce plastic in our lives.


nessness

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2019, 05:51:18 PM »
Welcome @krmit and @Frugal Lizard!

Had a couple successes today - I saw that my favorite joggers are buy one get one free and almost bought 2 pairs, then realized that I don't really need joggers right now, no matter how cheap they are, so I didn't buy them.

I also went grocery shopping and the only animal product I bought was a half gallon of milk - I planned some healthy plant-based meals (and some that use cheese that we already have on hand, and eggs from our chickens. My own chickens' eggs are an exception to the "fewer animal products" goal).

BlueHouse

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2019, 06:27:18 PM »
I am in
My main goal is to reduce plastic in our lives.

Same here.  I reduced last year and made a big change from the previous year, but I'm trying to be even more aware and have more impact this year.  So my goal is to completely eliminate all discretionary single-use plastic from my life.  This means food packaging and even laundry detergent, shampoo, etc.  I'm not sure how to do it yet.

aetherie

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2019, 06:54:53 PM »
I'm in. Goals:
- minimize air travel
- eat fewer animal products
- if we have to buy something, get it used
- minimize single-use plastic (I'd love to hear what you figure out for that, @BlueHouse!)

BurbPlanner

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2019, 09:07:47 PM »
Yep, I'm in.

Our city started collecting compost, and it's really highlighted how much plastic packaging is in our trash bin.  Will aim to reduce that.

We could also meet multiple goals be focusing on utility use: water, gas, and electric.

In addition, I'll be looking for advocacy opportunities and game-changer organizations to contribute to. Any suggestions?

Hirondelle

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2019, 11:33:00 PM »
I'm in! Some goals written down for accountability as I'm lazy.

- Find ways to reduce my energy usage at a low cost. I rent so can't improve insulation, but I could use tricks like "put tin foil behind you're heater". This category of cheap/quick improvements I should make asap.
- Reduce animal use further by signing up for events as a vegetarian and encouraging friends to bring vegetarian food when doing potlucks (my own cooking with animal products is already close to 0, meat a full 0).
- The toughest one: reduce flying compared to last year.
- Vote for a greenish party during the next election
- Reduce plastic use; I already have a filter bottle that can filter water in places where it's not safe to drink from the tap, have a thermos that should reduce my coffee-cup use and should use my own mug at work more compared to getting the cups from the machine.

Edited to add:
- When buying clothes, check 2nd hand stores first
- Try to invest in durable investment vehicles and preferably no oil/gas companies.
- Buy more veggies at the market as they're less plastic-packed (and cheaper!)
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 05:12:18 AM by Hirondelle »

Malaysia41

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2019, 11:59:50 PM »
Welcome @krmit and @Frugal Lizard!

Had a couple successes today - I saw that my favorite joggers are buy one get one free and almost bought 2 pairs, then realized that I don't really need joggers right now, no matter how cheap they are, so I didn't buy them.

I also went grocery shopping and the only animal product I bought was a half gallon of milk - I planned some healthy plant-based meals (and some that use cheese that we already have on hand, and eggs from our chickens. My own chickens' eggs are an exception to the "fewer animal products" goal).

Warms my heart to see 'fewer animal products' on your list of things to do to reduce environmental impact. Good on you!

Are you open to adopting plant milks like oat milk, soy milk, hazelnut milk, or something like Ripple (pea protein based)? There's probably 20 different kinds of plant milks to choose from at a typical grocery store (IMO rice milk is disgusting tho). It just takes trying each one and going to the next til you find something you like. My parents love Ripple. Plus the switch brought my mom's cholesterol down by ~30 pts.

Recently I've done some GHG calculations on dairy. I discovered that one dairy cow emits anywhere from 50-100kg of methane every year (depends on the data source, but 50 is the lowest I've seen). Over 20 yrs, methane (CH4) is 87x more powerful a GHG compared to CO2.* In the end, it turns out that taking a dairy cow out of production is like removing 1-2 automobiles** off the road. (1 if you assume 50kg, 2 if you assume 100kg. And this doesn't account for clearing of forest to create grazing land or cropland to feed the cows).

* CH4 is 72x more powerful than CO2 over a 20 yr comparison, but 25x more powerful over a 100 yr period. The atmospheric life of methane is between 8 and 13 years. By year 20 it's all gone. Given that methane doesn't stay in the atmosphere more than 20 yrs, it makes little sense to compare CH4 with CO2 (a gas that persists for ~200 years) over a 100 yr time frame.  In a 100 yr comparison, methane == 0 for 8 decades and thus dilutes the comparison.
http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf

** EPA data for car emissions. 
https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/greenhouse-gas-emissions-typical-passenger-vehicle

former player

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2019, 04:14:13 AM »
I'm in.  Things I already do: electricity is from renewable resources, no flying, vegetarian/pescatarian, limited shopping and often second-hand, unwanted stuff goes to charity/freegle/recycling.

Projects for this year should include -

1.  More insulation on the house - this is a work in progress at the moment.
2.  Minimise plastics coming into the house.  This is primarily a food packaging issue, which can be resolved by taking my own bags/jars/wax wraps to the shops - (and we have a new food shop in town which has no plastic packaging that I need to investigate).
3.  No palm oil (oh, Nutella) and replace soya milk with locally produced oat milk.
4.  Reduce car miles (currently about 5k a year).
5.  Grow food: currently only a few herbs, which has to change, but a big project to make my land accessible and productive.



Linda_Norway

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2019, 04:55:49 AM »
I'm in.

At the end of the year, we reduced our energy use by putting the thermostat at home on really low temperature when we were away for a 2 week vacation.

In the new year, I will again try to walk to work as often as I manage, preferably twice a week of the four days that I work.
DH will cycle a lot to work. We will both alternate by driving a car as well.

I am all for reducing food waste. I didn't really waste food last year, apart from maybe a crust of bread, as I don't like crusts to much. I intent to continue that way- I also intend to eat more stuff that we find or catch ourselves.

Also, like last year, I will try to buy as little stuff as posisble.


nessness

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2019, 06:39:35 AM »
Yay, I'm glad to see so many people join! Welcome everyone!

@Malaysia41 I drink plant milk myself, but I give my kids cow milk as an easy source of fat and protein (as they're both carb-aholics). I'll probably phase it out once my youngest is past the toddler stage. I also prefer it for cooking in savory dishes, but most things that call for milk also call for cheese, so I'll be trying to cook less of those this year.

Malaysia41

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2019, 08:45:26 AM »
Yay, I'm glad to see so many people join! Welcome everyone!

@Malaysia41 I drink plant milk myself, but I give my kids cow milk as an easy source of fat and protein (as they're both carb-aholics). I'll probably phase it out once my youngest is past the toddler stage. I also prefer it for cooking in savory dishes, but most things that call for milk also call for cheese, so I'll be trying to cook less of those this year.

Yes, I see. Milk is an easy source of fat and protein, that's true. But it also comes with a bit of baggage such as
dioxins,
estrogen,
saturated fat & cholesterol

Just something to consider. 

If your kids like nuts - those are loaded with good fats and proteins. And as long as they're not flown in from some exotic elsewhere, nuts are low carbon too. That could be an easy substitute. Of course nuts can be a difficult food for a wee one to chew and swallow properly. 

I'm like your kids - I love carbs too. I figure as long as they're whole grain though, I get some fiber and protein when i'm carb-loading.

Sorry if you didn't want this info - it's just that cow's milk really does come with a lot of baggage. So I thought I'd share a couple videos on the topic.

Raenia

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2019, 09:03:28 AM »
I'm in!  Things I'm implementing so far:

 - reduce poultry based meals to once a week and fish to once a week (or less) (we already don't eat red meat at all)
 - since I will be learning to cook more and better vegetarian food, bring vegetarian dishes to all potluck parties in 2019
 - reduce plastic packaging
 - reduce food transport by shopping at the farmer's market, once they reopen in the spring
 - continue to expand my radius for walking/biking instead of driving

Things to do once we have moved out of our apartment and into a house:

 - start a compost bin
 - start a garden to grow fruits and vegetables
 - plant native plants and plants to attract pollinators

Tuskalusa

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2019, 09:09:04 AM »
Im in!

- Reduce food waste
- Reduce packaging
- Buy less stuff

aetherie

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2019, 09:47:17 AM »
Our heating at home is natural gas, and today I signed up for a program through our gas company to pay a bit extra for Renewable Natural Gas. They get it from capturing methane produced from a landfill.

nessness

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2019, 10:16:57 AM »
I pay a little bit extra for my electricity to get it from renewable sources, but I recently saw in my electric company's annual report that the majority of their renewable energy now comes from biofuels. I've seen mixed opinions on whether biofuels are actually a significant improvement over fossil fuels - does anyone want to weigh in?

Prairie Moustache

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2019, 11:49:30 AM »
I pay a little bit extra for my electricity to get it from renewable sources, but I recently saw in my electric company's annual report that the majority of their renewable energy now comes from biofuels. I've seen mixed opinions on whether biofuels are actually a significant improvement over fossil fuels - does anyone want to weigh in?

I think it comes down to how the biofuels are produced, as the technology currently used requires massive amounts of biomass to produce an equivalent amount of energy as fossil fuels. Someone can prove me wrong on that one though. I think everyone knows about corn subsidies in the mid west... The biggest thing for me is the difficulty in comparing land use changes and all of the intricacies that come with that to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I've seen some estimates out there, but it varies so much. It's like trying to estimate soil carbon sequestration to allow for carbon tax rebates and applying that across a whole province (etc.) when soil types vary substantially.

nessness

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2019, 02:12:55 PM »
I pay a little bit extra for my electricity to get it from renewable sources, but I recently saw in my electric company's annual report that the majority of their renewable energy now comes from biofuels. I've seen mixed opinions on whether biofuels are actually a significant improvement over fossil fuels - does anyone want to weigh in?

I think it comes down to how the biofuels are produced, as the technology currently used requires massive amounts of biomass to produce an equivalent amount of energy as fossil fuels. Someone can prove me wrong on that one though. I think everyone knows about corn subsidies in the mid west... The biggest thing for me is the difficulty in comparing land use changes and all of the intricacies that come with that to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I've seen some estimates out there, but it varies so much. It's like trying to estimate soil carbon sequestration to allow for carbon tax rebates and applying that across a whole province (etc.) when soil types vary substantially.
Thanks! It's hard to find specific information on how much energy comes from each source but I did a little research and it looks like a lot of our local biofuels come from burning municipal and agricultural waste, which seems like a good thing, since most of the concerns I have seen about biofuels stem from converting forested land to cropland.

dashuk

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2019, 02:33:46 PM »
Yep, definite ongoing goal. Things for this year:

No private motor vehicle use for my commute.

Work is about 15 miles from home. Until the end of March last year I was on a ~30/70% split of cycling and 200cc, 90mp(UK)g motorcycle. Then the motorcycle got stolen, which it turns out was the nudge I needed. I've been almost 100% cycling since then, but this will be the first full calendar year. There will be a few part-bike-part-bus ones too when I've got evening stuff on in HomeCity or if it snows.

I drove once last year when I was feeling horribly ill but absolutely had to drag myself in for an an hour or so to get something sent out. And got a lift home when the motorcycle was stolen. Hope zero this year.

Get the family car mileage under 3000mi

Did about 5,500 miles last year.

About 1/3 was family holiday to south of France. About half the CO2 of flying there, but think we'll still be choosing somewhere closer this year. This is possibly a bit of a cheat, as it's not entirely for environmental reasons. But only gets us most of the way there.

Another third was down to inlaws being in middle of nowhere coastal town 250 miles away. This is basically what stops us going car-free, because our car is cheaper to run for the whole year than either train or hiring a car for these few trips. We did at least manage to combine all visits to my parents (about half way there) with these trips, rather than running up extra miles on separate visits.

The rest is the more local stuff and some other trips to friends, my sister, etc. More bike/bus/train.


Closer to vegan

Got to the end of 2018 with zero 'land meat', a couple of tins of tuna a week, and a fair amount of dairy on our weekly plan for our family of four. Can do better though.

Domestic energy use down/less harmful

Our bills from our old energy supplier showed our daily use against equivalent figures from the UK energy regulator for 'typical' low, medium, and high use households (I don't know, but would guess these are probably the quartiles or thereabouts of the actual data). We sit at slightly over half the 'low' value for both electricity and gas. Which is kinda good for us, mostly horrifying for the future of the planet - the 'high' use one is about four times us. We live in a not-terribly-efficient, 60yo house. We run the washing machine pretty much every day (kids clothes and cloth nappies). We have all manner of electronic things. What the hell are people doing?

Still room for improvement...

- Some time about now we should be switching onto a green tariff. 100% renewable electricity, 100% offset gas.
- I don't think there's much more we can do on the electric, and I'm not particularly convinced by "offsetting fixes everything", so focus on the gas. Not sure how it splits for space heating vs hot water, so will be keeping a closer eye on the meter readings as the seasons change. Low hanging fruit (or "should have done years ago") is to get the whole loft up to 500mm insulation. I have done the ~1/4 that I've boarded, but the rest is only 100mm and ancient. Am also interested in Heat Recovery Ventilation, but that's a bigger project/outlay to think about.

Other stuff

 - No flights, but that's just a continuation, last for me was 2015, for OH 2013/4(?). Both business. Last pleasure flights 2013 for me and maybe 2010 for OH.
 - Buy less stuff.
 - Plastic packaging, esp food - this is a real struggle for us to make a dent in with the places we've been able to find locally.


cats

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2019, 02:35:29 PM »
I am in.  I wrote a bit about this in my personal journal, but my big "environmental" goal for 2019 is writing my elected officials at least 2x/month about climate change and the need to combat it.  I plan to either mention specific legislation that I would like them to support, actions the current administration is/is not taking, or simply tell them that I am still fully in support of a carbon/pollution tax.  I find with our efforts to reduce impact, we have trimmed most of the low-hanging fruit and now often find ourselves wondering "is X better or worse than Y?".  If negative environmental impacts were taxed/priced into products, I think we would wonder/worry about this less and our environmental footprint would likely be forced down.

Other goals:

-Experiment with taking public transit to some areas in the hills that I sometimes take our toddler to.  I have looked into the bus schedule and it's not as inconvenient as I thought it might be, though it will still take more time and organization than driving.  I am considering next Friday (11th January) for a test.

-Plastic packaging: we already cut back on this quite a bit but I'm down for finding more plastic to eliminate.  I have stopped using plastic produce bags and started taking my own containers for bulk bin purchases.  Started making tortillas from scratch rather than buying them for toddler.  Result is that toddler is also eating fewer quesadillas and tortilla pizzas, so I guess a win for the environment there too.

-Animal product consumption: we don't eat a lot of meat/dairy and I am reluctant to try to impose further restrictions on my husband.  I can probably cut back on my personal consumption of cheese: specifically, I will stop consuming my toddler's string cheeses (I don't do this too often, but really...a handful of nuts would be a better choice).  I will see what else I can think of.

cats

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2019, 02:44:50 PM »
So here's a question for you all regarding plastic and social events:

Yesterday we went to a New Year's brunch and the hosts had disposable cutlery, plates, cups, napkins.  The plates and napkins were paper, but everything else was single use plastic, not compostable, clearly headed for the landfill.  My husband and I shared a fork, in retrospect I wish we had at least brought our own travel mugs for coffee (we have done this in the past when invited to events at parks).  How socially weird would it be to show up at someone's house also bearing your own plate and fork?  On the one hand we live in a "crunchy" enough area that I think people might not be too bothered if I said, oh we are trying to reduce single use plastic.  On the other hand, seems a little judgy?  Has anyone done this?  Did it lead to social ostracization?  I guess for events like this it might also not be too hard to just show up and hang out but not eat,

haypug16

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2019, 03:34:10 PM »
I'm in. Goals for this year;

- Reduce Plastic (we made some head way on this last year and will continue to look for non-plastic options. RE: shampoo, you can buy shampoo bars instead of plastic bottles. I haven't tried this yet but as soon as my giant bottle is empty I will pick one up)
- Reduce Food waste (we already compost but I would like to also reduce how much food goes bad that we toss in the compost)
- Buy used whenever possible
- Bike/walk more for errands or at least plan all shopping stops on my way home from work or group them all together for less drive time.

Hirondelle

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2019, 03:58:13 AM »
So here's a question for you all regarding plastic and social events:

Yesterday we went to a New Year's brunch and the hosts had disposable cutlery, plates, cups, napkins.  The plates and napkins were paper, but everything else was single use plastic, not compostable, clearly headed for the landfill.  My husband and I shared a fork, in retrospect I wish we had at least brought our own travel mugs for coffee (we have done this in the past when invited to events at parks).  How socially weird would it be to show up at someone's house also bearing your own plate and fork?  On the one hand we live in a "crunchy" enough area that I think people might not be too bothered if I said, oh we are trying to reduce single use plastic.  On the other hand, seems a little judgy?  Has anyone done this?  Did it lead to social ostracization?  I guess for events like this it might also not be too hard to just show up and hang out but not eat,

Very interesting point and I totally agree with you that I've felt similar issues before. My suggestion to try it in a natural way would be to first introduce the concept when hosting a party yourself. If you're the host, you'll be the person sending out the invitations and you could suggest people bring their own plate/fork/mug? Once it's been introduced once and you have some people that feel the same and are willing to take their own stuff (which you can't be sure of, but at least you can try) others might suggest the same thing too in future invitations or at least you may have convinced some people and not be the only odd one out bringing their own stuff.

gaja

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2019, 06:00:13 AM »
I pay a little bit extra for my electricity to get it from renewable sources, but I recently saw in my electric company's annual report that the majority of their renewable energy now comes from biofuels. I've seen mixed opinions on whether biofuels are actually a significant improvement over fossil fuels - does anyone want to weigh in?

I think it comes down to how the biofuels are produced, as the technology currently used requires massive amounts of biomass to produce an equivalent amount of energy as fossil fuels. Someone can prove me wrong on that one though. I think everyone knows about corn subsidies in the mid west... The biggest thing for me is the difficulty in comparing land use changes and all of the intricacies that come with that to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I've seen some estimates out there, but it varies so much. It's like trying to estimate soil carbon sequestration to allow for carbon tax rebates and applying that across a whole province (etc.) when soil types vary substantially.
Thanks! It's hard to find specific information on how much energy comes from each source but I did a little research and it looks like a lot of our local biofuels come from burning municipal and agricultural waste, which seems like a good thing, since most of the concerns I have seen about biofuels stem from converting forested land to cropland.

Biofuel can range from worse environmental impact than fossil fuels (e.g. palm oils) to better than solar power (e.g. biogas from manure/waste water (up to 200 % reduction of climate emissions compared to using fossil fuels, and recycling of nutrients)). Burning waste for energy is ok, and certainly better than fossil fuels, or storing it in landfills. But you do lose the aspect of recycling materials and nutrients, and the ashes can be an issue (depending on the toxic content of what you burn). The overall environmental factor also depends on how much of the energy they use, since only 50 % can be used to produce electricity. Do they use the heat in any way?

Our heating at home is natural gas, and today I signed up for a program through our gas company to pay a bit extra for Renewable Natural Gas. They get it from capturing methane produced from a landfill.
This is really good! The GHG factor of methane is many times as high as CO2, so even capturing and burning the gas from landfills without utilizing the energy reduces the climate impact by maybe 20x. And when you use it to replace fossil gas, it really makes a difference.

Prairie Moustache

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2019, 06:16:35 AM »
I pay a little bit extra for my electricity to get it from renewable sources, but I recently saw in my electric company's annual report that the majority of their renewable energy now comes from biofuels. I've seen mixed opinions on whether biofuels are actually a significant improvement over fossil fuels - does anyone want to weigh in?

I think it comes down to how the biofuels are produced, as the technology currently used requires massive amounts of biomass to produce an equivalent amount of energy as fossil fuels. Someone can prove me wrong on that one though. I think everyone knows about corn subsidies in the mid west... The biggest thing for me is the difficulty in comparing land use changes and all of the intricacies that come with that to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I've seen some estimates out there, but it varies so much. It's like trying to estimate soil carbon sequestration to allow for carbon tax rebates and applying that across a whole province (etc.) when soil types vary substantially.
Thanks! It's hard to find specific information on how much energy comes from each source but I did a little research and it looks like a lot of our local biofuels come from burning municipal and agricultural waste, which seems like a good thing, since most of the concerns I have seen about biofuels stem from converting forested land to cropland.

Biofuel can range from worse environmental impact than fossil fuels (e.g. palm oils) to better than solar power (e.g. biogas from manure/waste water (up to 200 % reduction of climate emissions compared to using fossil fuels, and recycling of nutrients)). Burning waste for energy is ok, and certainly better than fossil fuels, or storing it in landfills. But you do lose the aspect of recycling materials and nutrients, and the ashes can be an issue (depending on the toxic content of what you burn). The overall environmental factor also depends on how much of the energy they use, since only 50 % can be used to produce electricity. Do they use the heat in any way?

Our heating at home is natural gas, and today I signed up for a program through our gas company to pay a bit extra for Renewable Natural Gas. They get it from capturing methane produced from a landfill.
This is really good! The GHG factor of methane is many times as high as CO2, so even capturing and burning the gas from landfills without utilizing the energy reduces the climate impact by maybe 20x. And when you use it to replace fossil gas, it really makes a difference.

The use of landfill gas as a source of energy is interesting to me because ideally we drastically reduce landfill gas production by organics diversion, but as companies/municipalities invest in the infrastructure to collect landfill gas they almost have a vested interest to maintain the production. The gas production curves are pretty well understood over the lifetime of a landfill though, so the engineers designing these systems have a decent understanding of the ROI from a particular landfill site.

nereo

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2019, 06:26:41 AM »
I'm in.  We are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact

One of our core focuses will be growing and preserving a lot more of our food, as this will be the first year where we can expand into a proper garden. 
This will also be the kick I need to go back to carpooling after a prolonged period of extremely variable schedules.

gaja

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2019, 07:13:19 AM »
The use of landfill gas as a source of energy is interesting to me because ideally we drastically reduce landfill gas production by organics diversion, but as companies/municipalities invest in the infrastructure to collect landfill gas they almost have a vested interest to maintain the production. The gas production curves are pretty well understood over the lifetime of a landfill though, so the engineers designing these systems have a decent understanding of the ROI from a particular landfill site.

I would imagine that the methane production from the landfill is too irregular to be a main business case. When you already have the landfill there, it does make sense collecting the methane, but dumping more organic matter on the fill to produce more methane is a very inefficient way to do it. In the long run, it must make more sense to do a professional setup with a biogas plant and closed rotting processes. It does require more sorting ahead of the process, but you do get much better controll, less leakage, and the leftovers can be used as fertilizer (replacing chemical fertilizers, and keeping rare nutrients such as phosphorous).

For those of you that want to influence policies, I highly recommend efforts to ban dumping organic waste into landfills. In Norway, it is illegal since 2009, and we do see a decline in methane production from landfills, and an increase in recycling and biofuel production from waste. Lately, there has even been an decrease in food waste.
https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Environment-Climate-Change/Norway/Arntzen-de-Besche-Advokatfirma-AS/New-Landfill-Ban-on-Biodegradable-Waste

Attacking the largest food wasters is a good start: https://sustainableamerica.org/blog/are-food-waste-bans-working/

Malaysia41

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2019, 10:01:40 PM »

This is really good! The GHG factor of methane is many times as high as CO2, so even capturing and burning the gas from landfills without utilizing the energy reduces the climate impact by maybe 20x. And when you use it to replace fossil gas, it really makes a difference.

Yeah it is good. Capturing and using methane is way better than letting it get into the atmosphere. Consider this too:  Methane has a life cycle of about 12.5 years. When you compare CH4 to CO2 over a 20 year period ("GWP20"), methane's impact is 84-87x that of CO2. According to the EPA:
Quote
CH4 emitted today lasts about a decade on average, which is much less time than CO2. But CH4 also absorbs much more energy than CO2. The net effect of the shorter lifetime and higher energy absorption is reflected in the GWP.
...
Just like the 100-year GWP is based on the energy absorbed by a gas over 100 years, the 20-year GWP is based on the energy absorbed over 20 years.
...
for CH4, which has a short lifetime, the 100-year GWP of 2836 is much less than the 20-year GWP of 8487.
- https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials#Learn%20why

This is why I'm fighting so hard to reduce animal agriculture. The 1.5 billion head of cattle on this planet account for 35-40% of anthropogenic methane emissions (FAO). When people say animal ag only accounts for ~15% of GHG, they are using GWP100, not GWP20. Using GWP20yr, it's arguable that animal ag contributes 50% of global warming GHGs

If we weren't in such a dire predicament, we could have the luxury of using GWP100. But what we do in the next 20 years matters. We don't want to undercount the impact of methane.

Ruminant cattle in North America produce between 50-110kg of methane every year per head. Dairy cattle are on the high end.  And that's not even accounting for manure methane emissions that can be another ~20kg or so (more for dairy).(Livestock's Long Shadow. PDF (FAO))


There are 1.5 billion head of cattle on the planet.
 (http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e.pdf)

Given that CH4 packs all its punch within 20 years, and that this punch is 85x stronger than CO2, I don't see why we wouldn't be doing everything in our power to stop consuming beef and dairy, and supporting programs to transition cattle ranchers and dairy farmers to low carbon businesses - for example they could ...

- grow vegetables to sell to local humans (esp those living in food deserts),
( https://youtu.be/yBKnG9Y0owQ?t=3152 ),
- build wind or solar farms (for land that can't be cultivated)
- enroll in CRP - the federal Conservation Reserve Program - that pays farmers to re-wild their land. For land that can be reforested - this would further mitigate global warming.

 (just to name a few options).

I'm working with Renee of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary to come up with such a transition program in my pitch to our DC reps so they can support putting an end to federal subsidies for animal ag.

Don't get me wrong - we absolutely need carbon taxes, and measures to transition to low carbon / no carbon energy sources. I am on my bike every day and not in a car because I know this. We need to transition our energy sources ASAP. But we can't afford to ignore  animal ag. We also must address the problem of eating animals. Just focusing on one high carbon emission source (fossil fuels) is unlikely to save us. 

3x a day, every day, it's within our power to lower our carbon impact by choosing low carbon food options. There's so many plant based foods to choose from - and they ALL contain protein (and fiber - there's 0 fiber in meat and dairy) -  why wouldn't we choose plant based options? Have you heard of anyone being hospitalized in the western world for protein deficiency? Probably not. We're obsessed with protein, and for no really good reasons. In any case, if you think you need oodles of protein for some reason - nuts, legumes and even the humble potato have plenty of protein.

Vegan options don't need to be equivalent to animal based foods in taste and texture, they only need be good enough. We're saving the planet for our children after all. Now's not the time to be a pansy about food taste pleasure. Besides, once you start choosing WFPB options , your body starts craving these, and these become the new YUM.

At the very least, seeking out plant based alternatives for beef and dairy will lower your impact the most. And consider that 250g of black beans have the same amount of protein as 100g of beef - and bonus - you get 22g of fiber, and loads of phytonutrients, folate, iron and calcium, along with other minerals. And they're cheap. Good all around for us mustachians.

Dairy isn't a health food, it's a marketing campaign. Paid for with US tax-payer's tax dollars through check off programs and advertisements. It contains cholesterol, saturated fats, estrogen, and pus. Yes pus. Mastitis is a real problem in the dairy industry as each dairy cow is milked for 22k lbs of milk a year ( 100 years ago, the typical cow produced ~4k lbs). Here, enjoy these (not so) fun facts from our USDA.



If you want ideas for recipes or WFPB eating, join our throw down the gauntlet challenge here:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/go-whole-food-plant-based-(wfpb)-in-2019

This is a long post, I know - TL;DR - please find plant based alternatives to beef and dairy to reduce methane emissions - as methane is a GHG that is 4x more powerful in its global warming than most calculations assume - putting animal ag on par with fossil fuel usage in terms of its culpability for warming our planet.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 10:52:29 PM by Malaysia41 »

cats

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #30 on: January 04, 2019, 09:19:33 AM »
Reporting in :)

Week 1 of 2019:
-skipping milk in my tea at work (switched to herbal instead of black)
-wrote emails to my senators and representative asking them to support legislation to combat climate change in this new session of Congress
-wore a down jacket to bed and used a hot water bottle instead of setting up a space heater in our bedroom during recent cold snap
-no string cheese snacks for me

Malaysia41

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2019, 11:01:24 AM »
Reporting in :)

Week 1 of 2019:
-skipping milk in my tea at work (switched to herbal instead of black)
-wrote emails to my senators and representative asking them to support legislation to combat climate change in this new session of Congress
-wore a down jacket to bed and used a hot water bottle instead of setting up a space heater in our bedroom during recent cold snap
-no string cheese snacks for me

NICE!  I especially like that you emailed your reps. We all should do that. I imagine most reps do pay attention when a particular issue spikes compared to others. I mean, it's worth sending an email, right? I've already spammed my reps on this topic plenty :). Also - cutting out dairy is great.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2019, 11:09:01 AM by Malaysia41 »

cats

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2019, 11:51:38 AM »

NICE!  I especially like that you emailed your reps. We all should do that. I imagine most reps do pay attention when a particular issue spikes compared to others. I mean, it's worth sending an email, right? I've already spammed my reps on this topic plenty :). Also - cutting out dairy is great.

Yes, we should!  I mentioned it in the hopes that some others would take it on as a project as well :)  My goal for this year is at least 2 emails per month on the topic of climate change.  At the individual level, my family has already taken a lot of steps and we've calculated our family carbon footprint to be quite low (I think something like 1/3 of American average by DH's most recent calculation), so I think the biggest thing I can do at this point is agitate for getting other people's carbon footprint down too.  Writing elected officials is relatively easy, I'm hoping as I make a habit of that I might come across some other ideas.  Doing it regularly will probably also remind me to pester friends/family to do the same more often.

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #33 on: January 05, 2019, 09:29:05 AM »
This was my new year's resolution last year, and I accomplished (and spent a lot). This article was most helpful to me in what would have the most impact - https://www.popsci.com/how-to-stop-climate-change

My big 2019 resolution is to stop consuming so much. For the first 3 months, I don't want to buy anything that is a need. I'd also like to forgo Amazon Prime as much as possible.

Here's what I did in 2018:
-Renewable Power: We got wind energy from Xcel and got solar panels. Switching to green power is one of the best things you can do and is only a couple dollars per month. Great article on this blog on DIY solar panels.
-Transportation: We purchased an electric car (biking would be much better). Transportation is the #1 cause of greenhouse emissions in the US
-More Plant Based Diet: We stopped eating beef, and typically only eat meat once or twice a week
-Composting: We took advantage of our municipal composting. This site can help you if want to find a place to compost https://sharewaste.com/
-Zero Waste: We swapped a lot of things out. We use swedish dish cloths instead of paper towels, soap instead of body soap in plastic, use bamboo toothbrushes, etc. Buy in bulk.
-Less Electricity: Switched all of our lightbulbs to LED, wash all of our clothes in cold, I used to line dry before having a baby.
-Less Water: We got a Rachio (like a smart thermostat for your sprinkler system)
-Buying Used: Everyone probably does this on the forum but it was a revelation to me - buy children's clothes at Thredup and used books at Thriftbooks.
-Recycling: Each city has different rules on recycling. Know your rules and check for a hard to recycle materials center (ours is called CHaRM - Center for Hard to Recycle Materials)

For those looking to cut back plastic, I found Zero Waste Home (blog and book) to be incredibly helpful.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2019, 09:49:05 AM »
RE animals and methane, if you take all the CO2 and CH4 output from the system, CAFO is high and grass-fed is lower.  You can't just look at the animal output, you have to look at all the outputs from the start of the process.  One of the obvious ones is that every time soil is opened up (i.e. plowing for planting soy and corn to feed CAFO animals) CO2 and some CH4 are released to the atmosphere.   Pastures and hayfields sequester carbon.
https://www.ecowatch.com/how-factory-farming-contributes-to-global-warming-1881690535.html

Of course CAFO is also inhumane.

RE biogas from landfill, the one I have seen (visited) is a reclaimed landfill (sodded, turned into a municipal park) where methane is captured and burned for electricity generation instead of just letting the methane out-gas from the landfill.  There are also farm methane -> electricity setups so farmers can generate their own electricity from decomposing manure before they spread the manure on the fields.

https://www.ecowatch.com/how-factory-farming-contributes-to-global-warming-1881690535.html

gaja

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2019, 12:03:23 PM »
RE biogas from landfill, the one I have seen (visited) is a reclaimed landfill (sodded, turned into a municipal park) where methane is captured and burned for electricity generation instead of just letting the methane out-gas from the landfill.  There are also farm methane -> electricity setups so farmers can generate their own electricity from decomposing manure before they spread the manure on the fields.

https://www.ecowatch.com/how-factory-farming-contributes-to-global-warming-1881690535.html

Biogas production is a goal in itself, since it reduces the amount of methane we spread. But the climate effect is even better if it replaces fossil fuels. The electricity production in Norway is 100 % renewable, so we are focusing on the transport sector. Currently, 80% of the buses in the region run on biogas, and with the current plans they will be at 100 % fossil free public transport within 2020. Some of the municipalities also run their cars, vans, and trucks on biogas, and the cruise company "Hurtigruten" is currently building boats that will run on a combination of batteries and biogas.

There are about 11 biogas plants in my county:
1 at a local agricultural school, where they use manure and some food waste to produce the gas, and then have a CHP machine (combined heat and power) to make electricity and heating for the school.
2 at industrial plants (papermill and bioraffinery) where they use waste from the processes to produce gas and clean the waste water. One of the plants use all the gas for processes in the plant, the other cleans the gas and sells it to the local bus company.
2 waste based plants, where they mainly use waste from local households, but also collect some from hotels and food industry. Both of them upgrade the gas and sell it to the bus companies.
6 wastewater treatment plants, where they use the gas for their cleaning processes and heating for their buildings. Biogas production is one of the most efficient ways to clean waste water.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2019, 03:49:34 PM »
Wow Gaja that is impressive.  Especially since it is a northern climate - so often people use Canada's geography/cold climate as an excuse.

gaja

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2019, 04:48:32 PM »
Wow Gaja that is impressive.  Especially since it is a northern climate - so often people use Canada's geography/cold climate as an excuse.

It is 100 % down to political will. We could do a lot more if only more people knew about the advantages and importance of climate friendly solutions, and were willing to make the priorities. And the priorities are not only about what you buy or eat, but about telling the politicians (on a local, regional and national level) what you want them to prioritize:
-Protest FOR removing parking places for cars in central areas of the city, and installing bike racks
-Protest FOR congestion taxes to reduce transport
-If someone wants to build renewable energy, or build a multi-family house to increase urban density: tell your politicians "YIMBY" (yes in my backyard).
-Tell your city council (or whoever funds public transport) that you will accept the extra cost (through taxes or decreased spending in other areas) of 7 % for biogas, or 10-20 % for electricity, to get climate friendly buses in your town

There are politicians who have good ideas in most areas, but they don't get a lot of public support. The NIMBY people, the car drivers, and those other people who don't want any change, are really loud. They are the once protesting in the streets and writing angry letters in the local newspapers, hindering all good local initiatives. At the same time, the climate enthusiasts are focusing on national legislations and international agreements. I've been working on a local and regional level for a long time, and see so many good things happening just due to a few people getting engaged. Look at Freiburg in Germany, Werfenweng in Switzerland, Vxj in Sweden, and Sams in Denmark: they can often point at one single person who got the ball rolling. Or even better: listen to Sren Hermansen tell his story about how they his little island around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sQOED2JxT4

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #38 on: January 05, 2019, 07:48:07 PM »
Political will - for me there are so many issues here, and so hard to address most of them.

One thing I have only just become aware of is just how privatized the world's agricultural seeds are becoming.  We have gone past Plant Variety Protection to actual patents, where farmers and gardeners are basically renting use of the seed - you can't save it, you can't breed from it, you can't use or give away or sell seed you saved. 

I just found out about Open Source Seed Initiative (osseed.org) and not only want to start buying that seed for my garden, but publicize it.  Farmers in our area get their seed basically from Monsanto, and 100% of the corn and 60% of the soy is treated with neonics.  Our bees are in trouble, and the farmers have very few alternatives.

Basenji

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #39 on: January 05, 2019, 07:50:33 PM »
Nice thread, thanks for starting it.

Abe

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #40 on: January 05, 2019, 08:37:24 PM »
Things we've done:

- Stopped buying meat other than salmon. Substitute tofu or chickpeas for meat in dishes.
- Stopped buying any food wrapped in plastic (mostly because it's stupid to individually wrap fruit or vegetables - I'm not afraid of plastic)
- Hardly buy anything that's not household goods (food, toilet paper) or baby stuff.
- Switched power plan to one that buys from solar and wind plants in the state (eventually will just switch to solar when we buy a house).
- I bike to work and grocery store.

Things we're working on:
- Getting wife to bike to work
- Using bikes instead of car to go to parks, etc
- Minimize excess heating in the house (runs on natural gas, not electric, unfortunately)
- Replacing paper-based goods wrapped in plastic with brands that aren't
- Minimizing air travel

Malaysia41

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #41 on: January 06, 2019, 04:22:47 AM »
Political will - for me there are so many issues here, and so hard to address most of them.

One thing I have only just become aware of is just how privatized the world's agricultural seeds are becoming.  We have gone past Plant Variety Protection to actual patents, where farmers and gardeners are basically renting use of the seed - you can't save it, you can't breed from it, you can't use or give away or sell seed you saved. 

I just found out about Open Source Seed Initiative (osseed.org) and not only want to start buying that seed for my garden, but publicize it.  Farmers in our area get their seed basically from Monsanto, and 100% of the corn and 60% of the soy is treated with neonics.  Our bees are in trouble, and the farmers have very few alternatives.

@RetiredAt63  - You know about my lobbying project. Right now we are lining up my meetings.  On my last call with Billy, the founder of lobbyists4good, he proposed setting up a meeting with Monsanto lobbyists.

My initial reaction was fear. Then I said, yeah - let's meet with them!  They're just people after all. That said, the business practices of Monsanto, and the degree to which they've positioned their influence into all manner of agencies and political offices - I gotta say, the fear persists. What's my plan for that meeting? I can't even fathom it I'm so overwhelmed by what I know about them. And what I know about them is likely only a tiny portion of their story.

Open Source Seed Initiative looks promising. Free the Seed!

former player

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #42 on: January 06, 2019, 07:33:09 AM »
Investigated the new no plastics food shop in town and I will be able to cut down on some plastic food packaging.  Bought a shampoo bar so if it works well enough (and I'm not exactly fussy about my hair) that's one plastic bottle that should never need to be replaced in my lifetime.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #43 on: January 06, 2019, 08:05:40 AM »
Political will - for me there are so many issues here, and so hard to address most of them.

One thing I have only just become aware of is just how privatized the world's agricultural seeds are becoming.  We have gone past Plant Variety Protection to actual patents, where farmers and gardeners are basically renting use of the seed - you can't save it, you can't breed from it, you can't use or give away or sell seed you saved. 

I just found out about Open Source Seed Initiative (osseed.org) and not only want to start buying that seed for my garden, but publicize it.  Farmers in our area get their seed basically from Monsanto, and 100% of the corn and 60% of the soy is treated with neonics.  Our bees are in trouble, and the farmers have very few alternatives.

@RetiredAt63  - You know about my lobbying project. Right now we are lining up my meetings.  On my last call with Billy, the founder of lobbyists4good, he proposed setting up a meeting with Monsanto lobbyists.

My initial reaction was fear. Then I said, yeah - let's meet with them!  They're just people after all. That said, the business practices of Monsanto, and the degree to which they've positioned their influence into all manner of agencies and political offices - I gotta say, the fear persists. What's my plan for that meeting? I can't even fathom it I'm so overwhelmed by what I know about them. And what I know about them is likely only a tiny portion of their story.

Open Source Seed Initiative looks promising. Free the Seed!

You know what you will get?  Because it is what I got when I was at a provincial consultation about neonics?  We are just doing what the farmers want.  At this point most farmers are so tied into the modern industrial way of agriculture that it is a positive feedback loop.  I heard a presentation from someone very involved with soil health in Canada, and his organization pushes no-till (they will use roundup if they have to, but almost all the time they don't have to) and they have a terrible time persuading farmers to change away from plowing.  Farming is such a risky activity that farmers are very conservative and reluctant to change - if something works, it is one less risk for them.  Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has been around since the 70's and is still not used as much as it could be.  Farmers would rather buy seed to cope with soil pest insects than even see if that particular farm or a particular filed has the insects, they are all for insurance by pre-treatment and later on, by regular spray schedules.  It is really sad, but they are on such tight margins, and their investment in equipment is so high, that change is incredibly risky for them.  CAFO is part of the industrial model of agriculture, but I think it is also a reaction to the uncontrolability of animals being outside - if they are inside (pigs, poultry) or in a small monitored area (cattle) they are less vulnerable to the elements.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #44 on: January 06, 2019, 08:11:02 AM »
Investigated the new no plastics food shop in town and I will be able to cut down on some plastic food packaging.  Bought a shampoo bar so if it works well enough (and I'm not exactly fussy about my hair) that's one plastic bottle that should never need to be replaced in my lifetime.

I thought I wan't using all that much plastic, but when I look around I have liquid soap in a push pump bottle, and my shampoo and conditioner are in plastic bottles.  I use real soap for washing.  The basic issue is, solids do not need to be in plastic bottles, but liquids need to be in bottles, and almost all those bottles are plastic, not glass.  So back to solids it is as the liquids get used up.  Hmm, the only exception (what is the alternative?) is dish-washing liquid.  There is powdered laundry detergent, and powdered dish-washer detergent, but I have never seen powdered dish-washing soap.

I'd love to know how the shampoo bar does for you, and if you miss having conditioner, or if you not need a conditioner.

chaskavitch

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2019, 08:59:12 AM »
Investigated the new no plastics food shop in town and I will be able to cut down on some plastic food packaging.  Bought a shampoo bar so if it works well enough (and I'm not exactly fussy about my hair) that's one plastic bottle that should never need to be replaced in my lifetime.

I thought I wan't using all that much plastic, but when I look around I have liquid soap in a push pump bottle, and my shampoo and conditioner are in plastic bottles.  I use real soap for washing.  The basic issue is, solids do not need to be in plastic bottles, but liquids need to be in bottles, and almost all those bottles are plastic, not glass.  So back to solids it is as the liquids get used up.  Hmm, the only exception (what is the alternative?) is dish-washing liquid.  There is powdered laundry detergent, and powdered dish-washer detergent, but I have never seen powdered dish-washing soap.

I'd love to know how the shampoo bar does for you, and if you miss having conditioner, or if you not need a conditioner.

I use bar shampoo with no conditioner on my long hair and I'm happy with how it turns out, discounting the fact that it looks a little ratty because I desperately need to trim it.  I did have to add a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse to the end of my shower to deal with some buildup I was experiencing.  I just put 2 tbs of vinegar in a jam jar and dilute it with water while my shower warms up (1.5 - 2 cups?), then dump it over my hair after I rinse out my shampoo.  I've been using the same shampoo bar for at least 8 months, possibly closer to a year, and I still have quite a bit left. 

Linda_Norway

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #46 on: January 06, 2019, 09:00:51 AM »
Today I took the train and buss to an event in the city, instead of driving the car. My DH has a monthly train ticket that I can borrow, so I had no cost either.

Today I am making a vegetarian meal for the second time this week. Proteins are coming from blue cheese and some walnuts.

Prairie Gal

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2019, 09:42:51 AM »
Reduce plastic use.

Look into getting a compost bin and start composting. Had never really considered it before, but this thread has inspired me.

Look for a shampoo bar and switch back to bar soap in the shower.

Work from home one day a week.

See if I can convince my office to convert from using plastic cutlery back to regular ones. Maybe I will go to the thrift store and buy some to take to work. They also use K cups for coffee, but other than not using them myself, I don't know if there is much I can do about this. Might be a long term project.

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2019, 12:18:51 PM »
I thought I wan't using all that much plastic, but when I look around I have liquid soap in a push pump bottle,

Liquid soap is way more convenient for us, because small people, but we've started buying it in 5l bottles and just refilling the last few pump bottles we bought. Big bottles are still plastic, but way less of it than 10-20 small bottles plus pumps.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #49 on: January 06, 2019, 12:28:06 PM »
I thought I wan't using all that much plastic, but when I look around I have liquid soap in a push pump bottle,

Liquid soap is way more convenient for us, because small people, but we've started buying it in 5l bottles and just refilling the last few pump bottles we bought. Big bottles are still plastic, but way less of it than 10-20 small bottles plus pumps.

I already do this for both hand soap and dish-washing detergent, so I am using less plastic, but I am not using no plastic.  I do the same for coffee - I use the small cans for my daily coffee (all one of it) and refill from large cans as necessary.  The large cans are way more cost effective, the total amount of container is much less (and if I am really careful to get the coffee smell out, can be reused for other things), and because I only open the large container about 4 times the coffee stays fresher.

Its funny/ironic, my sister asks me for frugal hints sometimes and all these things seem like no-brainers, but I guess they aren't.

Hmm, I compost my coffee grinds (great Nitrogen for the garden, also an easy wool dye if you want a really dark brown with no yellow to it) and the paper filters, but I don't know that my tea bags are compostable.  I should write the manufacturers.  I know I have read that some tea bags will compost in municipal composting but not in home compost bins, they just don't get consistently hot enough.  I don't care if they don't fully compost, as long as when I add them to my garden they will continue to break down - i.e. slow composting cotton is acceptable, any synthetic is not.