Author Topic: Reduce your environmental impact 2019  (Read 2044 times)

Plina

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 61
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2019, 06:04:53 PM »
You can often buy the same as loose tea so you donít need the bag. I am doing that.

RetiredAt63

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9830
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #51 on: January 07, 2019, 09:53:10 AM »
I buy loose tea when I can but usually that means going to a specialty shop.  Grocery stores here basically like bagged tea.

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2019, 11:44:43 AM »
I've been focusing on organizing and decluttering, which doesn't feel environmentally friendly as I'm bagging up stuff to get rid of, but has the effect of making me more aware of and content with what I already have, so I don't feel the need to buy anything new. I thought about buying some plastic bins to organize my kids' toys but ended up using shoe boxes instead, which aren't ideal but work adequately.

Had a couple of fails this week related to poor planning - for example, I went to Starbucks the other day because I had to leave early and my husband didn't want me to risk waking the kids by running the coffee grinder, which could easily have been solved by grinding the coffee the night before. And I forgot a fork in my lunch today so will need to use a plastic one, which could be solved by leaving a few metal forks at work. So I think my next area of focus should be planning ahead better to avoid needing single-use items.

I think reducing dairy consumption is going to be one of the most challenging aspects of this challenge. As a busy family with two young, relatively picky kids, we eat a lot of quesadillas, pizza, and cheesy pasta dishes. They'll eat veggies on the side but won't reliably eat them mixed into things. The only WFPB dinner they'll reliably eat is vegetarian chili. They also like fake meat like veggie dogs and veggie sausage, so maybe I need to experiment with homemade versions of these things. Suggestions here would be welcome.

And a couple questions for pet owners: what's the best choice for cleaning up dog poop? I do reuse bags from bread, etc. when I have them, but we have 3 dogs so those aren't enough. Also, any recommendations for environmentally friendly cat litter?

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1122
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2019, 12:13:54 PM »
I've been focusing on organizing and decluttering, which doesn't feel environmentally friendly as I'm bagging up stuff to get rid of, but has the effect of making me more aware of and content with what I already have, so I don't feel the need to buy anything new. I thought about buying some plastic bins to organize my kids' toys but ended up using shoe boxes instead, which aren't ideal but work adequately.

A researcher at the local university who specialises in climate related LCA analyzis always says that he doesn't like goals of reducing the total amount of garbage. Instead, we should focus on getting people to deliver all their stored junk to the recycling stations so we get the resources back into the loop. If we recycled all the precious metals in phones and other electronics people don't use anymore, maybe we could remove the market for some of the worst mines in Kongo?

RetiredAt63

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9830
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2019, 12:20:02 PM »
I've been focusing on organizing and decluttering, which doesn't feel environmentally friendly as I'm bagging up stuff to get rid of, but has the effect of making me more aware of and content with what I already have, so I don't feel the need to buy anything new. I thought about buying some plastic bins to organize my kids' toys but ended up using shoe boxes instead, which aren't ideal but work adequately.

A researcher at the local university who specialises in climate related LCA analyzis always says that he doesn't like goals of reducing the total amount of garbage. Instead, we should focus on getting people to deliver all their stored junk to the recycling stations so we get the resources back into the loop. If we recycled all the precious metals in phones and other electronics people don't use anymore, maybe we could remove the market for some of the worst mines in Kongo?

Getting all those things into the recycling stream is very important.  The mining of coltan is a disgrace in many places.  The low-tech highly polluting mines, which are also very dangerous for their operators, are called "artisanal", but "artisanal" is for cheese or wine or bread, not for mines.  They remind me of the California gold rush in their environmental destruction.  About the same level of technology, too.

My area does have an electronics recycling depot, so phones and microwave ovens and so on end up there, instead of in the garbage.  We also have hazardous household waste day so hazardous waste does not end up in the garbage.  We are a small rural township. It is doable if the will is there.

cats

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1036
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2019, 01:27:52 PM »


I think reducing dairy consumption is going to be one of the most challenging aspects of this challenge. As a busy family with two young, relatively picky kids, we eat a lot of quesadillas, pizza, and cheesy pasta dishes. They'll eat veggies on the side but won't reliably eat them mixed into things. The only WFPB dinner they'll reliably eat is vegetarian chili. They also like fake meat like veggie dogs and veggie sausage, so maybe I need to experiment with homemade versions of these things. Suggestions here would be welcome.


We make a lot of homemade veggie sausage/seitan in our pressure cooker.  I use this recipe as a general guide (can typically fit 4x the recipe in the pressure cooker, so great for making a big batch!).

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2019, 01:34:02 PM »
I've been focusing on organizing and decluttering, which doesn't feel environmentally friendly as I'm bagging up stuff to get rid of, but has the effect of making me more aware of and content with what I already have, so I don't feel the need to buy anything new. I thought about buying some plastic bins to organize my kids' toys but ended up using shoe boxes instead, which aren't ideal but work adequately.

A researcher at the local university who specialises in climate related LCA analyzis always says that he doesn't like goals of reducing the total amount of garbage. Instead, we should focus on getting people to deliver all their stored junk to the recycling stations so we get the resources back into the loop. If we recycled all the precious metals in phones and other electronics people don't use anymore, maybe we could remove the market for some of the worst mines in Kongo?
Thanks, this is an interesting perspective that I hadn't thought of. Most of what I got rid of so far was clothing and a few toys, and while I did donate most things, I know the supply of used clothing and toys already exceeds the demand, so they may still end up getting trashed. But I'm pretty sure I have a few old, non-working cell phones stashed away in the garage somewhere. I'll add finding and recycling my non-working electronics and spent batteries to my to-do list.

Malaysia41

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3266
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Verona, Italy
    • My mmm journal
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2019, 01:54:24 PM »

I think reducing dairy consumption is going to be one of the most challenging aspects of this challenge. As a busy family with two young, relatively picky kids, we eat a lot of quesadillas, pizza, and cheesy pasta dishes. They'll eat veggies on the side but won't reliably eat them mixed into things. The only WFPB dinner they'll reliably eat is vegetarian chili. They also like fake meat like veggie dogs and veggie sausage, so maybe I need to experiment with homemade versions of these things. Suggestions here would be welcome.

@nessness, if you're open to the idea of soaking and blending cashews, you can make some pretty amazing 'cheezy' wfpb dishes.

The trick is to do a few iterations and dial in the sauce to your own liking.  I would suggest using whole wheat pasta, of course, just to keep it healthy.

Here's an example. This one looks pretty darned close to the recipe I've followed. It's from Chocolate Covered Katie, and everything I've made from her site has been delicious.  Some WFPB mac-n-cheeze recipes use roasted pumpkin rather than roasted carrot. Personally I prefer the pumpkin, but either will give the sauce the color your kids will likely expect. (And go easy on the vinegar).

( https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2018/08/13/vegan-mac-and-cheese-recipe )
Ingredients
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 medium peeled carrot, steamed or roasted (80g)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp white or cider vinegar
1/2 cup water, plus more for soaking
optional 2 tsp buttery spread or oil, for richness
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
3 servings pasta of choice, or you can put the sauce over veggies or use it as a dipping sauce
Instructions
Completely cover the nuts in a bowl with water. Let soak anywhere from 2-6 hours, or refrigerate and soak overnight. Drain fully. Combine all ingredients (including 1/2 cup water, but not including the optional cheese-style shreds), and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Transfer to a small pot and heat to your desired temperature, stirring optional cheese shreds in at the end. Taste, and add extra seasonings (onion, salt, nutmeg, pepper) if desired Ė I like to add another 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch more nutmeg. Serve over cooked pasta, rice, veggies, etc.


Other sites that are also consistently good for simple, delicious WFPB:

minimalistbaker.com
onegreenplanet.org/channel/vegan-recipe

Like I mentioned before, you can always join us for the WFPB gauntlet challenge. Lots of people there are not quite doing 100% WFPB, but are there to increase their repertoire of WFPB recipes.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 01:59:27 PM by Malaysia41 »

Malaysia41

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3266
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Verona, Italy
    • My mmm journal
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #58 on: January 07, 2019, 01:58:25 PM »
(our whole discussion about Monsanto)

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.

Thank you for writing this up. This is the kind of insight I need to better prepare for this project in Feb.

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #59 on: January 07, 2019, 02:57:18 PM »
Thanks @Malaysia41. Unfortunately nutritional yeast is one of the few foods I strongly dislike - I've tried a few well-reviewed recipes that use it and found them all to be barely edible. But I'll take a look at the WFPB thread - thanks for the suggestion.

I think I'm going to try making air-fried tofu this week - we like braised tofu from restaurants but I haven't been too successful at making it, but we got an air fryer for Christmas which might work better.


MicroRN

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1019
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2019, 08:35:35 AM »
Thanks @Malaysia41. Unfortunately nutritional yeast is one of the few foods I strongly dislike - I've tried a few well-reviewed recipes that use it and found them all to be barely edible. But I'll take a look at the WFPB thread - thanks for the suggestion.

I feel the same way about nutritional yeast.  We have drastically reduced our dairy in the past year.   My husband and older kid are lactose intolerant, kid may also be sensitive to casein.  I tried several nutritional yeast recipes,  and everyone thought they were awful.  We've switched to non dairy milk for cereal and baking and coconut or almond yogurt.  Older kid is also fine with vegan american- style cheese slices, coconut ice cream, and Kite Hill almond cream cheese is pretty decent.   However, most of the cheese replacements just don't taste good to us,  so we look for recipes that don't involve dairy to begin with.  One of our standby quick meals is spaghetti.  "Meatballs"  are one of the vegetarian substitute foods that work really well, either homemade or commercial.  For homemade,  I prefer a mushroom and chickpea base.  I keep some frozen,  and with jarred marinara sauce,  pasta,  and a vegetable or salad,  I can feed us all with minimal effort.  Add some French bread brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt.

Also,  it's worth having fast and easy options around.   I keep a bag of frozen Morningstar nuggets and oven fries, so when we're really slammed I toss a pan of each in the oven and either microwave frozen corn and peas or cut up raw vegetables.  Yes,  processed and not nutritionally perfect,  and not super frugal, but it's better and cheaper than hitting the drive through.  I also always have a quart of tomato soup in the pantry.   Just heat it up,  add a swirl of coconut milk,  and some garlic toast.  My black bean burrito filling is a can of black beans,  some frozen corn,  salsa,  and chili powder heated together for a couple minutes.   I serve it with tortillas or over rice, with guacamole, red onion,  cilantro,  and more salsa.  If I have more time,  I cook dry beans. 


wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1879
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #61 on: January 08, 2019, 10:08:32 AM »
Thanks @Malaysia41. Unfortunately nutritional yeast is one of the few foods I strongly dislike - I've tried a few well-reviewed recipes that use it and found them all to be barely edible. But I'll take a look at the WFPB thread - thanks for the suggestion.

I feel the same way about nutritional yeast. 

I like nutritional yeast ok, but it's important to know that there is a subset of the population that cannot clear vitamin b6 from the body (I turn out to be one of them, unfortunately), and therefore must be extremely careful of supplemental b6 or risk nerve damage.  Trust, me it isn't fun to overdose on b6.  I'm actually suspicious that a couple years of only 2x per week B-complex supplementation might have set off autoimmune diseases in me.  And nutritional yeast has a lot of added b6.

aetherie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
  • Age: 26
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #62 on: January 08, 2019, 10:24:42 AM »
I found potatoes at the grocery store that come in a paper bag, and they're cheaper than the plastic bag ones!

nessness

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #63 on: January 08, 2019, 06:48:50 PM »
Thanks @MicroRN !

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3529
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #64 on: January 09, 2019, 10:54:08 AM »
...which could easily have been solved by grinding the coffee the night before.

Or a manual grinder.  I have a hand crank grinder I use for my coffee, though admittedly this is because I'm the only coffee drinker - I use an Aeropress to make single cups at a time.  The kettle is louder than the grinder.  Though, to be fair, my daughter does pester me for coffee beans to eat whenever she finds me making coffee - I can't say I'm a huge fan of raw coffee beans, but she loves them.

Quote
Also, any recommendations for environmentally friendly cat litter?

A couple acres and an outdoor cat? ;)

A researcher at the local university who specialises in climate related LCA analyzis always says that he doesn't like goals of reducing the total amount of garbage. Instead, we should focus on getting people to deliver all their stored junk to the recycling stations so we get the resources back into the loop. If we recycled all the precious metals in phones and other electronics people don't use anymore, maybe we could remove the market for some of the worst mines in Kongo?

Cobalt and rare earths are somewhat hard to recycle out of electronics, sadly.  There's often no good way to split the stuff out, and electronics "recycling" is, more often than not, shipping them to some third world country where the valuable chips get removed and the rest gets burned.  We'd be far, far better off learning to use those things far longer, and repairing them as they broke instead of replacing them.

=======

I'm working towards reduced environmental impact, though via a somewhat different route - I'm one hell of a pessimist and am aiming to be able to produce a large amount of our own food/energy from our property (two acres, but I can expand to the land around it if I need - I shouldn't need to).  That has a side effect of reducing our environmental impact, because it involves locally produced energy/food.

The big project for 2019 is home solar.  After getting obscene quotes for a basic grid tied system that doesn't actually reduce grid use much, I'm building my own system.  Ground mount, battery backed (hybrid - I can export to grid if it's up, or run standalone if it's down or I feel like it), and designed to be flexible.  I expect my power company will eliminate net metering within the next few years, so I'm designing to be able to self consume a lot of energy and basically adapt to what comes down the pipeline.  It may or may not save me money, but it should dramatically reduce our energy use, and I should be "export only" for most of the spring, fall, and summer, if I choose to run that way.  We're a rural, pure electric house, so that covers water, heat, and a good bit of our transportation energy (we've got a Volt that covers most driving on electric, with a tank or so of gas a month in the winter, somewhat less in the summer as it doesn't need the engine for heat as much).  I work from the property, so my office impact is minimal (off grid/solar powered with lead acid, so fairly low embodied energy in the batteries).

What I really should do is get my long range/high speed e-bike built - I've got about half the parts, but have been lazy about building it.  It's a 20 mile round trip into town, and I live on a high speed rural road, so biking is a bit sketchy unless I take some long detours.  Being able to cruise at 30-35mph reduces the speed delta massively, and also gives me power for some good lighting, while consuming far less energy than a car or motorcycle.

I've been working on the waste streams as well.  Again, not as much for purely environmental reasons as for sanity and cost reasons.  I finally found a recycling center that takes most materials (and pays for corrugated cardboard and aluminum), though I still can't recycle glass anywhere.  I haul recycling if I'm making a Home Depot or Lowes run, so it's more or less free to haul, and it keeps material out of our trash trailer, which is slowly extending the fill-time.  It was 4 months, then 6 months, and I'm hoping to get a year on this fill (I'll probably haul it late in the year if it needs it or not, unless I think I can make it through winter - hauling it in the winter sucks).

The local food production side of things is a bit behind where I was hoping to be, but we have a garden, and will be expanding it.  I also intend to build some greenhouses for aquaponics, and some more sheltered garden beds (screen-covered sides to keep the birds out, mostly, because WOW they destroy the garden in a hurry when things are sprouting).  Compost bins exist, but are not working optimally right now - I need to do more work to get them up to temperature so I can kill seeds in our feedstock, which is heavily tumbleweed and cheatgrass.

It's a long project, but we've got the land area to be able to really reduce our impact a lot, and I'm working towards continuing to do so.

nereo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9091
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #65 on: January 09, 2019, 11:07:08 AM »

The big project for 2019 is home solar.  After getting obscene quotes for a basic grid tied system that doesn't actually reduce grid use much, I'm building my own system.  Ground mount, battery backed (hybrid - I can export to grid if it's up, or run standalone if it's down or I feel like it), and designed to be flexible.  I expect my power company will eliminate net metering within the next few years, so I'm designing to be able to self consume a lot of energy and basically adapt to what comes down the pipeline.  It may or may not save me money, but it should dramatically reduce our energy use, and I should be "export only" for most of the spring, fall, and summer, if I choose to run that way.  We're a rural, pure electric house, so that covers water, heat, and a good bit of our transportation energy (we've got a Volt that covers most driving on electric, with a tank or so of gas a month in the winter, somewhat less in the summer as it doesn't need the engine for heat as much).  I work from the property, so my office impact is minimal (off grid/solar powered with lead acid, so fairly low embodied energy in the batteries).


I'd love to see you start a thread on this @Syonk (though of course I realize that it's one thing to want someone else to do something and quite another to take on the workload yourself).
I followed your build of your off-grid office and might do something similar when we get our next home; would love to follow your process of home solar with the option of taking it off-grid.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3529
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #66 on: January 09, 2019, 11:32:43 AM »
I'll consider tossing a build thread here - I haven't decided if I want to bother keeping multiple build threads going at various places, or just document it on my blog when it's done.

I suppose I should also mention, for completeness, that my office goes through a couple gallons of propane and about 5-15 gallons of gas a winter (propane for cloudy day heat, gas for the generator for inversion weeks, though I'm getting better at using less gas as I learn what my battery bank can actually handle).

Linda_Norway

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3867
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #67 on: January 09, 2019, 01:35:29 PM »
I intend to walk to work and back tomorrow. I meed to wear spike soles.

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1122
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #68 on: January 09, 2019, 01:51:19 PM »


A researcher at the local university who specialises in climate related LCA analyzis always says that he doesn't like goals of reducing the total amount of garbage. Instead, we should focus on getting people to deliver all their stored junk to the recycling stations so we get the resources back into the loop. If we recycled all the precious metals in phones and other electronics people don't use anymore, maybe we could remove the market for some of the worst mines in Kongo?

Cobalt and rare earths are somewhat hard to recycle out of electronics, sadly.  There's often no good way to split the stuff out, and electronics "recycling" is, more often than not, shipping them to some third world country where the valuable chips get removed and the rest gets burned.  We'd be far, far better off learning to use those things far longer, and repairing them as they broke instead of replacing them.


I do agree that repairing and reducing consumption is better. And yes, some things are more difficult to recycle. But we do need these technologies to be developed, and that won't happen until we (the consumers and voters) show businesses and politicians that there is a need for it. It has happened before with a lot of other materials, there is no reason it should happen with metals from electronics too.

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3529
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #69 on: January 09, 2019, 02:02:51 PM »
I do agree that repairing and reducing consumption is better. And yes, some things are more difficult to recycle. But we do need these technologies to be developed, and that won't happen until we (the consumers and voters) show businesses and politicians that there is a need for it. It has happened before with a lot of other materials, there is no reason it should happen with metals from electronics too.

I'm going to guess you don't work with lithium batteries terribly often - they have an annoying tendency to burst into flames with violently toxic fumes when you start mashing them up.  In theory, they can be recycled and reused, but it's not nearly as easy as most recycling processes, which tends to mean a lot more energy is required (or a lot more hands-on labor - recycling electronics is harder when you have to individually remove the battery pouches from the units before they can be recycled, and that's the sort of thing that involves regular fires from damage).

More repairable electronics would help quite a bit, as they're easier to both maintain in service and disassemble for recycling, but that's not the trend we've seen.  Sadly.

On the plus side, costs for electronics are going to be trending up with the tariffs, so maybe we'll get less crap coming out in the first place.  A thundering global recession would be great for the environment.

gaja

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1122
Re: Reduce your environmental impact 2019
« Reply #70 on: January 09, 2019, 03:34:50 PM »
I do agree that repairing and reducing consumption is better. And yes, some things are more difficult to recycle. But we do need these technologies to be developed, and that won't happen until we (the consumers and voters) show businesses and politicians that there is a need for it. It has happened before with a lot of other materials, there is no reason it should happen with metals from electronics too.

I'm going to guess you don't work with lithium batteries terribly often - they have an annoying tendency to burst into flames with violently toxic fumes when you start mashing them up.  In theory, they can be recycled and reused, but it's not nearly as easy as most recycling processes, which tends to mean a lot more energy is required (or a lot more hands-on labor - recycling electronics is harder when you have to individually remove the battery pouches from the units before they can be recycled, and that's the sort of thing that involves regular fires from damage).

More repairable electronics would help quite a bit, as they're easier to both maintain in service and disassemble for recycling, but that's not the trend we've seen.  Sadly.

On the plus side, costs for electronics are going to be trending up with the tariffs, so maybe we'll get less crap coming out in the first place.  A thundering global recession would be great for the environment.

Not personally, but I have chatted a bit with the national center for battery recycling and other recycling people about these topics. They are planning a new plant for lithium battery recycling, to get better control of it rather than shipping it abroad, and also have plans for reuse of the larger battery packs. The waste industry as a whole are changing, and they are moving fast. They have recently launched a center for circular economy (webpage is ncce.no, sorry for the language), and one of the projects they have received research funding for is how to drain energy from batteries and reuse that energy.