Great article on New Scientist with some answers to questions I’m sure many of us modern folk wonder about on a regular basis. Are hybrids really more of a fashion statement right now? Should I be leaving the lights on or switching them off and on? What can and can’t I recycle? Is washing clothes at 30 degrees ok? Et cetera.
Some of the answers are surprising – shipping receycling to China isn’t always bad, for example – others are obvious, but I reckon there’s something here for everyone. Even if you knew most of it already, it’s probably nice to have it validated by New Scientist. :)
One answer I’m not so sure about: Is it really still bad to charge electronics early and often? I used to be very careful to fully deplete my batteries to avoid the dreaded memory problem, but I read somewhere recently that this no longer applies with modern batteries. In fact I got the impression that the opposite is true, that I should be charging whenever I can. Does anyone have a definitive answer on this?
- If I switch the light on and off every time I enter and leave a room, does this use more energy than leaving it on all evening?
- How clean does the pizza box have to be for it to be recyclable? Likewise cans and bottles
- Are laminated juice cartons recyclable?
- What’s the most fuel-efficient way to drive?
- Is it worth recycling when stuff gets shipped to China and back in the process? Given the carbon footprint of all that, maybe we should just let the stuff rot
- Can I save the planet by staying slim?
- What’s worse, the CO2 put out by a gas-fuelled car or the environmental effects of hybrid-car batteries?
- What is recycled organic waste used for?
- If I offset my flights, can I fly as much as I want?
- If I’m stuck in a stop-start traffic jam, do I use more petrol turning my car on and off repeatedly or leaving it running?
- Can I put window envelopes in the paper recycling?
- How long does it take for a micro-windmill to pay for itself?
- Is it better to buy an eco-friendly car, with all the energy that is needed to produce it, or just run my old one into the ground?
- What’s the best way to charge my laptop – little and often or let the battery run down completely?
- Will washing my clothes at 30 Â°C really get them clean?
- Why can’t the machines in my gym be used to generate electricity?
- Does switching from bus to bike really have any effect? After all, cycling isn’t completely carbon neutral because I’ve got to eat to fuel my legs
- Is a full commercial plane more fuel-efficient over long distances than a car?
- If I turn my appliances off but don’t unplug them will they still use up some electricity?
- Does it really take more energy to recycle an aluminium can than to make a new one?
- What is the single most effective thing I can do for the environment?
- How environmentally damaging is barbecuing?
- When and how is the most energy-efficient way to defrost my fridge-freezer, and is a self-defrosting fridge more eco-friendly?
- What does the circling-arrows logo on European packaging mean?
- What’s greener, paper/cardboard or plastic packaging?