02 February 2017

My Quora activity part 2

I'm an active beast, so here comes another part of my posts :)

What are the advantages of recycling waste materials?

A lot of everyday items are made from non-renewable sources such as oil or minerals. Recycling those puts less strain on the Earth natural resources.
Producing new materials costs a lot of energy, recycling usually is more energy efficient, and thanks to that doesn’t drain natural heating reserves (again). Making products from raw materials uses at the best 95% more energy than recycling! (numbers from the US: The Steel Recycling Institute has found that steel recycling saves enough energy to electrically power the equivalent of 18 million homes for a year.)
Landfill sites where non-recycled waste ends up are polluting the soil, water and air on a catastrophic scale, due to dangerous chemicals leakage.
A lot of countries are either already running out of spaces for landfills or are soon going to be in that situation, which pretty much means, that we either will start polluting our oceans on an even bigger scale (yes this is already happening) or start living on garbage heaps.
And there’s also an economic advantage: recycling creates more workplacesespecially a diverse local recycling manufacturing industry which in many cases might be a solution for places where there are no other businesses but costs less overall (making products from raw materials costs much more than if they were made from recycled products).

One very particular thing to mention here is deforestation which leads straight to Green House Gas emission, and all issues connected. Recycling paper is taking the strain off of our forests and plays an important role in kerbing the greenhouse effect.

When I first started on the road to zerowaste (my house creates close to no landfill waste), I have found that it is extremely hard to fit the rules that’d help me on this way in my busy life.
Most influential zerowasters are either singles or families where at least one parent either works from home or takes care of the children full time.
I’m a working mum. I wish I had more time to go and do the shopping with all my local farmers, and choose only those products in supermarket which are 100% zerowaste.
But it is impossible. So instead of giving up I’ve created an online shop: https://0waste.market.
It is still in its infancy, but I believe that it is very needed. With it we take the burden of searching for products, checking if they are indeed recyclable/compostable/reusable off the customer. We offer reused packaging, we print on recycled paper and we use carbon neutral delivery where possible. We only offer recyclable plastics, but even those we try to minimalise, as I believe most are harmful not only for the environment but also for our bodies.
We believe that enabling and making environmentalism easier for busy people is exactly what’s needed to make that change, and that’s what we try to do.
We deliver in the UK which regardless of the big words is very much behind environmental policies of Germany or France for example.
This is my idea. You could help us spread the word :) You could start your own shop in some other country, you could make people aware that there is such a movement as zerowaste.

Are there eco-friendly methods of making plastics?

The problem with plastics is not only where they come from, as @Addison Manning has mentioned, but also what are they combined with.
Most plastics do not get sold as clear polymers or resins but usually have a lot of extra agents added in order to change their characteristics. These usually make them if not outright harmful then at least less friendly or non-recyclable.
Ideally we should not use plastics at all. That's the most eco-friendly way.
But if we have to then opt for recyclables. That way you will ensure that more and more plastics are made from recycled materials.

And recycling is second best.

What makes them good?
What are they made out of?
By “scourers” I mean this (but they don’t have to look like these… just be as effective):

We offer these:
These are made from leftover foam supposed to go to landfill. The ecoFORCE stuff is all made off recycled materials, so in terms of eco-friendliness it is very good.
Of course it still is made of plastic, but plastic that can be recycled again (maybe not everywhere), so it doesn’t have to go straight to landfill.
Another option, much better, but not always good for everyone is getting a scourer made of unbleached coconut fibres, bamboo fibres or maybe burlap. These however, due to the fact that they are 100% natural may not be suitable for someone who needs consistent texture.

Depending on what your business model might be, the best options these days are reusable bottles.
Either metal or glass, or offering your customers a way to re-fill their bottles from bulk containers or vending machines.
Vending machines are popular for coffee and fizzy drinks, and are becoming more and popular for soups or other hot drinks, so I see no problem in adapting these to smoothies :)
None of these of course are cheap in the short term, but long term might be quite a viable option.

Several ideas here to be honest.
Depending on what you need them for.
Starting from your old-fashioned candles when wind is no issue, and ending with led illuminated sticks. That’s something I use.
They’re not 100% eco-friendly, but way more than normal ones. And it’s not about the trash they become (LED lights last much longer, even the batteries they use, than regular glowsticks), but mostly because the processes during which they are created ar far less damaging to our planet.
You can also look for environment safe glo-paints, there several brands of those. And you’re problem may be sorted.

I am super fascinated by the zero waste lifestyle, and how it’s the attempt to create less trash by using reusable, sustainable items. What are some zero waste stores in your area? Do any of y’all have a zero waste home? Share your story with me! Thanks in advance.

I agree with Brian Fey in many respects.
I also know that majority of us simply have no time, means or will to go full out zerowaste.
Many people wish they could, but in reality they can’t deal with it. They have houses already, and they can’t easily switch to no heating, no driving, non consumerist style of life.
We want to change it at 0waste.market, for these people, offering them products which are already vetted for sustainability, compostability, recycling, animal-friendliness, dietary needs and many, many more.
Our store is online only, however in Europe there are many great shops offering bulk products for example.
My personal favourite is this:
Pretty amazing idea, don’t you think :)