Sunday, 1 March 2009

Dumb questions about being Eco-friendly & Green (7)

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Q13: What's greener, paper / cardboard or plastic packaging?

A: Many people choose paper over plastic, figuring that being renewable and recyclable, it is probably the greener option. In reality, it is not quite that simple. Paper is heavier and bulkier to ship than plastic, takes more energy to produce and uses damaging chemicals in its manufacture. Overall, the best packaging choice is the one that has tha least total impact over its life - from raw materials and shipping emissions to toxicity and waste - and that depends on where it comes from and what you plan to do with it. consumers often don't have the required information to work out this trade-off but there are some things to keep in mind. Check whether the paper / plastic has already been recycled, and whether you can reuse or recycle it further. Also, if you need to avoid packaging altogether, consider this: if it reduces the chances of a product perishing or breaking before it can be used then it is almost always better to have packing than not. Just choose products with the smallest amount possible and as per need.

Q14: What is recycled organic waste used for?

A: There are 2 main uses: Treated aerobically, organic waste is composted to produce soil conditioner or landscaping mulch, returning carbon to the soil. Under anaerobic conditions, it can be digested by bacteria to produce methane which is used to generate electricity. Through a combination of biological and mechanical processes, it is also turned into fuel that can then substitue coal or coke in power stations or cement kilns.

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1 comment:

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