The sustainability thread


30 Jul 2020
Local time
9:29 PM
Portugal will start banning most single use plastics in November, and I thought this was a good time to rethink some of my habits.

I've grown an interest in sustainability during the pandemic. I admit my motivation wasn't saving the planet or tackling climate change, I simply don't like waste. As I researched about how I could avoid wasting resources I found more and more ways to help the planet by spending less, making the most of what I have and also save money. I'm not perfetc but definitely made some big improvements.

There are small things we can all do that will help save the planet's resources. I'd like to create this thread as a place where we can share the things we do that help us live more sustainably. If each and everyone of us does something small, collectively we will have a huge impact!

I'll share some ideas, from things I'm already doing. Some of these are really small changes and a good place to start.

- Replacing paper kitchen towels, napkins and handkerchiefs with fabric ones - I made some of these at home from old kitchen towels;
- Using old rags for cleaning;
- Saving things like fish heads, carrot skins and chicken insides for making stock - I used to throw this stuff in the trash;
- Making yogurt at home;
- Carrying my own bags instead of getting bags from stores;
- Using reusable instead of disposable cotton pads - I have some microfiber cloths that are really soft and work well;
- Using a jar to collect the cold water that comes out while the shower is heating, and using it for cooking;
- Using reusable coffee pods;
- Using reusable freezer bags - I got mine cheap from Ikea
- Using a silicone mat for baking;
- Using reusable menstrual pads

Would love to hear your ideas and suggestions!:)


26 Aug 2020
Local time
11:29 PM
A good subject and great tips, LissaC! Some remarks:

Before you replace expendable/disposable kitchen towels, pads, shopping bags or else with fabric ones, you should take a look at the big picture. It may be more sustainable to use and icinerate or (auxiliary) recycle disposable (biodegradble or recycled) products. Most paper and plastic products can be burnt in waste management plants - and most dioxins and furans (emissions) can be captured during icineration. The warmth produced or generated during icineration or rotting/composting may be utilized as heating in other units, plants or locations.

Decomposition of biodegradable materials or using expendable recycled products can be a more sustainable method than using water and detergents to keep the reusable products clean and hygienic. Even if you use a biodegradable/organic/environmentally healthy detergent, the development, manufacture, storing, transport, marketing and warehousing of those products may produce emissions just as much as the production of e.g. paper towels or bags or recycled plastic products. Plastic and metals don't decompose - and there's a a lot of stuff going around -, so sometimes it is more sustainable to use recycled plastic or metal products or composites than to produce new biodegradable products. It is also recommendable to take local environmental issues and resources into account. In Finland, for instance, forestry is sustainable, paper products are affordable, waste sorting and treatment plants are advanced and recycling is common.

The tip to take advantage of peels, fish heads etc. is super! Biowaste requires storage, transport and handling which adds to the amount of carbon footprints. A part of food is often intact in plastic boxes or thrown away as leftovers or outdated products. The less biowaste (and other waste) is thrown into bins and transferred to waste management units, the better. One should pay attention to shopping, cooking and waste management habits and keep a compost in the home garden, if possible.
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