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Going Carbon Neutral Isn't Enough

Rich Heap, Community Editor, Future Cities
Thursday, September 5, 2013 09:00 EDT

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Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
9/17/2013 3:38:03 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
Please let me know what you find, Davedgreat2000. I can sometimes tell at a glance which plastics are good for recycling, or at least I thought I could until the number-5 debate that raged in my home. It's hugely generalized, but the 1s and 2s are more supple, somehow, and the other numbers more opaque and less bendy. #notascientist

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
9/12/2013 11:25:04 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
@Amy, its weird and wrong that we can't recycle all plastics, no matter the number. I mean whats the difference between a number 1 plasitc and a number 5 plastic...I guess all plastics are not created equal. Maybe some plasitics are more toxic than others...I really dont know, but we have to have some way of recycling all plastics and not just choose between various numbers (which i dont understand the meaning behind in the first place).

I just looked up what my City accepts for recycling. Items with the triangles with numbers 1 (PETE), 2 (HDPE), 3 (V), 4 (LDPE), 5 (PP), and 7 (Other), but not 6 (6 is polystrene/styrofoam). I still need to look up the meanings behind the numbers though.

 

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
9/12/2013 11:00:18 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
Yep, @Dave, it DOES begin at home. I think my kiddo was just tired and mixed up about which vessel to drop the paper into. He does know the difference about paper versus metal versus regular ol' trash. 

My spouse and I have had a debate of several years' standing about plastic items with the number 5 on the bottom; i contended that they were not recyclable, he said that they were. Happily, he proved me wrong by looking up the District's Department of the Environment site and showing me that indeed, "5s" are okay, not just "1s" and "2s" which had long been drilled into my head.

James@SanDiego
James@SanDiego  
9/10/2013 10:58:21 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
I was doing some research on Greenhouse Gases and came across this little informative graph, it was linked to a wikipedia article.  Here is the link for further study: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Major_greenhouse_gas_trends.png

File:Major greenhouse gas trends.png

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
9/10/2013 8:56:17 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
@James, I remember those days we couldnt recylce certian things because well they wouldnt accept them. they still do that today, we have to look for the recycling triangle with the number in the middle  usually found on the bottom of the cartons of milk and other products, if its a certian number it can be recycled if not then you put it in the trash. I always say but its cardboard just has a different number on it. I dont get it really. heck it all goes back to China to be recycled into other products. They dont have the regulations in place to recycle cleanly. Hopefully we get wise and start to recycle more and more of our trash and do it here in The United States (insert your country here) that can provide some jobs to Americans that need jobs.

James@SanDiego
James@SanDiego  
9/9/2013 11:08:26 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
Going carbon nuetral is a good start and is probably the easiest thing we can do. But we should be putting back or restoring as well.  Tree zones and parks in the inner city would help with bird populations that skyscrapers seem to damage.  Inner city ponds to hold recycled water for grounds keeping and watering might be useful for migatory fowl as ducks and geese.  Inner city gardens and composting, outer perimiter tree planting or woods would be a great start for air quality improvement as well as to lower ground tempatures caused by concerete and pavement.  Ground water replacement, top soil conditioning, earth worms, bird houses, all these can be done with little ground use.

One little idea by itself is just a start but magnified by a few million citizens doing these simple things may make a monumental difference.  

James@SanDiego
James@SanDiego  
9/9/2013 10:57:25 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
Dave, I am in agreement with you.  On most blue cans the directions are to remove the lids.  So the lids are not recyclable?  Anything and everything that is made from organic sources, (paper) and most everything that is made to hold consumables should be recycled.  I remember years ago then plastic milk cartons were not to be recycled, this caused such an uproar that consumers were instructed to mail the empty containers,(after rinsing and crushing) back to the dairys they came from.  

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
9/6/2013 3:41:30 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
@Amy, we have to teach the next Generation about Recycling and the climate and our environment in order for change to happen within the next 10 years or so. Just recycling for recycling sake isnt going to change the next generations habits if they have no idea why we do what we do. Besides, I dont want my son to be only into recycling, I want him to make a difference in the community and the world. I'm an engineer and hope my son follows in my footsteps so he can make the next great invention that will change recycling or clean up spills or what not. I want him to be a scientist that designs a new cleaning solution that is organic and friendly to the environment and to animals and humans. What I'm saying is, it begins with us to show them what we have been doing has not always been the way or the most environmentally friendly way and that every little thing they can do to protect our world is worth it.

it also means that we as adults must get involved with our city council meetings and find out what exactly they are doing about the environment and climate change and going carbon neutral and it also means that we have to speak up at those meetings to put our two cents into the record. We all should fight for what we believe in, it always begins at home though.

Davedgreat2000
Davedgreat2000  
9/6/2013 3:26:10 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
But for cities to be Carbon Neutral, the citizens of those cities must be on board with the cities efforts. Recycling isnt enough, we dont recycle nearly enough of our trash to really make a difference. They still dont take all plastics, cardboards paper etc. The people must believe that they are making a difference when the city says we are going to be carbon neutral by the year 20XX and we are going to get there via the following ways. The people must all be on board for any of this to be truely effective.

Amy Rogers Nazarov
Amy Rogers Nazarov  
9/6/2013 10:42:43 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: carbon
I like Barbara's point about looking at the glass half-full.

Think of how recycling is absolutely a way of life for so many of us now, how habituated we are to it. My six-year-old threw a sheet of paper in the regular trash and I did a double-take when I saw it there (then plucked it out).

Then imagine our parents' generation carefully sorting the paper from the cans from the chicken fat - and see how far we have come in just that regard. These changes take decades to discuss, implement and make habitual, and as others have said in this thread, changing consumers'  behavior one by one by one is many small, incremental changes adding up over time to a giant impact.

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