Sustainability

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Eliminate paper. Easing up on the use of paper and paper products will help with one of the biggest landfill culprits. Good places to start include replacing paper gift wrapping with fabric or used grocery bags, using glassware instead of paper plates, bringing reusable shopping bags for use at the store, and replacing paper towels with washable hand towels.

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  • What is hydroelectric energy?

    Q: What is hydroelectric energy?

    A: Hydroelectric energy converts the kinetic energy of flowing water into electricity using a turbine. Water flows through a channel, usually carefully regulated as part of a dam spillway, and it turns the blades of the turbine. As long as water continues to flow steadily, the turbine produces a steady stream of electricity. The U.S. Geological Survey Science School states that 19 percent of the world's electricity comes from hydroelectric energy.
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  • What would happen if people did not recycle?

    Q: What would happen if people did not recycle?

    A: Without recycling, Earth's natural resources would diminish even more quickly than they already do from human activity. Using items made from recycled material, such as paper, helps prevent deforestation. Recycling also reduces the amount of trash cluttering the planet.
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  • How is coal used by humans?

    Q: How is coal used by humans?

    A: Humans use coal in many ways, including as a fuel and as a source of carbon. As a solid fuel, coal burns to provide heat from stoves, furnaces and boilers as well as energy to supply electrical generating plants. Metal refiners use coke, a solid residue from low-sulfur bituminous coal, in purifying metals in blast furnaces.
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  • What can I do to help save the environment?

    Q: What can I do to help save the environment?

    A: Eliminate paper. Easing up on the use of paper and paper products will help with one of the biggest landfill culprits. Good places to start include replacing paper gift wrapping with fabric or used grocery bags, using glassware instead of paper plates, bringing reusable shopping bags for use at the store, and replacing paper towels with washable hand towels.
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  • How do you dispose of a lithium-ion battery?

    Q: How do you dispose of a lithium-ion battery?

    A: Lithium-ion and other rechargeable batteries should be recycled so that any hazardous waste, including lead acid and nickel cadmium, can be removed from the waste cycle. Federal guidelines consider lithium-ion and nickel metal hydride batteries to be non-hazardous.
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  • Why should we recycle metals?

    Q: Why should we recycle metals?

    A: Recycling metals offers many benefits, including conserving natural resources, reducing emissions and creating new jobs. Forbes reports that recycling metals supported over 450,000 jobs in the United States as of 2011, generating over $90 billion annually.
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  • What is self-sustaining energy?

    Q: What is self-sustaining energy?

    A: Self-sustaining energy, also known as sustainable energy, is energy that meets present needs without depleting natural resources for future generations. It focuses on preserving the environment while developing technology in ways that use renewable energy.
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  • What do trees provide?

    Q: What do trees provide?

    A: One of the most important things that trees give people is oxygen to breathe. Trees also give shade, house animals and muffle noise.
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  • Q: Why do we need to recycle plastics?

    A: Recycling plastic is important because this material is used in the manufacturing of a wide variety of products, and an incredible amount of unused plastic already exists. Energy conservation is also a concern as a significantly lesser amount of energy is used when recycling plastic compared to normal production.
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  • Q: How many types of solar panels exist?

    A: There are four types of solar panels commonly used: single silicon, multi-silicon, BIPV and solar thermal panels. Each offers benefits and disadvantages.
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  • Q: How can you find information on biomass energy?

    A: The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration both offer information about biomass energy on their websites. On EPA.gov, visitors find information about biomass energy in A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change section, while EIA.gov offers the information in its Energy Kids section.
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  • Q: Where can you find reliable information on solar energy?

    A: Reliable information on solar energy is available on Energy.gov, a website of the U.S. Department of Energy. Other sites that offer reliable solar information include energyinfocenter.org, Solarenergy.com and Solarenergy.net.
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  • Q: What are some important things to recycle?

    A: Some important things to recycle are aluminum, plastic bottles and glass. Appliances and other objects that contain steel are also important to recycle because recycling steel saves energy and conserves natural resources.
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  • Q: How do you recycle wood?

    A: The easiest way to recycle wood is through a local waste management agency or material reuse outlet. Most areas have access to services that recycle untreated wood for a nominal cost.
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  • Q: Is used solar equipment a reliable option?

    A: Buying used solar equipment can be a reliable and inexpensive option, but the buyer should make a physical inspection before purchasing. Solar panels should be free of obvious damage such as cracks and condensation under the glass.
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  • What are the pros and cons of using solar panels?

    Q: What are the pros and cons of using solar panels?

    A: Some of the benefits of using solar panels for energy generation include the fact that solar energy is a renewable resource, the abundance of solar energy that reaches the earth and reduced electric costs. Negatives of using solar panels include the expense of installing solar panels, the costs of storing solar energy and limited access to solar energy at night or during overcast periods.
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  • How do you get rid of medical waste?

    Q: How do you get rid of medical waste?

    A: Although each state has varying guidelines on how to rid of medical waste, standard recommendations are to use sharps containers to collect needles and to mix expired medicines in kitty litter. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that consumers dispose of household medical waste according to the community guidelines.
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  • Q: What are some good reasons to recycle?

    A: Reasons to recycle include reduced energy consumption, job creation, reduced pollution, economic growth and the conservation of natural resources. Reduced use of natural resources also results in greater preservation of wildlife habitats.
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  • Q: What are the consequences of not recycling?

    A: Some of the consequences of not recycling include increased environmental pollution, reduced natural resources, increased energy consumption and reductions in the economy. The EPA reports that recycling can help reduce the effects of global climate change, so not recycling may also contribute to increased climate change.
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  • Can you recycle books?

    Q: Can you recycle books?

    A: Books can be recycled; however, many recycling centers request hardcover book spines be removed beforehand. Contact local recycling centers for book-specific preparation requirements and restrictions.
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  • Q: What are some of the recycling codes for polymers?

    A: The Society of Plastic Industry designed the resin identification coding system to identify plastic type for recycling purposes, these are coded one through seven and printed on the object inside a recycling symbol. The numbers one through six identify specific plastics, and seven is used for miscellaneous.
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