Sustainability

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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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Q: What Are Some Tips for Going Green?

    A: Tips for going green include turning off electronics when not in use, adjusting refrigerator settings and eating foods grown using sustainable methods. Automotive tips include choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle, inflating tires properly and removing excess weight from the trunk. Carpooling or riding a bike reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air.
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  • Q: How Does Renewable Energy Work?

    A: According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, renewable energy comes from either sources that cannot be depleted or from sources that can replenish themselves on a human time scale. The former category includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric power, and an example of the latter is biofuel.
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  • Q: How Is Solar Energy Used Today?

    A: Solar energy is used in a number of ways, such as powering homes, businesses, cities and cars. Solar energy is gaining more popularity because people are becoming more and more aware of its advantages as the technology improves and the price of fossil fuels increases.
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  • Q: How Can You Find Out Where to Recycle Your Electronics?

    A: Visit official city websites, relevant state department websites or the websites of recycling agencies or electronic retailers to find locations to recycle electronics. Some organizations and agencies have drop-off locations, whereas others accept mail-in electronics. Some also accept working electronic items as donations.
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  • Q: What Is the Primary Goal of Conservation Biology?

    A: The primary goal of conservation biology is to address the Earth's loss of its biological diversity. It focuses on advancing the practice of conserving this diversity and preventing further losses.
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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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  • Q: What Are Some Pros and Cons of Solar Power?

    A: Solar power, or the conversion of the sun's energy into electricity, is sustainable and renewable. The conversion process is silent and emission free and, solar panels usually require little maintenance. However, the sun is an inconsistent fuel source, the movement of the sun affects the efficiency of fixed solar panels and solar power systems are normally expensive and bulky.
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  • Q: What Are Nonrecyclable Items?

    A: Nonrecyclable items cannot be treated or processed to make them suitable for further use. Some items cannot be recycled because they are considered hazardous waste. For other items, such as diapers, it is more expensive to process the items for reuse than to discard them and manufacture new ones.
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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: How Do Solar-Powered Water Pumps Work?

    A: Solar powered water pumps convert solar energy from the sun into electricity to run water circulating pumps. Surface pumps move water from bodies of water through pipes above ground. Submersible pumps bring water up from underground wells to the surface. Both utilize solar panels placed above ground.
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  • Q: Is Polystyrene Recyclable?

    A: Polystyrene is a plastic and can be recycled, but is not often handled at municipal recycling centers due to cost of recycling and the nature of the product. Lightweight polystyrene is difficult to collect and separate, creating complications during collection and processing.
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  • Are All Tin Cans Recyclable?

    Q: Are All Tin Cans Recyclable?

    A: All tin cans are recyclable, according to Waste Management. Tin cans are actually aluminum, but they are sometimes called tin cans because there is a micro-thin layer of tin coating the inside of the can to help it from rusting.
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  • Q: How Do You Make a Homemade Compost Bin?

    A: To create a simple home compost bin, use either wire mesh or snow fencing material to create a holding unit. Approximately 10 feet of wire mesh yields a bin 3 feet in diameter, while 13 feet of snow fence creates a 3-square-foot bin.
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