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Construction and the Garden

When it comes to reducing the use of plastic in construction and gardening, there are many ways, most of which involve reusing and sharing. Construction: Reuse what you can, e.g. plastic sheets for painting. See if you need can be found used, e.g. in Efnismiðlun Góða hirðisins á Sævarhöfði og Breiðhella or ask in groups on Facebook. We choose environmentally certified products when possible, e.g. brush soap. Most paints contain plastic, but chalk paint is plastic-free. Most people choose swan-certified paint (which does contain plastic). According to a 2019 report  prepared for the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, […]

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10 Ways for Children to Reduce Plastic Use

Printable version of 10 ways Poster It is important for children to remember that they are not responsible for the plastic problem, but adults are. Children can still do various things themselves to reduce the use of plastic and remind adults of their responsibility, e.g. by talking to parents and teachers or sending emails to companies or politicians.

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Recycling FAQ

Why is it important to recycle plastics? Plastics do not biodegrade in the environment, but rather break down into smaller pieces. Oftentimes plastic ends up breaking down into what is known as microplastics, which are particles with a diameter of 5 mm or less. Microplastics pose a threat because of their small size, specifically because they small enough to enter organisms by way of drinking water and food sources. Microplastics have breached the food chain and have even made their way into our bodies. Loose plastics can easily make their way into the oceans. We have probably all seen the […]

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What are microplastics?

Microplastics are defined as plastic particles that measure 5mm or less in diameter and are often invisible to the naked eye. Microplastics have spread all over the globe, from the upper atmosphere to the deepest sea trenches. Microplastics constitute a portion of airborne particulate matter (e.g., nanoparticles) and are generated primarily from vehicle tires and road markings. Once microplastics have degraded into nanoparticles, they can easily enter the human body, typically though inhalation. Norway has issued recommendations on how effectively reduce the amount of microplastics that are released into the streets and the sea. These recommendations include: minimize the use […]

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What should I use to line my trash can instead of a plastic bag?

The answer depends on your setup. The most important thing to remember is that as soon as you begin sorting your household waste properly — including plastic, paper and cardboard, glass, metal and compost — the amount of trash you’re left with drops drastically. Also remember that mindful buying habits that emphasize reduced consumption will naturally generate less waste. Here are a few solutions: Use other bags you already have around the house, like the plastic packaging around toilet paper. Line the bottom of your trash can with newspaper and empty your can directly into the bin. The city of […]

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Is all plastic use bad?

Plastic use has become commonplace in our daily lives and is an important component in a number of essential items like safety equipment, carseats, helmets, safety goggles and many items connected to healthcare like IV equipment, syringes, etc. Plastics have been revolutionary in many arenas of modern life. Food safety has increased greatly because of plastics ability to prolong storage life. And all sorts of items that make life easier use plastic, like cell phones, computers, shopping bags, etc. Plastics are used in the fabrication of aircraft and vehicles to make equipment lighter, which means they require less fuel to […]

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Do Icelanders use more plastic than other nations?

The production of plastic has increased twenty fold since 1964 and continues to grow. According to data from 2018, Lithuania tops the European rankings when it comes to recycling plastic with about 74% while Iceland ranks #16 on that list recycling 42% of plastic. The UN has launched a global campaign to combat plastic pollution in the ocean and once of its principal efforts is ending the use of disposable plastic packaging. The EU has approved a ban on disposable plastic table items (plates, cups, utensils and chopsticks), plastic straws, plastic cotton swabs, plastic balloon sticks and oxo-degradable plastic food […]

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Is it better to choose products packaged in glass than in plastic?

The initial production of glass is worse for the environment than the production of plastic. But when we take into account what becomes of the packaging after disposal, glass has less of an impact if it ends up in the environment since glass degrades into mineral. It is not possible, however, to create new glass packaging from used glass packaging. Plastic can be recycled and used in new applications, like the creation of synthetic fleece. But synthetic fleece and other plastic-based textiles shed microplastics when laundered, which often are washed out to sea. Microplastics generated in washing machines have a […]

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Is it better to buy metal products rather than plastic?

There is no straightforward answer. The production of aluminum takes a serious toll on the environment as it is sourced from bauxite, an ore that contains a high concentration of aluminum. Harvesting the aluminum component generates two materials: one is aluminum oxide, which is a fine white powder, and the other is a thick, red sludge containing caustic soda. This sludge has no practical application. Likewise, the destruction of land caused by aluminum production, i.e., the land that is displaced (often permanently) during the course of bauxite mining, is detrimental to the environmental. Manufacturing a disposable plastic bottle from new […]

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What is plastic?

Plastic production began when the technology emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, with mass production taking off around 1950. Production requires fossil fuels, i.e., oil and gas, which are limited resources. Crude oil is pumped up from underground and processed in oil refinery facilities. During the refining process reactive monomers are created. These monomers are collected and bonded through the introduction of a catalyst. This process creates long-chain molecules called polymers. These polymers accumulate to form a malleable mass that can easily be shaped. Various combinations of polymers (i.e., how the polymers are ordered) yield different types of […]

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