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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    • CommentAuthorcjard
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2020 edited
    Thinking about packaging specifically*, where the plastic colour doesn't necessarily have to have a decorative/aesthetic function (or need to be e.g. clear/tinted to function; sunglasses etc), would it not be helpful to recycling goals for the government to just mandate that plastics for packaging can be one of eg 9 (rainbow 7 plus black and white) different types of plastic (PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PS, PVC etc) and each variety has a defined colour to aid identification for recycling

    I know they're supposed to/increasingly have a recy-triangle with a number in, but it's hard to read on some packaging, and what if you only have a fragment that doesnt have the triangle on? Surely being able to say "it's a food container and it's yellow. It's HDPE" would be better, even if it meant everything in the fridge was suddenly in a blue container etc; manufacturers can use the sticky backed paper labelling to make their product stand out..

    * but I'd extend it to everything
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2020
    Lots of stuff is transparent - PET, HDPE, LDPE, PP, PS etc - and when used as packaging is designed to display whatever's inside (especially food) so it won't work properly if it's not clear. It's believe also difficult to recycle plastic if it has to be made a particular colour. Mandating the little triangles, and mandating that recycling facilities are equipped to use them (!) would be better, I think.
    Those plastics look similar in visible light, but they naturally have different 'colours' under infrared light (they reflect different IR wavelengths). The machines used to sort recycling, use high speed IR cameras to identify the material of each bottle that comes down the conveyor, and divert it into the correct bin.

    Some more ideas here


    Edit to add: it's good to avoid products in black-tinted plastic packaging, meat trays etc, as the machine can't see the IR colour through the black pigment. And to peel off those plastic film lids from trays and film bottle labels as they confuse the machine.
    • CommentTimeJun 14th 2020
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenSome more ideas here

    That's a good article, thanks.
    • CommentAuthorcjard
    • CommentTimeJun 14th 2020
    INteresting article Will; it pointed out that, in a sense, the notion of "colour me different" is coming in - it's jsut that the coloration is in the UV spectrum rather than the visible light. Good to know!
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2020
    Lot of packaging has a barcode on it. Recyclers could look up what the packaging is made of using the barcode if the info was made available. Bar codes could also be added to caps etc.
    • CommentAuthorJoeSmith
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2020
    It's a nice idea and would make recycling so much easier. . It seems to be sorting the stuff that makes recycling so hard and therefore costly so I wonder why there has to be so many different types of plastic in the first place. Can't we just have one type and then there would be no sorting conundrum and all plastic could be recycled. If certain jobs that plastic performs aren't achievable with the one type that my, admittedly, idealised scenario would allow, use something else for that job.u
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