Tips for Sustainable Shoppers: Ways You Can Keep Your Consumption and Waste Levels in Check

January 15, 2022 Leave a comment Sustainable

You’re at the grocery store and you’re looking for a new cereal to try. You want one that’s organic, but also affordable – which is easier said than done. Then, you notice that there’s only one box left on the shelf and it has a “best by” date of tomorrow. That might be your lucky day! But before you buy it, think about this: how do I know if my cereal will last until its best-by date? What if I’m not able to finish the box in time? How does this impact me as a consumer and how does it impact the environment? These are all important questions that we need to ask ourselves when shopping in order to live sustainably. In this article, we’ll discuss how to be an ethical shopper, in three simple steps.

Part One: Where You Shop Matters

The first step is deciding where you’re going to shop. If possible, I recommend shopping at a local grocery store or farmers’ market instead of one that’s farther away from your home. This will reduce the amount of fuel that you use in your vehicle and will also help to support local farmers.

But what if there isn’t a grocery store or farmer’s market nearby? You can still shop at other stores! Look for the Local/Organic option on their website, as well as ways they’re supporting local businesses like small farms. There are many different ways to be sustainable when shopping, and it doesn’t have to involve a lot of extra effort.

Part Two: Consider the Product’s Life Cycle

The second step is considering a product’s life cycle. This includes looking at the entire lifespan of a product, from its creation to how long it will last in your home. For example, when you’re choosing a new cereal, think about how long it will take you to eat the entire box. If it won’t last more than a week or two, then it’s not the right choice for you.

It’s also important to consider whether a product is recyclable. For example, most plastics are recyclable, but some plastics can’t be recycled. When you’re looking at a product’s packaging and considering whether to buy it or not, make sure that the packaging is recyclable as well!

Part Three: Consider Price Per Use To Be Sustainable

Ultimately, when choosing products for your home consider price per use. If something seems too expensive for you, then it probably is. We want to be mindful of our spending when shopping and not spend more than we need to. This means that if a product costs too much in relation to how long it will last or the amount of times you’ll use it, then don’t buy it!

When I was growing up my mom always told me that it’s not good to be wasteful. And she was right – being sustainable when shopping is one of the best ways to reduce our impact on the environment. By following these three simple steps, we can all do our part in creating a more sustainable future for ourselves and for generations to come.

Thank you for reading!

Tips For Buying A Second-Hand Dog Crate

September 25, 2020 Leave a comment Pets

You can’t blame yourself if you would choose to buy a second-hand dog crate because it is a lot cheaper than a brand new one. It always feels great to save money since it is going to be pretty costly to have a pet. You will need to take it to the groomer, buy pet food, and other supplies. Thus, getting to save money as early as possible would be a huge benefit when you find out that you will need to take good care of it like a child. It will be worth it in the end because the love and compassion your pet is going to show you are priceless. When you raise a kid, there is always a possibility that this person will stab you in the back and forget what you did for him or her in the past. The same won’t happen when you are raising a dog because it will show his or her ever-loving gratitude when the pet grows up. Another thing to remember would be to make sure that you are dealing with an escape-proof dog crate. After all, you would want your pet to be as safe as possible inside the dog care. The whole purpose of the dog crate is to keep it safe inside. You better train it so hard that it would not want to escape. It should be the last thing on its mind as there are too many things to do with it.

Better make sure there are no screws or nails that are loose with the dog crate. One look at the dog crate and you will already know the answer to that question. If you want to make sure, you can bring a carpenter along and you will feel confident knowing the answer to the problem. Besides, you would not want your investment to be a bad one. If it is expensive, you would want it to be pretty much worth it. When you get to the seller, you would want the person to demonstrate all the logical features. Of course, they should be all features that you will benefit from in the future. It would not make any sense to ask that person to demonstrate to you things that you won’t really benefit from as that would put you in a bad spot. It would be better to know how you are going to use the crate. When you brought your dog with you, that is more like it as it would be better to see how the dog would fit inside the crate even before you take the crate home with you. Experts would tell you there is nothing wrong with purchasing a used dog crate as long as it is in great condition. Even if it is in great condition, the owner will be forced to lower the price due to the fact that it is pretty old. It is still a different feeling for others to be dealing with new crates.

How To Get Started Recording Your Guitar Songs

July 9, 2019 Leave a comment Music

Are you an aspiring singer-songwriter that has a lot of songs to share? Do you like making covers of your favorite songs with your added twist? Part of loving the environment that surrounds us is participating in our community and giving back where we can. In this age where technology is evolving, it is much easier to share them with the help of various social media sites such as Youtube, Spotify, etc. You do not even need a full band for it, you can do it your own with a guitar. 

It will require you to have the right types of equipment in order to get started. Here are the basic essentials that you will need.

1. Computer

Computers nowadays is more of a need than a luxury. Every school and office has one. Almost everyone has a computer whether it is the latest model or an old beater because they are more or less needed for school or for work. In this digital age, the song recording is pretty much all done with a computer that is why it is a lot easier to do it your own home. 

2. Digital Audio Workstation

This is the program used for recording, mixing, and editing. Important considerations for this kind of software are the computer you are using and the style of music you are producing. It is a good tool for you to develop more of your techniques in playing the guitar.

3. Audio Interface

This is the device used to record vocals or instruments via a microphone or with the instruments directly connected. It is an external sound processor that captures the analog signal and converts it to a digital signal for the computer to work with.

4. Studio Microphone

If you’re just getting started, don’t get swept up in the microphone craze that seems to control every recording engineer out there. You may need more as you become more skilled, or if you have a particularly large band to cut to digital tape, but as you are getting started one or two is enough. To achieve better quality recordings, it would be best to have two different microphones for your vocal and your guitar so that you can edit each track separately.

5. Studio Headphones

You might be thinking that the headphones that come with your smartphone would be enough to get the job done. We all wish that were the case, but unfortunately, it’s usually wrong. Unlike common headphones that apply equalization to the sounds they produce, studio headphones are delivering sounds that are more true to what is actually present in the recording. This is because it is used for both monitoring and mixing, and in order to for you to develop and improve your sound and technique in your recordings, you will need to hear they really sound before any processing.

6. Studio Monitors

Just like the studio headphones, monitors deliver a flat frequency response. It is also for the same reason, to hear the original mix so that you can make any adjustments as necessary.

There are also other pieces of equipment that you might want to add to your recording studio. Here are some examples:

  1. XLR Cables – These are the standard style of cables that you will need. As time passes, you’re probably going to need more and more. They have a variety of different uses in the studio, and while quality has improved across the board, you want to make sure you’re using decent cables.
  2. Microphone Stands – This is a definite must in recording for as we know, a microphone cannot stand alone by itself. It’s one thing if you are a lead singer belting it out, but most band members are musicians that need to focus on holding and playing their instruments. When you are starting, an inexpensive stand is more than decent enough for you.
  3. Pop Filter – This is the mesh screen covering a microphone. It filters the low-frequency blasts of air called “popping” that happens whenever a “p” or a “b” is pronounced.

Two Clean Alternatives to Traditional Fireplaces

March 19, 2019 Leave a comment Alternative Energy, Electric, Preservation

It’s hard not to love having a fireplace in your home, especially this time of year. They warm your house up from the inside out and give your family a great place to gather on these cold winter nights.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good. Not only do fireplaces rely on chopping down trees for firewood, but they also are relatively dirty burning. They put off black smoke that deposits on the inside of your chimney and they put out greenhouse gasses that ultimately end up in the atmosphere.

Luckily, these days that are a couple of nice alternatives that will still serve many of the benefits of a traditional fireplace, but will also be less harmful to the environment by consuming less wood and by reducing the amount of smog emitted into the air.

Gas Fireplaces

The first alternative style is the gas fireplace. These are usually powered by either propane or natural gas, whichever is more readily available in your home. They are usually inserted directly into your existing hearth and use the chimney as the primary exhaust. This doesn’t mean that you need a chimney to use one, though. You can also have a custom install where venting can be designed as needed to suit your home.

The upsides of gas fireplaces are that they are incredibly warm and they still have a bonafide flame. You may not even realize that you have a faux fireplace alternative, except for the fact that you’ll never have to get up to feed it another log.

The downsides of gas fireplaces are that they still do burn fuel, however clean burning this may be. This means that not only will you have to pay for fossil fuels but you are still consuming them. If reducing your fossil fuel use is one of your life goals, this might not be the way to go for you. Also, by burning natural gas or propane there are a few inherent safety hazards. Gas leaks can be incredibly dangerous, and though they are no more dangerous than having a gas stove, a gas fireplace is one more place where things can go wrong. Additionally, simply having a real flame is a potential fire hazard. Granted this is a risk you can mitigate, but it is something to keep in mind.

Electric Fireplaces

The second alternative to traditional fireplaces that is becoming increasingly popular in the last several years is the electric fireplace. The beauty of electric fireplaces is that they don’t have any combustion whatsoever. No flames or exhaust are created as a result of their use at all. This means that they are likely safer and likely less of a load on the environment, depending on how your electricity is produced. If you get your electricity from solar then you’re pretty much in the clear in this regard.

Other benefits of electric fireplaces include ease of installation and ease of use. When it comes to installation, there are indeed some more luxurious models that require a bit more advanced installation. You might need an electrician to help with the wiring and a contractor to help installing it into the wall. However, there are a ton of different styles to choose from, and you can get units that stand alone and also function as furniture that you can use for other purposes. This helpful page from BEFR goes over some electric fireplace units that fit snugly in the corner of your room.

When it comes to ease of use, you really can’t find more control than you get with an electric fireplace. Most models come with various heat settings, ranging from high to low to no heat at all. That’s right, you can even run the fireplace in the summer months without causing your home’s temperature to skyrocket. Some of the nicer models even have control over the color of the flames. While orange will reminisce of the traditional feeling of a fireplace, you can also get blue or purple flames to spice things up a bit.

Whichever style you choose, you can be sure that it will be an improvement over your traditional fireplace in terms of the impact on the environment and the atmosphere. Once upon a time in history, fire was something we as humans needed to survive. We’ve come a long way, and our technology has come with us. It’s time that we take advantage of it for the sake of our planet.

How Electricity Does and Does Not Prevent Pollution

March 3, 2019 Leave a comment Alternative Energy, Electric, Sustainable

Devices that run on electricity seem to produce less pollution to the environment. After all, there isn’t a smog of gas coming from an electrically powered vehicle. However, electricity must come from somewhere. This means that other resources need to be consumed in order to produce electricity. Power plants are the main sources around the world for producing electricity. However, power plants consume and burn up massive amounts of fossil fuel, coal, petroleum, and other natural resources to send out electricity. In this way, electric powered devices indirectly contribute to pollution, albeit, to a lesser extent than carbon-fueled devices. On a smaller scale, individual electric appliances do indeed cut down on pollution and are many times more energy efficient.

Thanks to advancements in technology, electricity has become a reliable way to power many machines. This extends from the industry to personal spaces. Many of our home appliances are powered by electricity. Take an electric pressure washer for example. The electric pressure washer generates a strong current to compress a fluid or gas in a short amount of time. The force that is generated from the washer wipes away grime and other stains. According to Catherine at TBEPW, an electric pressure washer may sometimes be more expensive than their conventional counterpart – and for good reason too.

The technology for electric powered devices is fairly new compared to devices that depend on mineral resources. Therefore, the methods by which electricity is harnessed is somewhat lagging behind. This may seem hard to believe, given all that has been accomplished through electrical resources. However, a technology that runs on natural minerals like coals and fossils have been used much longer than electricity. There are many ways to harness natural mineral energy. Not only that, but these methods tend to be simpler, and require less expensive facilities, thereby making natural mineral resources cheaper. Electricity, on the other hand, is much more dangerous and must be transmitted by the proper medium, conductive or insulating, depending on the need. 

Still, electrically powered devices do present a better alternative to burning coal, mostly because we have used less of it over the last century. The thing to consider is that electricity should be conserved because, like everything else on Earth, there is a limited supply. This means not leaving the lights on in the house or any other electric appliances that can be turned off. Not only will leaving on electric appliances result in an astronomical high electric bill, but it will have an effect on the environment as well. 

Electricity, as stated before, relies on other resources to be generated. The overconsumption of electricity will result in overconsumption of other natural resources. This will have a negative cascade on the environment. 

For one, the soil in the ground has a natural current that is necessary for all green life. This flow can be disrupted when nearby powerplants burn too many resources, which frequently happens as a result of major cities using too much electricity. 

Burning too many natural resources can lead to the production of acid rain. Acid rain is essentially the result of too many impurities like sulfur mix with the air. As the acid-air mixture rises to the sky, the clouds become heavy, so to speak. The particles are too heavy to remain very high in the atmosphere and therefore get deposited back to the ground as acid rain. This type of rain can cause massive amounts of property damage and other inconveniences. 

There are many things that can be done at an individual level to make sure that resources are conserved. Little things like turning off the Wi-Fi settings on our phones can help. This is because the surrounding networks don’t have to work as hard to provide signals. Buying high energy devices will ensure that little electricity is wasted. While society is moving towards electric powered technology, it’s best to start making good energy-saving habits now.

How To Minimize Damage to the Environment When Playing Paintball in the Woods

March 21, 2018 Leave a comment Fun, Outdoors, Preservation, Sustainable

Paintball has become a revered past time and sport for a large number of enthusiasts. Tournaments are held where players run around in the muck and hope to paint their team to victory. Besides the thrill and fun paintballing can bring, however, there exists an underlying issue–the environment. With corporations and cities taking the initiative to turn themselves green and reduce their carbon footprints of the environment, sports like paintball should follow suit.

Paintball product designers are heading in the right direction already. The pellets themselves are made of a biodegradable mixture to ensure that it can be washed off by the rain naturally. However, their pellets and a few other methods could be taken to ensure that paintball limits its impact on the environment as much as possible. This article will discuss a few of those possible methods.

1. The Pellet

As discussed earlier, the pellet is made of a biodegradable gelatin that will dissolve with time. However, the paint inside of the pellet can at times be questionable. Cheaper pellets sometimes use an oil-based fill. This oil can damage the environment, not to mention any animal that might find a few dropped pellets on the ground and eat them. Only buying the pellets that have PEG (or polyethylene glycol) as a filling.

In addition, the pellet is made of food-grade materials, which is excellent for those who might accidentally get some paint in their mouth. However, it is extremely toxic to both cats and dogs. If it is lethal to those animals, it is very likely to be lethal to other animals as well. As such, pellet designers should develop a new filling that is safe for both accidental human and animal consumption.

2. Tournament Trash Bins

While tournaments can be held within a building, the thrill for many players is using the outdoors as a battlefield. Tournament hosts need to be prepared to take care of the battleground in question since it is an organic species and not a synthetic one. Littering at paintball tournaments is notorious with a lot of players and spectators all crowding in to watch the action. A lot of people means a lot of trash, and that waste tends to end up on the ground.

To counteract this, those who are hosting the tournament should be sure to have a numerous amount of trash bins that are stationed throughout the battleground and the spectator area. These bins should also be emptied regularly to ensure that there is always room for more trash to be placed inside. Common sense will win the day in this regard.

3. Rechargable Batteries

Batteries are a staple in paintball, and even entry level paintball guns work best when they carry a full charge. Players know all too well that if their batteries aren’t fully charged, they’ll lose out on the game. Batteries require a certain form of recycling, and because that might cost the host more money in the long-run, using rechargeable batteries could be the path forward. While there have been some issues with rechargeable batteries in the past, designers should make their paintball guns suitable for these form of batteries, or make them rechargeable-battery-powered-only to encourage players to use a power source that has less of an impact on the environment. Who knows, maybe solar-powered paintball guns will be the next revolution?

Four Environmental Benefits of Electric Heat

February 26, 2018 Leave a comment Alternative Energy, Electric, Sustainable

Throughout the year, every home and business requires heat in order to ensure the comfort of inhabitants. With an emphasis on protecting and caring for the environment, it is important to acknowledge the impact of energy usage in all that we do. When it comes to heating, there are a variety of possible options to consider. Presented here are four reasons why electric heating is the most environmentally responsible decision.

First, electric heating has often been considered expensive, but this is entirely untrue. In fact, electric heating is better for the consumer and the environment in several ways. First, electric heat is convenient and cost-effective because it is provided through heat pumps. These versatile machines are used not only for heating but for cooling as well, which eliminates the need for other devices and reduces equipment costs.

Second, electric heating does not pollute the environment. Other heating sources such as gas, coal, or wood-burning cause pollution both inside the home and out. Smoke and fumes from other types of heat sources can be damaging to the interior and exterior of the home or business. Chimneys and ventilation systems can become backed up and cause blockages or even fire, but these are not necessary for electric heating. In fact, there are plenty of options for electric garage heaters with thermostats that require little to no maintenance at all. Electric heating is environmentally friendly because it does not create emissions and leaves the inside and surrounding outdoor air clear. Electric heating does not produce dangerous carbon monoxide, and leaves no build-up of debris like other heating sources.

Third, there is no additional usage of environmental resources. Electric heating does not require a burden to get coal, wood or gas delivered or cut for the home. No gasoline or vehicles are needed to get electric heat from one place to another – it is already pre-wired in existing buildings or can be plugged in for an additional supplement. This eliminates environmental waste and resources needed for delivery, cutting or even mining. It is accessible for people with all types of ability levels since no active process is required to heat your home or work. This makes electric heating safer for many groups of people who may have difficulty with movement, adjusting or operating a pilot light, or lifting heavy loads of wood or coal. With electric heat, all you need to do is simply flip the switch or adjust the thermostat!

A fourth reason electric heating is better for the environment is that it is not wasteful. The efficiency of electric heating is not shared by any other heat source or process. All the energy that is put into making electric heat returns directly as output. There is no heat wasted or over-produced because electric heating is regulated by thermostats which monitor temperature. These thermostats are effective at controlling the amount of heat created and are helpful for ensuring a space is kept at a comfortable temperature.

Sustainable Wood Harvesting

February 1, 2018 Leave a comment Natural Resources, Sustainable

Forested areas that provide wood are resources that must be carefully managed to ensure a continuing supply for the current population, as well as an increasing population in the future. Harvesting wood to ensure sustainability requires a careful evaluation of current resources and accurate growth data on various types of trees, in order to determine how much can reasonably be used in the present and what amounts need to be replenished for future use.

The Growing Move Toward Sustainability

A “sustainable yield” of a natural asset like wood from forests is defined as the amount that can be extracted without diminishing the base of capital itself. That is, you should only be removing an amount that can be restored within a reasonable amount of time for continued use. In the case of trees, the time frame can be significant, particularly when calculating woods that take many years to develop.

Choosing Sustainable Woods

Choosing woods for building needs depends on the type of wood used and the growth rate of the trees in question. For example, oak and hickory trees take hundreds of years to achieve full growth, although many are harvested before their maturity. In contrast, birch and pine take one-third to one-half as long as oak to reach maturity. Cherry trees and maple trees have fairly short lifespans. These trees have varying color tones, which may go in and out of style. However, if you choose woods that have a shorter lifespan, they will be able to be regrown more quickly. Bamboo, which is actually a grass, not a tree, is a versatile and sustainable wood that can be used for many different building purposes that does not deplete the hardwood forests.

Improving Forest Sustainability In the Future

Forestry is a long-term enterprise that requires considerable thought about the market needs and prices of today, as well as the preserving a dependable store of wood for the future of quality home furnishings. As the forestry and wood industries go forward, greater emphasis is being placed on composite products that reduce the amount of wood that is used. Countries are putting more thought into how forest lands are used for recreation and have begun instituting programs and building strategies that minimize the damage to forests. In addition, conservation services are working in tandem with owners of forestland to implement restoration programs that will help to maintain adequate tree growth for the future years.

As the public becomes more educated on the importance of forest areas in the health and well being of the human population, sustainability in building will be the norm, rather than a new idea. Individuals who are currently involved in building properties can advance the progress of sustainable construction practices by taking active steps to choose woods that easily replenish the supply of usable trees in the environment. These steps will help maintain a healthy supply of wood for the generations to come.

The Top Electric Cars on the Market

January 7, 2018 Leave a comment Alternative Energy, Electric, Transportation

Electric vehicles are more popular today than ever. There are a variety of reasons that consumers are in the market for electric vehicles which include, but are not limited to: sustainability factors, cost of fuel and lifetime of vehicle. The following in no particular order, is a list of the top 5 electric vehicles on the market today:

  • Tesla Model S
  • Chevy Volt
  • Nissan Leaf
  • BMW i3
  • Tesla Model X

Tesla Model S

The starting price for the base model of the Tesla Model S is $68,000. The most basic version of this car can travel up to 210 miles on one charge but if you are willing to pay for upgrades the Model S can travel an impressive 315 miles on a single charge. To almost eliminate your fuel cost, Tesla offers free charging at any of it’s available superchargers. Locations in this supercharger network can be found on their website or can be searched within the vehicle itself.

Chevy Volt

The starting price for the base model of the Chevy Volt is $33,220. This is a hybrid car that runs on gasoline one the battery loses charge but on battery alone this vehicle can travel 53 miles.

Nissan Leaf

The starting price for the base model of the Nissan Leaf is $29,990. This all electric vehicle is rated to travel up to 150 miles on a single charge and is the cheapest vehicle on this list.

BMW i3

The starting price for the base model of the BMW i3 is $44,450. The base model of the i3 can travel around 83 miles on a single charge while upgrades in the vehicle can extend this range to upwards of 97 miles without having to recharge.

Tesla Model X

The starting price for the base model of the Tesla Model X is $79,500. The base model can travel up to 237 miles on a single charge but with upgrades the Model X can travel upwards of 289 miles on a single charge. Similar to the Model S, the Model X can be charged for free at any of the charging stations offered in the Tesla Supercharger network.

If you’re in the market for one of these electric vehicles then you are in luck. The tax overhaul recently passed by congress has kept the $7,500 federal tax incentive for electric car owners. Many thought that this incentive would be taken away in the tax bill but in the end it made the final cut. The age of electric vehicles is just beginning which means that the list above will only grow with time.

6 Ways to Stay Green During the Holidays

December 23, 2017 Leave a comment Holidays, Sustainable

The holidays are a time for sharing and spending time with loved ones. Although we look forward to preparing the perfect atmosphere, we often forget about how to keep our environment green. Put these 5 tips in a frequented area, like on the front of your refrigerator, and remember that staying green is a year-round project.

1. Buy one or more potted Christmas trees.

Live trees can give you an intense feeling of Christmas. However, at the end of the season we remove the ornaments and lights and toss this tree away. Try something different this year and purchase one or more potted trees that can continue growing for 2-3 years. Although smaller than a normal 6-footer, you can add the spirit of Christmas in more than one room. You can either replant outdoors or use in your home as different holiday decor throughout the year.

2. Battery-free is better.

Instead of stocking up on those little battery-powered toys and gadgets as gifts, think of items that do not require energy. Discarded batteries are an environment hazard. Kites, board games and books are great ideas for getting your kids away from battery waste use and waste.

3. Waste not and want not.

Instead of heading to a store to purchase an insignificant gift that will end up in someone’s closet, use your imagination to give a gift that you know will be used. For example, a fruit basket or a gift certificate to a local grocery store will be far more appreciated than a trinket that serves no purpose.

4. Remember your outdoor friends.

Instead of decorating an outdoor tree with lights that make your electric bill soar, think of the birds that are searching for their next meal. Use seed bells and pine cones covered in peanut butter to attract nature’s winged friends. The sight will be much more enjoyable than a few hours of artificial lights.

5. Reuse gift wrap wisely.

Garbage cans are always overflowing after Christmas morning. Filled with discarded wrapping paper and bows, most of this trash can be saved and reused. Carefully pick up the wrappings and save for the next year. Paper and bows will take up little space and can save you a ton on money on next year’s holiday budget.

6. Send Christmas cards with meaning.

Walk past the displays of holiday cards and search for cards that have used recycled materials. You may also find cards that donate a portion of the sales to those in need or have been designed and made by non-profit organizations. Christmas cards are all about sending a message of love. Do your part to send a message to friends and family.

It is never too late to change your old habits of Christmastime. By using one or more of these ideas, your holiday season will feel more rewarding and the environment will be remembered.