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All things green, eco-friendly, and seriously sustainable

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Dixie Somers

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When you are the owner or manager of a company, you will want to use environmentally friendly methods to dispose of waste. Here are some ways to implement a plan to get rid of various types of waste in a way that won’t harm the earth’s air, water or soil.

Schedule a Consultation with an Environmental Expert

If you don’t know how to throw waste away in the appropriate ways, then have a consultation with an environmental expert. A knowledgeable environmentalist can create a plan for your company after walking through its buildings to see what type of waste is made by your manufacturing and office processes.

Develop a Written Plan for Your Company’s Waste

You should develop a written plan for the disposal of the various types of waste made by your workers and machinery. This can take time because you must understand how much waste there is and when it is made. With a written plan, you will understand where your problems are concerning waste such as having a lot of paper and cardboard to get rid of or having dangerous chemicals that can pollute natural waterways.

Are You Recycling Cardboard, Wood and Paper?

Today, it is possible to recycle almost any type of material, and in many cases, you can make a profit from recycling certain items. Rather than only throwing trash into dumpsters, learn how you can bundle cardboard, wood and paper for pick up by companies that offer you money for the items. By completing a search on the internet, you can find an assortment of recycling plants in your city so that you can save money and the environment.

Contact Scrap Metal Services

Scrap metal is one of the items that you can make a profit from by collecting it correctly in dumpsters or wastebaskets so that it is accepted for cash. By recycling metal, you are protecting the earth from the damages of additional mining along with the pollution made by trucks transporting metal ore to smelting plants. Scrap metal services buy a variety of types of metal, including copper, steel or brass.

Filter Your Company’s Wastewater

Filtering your company’s wastewater can save the environment, and in many geographic locations, you must remove chemicals and pathogens from the water that your company disposes. Using industrial-strength filtering devices is one of the best ways to clean wastewater, so contact a company that designs water-filtering systems.

Create a New Plan Once a Year

Once a year, you should create a new plan for disposing of waste, making sure to follow the guidelines that are required by local and federal government agencies. Consider creating a proper initiative by announcing any changes that will be done and getting employees involved. This will help get your company on the same page and get them excited to save the company money while saving the environment.

Dixie Somers

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A well-maintained furnace should last for 15 or 20 years, but there will come a point when this important piece of equipment needs to be replaced entirely. Choosing the perfect model is going to keep your energy bills at a reasonable level during the coldest months of the year. These few tips and tricks will help you find a great high-efficiency furnace for your home.

Determining the Right Size

Residential furnaces come in many different sizes, and choosing the wrong size could end up costing you quite a bit of money. As a general rule, homes that are in cooler climates should have furnaces that produce around 40 BTUs of energy per square foot of living space. In a moderate or warm climate, those BTUs can be halved. A local HVAC contractor can help you decide what size furnace your home needs.

Choosing a System Type

Most homes have split HVAC systems, but you might be using a packaged HVAC system if your home is smaller or there is limited indoor space. A split system has an outdoor condensing unit that is attached to an indoor furnace and coil. Packaged systems, on the other hand, have a single outdoor unit that houses all of that equipment in one place. No matter which type of system you decide on, you will most likely want to go with a furnace that runs off natural gas instead of propane or electricity.

Understanding Efficiency Ratings

Many of the most popular furnace models are given an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating before they are released to the public. This rating is determined by how much fuel is converted into usable heat every year. A furnace will generally be classified as energy-efficient if it has a rating above 90 percent. Those models use much less energy, but they are also a bigger initial investment.

A Look at Maintenance Costs

The durability of the furnace is another important variable to consider. Before purchasing a furnace, you should take a look at some third-party reviews to see which units seem to be the most reliable. Almost every homeowner will need to contact a furnace repair company like HomeSmart from Xcel Energy at least a few times over the years, but those emergency visits should be relatively rare.

Once your new furnace has been installed, you must keep it well-maintained if you want it to last for more than a decade. Most experts agree that modern furnaces should be serviced by a professional contractor at least once every six months to prevent serious damage and efficiency issues.

Dixie Somers

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Everyone today wants to find some ways to save money and stretch their paychecks just a little bit further. One of the best ways to do this is by lowering your monthly electric bill. Below are five ways homeowners can save on energy costs.

Insulate Your Home to Regulate Temperature

Heating and cooling costs make up a huge chunk of your electric bill every month, especially during the summer and winter months. Did you know that you could save a ton of money by stopping the air and temperature leaks by sealing the air into your home? Install better insulation in your walls and ceiling and replace old windows with energy-efficient ones.

This can be a major remodeling job, but if you’re on a tight budget and can’t make those improvements right now, you can still reduce air leaks by replacing your old weather stripping around the doors and windows. This includes your garage door too, if you have an attached garage.

Use Power Strips to Prevent Phantom Loads

A lot of people don’t realize that their electrical appliances and electronics all draw power whenever they are plugged in, even when they are turned off! This constant energy leak adds up by the end of the month.

To prevent these phantom loads, as they are called, all you need to do is plug your devices into a power strip and then turn it off when not in use. Make sure that the power strip you purchase has an on/off switch. Some power strips also include a surge protector fuse. This protects delicate electronics such as computers and smartphones from electrical surges.

Switch to Energy-Saving Appliances

When shopping around for clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators or any similar household appliances, look for Energy Star products. These machines are certified to use less electricity than their competitors. You can also switch from regular light bulbs to LED bulbs or energy-saving bulbs which require less power to put out the same amount of light.

Install Solar Panels on Your Roof

Installing solar panels on the roof of your home through a company like Solar Source can also help you save a lot of money over the years. You will probably still have to pay a small fee or tax to the electric company for maintenance, but your electric bill will be greatly reduced, depending on how many solar panels you have installed.

Stop Wasting Electricity

Lastly, the easiest way to save money on your utilities is to simply use less energy. Make sure that everyone in the household gets in the habit of shutting off lights and ceiling fans when they walk out of a room. You can also turn down the thermostat in your refrigerator a little bit without any negative impact on food quality. And you can wear more or less clothing while lounging around the house to avoid using so much power when running the air conditioner or heater.

There are a lot of possible ways to save money on your electric bill. Whether you go all in on insulation and window replacements or just wear a hoodie and extra socks on colder days, you can save money with just a few easy steps.

Dixie Somers

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Lawnmowers may be a lot smaller than cars, but that doesn’t stop them from releasing noxious fumes into the environment and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, emissions from lawnmowers, leaf vacuums, snow blowers, and other outdoor power equipment are a significant source of air pollution. This is bad news for the eco-conscious homeowner, but there are eco-friendly lawnmower options available that aim to reduce fume emissions. In addition to being better for the environment, eco-friendly lawnmowers are also quieter than traditional mowers and often times, cheaper to run. Is an eco-friendly lawnmower the best option for you? Read below to find out more.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Around 5% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions come from gas lawnmowers. Considering the size of a traditional lawnmower, this is a huge percentage. Electric lawnmowers, on the other hand, generate no toxic tailpipe emissions and run on lithium-ion batteries. Gas mowers emit carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons, which is bad for both the environment and the humans who breathe it in. Electric mowers keep the air clean and make a lot less noise, too. Visit a company like Cox Mowers to see if you can find a model that fits your needs best.

Energy Consumption and Cost

Most electric mowers are slightly more expensive than gas mowers, but cost less to run in the long run. The typical electric lawnmower can mow about one third of an acre with one charge. They need about 3.5 kilowatts to recharge, which equates to about $0.38 per recharge if the electricity rate is $.11 per kilowatt hour. While the price of gas can vary, a typical gas lawnmower will cost about $4.00 to $5.00 per acre. If you have a larger yard, the savings of an electric mower can be substantial.

Electric lawnmowers need to recharge, which can be a downside for some. You can decide to purchase a replacement battery to swap with the other battery, which can make things easier. However, you will have the added cost of the extra battery and you’ll need to make sure you keep both batteries charged.

Where to Buy a Lawnmower

There are several good places to buy both eco-friendly and gas lawnmowers. Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears offer a variety of lawnmowers that will appeal to the eco-conscious homeowner. Online stores carry both gas and electric mowers. Some companies also carry environmentally friendly push mowers for those that prefer a simple, cost-effective lawnmower.

Dixie Somers

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When you have a clogged drain in your home, your first instinct might be to rush out and buy a chemical drain cleaner to fix the problem. While these products do work when they are used as directed, they include harsh chemicals that are bad for the environment and your plumbing. Instead of caustic drain cleaners, consider some of these eco-friendly solutions instead.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Baking soda is a base and vinegar is an acid. When the two substances are mixed together, they cause a chemical reaction that can bubble up through your drain and dislodge clogs. To unclog your drain using this method, pour ¾ cup dry baking soda down the clogged drain and follow it up with ½ cup vinegar. Immediately plug the drain with a rag or stopper to contain the resulting reaction, and wait about 30 minutes. Unplug the drain after 30 minutes, and slowly pour some boiling water down the drain to wash away anything that may be left to clog your drain.

Salt and Vinegar

Vinegar also makes a good eco-friendly drain cleaner when combined with salt. Mix one cup of vinegar and one cup of salt well enough so that the salt soaks up the vinegar. If you wish, you can add ½ cup of lemon juice to the resulting paste if you want to give it some extra cleaning power, but it’s not necessary. The abrasiveness of the salt and the cleaning power of the vinegar should clear out your drain. Follow it up with some boiling water to wash away whatever’s left.

Boiling Water and Dish Soap

If you have a kitchen sink clogged with grease, some boiling water and dish soap might be able to unplug it. Simply squirt a generous amount of soap down the drain and pour a kettle of boiling water after it. The soap should break apart the grease, and the boiling water should wash it away. To prevent clogs in your kitchen sink try doing this once a week.

A Plunger and Snake

Of course, you can always attempt to unclog a drain with a plunger and plumbing snake you have in your home. A plunger should make a tight seal around a drain and allow you to suction out whatever is keeping it clogged, while a barbed plastic plumbing snake will be able to go down the drain and either loosen the clog or pull it out altogether. These are simple solutions, but sometimes they work out the best.

These are just a few ways you can unclog a drain without resorting to harsh chemicals. As always, don’t hesitate to contact a plumber from a company like Moody Plumbing Inc if the clog is too stubborn. A plumber will have the tools and techniques to clear out clogs that you cannot.

Dixie Somers

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Proper dental care is essential to maintaining your overall well-being. Studies show that poor oral hygiene is directly linked to many common illnesses including dementia, diabetes, cancer, and kidney disease, not to mention an assortment of other life-threatening medical conditions. Considering the variety of illnesses caused by gingivitis and periodontal disease, it is essential to brush and floss daily and visit a dentist regularly for checkups. When looking for dental care Tampa, it is important to decide whether a traditional or holistic dentist is right for your lifestyle.

What Is Holistic Dentistry?

Often referred to as biological dentistry, the holistic approach considers the patient’s emotional and overall physical health when diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the mouth and gums. This alternative type of dentistry focuses on the use of non-toxic chemicals to restore teeth, reduce and eradicate the likelihood of infections, as well as combining complimentary care to promote the structural integrity of the head, jaw, and neck in relation to the teeth.

What Are the Differences in Holistic and Traditional Dentistry?

While conventional or traditional dentists often perform complex, invasive procedures that often involve the use of metals and other chemicals, holistic dentists do not believe in the use of manufactured materials. Instead, those who practice holistic dentistry believe that the many of treatments conducted through conventional dentistry may be detrimental to the patient’s and lead to further health issues.

Mercury Amalgam

Conventional dentistry includes the use of mercury amalgam fillings, partly due to their endorsement by the American Dental Association (ADA) as stable and safe. In addition, the fillings are much easier to replace than their composite counterparts and the costs are primarily covered by insurance. On the other hand, holistic dentists do not condone the use of mercury, understand that it is toxic to humans, and even minimal amounts may be a risk to your health. Although mercury often lasts longer than composite and may outlast the actual tooth the material was used to fill, the fillings also apply a great deal of pressure to teeth. The result is weaker teeth that are more susceptible to breakage and decay.

Root Canals

In addition, while traditional dentistry may argue that a root canal is the preferred method to save a severely decayed tooth, proponents of holistic dentistry negate the practice.

According to holistic beliefs, root canals are considered an ineffective remedy for saving damaged teeth. During the procedure, the infected pulp of the tooth is removed, then the canal is cleaned. However, sterilization of the canal of the tooth does not annihilate bacteria in its entirety; holistic dentists believe the treatment is not effective because it is impossible to disinfect the tooth 100%. In addition, the use of harsh chemicals, including formaldehyde, has been linked to further health issues including heart disease and even breast cancer some patients.

Fluoride

The use of fluoride among holistic dentists is a debatable topic. While some believe it is acceptable, others do not. Too much fluoride weakens the enamel of teeth and may also result in fluorosis. This condition identifies toxic levels of fluoride are already in the patient’s system and is characterized by yellow, brown, and sometimes white spots on the teeth. High levels of the chemical have also been linked directly to osteoporosis. However, traditional dentists condone its use since fluoride is thought to reduce the rate of cavities.

What Dentist to Choose?

Since no one knows you better than yourself, only you can answer that. Your teeth should last a lifetime—making an educated decision can make that a reality.

Dixie Somers

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If it is time to replace your roof, but you are hoping to reduce your carbon footprint, there are several options available that are environmentally friendly. The option you choose will depend on your budget, your preferences and the look of your home. If you’re looking for eco-friendly yet affordable roofing and gutters, consider the following options.

Standing Seam Metal Roofs

Standing seam metal roofs reflect sunlight and are 100 percent recyclable. In addition, you can purchase metal roofing material made from recycled metals as well. The lifespan of a metal roof is about 50 years, so they are durable and are also fire-resistant. Another benefit to metal roofs is that you can harvest rainwater for your garden without worrying about toxic materials seeping into your soil. If you live in an area prone to snow and ice, metal roofs allow frozen precipitation to slide off easier than other types of roofing.

Corrugated Roofing

When you think of corrugated roofing, you probably think of commercial buildings or old sheds with wavy metal roofs. Today’s corrugated roofing is much more sophisticated as technology provides a wide range of colors and styles. You are no longer stuck with translucent plastic or sheet metal. Corrugated roofing is easy to repair and is much lighter than its predecessors. Like other types of metal roofing, corrugated roofing is durable and recyclable.

Reclaimed Clay or Slate

Because they are created from recycled materials themselves, reclaimed clay or slate roofs are environmentally friendly. If you have a home with a Spanish look, clay or slate roofs work perfectly, adding to your home’s curb appeal. There is no question that clay and slate roofs are durable as many have lasted over a century. Clay and slate roofs can be heavier than other types of roofing material, so you will want to talk to a qualified roofing contractor to be sure the walls of your home can withstand the additional weight.

Recycled Shingle Roofs

Recycled shingle roofs mimic the look of slate and cedar shake, but are made from recycled plastic, wood fiber and rubber. They are considered one of the greenest roofing materials available. If your budget won’t allow for a slate roof, recycled shingled roofs that look like slate are your best option. The roof has a lifespan of more than 50 years, adds curb appeal to your home and helps protect the environment.

If you are concerned about your family’s impact on the environment, speak to a qualified roofing contractor about the many options available in green roofing materials. In addition to these types of roofing, a qualified roofing contractor may be able to help you create a green roof, using plants to reduce rainwater runoff as well as additional cooling, or rubber roofing, which consists of materials made from old steel-belted tires. Roofing contractors today have many ways of creating a roof that is environmentally friendly, yet works well with the design of your home.

Dixie Somers

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Overtaxing the natural sources of water can seriously degrade the ecosystem. Water restrictions have become commonplace in urban areas. This is partly due to population growth. In addition, droughts in areas like California have become worse in recent years. There is also a personal incentive to save water. You will save money on your water bill if you by water consumption.

Change Water Use Habits

You would be surprised by how much water you waste due to habitual behavior. For example, you may routinely take a bath instead of showering. Baths consume up to 70 gallons of water a shower only uses 10 to 25 gallons. It’s also a good idea not to let the tap run while you brush your teeth or shave. That unused water is money down the drain. Another way to reduce water use is to run the clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. Avoid over watering your lawn. The Environmental Protection Agency says half of the water used outdoors is wasted.

Do Simple Fixes

Change your shower head for a low-flow model. You can do the same for faucets with few simple tools by installing flow restrictors. Check for toilet leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If there is color in the bowl after 30 minutes, buy a repair kit from your building supply store.

Watch for Leaks

Check for plumbing leaks periodically. A single dripping faucet can waste up to 3,000 gallons yearly. You may be able install a new faucet yourself, but call a professional if you need to. Leaks only get worse with time. Watch for signs of trouble. For example, drain cleaning is occasionally necessary, but a clogged drain can usually be cleared with a plunger or drain cleaner. Again, you may need a professional like King Rooter to do major drain cleaning. The thing to remember is that constant clogging indicates worn plumbing, which is likely to start leaking.

Buy Efficient Appliances

Clothes washers and Dishwashers are not inexpensive. However, there is a way of limiting the cost of water saving models. Wait until you are ready to buy a new one. Choose a water saving model and the only cost is the difference compared to traditional designs. Finally, consider a low flow toilet. These save 1.3 to 1.6 gallons per flush, which adds up to thousands of gallons each year. If you are handy with tools, you can install it yourself, and a low flow toilet isn’t very expensive

Conclusion

Admittedly, fixing some plumbing problems requires costly professional help. However, there are a lot of ways you can do to inexpensively reduce water use. The secret is to be proactive. Steps such as changing habits costs you nothing. In fact, lifestyle changes save you money.

Dixie Somers

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Purchasing energy-efficient windows for your home is a smart investment that can reduce your monthly utility costs. Climate control accounts for 48 percent of the average U.S. Home’s energy usage. The right windows, however, will reduce your home’s heating and cooling needs by trapping thermal energy indoors.

ENERGY-STAR Windows

Windows touting the ENERGY-STAR logo are designed with strict standards to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency. According to the organization’s website, replacing conventional single-pane windows with ENERGY-STAR windows yields an average savings of $126 to $465 per year.

Low-E Windows

Another type of energy-efficient window is low emission. Also known as low-e windows, they feature a special coating to better control thermal energy movement. You can expect to pay more than low-e windows than conventional windows, but it’s a smart investment that will save you money over time. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), low-e windows are 30 percent to 50 percent more energy efficient than conventional windows. Contact a window company like Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin for more information.

Heat-Absorbing Windows

Featuring a tinted surface to absorb solar energy, heat-absorbing windows are an excellent option to consider when replacing your home’s windows. Rather than simply reflecting off the surface, sunlight absorbs through these windows and into the home. For homeowners living in cold climates, heat-absorbing windows can significantly reduce heating costs during winter.

Gas-Filled Windows

It’s no secret that double-pane windows are more energy efficient than single-pane windows. The space separating the two panes insulates and protects against thermal loss. However, not all double-pane windows feature air between the two glass panes. Some are actually designed with gas. Gas-filled windows provide greater energy efficiency than air-filled windows. Argon and krypton, for example, are denser than air; thus, improving the windows’ thermal efficiency.

Energy-Efficient Frames

The frames used in a window’s construction will affect its energy efficiency level. Aluminum and other metal frames, for example, offer minimal protection from thermal loss. However, fiberglass and vinyl frames are often filled with insulation to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency. When used in conjunction with the right windows, energy-efficient frames can reduce your home’s energy usage and lower your electric or gas utility bills.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the cost-savings benefits of energy-efficient windows, contact a professional window replacement company today. They can provide personalized recommendations to achieve the highest level of energy efficiency in your home.

Dixie Somers

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Personal improvement truly comes one step at a time. It’s overwhelming to think about doing many different changes at once, but most of us can make a single change. You can reduce your family’s environmental footprint by looking through this list of five ideas. Choose one idea that you think would the easiest for your family to implement and do it. Once you are making a positive impact, choose another one. It can be from this list or you can brainstorm. One step at a time you can improve the environment in your home and community.

Start Composting

Landfills are filling up at a rapid pace. Think about everything that you toss out in the trash. There are cartons, cans, bottles, and other use containers. You are probably already recycling some or most of these. Another large component of your waste stream is food and other organic waste. You throw it away, it builds up in your trash, and then it gets shipped away to the landfill where it slowly decomposes. There is a better way.

You can start composting your kitchen and food waste. A compost pile in your backyard will provide you with a rich source of organic material that can improve your garden or even your lawn. Utilizing a purpose-built compost system, you can compost your kitchen waste in as little as 2 to 3 months. Your kitchen waste will turn into rich black soil. To make the collection of kitchen waste easier, you can buy a kitchen compost container or you can use an old coffee can and take the waste to your backyard composter daily.

Use Reusable Grocery Bags

If you live in California, you are probably already using reusable bags. In 2016, the state passed a bag law that ended the use of disposable plastic grocery bags in favor of reusable bags that cost 10 cents each. These are durable plastic bags that can stand up to repeated use.

If you aren’t in California, then you are probably still using the disposable plastic bags that are so problematic for the environment. You can change this today. Many of the disposable bags that you get from the store can be used more than once so take bags with you when you go to the store and ask the cashier to use them. You can also buy the reusable bags from the store and carry them along. It can be hard to remember to take them along when you go to the store so keep a few of them in your car at all times.

Use Cloth Diapers

Disposable baby diapers are a huge component of landfill waste. The plastic portions of the diaper take centuries to properly decompose. It’s estimated that a typical disposable diaper will take 500 years to decompose. Moreover, the untreated waste in a diaper can contaminate groundwater and lead to public health issues. Disposable diapers are clearly an environmental hazard.

Fortunately, cloth diapers represent a good alternative. They can be cleaned out, washed, and reused over and over again without a negative environmental impact and can be stylish if you get the accessories from Chunkabuns. If you really want your family to help the environment and have a baby in diapers, changing to cloth diapers would probably bring about the greatest impact. You don’t have to go all in either. You could choose one day a week to use cloth diapers exclusively. This alone would result in a 14% reduction in your disposable diaper usage.

Set Your Thermostat Properly

If you are like most busy families, your house stays vacant during the day. Parents are at work and the kids are at school. There isn’t a real good reason to keep it well heated or air-conditioned during the day when no one is at home. Unfortunately, no one likes coming into a hot or cold house. It can take time to heat or cool your house down and frankly, it’s quite uncomfortable.

If you already have an electronic thermostat, you can utilize the programming function in your thermostat to automatically set the temperature during the day to save energy and have it automatically adjust the temperature before family members arrive in the home. This allows your family to save money and help the environment while stay keeping things comfortable.

Use Reusable Water Bottles

If you are like most people, you buy a big pack of disposable water bottles when you hit the grocery store. They are convenient and easy to use, but they represent a tremendous environmental cost. Buy reusable water bottles and filling them yourself can save you tons of money and help the environment. Pick up a couple of reusable bottles for each member of the family and fill them from your water cooler. It’s easy and immediately brings about an environmental benefit.

Taking the initiative to help the environment is easy and can bring about tremendous benefits for your family. It doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to represent major changes. Changing one thing at a time is all that is needed to save the environment.