LizzieWeakley

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  1. There are many residential and commercial property owners who extol the virtues of either artificial turf with its complete landscape system or a real grass lawn, and they have good reasons for their strong opinions. However, which type of lawn is best for you? If you’ve got blank patches of yard yearning to breathe green, read on to learn which type of lawn best suits your needs and preferences. Artificial Turf Benefits Artificial turf is eco-friendly and has the feel and look of real grass. The ground and drainage are prepared, the material used keeps the artificial blades erect, and there is a special “yarn” that creates the “soft-grass” realistic blades that come in a variety of textures, lengths, designs, and colors. This means that you get a soft, always-green lawn without all the many hassles of real grass and all its upkeep, mowing, fertilizing, weeding, re-seeding, and most importantly, watering. Although expensive, the artificial turf life expectancy could possibly be 15 or 25 years or more, which actually makes it less costly than real grass over its life span. Artificial Turf Drawbacks It is often made at least partially with recycled materials, so it is not biodegradable. While it doesn’t have the same watering needs as a real lawn, it cannot be so easily disposed of as a grass lawn. Another drawback is that artificial turf absorbs heat in the direct sun and feels hot when you touch it. The temperature in 80-90 degree weather can actually exceed 160 degrees, making it hazardous in the heat of summer for children and pets. An additional problem for dog owners is that it does not absorb an animal's waste, although liquids can pass through to the ground underneath. Real Grass Lawn Benefits Real grass, in the right climate, can make more sense than artificial turf by its entirely organic nature. Grass is bio-degradable and produces oxygen just like any other plant, and when only organic fertilizers are used, it can even be a beneficial snack to help the digestion of cats and dogs alike. While it does retain heat, it does not do so to the degree of artificial turf and is generally safe to walk on as long as there are no hazardous weeds growing with it. Organically sustained grass can also increase the bio-diversity in your neighborhood by providing food and refuge to a variety of animals and insects. Real Grass Lawn Drawbacks Immaculately maintained grass lawns come with a cost to the environment and account for one-third of residential water use. Use of toxic fertilizers and weed killers can pollute the groundwater and pose a serious health risk to children and animals that are exposed to it. Mowing, trimming, and blowing with gas and electric power tools also consumes energy and produces air pollution that otherwise wouldn’t be necessary. While a natural lawn can potentially be environmentally sustainable, it’s important to note that it likely will not be soft and green for a majority of the year. The type of lawn you choose is a personal preference. Both have pros and cons regarding cost, care, and the environment that must be considered on an individual basis. The climate you live in, your home, and your ability to care for and use a lawn of either kind must be considered. You must decide which benefits and drawbacks make the most sense to you and your lifestyle.
  2. Going green has become a major focus for homeowners. Not only does going green decrease your carbon footprint, but it also saves you green (as in dollars). Below are four ways that today’s modern homeowner can help make their home more eco-friendly. Get an Energy Audit By now, nearly every energy provider offers a free home energy audit. If you haven’t had one yet, call your energy provider and they will send someone out to check your power use, AC service and advise you on how to go green and save energy. Go Native with Your Landscaping One of the latest trends in going green is native landscaping. This type of landscaping is tailored to the natural climate rather than the cookie-cutter style of landscaping reminiscent of the ‘50s. This helps homeowners go green by using little to no pesticides, cultivating the natural foliage, relying mostly on natural rainfall rather than consistently using a sprinkler, and allowing natural plants and flowers to thrive. Water is a precious resource, especially in drier climates, and natural landscaping is an excellent way to go green. Consider Solar Panels While solar panels may not be feasible for every homeowner (depending on the roof layout) it is one of the best ways to go green in your home. Yes, it is an investment. However, you’d be blown away at how much money you can save as well as how much energy. If you’re curious about solar panels, Google has created an ingenious way to check your roof for how many sunlight hours your home received per year called project sunroof. Enter your address and check it out! Get Smart (Home Tech) One of the biggest ways you can decrease your carbon footprint is by letting the latest technology do it for you. Sure, leaving the bathroom light on now and then may not seem like a big deal, but it does solidly increase the size of your home’s carbon footprint (not to mention your energy bill). Smart home tech is specifically designed to help you go green, including turning off lights, controlling the heat and AC, and turning off TVs and radios. Investing in this tech will help you go green and save some green on your energy bill. Going green as a homeowner isn’t just about saving money, it’s about doing your part to be a responsible homeowner and lowering your home’s personal carbon footprint. If every homeowner did their part to be more eco-friendly and have a greener home, imagine the difference that could be made in the overall environment!
  3. Water is a scarce resource in many places around the country. A few cities in drought-stricken areas have implemented watering rations. They give fines to homeowners who violate these regulations, and this has caused many of these homeowners to search for alternative materials for landscaping, ones that help conserve water. You’ll find four of those materials below. Rocks and Gravel Rocks come in many sizes and types; you can even buy multi-ton boulders. Nothing drinks less water than a rock, so that’s a plus for the environment, and landscaping stores have truckloads of them in all different sizes, colors, and shapes. Gravel may not sound like the most beautiful landscaping material, but it works great. You can buy it in different colors and sizes, and maintaining it won’t cost you any water at all. Drought Resistant Plants When water’s tight, there’s no better choice of a plant than one that has low water needs. Many of these hearty plants can go weeks without water yet still retain their beauty. When introducing drought-resistant plants to your area, make sure they’re not invasive, or they might cause you some headaches. Also, after planting them, contact someone local that offers residential mulch services to mulch and maintain the mulch around the plants. Artificial Turf Artificial turf has come a long way and is no longer the surface of years ago. Today’s various artificial lawns are much softer than those in the past. They are also more heat-resistant today. There has been some controversy surrounding some of the chemicals that make up certain artificial turfs and their risk to human health. The way to avoid this risk is to purchase non-toxic turf. Concrete Pavement and Pavers Putting down concrete pavement will cost you some water upfront, but after that, it’s water-free forever. If you have a piece of lawn that’s drinking too much H2O, you might consider throwing a small slab down and turning it into a patio or sitting area. Concrete pavers don’t need any water at all and come in an array of different sizes, shapes, and colors. They make an excellent replacement for the areas of your yard that are too water-intensive and are easy to install. The materials listed above may not be the first landscaping choices of many. However, they are a great option if you are wanting and needing to conserve water. Remember, water conservation can lead to a beautiful landscape and a healthier environment.
  4. More people are becoming more environmentally friendly. More of us are realizing how important it is to use various measures for a cleaner, healthier air for our families. And while many eco-friendly measures have been adopted in our homes, we can also implement these practices in our businesses. Sustainability is often ignored in businesses, and as a result, there are more toxins released in the air which can cause different health ailments, ranging from allergies to even cancer. Because of this, it is vital to implement the sustainability of resources in your business, and the following includes four ways to implement sustainable usage of resources in your business: Change Your Light Bulbs Changing to LED lighting is great. These lightings utilize much lower energy than regular light bulbs. Also, these bulbs don’t have toxic gases, like mercury, that are contained by fluorescent and incandescent lights. And even though they are more expensive than other bulbs, they last five times longer than other bulbs as well. Stop Using Plastic Bottles There are millions of plastic waste bottle generated in the US every year even though some of these bottles were recycled. To reduce this ecosystem burden, installing a water filtration system is a good idea for your office. The water will be clean and fresh, and you will save money and time by eliminating the package water buying routine. Use Green Vendors From septic tanks to recycled paper for your printer, you can do business with reputable companies. Perform your due diligence in researching which companies are serious about their sustainability efforts. Doing this is key to finding the right vendors. Search for businesses that use energy-efficient manufacturing plants and vehicles. Conserving Human Energy An energetic, healthy staff is more productive and creative. To help keep your team healthy, you can serve healthy snacks at meetings, such as nuts, dark chocolate, and organic fruits and vegetables. You should also maintain a safe, non-toxic environment. There are more toxins released in the air which can cause different health issues. In some cases, health issues can be dangerous. Nevertheless, we all can join the movement to sustain a healthier environment even at our companies. Using these sustainable ways will help businesses significantly in this movement. Not only are more homes participating, but businesses are doing their part as well to make a difference.
  5. You already know the importance of recycling paper, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and other common household items. However, you might not be aware of the many other materials that might be around your home that can be recycled. Here are four surprising household items that you can recycle. Plant Pots If you’re tempted to discard old plant pots that you no longer need in the trash, you should think again. Most plant pots are made from plastic and other recyclable materials that can be used to make new pots or other items. Many municipal curbside recycling programs allow plant pots to be included in recycle bins for pickup. Another option is to take old pots to a hardware store that accepts them for recycling. Mattresses The mattresses that you use on the beds in your home can also be recycled when you’re ready to replace them. Some mattresses contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to the environment, so giving them to a recycler that accepts old mattresses will be a good idea. The springs in mattresses along with old bed frames can be recycled as well. Refrigerators Even though it may initially seem easier to have an old refrigerator hauled away to the dump, you should be aware of the chemicals that are found in refrigerators that can negatively impact delicate ecosystems if they’re released into the environment. Many of the metals that refrigerators contain can be given to scrap metal services for recycling. Other components of a refrigerator can be recycled at a recycling center. You’ll want to make sure that any recycler you’re thinking of giving your old refrigerator to removes Freon. If they don’t remove Freon, you’ll need to have a professional remove it first before your refrigerator can be recycled. Crayons Coloring crayons that children often use can be recycled by either giving them away to other children who are in need or using old bits to make new crayons. In certain recycling facilities, old crayon bits are divided into smaller pieces and placed in an oven with high heat. The heat from the oven melts the wax into a liquid substance, which is then poured into molds to make new crayons. There are many ways to do your part for the planet by recycling. Making yourself aware of all the items and other materials around your home that are recyclable can help you adopt better green living habits.
  6. Perhaps the most important factor in choosing the insulation for your new home is its ability to reduce energy costs. In the winter, insulation should keep warm air in, and in the summer, it should keep hot air out. Choosing the right insulation can reduce your energy bill by as much as 30 percent. For decades, most homes were constructed using fiberglass insulation; however, fiberglass can cause many health issues. Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling, consider an eco-friendly insulation alternative to make your home both comfortable and safe. Consider removing your ceiling insulation and replacing it with one of the following upgraded, eco-friendly options. Recycled Cotton Since cotton is both natural and a renewable resource, it’s among the most eco-friendly insulation options. Scraps from old blue jeans and other used clothing are shredded and produced into heavy batts that fit between your wall studs just like fiberglass insulation. To make cotton insulation non-flammable, it’s treated with a borate solution. Cotton does not contain harmful formaldehyde and does not cause respiratory problems. Likewise, cotton insulation is a natural insect repellent. Cork This option is made from the outer bark of cork trees. It’s free of toxins, renewable, biodegradable, and recyclable. It also helps to deaden noise. Cork is among the most versatile materials, and can be used for a wide variety of products. Although cork has been used for more than a century as a building material, it’s eco-friendly value has only recently become widely known. Cellulose Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper; it’s toxin-free and safe to install. Modern cellulose insulation is often made from recycled newspaper with an added fire retardant, made from a combination of ammonium sulfate and borate. The insulating performance of loose cellulose insulation compares well to other types of affordable insulation. Sheep’s Wool Sheep’s wool is a natural fire retardant, and in recent years, the insulating qualities of sheep’s wool have been applied to home construction. The wool fiber’s outer layers are water-resistant while the inner layers absorb moisture. This insulates your home while preventing condensation within the walls. When you insulate with sheep’s wool, you will save both energy and money in the long run. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to green options for insulating your home. Just do your own research, weighing the pros and cons of each type of insulation to find the one that works best for your home.
  7. While your energy usage should go down once the weather starts to cool off, your energy bills might still be much higher than necessary. With a few simple home upgrades and some basic maintenance, you should be able to improve the efficiency of your home while reducing your carbon footprint. Insufficient Insulation Many homeowners never even think about their insulation until their electric bills skyrocket. Most insulation should last for at least 15 years, but yours might become damaged before that time. If your insulation is matted or torn, then it needs to be replaced with new batts or blow-in cellulose. Before you invest in new insulation, you must determine the correct R-value for your climate. Using the proper insulation will greatly increase your family’s comfort while minimizing your electric bills. A Faulty HVAC System Older HVAC systems tend to be very inefficient, and there may come a point when you need to consider professional HVAC services. An experienced contractor will be able to improve the efficiency of the system and check it for any signs of damage. As a general rule, you should try to schedule a service call with an HVAC contractor at least twice a year. Regular maintenance will increase the lifespan of your HVAC system and help you avoid a catastrophic breakdown. Old or Damaged Wiring In addition to being extremely dangerous, damaged wiring can also be a major energy drain. When a wire is damaged, much of the electricity will be turned into heat, and that is highly inefficient. A few of the most common signs of a damaged electrical system include flickering lights, frayed wires, discolored outlets, and a buzzing sound in the walls. Those types of issues should only be taken care of by an experienced electrician who is fully licensed and insured. Inefficient Windows When the weather cools down, you want to be sure that your home can trap in warm air. If you have an older house, then you should think about upgrading the windows. Modern windows often have multiple layers of glass and plastic, and that makes them highly efficient. You will also need to make sure that you use heavy curtains that block out cold drafts. Another step that you can take to improve the efficiency of your home is to reverse all of your ceiling fans during the fall and winter months. When a fan is turning clockwise, it will draw the cool air in the room up and disperse the warm air that is collecting near the ceiling.
  8. Some business owners don’t recycle because they’re more focused on using their time to run their businesses and make revenues. They see the process of recycling as a waste of time. Their dumpsters overflow with items that should never go into landfills, including highly recyclable paper products and electronics that contain toxic components that can damage the environment and harm all forms of life. Some business owners do recycle, but they only recycle bulk items like used office paper, old newspapers and cardboard boxes, or they give these and other unwanted items away to recycling firms or junk haulers who provide free disposal. These business owners fail to realize that almost every broken or used item in a business is a potential money maker: Printer Cartridges Whether you own printers that contain ink or toner, you don’t need to give the cartridges away to keep them out of landfills. Printer and cartridge manufacturers and computer and office supply retailers typically offer businesses a discount or credit toward future cartridge or other purchases in exchange for used ones. The process to acquire raw materials to make cartridges actually costs manufacturers more than recycling empty cartridges for the same purpose. If you want cash for your cartridges, you can also find plenty of refilled cartridge sellers online who buy empty cartridges. They usually offer free shipping as well. Office Tech Ink and toner cartridges aren’t the only office technology that you can recycle for money. You can also find both offline and online buyers through classified ads and local office equipment repair shops who purchase phones, computers, printers, fax machines, copiers, scanners and all other electronics found in an office. If the equipment isn’t too old, they might buy the tech to use in their own offices or for parts. They might resell the equipment or parts to other people, including used equipment resellers and manufacturers. They might also buy the equipment to gain access to precious metals and other materials that they can upcycle into new parts or sell to scrap metal dealers. Scrap Metal Most business sites contain metals in one form or another that can be sold to scrap metal buyers for cash. Beyond office equipment that contains copper, gold, aluminum, steel and other recyclable metals, you can find a wide range of additional objects made with metals. For example, always collect aluminum cans around the office and at any special events that feature beverages in cans. Before you throw out broken chairs or tables that feature steel legs or other metal components, remove the metal and take it to the scrap dealer. If you’re planning a building renovation project, keep in mind that you can also sell old aluminum gutters and roof flashing, copper electrical wires and pipes and stainless steel sinks. Wood Pallets Instead of giving away wood shipping pallets to recyclers or the public, sell them to local manufacturers, pallet brokers and pallet recyclers who pay cash. Manufacturers reuse the pallets for shipments. Pallet brokers resell the pallets or wood. Pallet recyclers recondition the wood and then re-manufacture pallets from it, grind it into mulch, reuse it in other products or sell it to third parties. You might also try selling your wood pallets to members of the public who want to use them in craft projects, but wood pallets are often treated with harsh chemicals to prevent insect damage, disease and mold growth. Don’t sell any pallets this way unless you know that they are untreated and specifically produced with home recycling and safety in mind. There is absolutely no reason that you should ever throw away free money. This is only a small sample of items around your business that you can recycle for cash. There are always people willing to purchase almost anything that a business might sell to them, including furniture, retail product shelves and building materials. You can even find people who buy old cracked or broken planters and pots, sections of sod, cut flowers and other unwanted outdoor items often thrown away after landscape maintenance or renovation. It’s time to add recycling to your revenue stream.
  9. Todays' consumers champion business owners with environmentally-friendly practices. Business owners that haven't made an effort to manage their environmental impact stand to lose customers, fail to meet federal requirements and lose money. Considering making the move to become more eco-minded? Read on for four ways to do just that. Going Green Improves Sales With over $40 billion spent annually on green products, businesses that aren't cashing in on being environmentally-friendly are missing out. As consumers are looking to lead healthier lives and purchase more sustainable products, they're searching for the best companies to shop with. By investing in more sustainable products and practices, businesses' bottom lines will benefit as their sales continue to climb. Eco-Friendly Practices Meet Federal Requirements Consumers aren't the only ones choosing to put the environment first. In the next few years, more federal requirements will demand business owners to comply with laws that protect the environment. By revamping their businesses now to reduce their impact on the environment in the future, business owners will already be ahead of the game when it comes time for the government to enact these new rules. For a full understanding of how to meet these regulations, businesses can work with consultation companies that perform Phoenix, AZ ESA inspections. These companies assess a business' ability to meet environmental regulatory compliance. With these services, businesses that are committed to reducing their impact on the environment will be able to better gauge how to do exactly that. Improved Recycling Efforts Save Money Businesses that haven't made the effort to promote recycling should start to do so now. Recycling office materials like paper, plastic bags and bottles, office supplies, printer cartridges, and more will help to eliminate their carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment. As they make more of a dedicated effort to recycle, these businesses can take things a step further by going paperless altogether. As most larger companies spend $120 billion annually on printed forms, cutting out the use of paper can have a huge financial impact. Small businesses stand to save money as well by going paperless, discouraging printing, reusing paper, using paperless marketing, and storing all data online. Sustainable Practices Will Attract a New Demographic Brands that aren't sustainability-minded often don't realize that choosing to be eco-friendly will make them more attractive to a new demographic: shoppers that only support green companies. Businesses looking to expand their consumer base can do just that by prioritizing sustainable practices. By committing to being eco-friendly, companies will be able to win the support of passionate shoppers that value sustainable products. Sustainability has a greater effect than most business owners realize. By choosing to better their impact on the environment, business owners help to improve the world at large, better their business practices, comply with federal regulations, and appeal to new customers as well.
  10. If you run a business that needs a new location built or own a company that manages commercial construction projects, there are some ways that you can help ensure the work is done in the most ethical way possible. Sticking to a strong code of ethics throughout the construction project can be good for both you and the world around you. Here are four tips for ethical management of new company construction projects. Recycle Materials Many of the materials that are used in construction projects can be recycled. All too often, leftover materials that could have been recycled end up in the trash that goes to landfills and creates additional environmental hazards. Most types of plastics and metals are recyclable. Glass and wood can also be repurposed for future use. Another great way to show environmental responsibility is by purchasing construction materials that are made from recycled products. Hire Local-Based Labor Hiring locally instead of bringing in staff members from other cities, states or countries can be better for the local economy and provide more people with jobs. Hiring locally also makes it easier for you to find the most qualified and ethical staff members and run the appropriate background checks on them. Labor Works is just one of many staffing companies that can supply you with the employees you need to complete your construction project. Go Above and Beyond Safety Measures In addition to meeting the standard safety measures, you can put in more effort to ensure that everyone at the construction site stays safe. This includes providing extra safety for your construction workers along with any other employees who might be working at the site. A great way to learn about the proper safety measures that you should be taking and the extra things that you can do to keep everyone safe is to read the guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Use High-Quality, Low-Emission Machinery There are many types of construction machinery that emit low amounts of pollutants while still being excellent in quality. Other types of machinery often emit more pollutants that can diminish air quality and contribute to more harmful effects of greenhouse gases. Making sure that high-quality, low-emission machinery is used in your construction can help your business reduce its carbon footprint. Tractors, forklifts and generators are just a few types of construction machinery that come in low-emission models. Ethical construction management is possible with the right planning, equipment and staff. You’re sure to see many benefits when you maintain an ethical commercial construction project.
  11. People are rapidly becoming more environmentally conscious, and most want to see that reflected in the businesses with which they choose to work. If you run a construction business, it's wise from both an environmental and business standpoint to look into ways to become more eco-friendly. Below are a handful of changes you can make that will have a positive impact on the environment. Recycle Your Materials Your first step in becoming eco-friendly has to do not with what you will use, but with what you've already used. Take a look at what you've got left after a job and then determine the best way to deal with that material. In some cases, you can hold onto it and use it for another job. In others, a trip down to the scrap yard or recycling center might be more environmentally friendly. The goal is to avoid throwing away anything that can be reused. Use Recycled Products There are plenty of other companies that are working just as hard as you to be eco-friendly, so why not contribute by using their recycled products? Reclaimed wood, recycled construction materials, and even second-hand materials can be just as good as buying new but they have far less of an environmental impact. Whenever safety and budget allow, make sure that you use recycled materials in your projects. Go Energy Efficient The equipment you use can be a major cause of environmental damage, so take some time to figure out how to reduce that impact. Using equipment that is more energy friendly is great for the environment and it can actually save you money over the course of several jobs. While you might need to make an investment in new, more efficient tools, you'll end up saving money once you look at how much your fuel costs have dropped. Consult an Expert Environmental engineers will not only be able to give you a better idea of the environmental impact of your current projects, but they can also help you to figure out ways to be more eco-friendly with future builds. Taking some time to look for environmental consulting can help you to ensure that your plans for environmental responsibility get a professional seal of approval. Becoming more ecologically friendly means taking some time to examine your current practices and to figure out what needs to be changed. Adapt where you can, but don't be afraid to try something entirely new if that will make an impact. If you're willing to make radical changes, you can do your part to help the environment.
  12. Contrary to what many people believe, making a home eco-friendly doesn’t need to be a time-consuming or expensive process. The average homeowner could actually save quite a bit of money over the years by going green. Here is a look at three simple steps that you can take to make your household as eco-friendly as possible. Cut out the Single-Use Products Single-use plastic products are incredibly bad for the environment, and you might be using dozens of those items every single day without even realizing it. One of the easiest ways to limit your impact on the environment is to remove most of the single-use products from your home. Some of the worst offenders include straws, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, paper coffee cups, single-use water bottles, and plastic bags. While many of those items can be recycled, the recycling process isn’t completely efficient, and some of the materials will never be used again. Upgrade Your Light Bulbs Swapping out your light bulbs might not seem like a significant upgrade, but this simple project could end up saving you a few hundred dollars per year. Older CFL bulbs tend to be very inefficient because much of the energy is turned into heat instead of light. LED bulbs, on the other hand, turn almost all of the electricity into visible light. Replacing all of the older CFL bulbs in your home with LED bulbs is going to have a major impact on your monthly energy bills. You might also want to invest in “smart” LED bulbs that can be controlled with an app. With a single tap of your smartphone screen, you will be able to turn off or dim all of your lights. Install Solar Panels The solar market is growing at an astonishing rate, and more homeowners are investing in solar panel installation every year. From the moment that your solar system is connected, you are going to notice a drop in your energy bills. Depending on where you live and what type of system you have installed, you might even be able to sell excess electricity back to your energy company. These systems have become quite advanced over the last few years, and they work perfectly in most climates. To help homeowners cover the upfront costs, many states offer financing programs to those who connect their solar systems to the electrical grid. In addition to these three tips, you should also make sure that your family sticks to eco-friendly habits around your home. That includes limiting the length of your showers, turning off the lights when you leave a room, and unplugging any electronic devices that aren’t being used.
  13. Carbon emissions are a significant threat because they contribute to climate change. Climate change causes rising sea levels, extreme weather, and other problems that are currently facing our society. Many governments recognize this impact and are combating carbon emissions as a result. Here are just a few ways that world governments are taking a stand to reduce global emissions. The Paris Agreement This landmark decision was organized by the United Nations. It came into effect in December 2015. Simply put, this was a decision to hold governments responsible for reducing climate change. The goal is to keep the global temperature from rising to 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Farenheit) during this century. Ideally, it would even be below 1.5 Celsius (34 degrees Farenheit). This would be achieved through pooling together resources and improving technology to reduce industrial emissions. The Agreement will be revisited and updated every 5 years. While the United States has since pulled out of the agreement, other countries continue to stay in and work hard to lower their emissions for the safety of the planet. Carbon Taxes A carbon tax brings climate change responsibility closer to home. Carbon tax benefits include involving ordinary citizens in the effort against global warming. Each citizen (and, on a broader scale, industry) would be taxed according to the amount of carbon they produce on a regular basis. New York City is getting in on the game by imposing a "congestion pricing" plan. Taxi rates would go up the longer they sit in traffic. The money would then be returned equally among citizens through dividends, meaning that those who produced the least amount of carbon emissions would profit the greatest in the end. While there are concerns on how this would affect lower-income demographics, those working on the plan continue to change their approach to better suit the needs of modern citizens. Rewards for Clean Energy Efforts This financial benefit goes hand-in-hand with carbon taxes. In the United States, as well as other westernized countries, businesses can offset their carbon emissions by purchasing clean energy credits. Incentives include greater reliance on solar energy or wind power. Many rewards can come down on the local level as well. Some states provide tax reductions for installing solar panels. People who use solar panels can "sell" the electricity they generate back to the grid. Doing this gives profit to those individuals and companies who invest in renewable energy sources and works as a strong incentive toward more responsible business practices. Public Transportation Initiatives Not all cities are well known for having a good public transportation infrastructure. There are a few that are working to change that. For example, Indianapolis has instituted their Red Line Bus Service. It is a rapid-transit line that runs entirely on electricity. Other initiatives include making Denver, Colorado, a more walkable city by putting in parks. The city also wants to ensure a majority of residents live closer to public transportation in order to cut down on automobile emissions. Individuals can support their governments in these efforts as well. Installing solar panels in your home and using carbon calculators are great ways to inspire grassroots-level change. Recycling and supporting environmentally-conscious companies can also be a major step in the right direction. Climate change affects us all and it's important to get involved in whatever way we can.
  14. Everyone says that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but green doesn’t always mean environmentally friendly. Those homeowners who want to be conscious of their impact on the environment can start with their own yard care practices and what they grow. Doing so can ensure that both your yard and the natural landscape beyond stay green and healthy, and here are a few ways you can accomplish that. Use Native Plants When you use plant life that is common to the community, it helps provide food and resources for native animals. You can ensure local species survive with trees, shrubs, and plants that offer food and nesting material. Growing native plants also prevents the spread of aggressive foreign plants that could overtake the local native plants in your area. Plus, local plants are easier to grow and care for because they thrive in your climate. If you want a low-maintenance yard, then the garden center can show you which plants are easiest to care for and hardy plants for your climate. Feed Pollinators Bees help pollinate crops and flowers. Martha Stewart says 80 million pounds of pesticides are put on crops and communities across the United States annually. These chemicals kill bees and other animals that are susceptible to small environmental changes and displace others. Something as simple as planting flowers and fruits to provide nectars for pollinators can do a great deal of good in giving your local bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators a place to refuel. Anything that flowers can work, so when you’re considering plants to grow in your yard and garden, keep that in mind. Plant Trees You can help the environment by planting trees. Not only do trees help clean the air, but they also offer valuable shelter to birds and animals. Fruit trees especially can be a source of nourishment for the local wildlife. Not only do the flower buds provide nectar for pollinators, as previously mentioned, but they also give fruits and seeds to birds, squirrels, and other animals that are now running out of healthy food sources and shelter. To encourage birds to return to your yard, planting oak trees for shelter is a great idea, and the acorns they grow make for great food for animals. Cardinals and bluebirds are partial to dogwood trees, and pine trees are excellent for most bird species, as well as for animals. Use Organic Fertilizers Another tip is to work with gardening centers and landscaping companies that offer organic fertilizers as opposed to the more toxic varieties. These organic fertilizers are safe for pets and any birds, bees, or animals that visit your yard while still creating a green lawn. If you want to attract specific species, then the landscaper can also give you ideas about what bushes or flowers you can plant to attract them to your yard. Make sure that the fertilizers you get work well with your intended plants and lawn, as different plants and regions require different nutrients to thrive properly. You can make sure your side of the fence is greenest by adding local plants and trees. Organic fertilizer will protect your pets and ensure bees and birds are safe on your property. Whether you are familiar with the area or you want to know more about specific plants, the local garden center or landscape provider can help you discover the right ways to help the Earth in your little corner of the world.
  15. While trying to be more environmentally friendly is a commendable goal, a lot of people are wary of making the lifestyle changes it requires. One of the more prominent concerns that people have is the cost required to “go green.” As it turns out, not only can it be affordable to go green, but you can actually profit off of many of the efforts involved. Here are just a few ways that anyone can cash in on environmentally friendly choices. Tax Incentives Any time you can write something off on your taxes, it is always a welcome surprise. However, did you know that by purchasing a solar panel system for generating energy for your home comes with a 30% tax credit that you can use as a tax write off? This federal tax incentive has been extended on through 2021. While you can really save on your taxes using this form of alternative energy, you must act before the end of 2021 to take advantage of this government tax break. Using solar energy can also save you money on your utility costs by supplying energy to your home that you don’t have to get through a service. While most people double up by purchasing energy alongside their solar panels, the panels themselves cut down on how much energy you need to buy elsewhere, and many companies will pay you for the excess energy that your solar panels generate. Trading Cash for Recycling If you have old appliances or scrap metal laying around, then you might be able to turn these items into cold hard cash. Most scrap metal services will pay you for any metal you can bring to them, including old radiators, appliances, electronics, and so on. While most wires can’t be directly recycled due to their rubber coating, there are places you can sell those, as well, where the rubber coating is stripped and recycled separately from the wire inside. Other recycling services will pay for cartons, recyclable plastic containers, and other materials depending on their specialty. Taking advantage of this is great for the planet and also gives you some extra spending money from what otherwise would just have been trash. Energy Savings Going green does more than just earn you cash, however. Eco-friendly lifestyles and behaviors also encourage you to be more efficient with the money that you already have. Replacing energy inefficient appliances, such as your dryer or HVAC system, with energy-efficient models can really help you keep more of your monthly income. This is because energy efficient appliances tend to use less electricity; thus, helping to keep your electric bill at a minimum. Most newer models have been upgraded to meet modern energy efficiency standards, but finding Energy Star rated appliances can take your energy savings one step further. Saving Water Whether you are doing laundry in a water-saving washing machine or flushing a water efficient toilet, the amount of water you save matters. While the earth is composed mostly of water, only less than 3-percent of this water is actually drinkable. The rest of the water is salt water and not suitable to use drinking. So, using water-efficient appliances cuts your water bill down and, at the same time, it helps out everyone else by preventing our planet’s drinking water from being used up to quickly. To take your water conservation a step further, you can invest in a greywater recycling plant that can be installed on your property to treat and reuse non-drinking water, or greywater, for your sprinklers, toilet, and other appliances. While many are wary of the costs of green living, it’s clear that there is more to be gained than lost from making those lifestyle changes. Whether earning cash from recycled items, getting tax incentives from renewable energy solutions, or saving money in utility costs, there are a lot of ways that anyone can gain from protecting the planet. Eco-responsible living is a benefit both to the planet and individuals, and should be highly considered by anyone who wants to live responsibly while making ends meet.