Sometimes it may seem like it is impossible to find money at the end of the month to put towards your retirement account. This is why it is critical to making the most of every dollar! Insulating your home is one of the most effective ways to decrease your energy bill by going green. Another benefit is that many energy efficiency updates qualify for tax credits and utility company rebates!
You can double or even triple up on your savings! Consequently, you can put all of these savings towards your tax-advantaged retirement account!
How Much Can You Save by Properly Insulating Your Home?
In short, by adding insulation to your home you can reduce heating and cooling costs anywhere from 10% to 50%.
Of course, the amount you save depends on where you live and how much insulation you already have.
You’ll spend about half that if you do the job yourself!
So if you are nifty and have a spare weekend, add it to your list of DIY projects and save a cool $800. This also means that your payback period is also cut in half!
Visit the Sustainability Shop and under the tab called Energy Efficient Home you will find many insulation products to start saving money today!
The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit:
As of the 2018 tax year, the federal government offers the Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit. These credits are good through 2019 and then are reduced each year through the end of 2021.
This means that if you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest federal renewable energy tax credit, you will need to take action within the next year!
The Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. On the same tax form, there is an area that allows you to deduct a portion of the cost to increase the insulation in your home.
The link to the tax form is included in a later portion of this article for your convenience.
The credit is equal to 30% of the cost, including installation. Moreover, there is no upper limit on the amount of the credit for solar, wind, and geothermal equipment.
The Increase Your Financial IQ Course will be released soon and will cover how to write-off solar energy improvements to your investment properties.
You can sign up for the Free Increase Your Financial IQ Mini-Email Course to get notified when the full-blown Increase Your Financial IQ Course becomes available. The mini-email course is designed to show you how easily you can save for retirement, and how to use a tax-advantaged account to reach over $1,000,000 in savings.
Equipment that Qualifies for the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit:
The credit includes costs to install solar, wind, geothermal and fuel-cell technology updates to your home.
Solar panels for generating electricity
Solar-powered water heaters. The water heated by the system must be used inside the home, and at least half of the home’s water-heating capacity must be solar. (Solar heaters for swimming pools and hot tubs do not qualify.)
Wind turbines that generate up to 100 kilowatts of electricity that must also be used in the home.
Geothermal heat pumps that meet federal Energy Star guidelines.
Fuel cells that rely on a renewable resource (usually hydrogen) to generate power for a home. The equipment must generate at least 0.5 kilowatts of power.
For the average person, the solar panel and wind turbine options are going to be the easiest to install, with the fewest regulations to get past.
Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit:
Equipment and materials must meet technical efficiency standards that have been set by the Department of Energy.
Manufacturers typically advertise that their item meets this standard. In short, if a product does not advertise that it meets the standard, be sure to ask prior to purchasing.
Turbo tax does a great job explaining the two kinds of energy efficiency improvements that you can write off. I have listed them here for your convenience…
For this credit, the IRS distinguishes between two kinds of upgrades:
1. Qualified Energy Efficiency Improvements:
Exterior windows and skylights
Home insulation (Just about all types: fiberglass, cellulose, mineral wool, spray foam, foam board, and cotton batting qualify for the energy tax credit)
Certain roofing materials
2. Residential Energy Property Costs:
Electric heat pumps
Electric heat pump water heaters
Central air conditioning systems
Natural gas, propane or oil water heaters
Stoves that use biomass fuel
Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
Natural gas, propane or oil hot water boilers
Advanced circulating fans for natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
There are a few credit restrictions, like a maximum of a $200 credit for windows. For a full list be sure to consult your tax accountant. You can review Turbo Tax’s exceptions list here.
Remember it is critically important to save your receipts and labels for Uncle Sam.
Which Tax Form to Use:
The form to use to claim your solar or wind credit is called The Residential Energy Credit Form 5695, which is filed with your tax return.
On this same form, you can add any write-offs you have made to insulate your home.
For insulation updates, you can write off 10% of expenditures, up to $500 for the year. This amount is for all energy improvements combined.
The R-value measures the home’s resistance to air flow, which means less heated or cooled air escapes. The higher the number value, the better the insulating power.
The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends an R-value between 30 to 60, depending on where you live.
According to the EnergyStar website, the recommended level for most attics is to insulate to R-38 or about 10 to 14 inches, depending on insulation type.
I have inserted a photo of a map of the US and a chart with the recommended values provided by the DOE.
Eco Economics will be Offering Two kinds of Courses:
The Sustainability Course: How to live a sustainable lifestyle and save money by going green.
The Increase your Financial IQ Course: How to achieve financial freedom by using tax-advantaged accounts, understanding proper financial planning, and wealth creation through real estate.
The two courses are designed to be taken together so that one shows you how to save money, while the other shows you how to reinvest that money to help you achieve financial freedom.
A Few of the Topics That are Covered Are:
Money-saving green swaps and actions that you can take to save our planet
How to maximize the energy efficiency of your home (reduce your utility bills)
Find the right renewable energy solution to give you energy independence (reduce or eliminate the impact of utility rate increases).
How to reduce your carbon output
How to start your own carbon sequestering organic garden
If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to share! By sharing we can help others save money by going green, all the while saving the planet together! Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.
Growing your own garden has many health benefits, not to mention it reduces your carbon footprint. I have created this handy Gardening Tips and Tricks to Prevent Global Warming Starter Guide to encourage you to consider the benefits of growing your own organic fruits and vegetables. The goal of this article is to point out the main benefits of starting an organic garden, and how to plant a diverse vegetable mixture to give you a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Benefits of Planting Your Own Organic Garden:
Here is a list of benefits that gardening can bring to your life:
Reduces the transportation fuel (carbon output) used to ship vegetables across oceans and highways to get to your local store.
UN scientists have released a warning stating that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences. Planting a garden is a way you can make a difference by helping sequester carbon from the atmosphere!
Organic food tastes better because it is fresher and is able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).
Many people live in cities, which are cement jungles surrounded by black asphalt (roads and parking lots). That being said, dark materials absorb heat which is why cities tend to be hotter than their surrounding areas. Adding vegetation provides shade and breaks up all off of that dark material.
Grow fresh vegetables forever! Fruits and vegetables have seeds that you can harvest at the end of the year. Meaning that you can use the seeds to start your garden next year!!!
A fun and family-friendly activity that can inspire you to take an interest in the origins of your food and make better choices about what you put on your plate.
Health Benefits of Gardening:
Eliminates the addition of chemical pesticides that you are currently putting into your body.
No chemical fertilizers. In short, worm casting is nature’s Miracle Grow and is anall natural organic fertilizer! Read on to learn about worm casting.
It helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Adds a bit of exercise to your life.
Breath fresher air by being outside. People are often stuck inside an office all day. Taking the time to tend to your garden will give you an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
Plants increase oxygen production. The air around your home will be fresher (less carbon dioxide).
Help Prevent Global Warming by Starting an Organic Garden:
Now that I have your attention with this serious list of benefits. Let’s get you started on your money saving, healthy, better for the environment path to an organic garden!
I have put together a gardening kit that will get you started on your journey. For additional resources, visit the Sustainability Shop 🙂
You can reduce the amount of waste that is headed to a landfill by composting your food scraps.
Another benefit is that composting recycles nutrients, which can be used to start your own organic vegetable garden.
Nutrients from a compost pile is better for your health and cheaper than purchasing chemical fertilizers.
This stainless steel bin controls odors naturally with an airtight lid and a replaceable activated-charcoal filter.
It holds 1.3-gallons of compost. It is big enough to hold several days’ worth of kitchen waste like vegetable peels, fruits, and coffee grounds, yet still small enough to fit on your countertop.
Dimensions: 7.16” in diameter x 11” high.
The compost bin is molded from one piece of metal, so it resists rust and leaks. Moreover, it does not leak toxic chemicals into your compost pile.
Benefits of Worm Casting:
I am sure you are aware of how healthy bacteria (probiotics) help us digest food. Well, worm poop (worm casting) combines enzymes and positive bacteria to provide plants with optimal nutrition content.
Many of the nutrients that plants need to thrive can be found in large quantities within earthworm castings. Nutrients include magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, cobalt, borax, manganese, nitrogen, and carbon.
High levels of microbial activity have the following benefits:
Helps plants grow faster.
Increases soil aeration, which helps plants absorb nutrients and allows their roots to breath properly.
Is all-natural! The consumption of fewer chemicals is vital to a healthier lifestyle. Worm casting allows you to grow “organic” vegetables!
No heavy metals. Worms actually have the ability to absorb heavy metals like copper, lead, and cadmium from the soil. This means that the castings are heavy metal-free. This reduces the likelihood that those metals will end up in your vegetables and on your plate!
Burn-proof. Often times fertilizers are too high in nitrogen, which burns your plants. Casting will never burn the roots of your plants 🙂
It is a natural pesticide!Save money on pesticides while avoiding the need to spray chemicals.
Increases your crop yield :). In 2014, Nature Research published a study that showed that crops grown in worm castings produce 25% more yield.
To get your organic garden rocking-and-rolling with the worm casting kit, grab 300 hundred live Red Worms and you will be all set!
These red worms turn organic waste into nutrient-rich soil!
The manufacturer even guarantees live delivery!
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Often times we feel helpless because global warming can feel like such a big problem to tackle.
But, know that you can make a difference by making small changes to your daily actions. We all got ourselves into this climate change dilemma, and we all have to pitch in together to get ourselves out.
Let’s look to ourselves before we look to judge how others act. We can make a paradigm shift towards a sustainable planet if we make it the new “cool thing to do”.
Followers will always follow the trend, so be a leader and make sustainability the “new trend”.
Planting a garden is a way you can make a difference and help sequester carbon from the atmosphere!
I have listed a few of the benefits of planting your own organic garden. With some creativity, you can think of many other reasons how gardening can benefit your health and the planet.
Of course, I encourage you to add additional gardening benefits or tips to growing a successful garden by commenting at the bottom of this article.
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
Moreover, becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits.
Click here to visit the Sustainability Shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products today.
The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
Making your home more energy efficient reduces the use of the Earth’s non-renewable resources, helps curb pollution, allows us to breath cleaner air, and offers thousands of dollars in savings. Here are 8 ways to reduce global warming by increasing your energy efficiency.
To find a full FREE Home Energy Audit Guide enter your email below.
8 Ways to Reduce Global Warming by Increasing Your Energy Efficiency:
Your home is like a block of swiss cheese, and the goal of insulating your home is to plug as many holes (in your home’s envelope) up as possible.
There are many places that these holes exist. Start with easy and cheap insulation fixes, like electrical outlets.
2. Air Filters:
Regularly replace the filters on your furnaces and air conditioners. It requires more energy to suck air through dirty air filters because particles prevent the air from easily flowing through the filters.
Turn your thermostat down at night and when you leave the house. Wear a jacket and socks indoors to save money on your heating bill.
4. Tankless Water Heaters:
Install an on-demand (or tankless) hot water heater. These types of hot water heaters only heat water when you need it.Click here to read an article that will show you how to find rebates on appliance and energy efficiency updates to your home.
The search is based on your zip code and the rebates will be tailored to the specific area that you live in.
You can save $128 per 100 watt light bulb equivalent over the life of the LED light by making the switch.
That’s 40 lights x $128= $5,120 saved!
This photo, provided by USA Today, shows the amount you will save per light bulb for each a 60-watt bulb that you replace.
6. Low Flow Water Conservation Kit:
Install a water conservation kit, which can be found at the Sustainability Shop. The water conservation kit is very inexpensive and includes low flow shower showerheads and faucet converters. This kit can save you up to 12,000 gallons of water per year (household of 4).
The Duck Brand is a winner in the do-it-yourself insulation industry. The kit allows you to cover five 3′ x 5′ windows.
How does it work? You adhere a clear film to your window and simply use a hair dryer to shrink-wrap it to the glass’ surface.
Don’t worry, the film is completely see-through. This film helps prevent drafts and heat loss which provides a drastic increase in your home’s energy efficiency and can reduce your utility bill by hundreds of dollars per year.
For additional energy efficiency, you can apply the film twice which will create an airtight lining over your window.
The film is crystal clear so you can see outside, even with two layers.
The kit contains a 62″ x 210″ crystal clear film and a 1/2-inch by 84-feet (1080″) roll of double-sided tape.
If you are not into the DIY scene, you can always go the easy route and grab theseBlackout Insulation Curtains that are specifically manufactured to insulate your home.
These curtains block out sunlight to keep the heat out during the summer. They are thick and made from 100% polyester (Faux silk), which provides thermal insulation during the winter.
Moreover, these curtains block out light (better sleep benefits) protect your furniture from color fading, and provide privacy.
They are waterproofand you can either dry clean or machine washthem.
Each package comes with 1 panel, and the dimensions are 42″ W x 63″ L.
8. Use a Fan Instead of the A/C:
Use a fan to circulate air in your home on hot days. Fans are much more energy efficient than air conditioners.
Navigating the federal, state, and local government renewable energy tax breaks (credits, deductions, and incentive) can be quite confusing. Not to mention, the added utility company’s rebates and programs. As a result, I decided to put together a roadmap, to help you navigate this rather complicated process.
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
The Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit:
You better act quickly if you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest renewable energy tax credit. At the end of next year (2019), it will slowly start decreasing and until 2022.
In other words, Congress could decide to extend the Renewable Energy tax credit… But, there is no guarantee that they will.
The federal renewable energy tax credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar or wind turbine system from your federal taxes.
As you can see, in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time and eventually disappear. However, the exception is that there will be a permanent 10% tax credit for commercial use of renewable energy systems.
As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear If you want to take advantage of these serious savings.
Meanwhile, if a $15,000 solar system installation sounds like its way over your budget… You aren’t alone.
The DIY solar panel system is a step-by-step video instruction guide that will teach you how to build your own solar energy system for around 25% of the cost that you would have paid a professional installer.
In other words, that’s nearly a 75% savings!
Surprisingly, you can actually build a solar energy system in your spare time for a very reasonable price. This guide will help you build each solar panel in approximately 1 hour and for around $100!
State Tax Credits:
Most statesand some city governments have tax breaks (incentives, deductions, or credits) that can be used in addition to the federal tax credit for renewable energy or energy efficiency updates to your home!
First, take a look at the U.S. Department of Energy’s website called DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy).
It is a super handy tool for understanding federal, state, and local tax incentives. The site also includes utility company incentives for each state.
Just visit the web page and click the state that you live in 🙂
There are two solutions to the current energy dilemma:
According to EnergyStar.gov, the average home has approximately 40 lightbulbs.
You can save $128 per 100-watt light bulb equivalent over the life of the LED light by making the switch.
That’s 40 lights x $128= $5,120 saved!
If you are ready to save money by making the switch, you can find 100-watt equivalent lightbulbs at the Sustainability Shop.
In short, I would highly recommend switching to LEDs over CFL lights. Unfortunately, CFL lights are made with mercury, which can become hazardous to the environment if they are not disposed of properly.
2. Programmable thermostats
Some utility companies offer rebates or incentives if you install a programmable thermostat.
If you are interested in taking advantage of the biggest federal renewable energy tax credit, you will need to take action by 2019. The federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes.
As you can see in the photo below provided by Energysage.com, the tax credit will slowly start decreasing over time.
As of the date of this writing, you only have around 1 year to get your butt in gear!
The federal solar tax credit applies to both residential and commercial systems. What’s more is that there is no cap on its value!
The cost to install solar panels can vary greatly, based on the state and solar installation company you use.
A professionally installed solar energy system can cost upward of $20k, but there are two ways to minimize this cost.
Don’t want to spend $20k on a solar energy system? That’s ok. Read on 🙂
Lease vs. Build it Yourself
1. You can opt for a solar lease agreement– A company like Solar City will install solar panels for free. Then you purchase the power from the solar power company at a lower rate than you are currently paying your utility company.
This means that you still have to purchase electricity from a company. Instead of purchasing your energy from your utility company (that probably gets its electricity from coal and other fossil fuels), you will be getting electricity from a renewable source (the sun).
If that doesn’t settle your mind from worry, know that the DYI Home Energy System Guide comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
You can always watch the video and return it if you think that you won’t be able to complete the project. This way you can see what you are getting into before making for a final decision (worry-free).
Jeff really emphasizes that you will be purchasing professional grade building materials to construct your solar power system.
He explains that the reason why there is such a large cost differencebetween having a professional installer build your unit and building it on your own is that you are paying for the labor, know-how, and additional mark up.
Companies need to generate a profit, and as you probably know the standard mark up for retailers (from a wholesale distributor to a retail store) is 50% of the cost of the product.
DIY Solar Energy System Vs. A Solar Lease:
As you know, I am a huge advocate of renewable energy. Up till this article, I always thought that the cost to install a solar energy system was way too expensive to make financial sense.
Typically, a standard solar energy system lasts around 25 years, and the average payback period is 15-20 years.
So purchasing your own system doesn’t really make sense, unless you plan on living in your home for 25 years. Most people end up moving within that time and won’t have the opportunity to recover that investment cost.
This is why I had opted to go with the solar lease option (for my home in Las Vegas).
Now that I have found this solution, I really do believe that I could have bribed a few friends with a home cooked meal to help me build a solar energy system for cheaper than the cost of purchasing electricity through my solar lease.
Because the DYI Home Energy System is so much cheaper to build, you will hit the breakeven point on the cost of the unit much quicker.
Some of the Benefits of a DIY Solar Project:
1. Energy independence. Who cares if the utility companies decide to raise electricity costs? Not you!
What’s more is that you can sell your excess electricity to the utility company.
2. Low to no maintenance. Once you build your renewable energy solar system, there is little to no maintenance required.
Build a solar energy system for a fraction of the cost you would have otherwise had to pay a professional installer.
A Few Minor Drawbacks:
Just like with any major remodel, you will need to have your solar energy system inspected by an official city inspector.
The inspector will probably have you fix a thing or two, which will require him to come back and re-inspect another day… Don’t take it personally, stay strong, and make any required corrections to pass that inspection. Just think of this step as part of the process.
If you include this step in your mental accounting process, you won’t think of it as a pain in the butt. Instead, think of it as just part of what needs to happen to make sure you have a safe solar energy system.
You really do want a city inspector to come by to make sure that you installed your system correctly... After all, you are playing with electricity.
The only negative review I have seen thus far is by Solarreviews.com. Upon further research, I found that the website is owned by a solar installation company. Of course, It is in their best interest to have you pay them to install solar panels for you.
Every DIY project is going to some take time and require a little perseverance. The instructional videos are very thorough, and you will have to set aside time to watch them. Of course, building a solar energy system yourself will also take time.
If you can find 2-3 weekends to devote to building your own energy system, you can save a ton of money with the DYI Home Energy System guide.
Remember, by building your own solar unit you are able to save money because you are the labor (instead of paying someone else to put in the labor).
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Renewable energy is the way of the future. As a society, we need to make the switch away from fossil fuels.
Take the pledge to become a Sustainability Hero. Living in harmony with the planet has health, environment, and budget benefits.
Remember to visit the sustainability shop, which includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
It seems like the topic of climate change and resource depletion is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but no one really knows what to do about it. I have compiled the UN’s most important blueprint actions for achieving a happier and healthier world while adding a few of my own tips to create the Ultimate Guide to Prevent Global Warming.
By implementing these simple actions we can manifest a change for a better future. The UN has created a campaign called the “Be the Change Initiative” that provides an opportunity for all of us to better “walk the talk”.
I have created a “Sustainability Shop” and have done the work of reading the labels and reviews to offer you the best sustainable products on the market.
This collection of sustainable living products have been amassed in one place for your convenience. The shop includes energy efficiency and water conservation conversion kits, solar products, zero-waste, and minimally packaged home goods.
I want to encourage you to reuse your current belongings until they are either broken or no longer useful (and you need to replace them).
The exception to this is if what you are currently using produces lots of one-time use waste or is harmful to your health.
If you use a dishwasher, stop rinsing your plates before you run the machine. Yes, you should still scrape all of the food off before putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Dishwashers today use high heat to take off any food residue left on dishes.
Reuse your holiday decorations. Unfortunately, the holidays are the most wasteful time of the year. Just think of all the one-time-use cups, plates, utensils, decorations, gift wrapping, etc. Look for ways to plan eco-friendly parties and events.
I love the holidays and the idea of spending time with friends and family just as much as you do. Let’s be responsible about how we plan our events so that Mother Nature can have a happy holiday too!
Tile Floors in High Traffic Areas:
This flooring option has many benefits.
First, tile floors basically last forever (unless you drop a sledgehammer on it and crack the tile itself).
Second (real estate investment tip), due to its durability tile is great for rental properties.
Third, you won’t need to keep replacing the flooring like you would with carpet. This will save you money in the long run and reduces the amount of trash going to our landfills.
Fourth, tile is great for easy cleanup. Liquids can be easily mopped up and won’t stain the floor.
Fifth, tile keeps your home cool in the summer. Add rugs in the winter for a cozy warmer feel. Carpets in the bedroom and rugs in the living areas keep your home warm, your thermostat low, and will save you a chunk of change.
Step 2: Your Daily Routine
Request that vendors stop sending paper statements. Pay your bills online or via mobile. Remember, every sheet of paper leads to more forest destruction.
Use cardboard matches. Unlike plastic gas-filled lighters, they don’t require any petroleum.
Recycling paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum keeps landfills from growing.
Buy minimally packaged goods, goods that are packaged in eco-friendly materials, and packaging and products made from recycled materials.
Many of the products found in the Sustainability Shop are packaged in cardboard, recycled paper, or do not have packaging at all.
Bike, walk or take public transportation. Save the car trips for when you can carpool or need to go long distances.
Moreover, the conversion kits pay for themselves and take 2 minutes to install. Its small actions like these that make the biggest differences.
Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine.
If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.
When you finish drinking a cup of cold water/juice, water a plant with your leftover ice cubes. 🙂
Here are a few surprising facts about water by The Infographics Show that I bet you didn’t know.
Did you know that a leaky faucet can waste up to 11,000 liters of water per year?
Fixing leaky faucets can save water, energy to filter/transport the water to your home, chemicals to remediate the water after it has been used, and reduce your utility bill 🙂
Lastly, remember to turn off the tap water while brushing your teeth.
Step 4: The Kitchen
Shopping for food locally supports neighborhood businesses and keeps people employed. Moreover, it helps prevent trucks from driving far distances to transport food.
Food that is sourced locally tastes better because it is fresher and was able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).
Shop Smart, plan meals, and use shopping lists to avoid impulse buys.
Remember these? What exactly are they for? How many of these will end up in a landfill 3 years from now?
Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need. Although you may save money by purchasing perishable items in bulk, it does you no good if you end up not eating them because they have over ripened or grown mold.
Buy Funny Fruit 🙂 Many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not “right”. Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer’s market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.
Remember, it takes water, transportation, fertilizer, and labor to grow these funny fruits. They need love too!
You can find bento lunchboxes, reusable glass containers, biodegradable lunch bags, and reusable silicon bags for food storage in the Sustainability Shop.
Don’t forget to freeze fresh produce and leftovers, if you don’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad.
Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to produce meat than plants. You can learn more about the Reducetarian Diet and how the meat industry produces more carbon than the transportation industry in the library section of the Sustainability Shop.
Step 5: Grow Your Own Food and Compost
Composting food scraps can reduce waste that would otherwise need to be transported to a landfill.
Another benefit is that composting recycles nutrients, which can be used to start your own organic vegetable garden.
Nutrients from a compost pile is healthier for you and cheaper than purchasing chemical fertilizers.
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Save money today by becoming a Sustainability Hero.
Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.
UN scientists have released a warning stating that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences.
This means that we need to drastically cut back on our carbon output and even start carbon sequestering campaigns to meet this goal.
Take action today, and remember to visit the sustainability shop to start using zero-waste, plastic alternative, and biodegradable products today.
Reduce your single-use waste output and take the Sustainability Pledge.
Becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you, then pre-enroll for a free mini-course to learn about other money-saving sustainability swaps and actions that you can take to save the world!
Start by changing simple habits and using products that are sustainable/reusable.
Today I am going to talk about how you can save money by going green! There are so many reasons why going green is so important. Earlier this month, NASA published an article stating that 97% of actively publishing climate scientists agree that “climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities”.
We are past the stage of denial and must take a stance to change our current course of carbon output. Climate change, global warming, and resource depletion is a serious challenge that is going to take effort on the part of every person on this planet.
In fact, the world has just over a decade to get climate change under control.
In 2016, the Paris Agreement was signed by the majority of the world’s leaders and put into effect. Unfortunately, in August of 2017, the Trump Administration withdrew the United States from the agreement.
A recent UN report found the world’s annual carbon dioxide emission would have to be on a steep decline by 2030 to hold the world below a 1.5° Celsius increase.
Shockingly, the current carbon emission output amounts to more than 40 billion tons per year, and that amount is increasing not decreasing.
What is the difference between 1.5° and 2° Celsius?
Globalnews.ca provides a quick overview of what the .5° means for us and the planet.
The Little Things: Eco-friendly Alternatives
Are you interested in reducing your environmental footprint, but don’t know where to start?
Eco Economics is committed to providing the knowledge and products to help you get on your path to becoming a Sustainability Hero.
Going green is imperative to you and your family’s health and survival. Making changes to your daily habits may be challenging at first, but don’t worry soon they will become a part of your routine.
Below I have listed 5 ways for you to go green and save money by doing so!
Another shocking statistic that will blow your mind is the fact that Ziploc® bags and their off-brand counterparts have become so prevalent that the average United States family uses 500 Ziploc bags each year!
The United States has an estimated population of 326 million people. With an average family size of 2.8 people (U.S. Census Data), that means that the United States alone uses an average of 58 million Ziploc® bags per year!
Single-use plastic is the worst 🙁
If each family uses 500 Ziploc® bags per year (1-quart bags come in a box of 50 and each box costs $5), then an average family spends $50 in Ziploc® bags per year.
To truly embrace a sustainable lifestyle you need to quit as many single-use products as possible.
This Bodum Pour Over Coffee Makercomes with a stainless steel mesh filter that helps extract your coffee’s aromatic oils and subtle flavors. Typically, paper filters absorb these flavors and essential oils.
The coffee carafe is made of durable, heat-resistant borosilicate glass with a cork band that is both functional and elegant.
It comes in various sizes: 17oz, 34oz, 51oz, and 68 oz.
To get a hold of your dishwasher-safe coffee maker today click here.
Why is silicone better than plastic you ask? Silicone is made from naturally occurring materials like silicon, oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. Moreover, it resists oxidative deterioration (i.e. normal aging) for decades and studies have shown that it actually thrives on challenges.
Silicon is able to experience a wide range of temperatures from extreme heat and cold, to exposure to harsh chemicals, sterilization, rain, snow, salt spray, ultraviolet radiation, ozone, and even acid rain.
Silicone is more environmentally friendly and is also more inert than plastic. This means that silicone does not leach chemicals into your food when used for food storage or during the cooking process.
In recent years, silicone bakeware has received a lot of attention. Its ability to go from the oven to the fridge to the freezer without any breaks in between has increased its popularity.
What’s more is that silicone products are microwave, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, and freezer safe! It can handle a wide range of temperatures and offers non-stick properties.
I am excited to see that the world is beginning to take notice of the impact that humans are having on Mother Nature.
The switch to a sustainable world does not mean that we have to give up all luxuries and live in the stone age. We just need to use products that are easy to reuse, recycle, and are biodegradable.
Each one of us gets to choose which luxuries we want to keep in our lives. If you love drinking from a straw, then do it responsibly 🙂
The Hiware silicone drinking straws come in apack of 8 assorted colors and are accompanied by 2 cleaning brushes.
Due to their slightly thicker diameter, they are great for drinking smoothies, milkshakes, and yogurts.
These straws fit most large tumblers including Yeti and RTIC. The straws are slightly larger than your average straw, but that’s ok because they are flexible and can be squeezed into smaller openings without out issue.
Dimensions: Approximately 10 inch in length and 0.45 inches in exterior diameter.
The best part is that the manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee!
Creating a healthy meal starts with the pots and pans you use to cook with. I have created the ultimate guide for sustainable cookware so that you can see the benefits and pitfalls of each variety.
Today’s industries patent new materials and synthetic chemicals on a daily basis. Their hope is to create stronger longer-lasting products.
While it is important to continuously create new technologies that push us into the future, the long-term effects of these products are not known until many decades later.
One revolutionary creation that helps chefs and people across the world is the invention of the non-stick pan.
Cookware: Stainless Steel vs.Teflon vs. Ceramic
Today, cookware typically come in three varieties: stainless steel, Teflon and ceramic.
The stainless steel option tends to be on the more expensive side. Although the stainless steel coating that comes into contact with your food does not leach toxins, other metals within the interior of the pan may.
Typically stainless steel cookware is a composite of materials. These include iron, carbon, and chromium along with small percentages of nickel, titanium, vanadium, and copper.
Unfortunately, chromium and nickel are toxic for your health. You should avoid using damaged stainless steel cookware due to their possible health risks.
Another downside of using stainless steel cookware is that food tends to get stuck unless you use lots of cooking oil. Even then, I often find that soaking the stainless steel cookware for at least 10 minutes helps enormously before cleaning.
If you are looking for an easy to clean, non-stick variety of cookware, Teflon is a popular design. One concern with Teflon is that the nonstick coating can flake off and be ingested. Typically this is more likely to happen with cheaper or poor-quality pans.
Metal utensils can scratch even high-quality nonstick surfaces, which can lead to flaking. One method of adding shelf-life to your cookware is to never use metal utensils while cooking.
The Cook N Home 10-piece set is the more economical option of the two sets. It includes 1 and 2-quart saucepans, a 3-quart casserole pot with a lid, a 5-quart dutch oven with a lid, and an 8-inch and 9.5-inch fry pan.
The Cook N Home set is made of thick gauge aluminum that is coated with a nonstick ceramic layer. This layer makes for quick food release and easy cleaning.
The lids are made from tempered glass, allowing you to view the food without having to remove the lid.
Moreover, the lids are versatile and fit on both the pots and the frying pans.
The drawback is that these pots are not induction (electric stovetop), oven, or dishwasher compatible.
If you have an induction stovetop or want the ability to throw your pans in the dishwasher, this next option is the way to go.
This set comes with 2 dutch oven pots with lids, 1 casserole pot with a lid, and 2 angled fry pans.
Expect this cookware set to be heavy. One of the differences between a more economical cookware set and one that is more expensive is the amount of material used.
Heavier pots and pans do a better job of heat-retention and even heat-dispersion. This is one of the reasons why the cast iron pan is so heavy.
These pots and pans double as serveware. Meaning that they can go directly from the stovetop to the dinner table. The end result being fewer dishes to clean after a meal!
What’s more, the Vremi pans have a unique fry pan design that allows for easy flipping of stir-fry, omelets, pancakes, etc. The edge across the handle is slightly longer and curves up and inward to facilitate the flipping process.
Each lid includes a small gap between the lid and body of the pan to release steam without a mess.
The cookware kit features an induction-compatible spiral bottom that works on gas, electric, and halogen stovetops.
Click here to update your kitchen with this extremely versatile and eco-friendly cookware set 🙂
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Ceramic cookware is the clear winner when it comes to which pots and pans are the most healthy, eco-friendly, and non-toxic option.
A few last words on ceramic cookware care: It is a good idea to clean your ceramic pans with a soft cloth immediately after use. This will prevent you from having to scrub the pan later, which will accelerate the wear on the ceramic coating and shorten the life of your pan.
Due to the non-stick nature of ceramic cookware, you will be able to cook with less oil. In fact, it is best for your health and the longevity of your ceramic cookware to avoid cooking with too much oil in general.
Sustainability is an important topic that needs to address.
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you then take the pledge to become a conscious consumer.
Start by changing simple habits. When you do need to purchase an item make sure that you really need it.
If you decide that you do need this item, try to purchase a version that is reusable (not single-use).
“On average, a woman has her period from three to seven days and the average woman menstruates from age 13 until age 51. That means the average woman endures some 456 total periods over 38 years, or roughly 2,280 days (6.25 years of her life).”
The average life expectancy for a woman is 81 years. This means that she will spend approximately 7.7% of her life menstruating.
Women are instructed to change their tampon every 4 to 8 hours. For easy math sake, we’ll use 6 hours as an average, and assume that a box contains 36 tampons (costing approximately $7).
1 tampon every 6 hours = 4 tampons per day x 5 days of a period = 20 tampons per cycle x 456 periods =9,120 tampons over a lifetime.
At 36 tampons per box, that’s 253.3 boxes x $7 = $1,773.33!
“Chronic exposure [to toxins] increases our risk of cancer, causes oxidative stress, metabolic changes, and disrupts our endocrine system. This can contribute to adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immunological effects.”
In recent decades, infertility, endometriosis, and thyroid disorder rates have been on the rise. One explanation is the constant exposure to chemicals and toxins in our environment.
Furthermore, traces of dioxin (a known carcinogen), and a synthetic fiber called rayon are also found in tampons.
Dioxin: A Carcinogen and Cancer-causing Chemical
The vagina is a highly permeable space, meaning that toxins can be absorbed through the mucous membrane and enter into our bloodstream.
Dioxin is a by-product of the bleaching process and can leave a residue in the vaginal wall.
In another blog, I discuss the toxic nature of PVC plastic. One of the reasons why PVC is so toxic is that it releases dioxin during the production and recycling processes.
Even though we know that tampons clog up building pipes, some people still flush their tampons which are made of rayon. The longer synthetic materials are left in water, the more time they have to break apart.
Why are microfibers so harmful? Because tiny plastic pieces can bioaccumulate and biomagnify up the food chain which we ingest in the form of yummy seafood.
The Environmental Impact: Why is Zero Waste so Important?
While there are tampons that are sold without applicators, the majority of the tampons are the kind that comes in an applicator.
Just think, each of the 9,120 tampons comes in an applicator, a protective sleeve, and a box (with a set of instructions).
The worst part is that they are all one-time items 🙁
This is just the impact that you make. Now, let’s look at the situation from a macro scale.
According to the US census report, the population of America stands at approximately 326 million people. Of that, 51% of those people are female, so we can safely say that there are around 163 million women.
According to the site, approximately 50% of those women are between the ages of 13-51. Meaning that there are 81 million women of menstruation age.
If every woman of menstruating age uses an average of 20 tampons per cycle x 12 cycles per year… that’s 19,440,000,000 feminine products going to our landfills each year 🙁
Although you may not be able to afford to purchase an all-electric car, you can stop your contribution of sanitary pads/tampons that get thrown into our landfills each year.
Small changes can make a huge impact. Plus, making the switch will save you money, is good for the environment, and is the healthier option.
My Personal Experience with the Diva Cup:
I have personally used the Diva Cup for over 2 years now and absolutely love it!
It did take me 2 cycles to get used to, but now its just part of my routine.
No, you can’t feel it when it’s in (it just like a tampon). The only thing I had to get used to was learning how to take it out.
I find it easiest to clean the Diva Cup in the shower, and I don’t need to take an entire shower to clean it out. Just squat in the tub.
**Remember, we are trying to save water because the world is running out of potable water. Click here to learn how you can save 12,000+ gallons of water per year.
I can get away with cleaning my Diva Cup 3 times a day. Once in the morning, once around 5 pm, and before bed.
I hope I have made a strong enough case for you to seriously consider making the switch.
For women who have not had children, Model 1 is recommended. If you have given birth, then Model 2 is recommended.
Details About the Diva Cup:
The Diva Cup is made from 100% healthcare grade silicone. It is a reusable menstrual cup that collects (rather than absorbs) menstrual flow.
Just like with a tampon, you can be active with your Diva Cup. I am able to swim and lift weights at the gym.
The Diva Cup is manufactured in Canada and free of BPA, plastics, and dyes.
Of course, the manufacturer wants you to replace your Diva Cup once a year (most likely so that they can sell more of them). But according to Healthline.com, 100% health grade silicone can last 10-20 years.
I have had mine for 2+ years, and its still working without a hitch!
Be a part of the solution and stop contributing to the nearly 20 billion tampons/pads that end up in our landfills each year.
I am sure that many of you are aware of the gender inequality of pay gap. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has come out with a report that states that in the decade (between 2004 and 2014), women earned 80% to 83% as much as men.
“The pink tax refers to the extra amount women are charged for certain products or services. Things like dry cleaning, personal care products, and vehicle maintenance. So not only do women make less but they pay more. Women also live longer so they actually needmore money for retirement.”
Paying for tampons is part of this Pink Tax!
As you can see from the graph below (provided by statista.com), the tampon/pad industry generates nearly $925 million per year.
Dollar sales of the leading tampon brands in the United States in 2016 (in million U.S. dollars)*
No wonder every other commercial advertises a feminine hygiene product!
If you have learned even one piece of information that you did not know before reading this article, please share or re-pin so that we can spearhead this paradigm shift toward a more sustainable future together🙂