How to Create a Sustainable Circular Economy

How to Create a Sustainable Circular Economy

In my lifetime, the world’s population will increase from 5 billion to nearly 10 billion people. More importantly, we have an opportunity to build sustainable cities that will house this increase in population. According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in a city by 2050. In sum, many cities will need to experience a phase of redevelopment and new construction to keep up with this growth.

How to Create a Sustainable Circular Economy

Undoubtedly, we should take this opportunity to build infrastructure that will serve us well into the future. Instead of constructing buildings that will lock us into inefficient fossil fuel consumption, let’s build homes, offices, and downtown areas that are well insulated, use solar energy and are constructed with rainwater (run-off) management best practices. If investors, companies, and consumers could all come together to meet the climate challenge, we can make a huge difference.

 

Conscious Consumerism: Increases the Demand for Sustainable Products

 

You can make an impact by purchasing products that are made from post-consumer recycled content. First and foremost, re-using items already in circulation is the best way to reduce new raw material use. Upcycling and reusing items support a circular economy. More importantly, upcycling typically bolsters a local economy and helps small business owners.

Reuse, raw material source reduction, and recycling help us divert waste; that would otherwise have been sent to a landfill. The question is, how are you helping to reduce your carbon footprint? Is a friend’s birthday coming up? Give the gift of sustainability with this beautiful and unique upcycled canvas tote.

Myra’s Bags are made from upcycled canvas tarps and tents. The bags measure 11″ W x 13″ H and has a 22″ adjustable strap.

Each bag is truly original since they are made from upcycled materials.  This bag is a perfect blend of earth-friendly fashion. The tarps that these bags are made from have literally traveled the world. Each bag will sport its own unique marks of wear and tear. Slight variations, including stitch marks and minor staining on the canvas, are possible. These are the hallmarks of an up-cycled item!

 

 

An Ever-Increasing Population Paired with Limited Resources

 

We cannot deny the population growth numbers. In short, the numbers say that we must build homes to house our families and friends. With so much redevelopment and new development that will need to occur, let’s take this opportunity to create a new sustainable circular global economy.

In fact, we should look at this opportunity as a way to innovate alternative sustainable products. If we don’t, we will end-up locking ourselves into an unsustainable infrastructure system that will last us 50+ years.

So how do we build a more sustainable future?

We can extend our planet’s natural resources by constructing buildings that can engage in demand response programs, employ alternative energy resources, and install water-saving appliances. More importantly, properties that do not have a high R-rating (are well insulated), require more energy. This leads to an unstable grid and a need to build more energy-producing facilities.

Scarcity can be scary, but we have an opportunity to plan for a future where we can do more will fewer resources as our world’s population increases.

 

Sustainable Practices: Pressure From Investors

 

On one hand, we can put pressure on companies to produce sustainable products through conscious consumerism. On the other hand, investing in ESG ETFs puts pressure on companies from investors who are only wanting to invest in triple bottom line businesses.  We all have an impact and can help shape the future we live in. Moreover, change can come from any number of paths.

In last week’s article, I talked about how large investment funds are ​shifting their investment portfolio strategies to support sustainable economic practices. Blackrock is the world’s largest asset manager, with $7 trillion of assets under management. The company has stated that in 2020, it will divest its portfolios of most of the fossil fuel and coal-related businesses it owns stock in. Below you can watch an interview by CNBC and Mr. Fink. In the video, he discusses the company’s new portfolio strategy.

 

 

Additionally, a private equity giant called Blackstone has just invested $850 million into its commercial and industrial solar assets portfolio. As major investors, these companies are creating change from the top. As consumers, we can create change from the bottom. Hopefully, somewhere in the middle, companies will be incentivized to produce sustainable products.

Eco Economics was created to help you learn about personal finance while creating a more sustainable future. To learn more about the company visit Eco Economic’s website.

Support sustainable businesses by buying products from and investing in companies that put the people and the planet first.

 

Want to Learn About How to Support CSR Companies? Read the Following:

 

 

How Big Investors are Coming Together to Create a More Sustainable Planet

The sustainability crisis is finally starting to make headlines, especially in company boardrooms. BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with nearly $7 Trillion of assets under management. Each year, Laurence D. Fink (the founder and CEO of BlackRock), writes a letter called the “Letter to CEOs”. The letter is written from his company (representing the interest of investors) to the CEOs of the companies Blackrock holds stock in. Mr. Fink states that the “climate crisis” will reshape the world of finance.

 

This year, Mr. Fink announced that the firm would make investment decisions with “environmental sustainability” as a core goal. This move will fundamentally shift its investing policy. In sum, the old “profit over everything” is being traded in for a “Triple Bottom Line” mentality.

The consequence, this new mentality could reshape how corporate America does business. Moves toward sustainability, by large players in the market, put pressure on other money managers to follow suit.

This year, BlackRock will begin to exit investments that it perceives as having “a high sustainability-related risk.” The company will begin to divest its portfolio of companies in coal and other fossil fuel-related industries.  The intent is to encourage every company to rethink its carbon footprint. BlackRock has said that it will move aggressively to vote against management teams that are not making progress on sustainability. In fact, BlackRock could use its voting power as a shareholder to vote down executive pay increases. 

This top-down pressure is just the kind of climate action we need more of. If investors, companies, and consumers could all come together to meet the climate challenge, we can make a huge difference.

The question is, are you doing your part to help reduce your carbon footprint? Is a friend’s birthday coming up? Give the gift of sustainability with this Zero Waste Gift Box Set!

 

Carlyle Group Invests $100 Million in US Solar:

 

It’s not just large asset management companies that are making the shit towards supporting a sustainable agenda. Carlyle Group, a private equity company, is jumping on the sustainability bandwagon. The group intends to invest $100 million in developing, acquiring, financing and operating US solar projects through a new partnership with Alchemy Renewables.

Alchemy Renewables’ existing portfolio includes 38 projects in eight states. The Carlyle Group said that equity capital for the transaction comes from its ‘Renewable & Sustainable Energy Fund’. If you want to learn about how you can invest your money and have it support sustainable companies while earning you a healthy return, read “Saving for Retirement by Investing in Sustainable Companies”.

The Carlyle Group isn’t the only private equity giant making headlines by investing in solar. Blackstone announced in mid-January that it would make an $850 million investment in Solar as well.  Yes, Blackstone and BlackRock sound like very similar names…But they are different companies. 

 

Blackstone Invests $850 Million into Commercial Solar Projects:

 

According to PV-Tech, Altus Power America has raised $850 million in funding from Blackstone to build its commercial and industrial (C&I) portfolio. More importantly, the portfolio will concentrate on exclusively C&I solar generation assets.

It is my hope, that real estate developers will build homes and offices that will fit our needs into the future. With more than 7,000 Opportunity Zones nationwide, developers have an opportunity to change the way we live. If we continue to build properties without sustainability in mind and invest in the fossil fuel industry, we will lock ourselves into obsolete infrastructure that will not serve our needs properly. 

More importantly, a grass-roots movement starts with your voice. If you know a construction engineer, an architect, a construction worker or developer, talk to them about what sustainability features their current projects are implementing. If they aren’t implementing any, it will remind them that consumers care about our climate challenge and are demanding products that are built with a triple bottom line in mind.

 

What You Can Do To Make A Difference:

 

Every time I use a reusable product, it serves as a reminder to help me be more aware of my other actions throughout the day. By gifting sustainable products to your friends and family, it will help them become more aware of their daily habits. Not to mention, it will save them money by reducing the amount they spend on purchasing one-time use products. You may think that a bottle of water doesn’t cost much, but the bottled water industry is expected to reach $334 billion by 2023.

Sustainability kit

Purchasing single-use-items is the equivalent of a “death by 1,000 cuts” for your wallet and the earth. Make a difference today and check out the Sustainability Shop to see how you can save money, water, and the planet.

It is encouraging to watch the top-down pressure investors are putting on companies. I know that if we all work together, companies, investors, and consumers can create a more sustainable world for a better future.

 

Interested in learning about how you can fund companies with a triple bottom line? Read the following articles:

 

Do you invest in an ESG company? If so, which one? Feedback is always welcome, so feel free to comment below!

 

 

How to save for retirement by investing in sustainable companies

Saving for Retirement by Investing in Sustainable Companies

Today, people like you and I, are demanding more from our investment portfolios. It’s not enough to just make a return on our investments. We want purpose-driven retirement accounts that offer great returns while investing in sustainable companies.

 

How to Save for Retirement by Investing in Sustainable Companies (1)

 

I am a huge advocate of the Roth IRA because of its huge upsides. To learn more about the difference between a Roth and a regular IRA you can read my prior article called “ Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire! “ and”Tax-Free Money: The Secret of Buying Gold Inside of a Roth IRA”.

One of the biggest benefits of having a Roth IRA is that there is no RDM (required minimum draw). So what is an RMD you ask?

Let’s fast-forward to your 70th birthday. Six months after you blow out the birthday candles on your cake, you’ll be subject to a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your traditional IRA.

Remember, Uncle Sam allowed you to take a tax deduction for all those years when you were funding your traditional IRA account. Now, he wants his cut. The IRS is still waiting to tax all that money it has left alone for so long.

 

Benefits of Having a Roth IRA:

 

Taking an RMD is not a big deal if you’re already retired at age 70½ and are living off your retirement savings.

But if you’re a financially flush member of the silver-haired set who doesn’t necessarily need to withdraw funds from their IRA, the requirement is less appealing. Especially if your income bracket is high from your other streams of income.

If you have a traditional IRA, there is a 50% penalty on the amount that you should have withdrawn, if the RMD is not taken. 

Traditional IRA’s aren’t the only accounts that have the RMD provision. Other accounts subject to an RMD are 401(k) plans and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).

Another benefit of having a Roth IRA is that the IRS provides for an automatic spousal rollover if the spouse is the sole beneficiary. That means the surviving spouse automatically becomes the new owner of the Roth IRA upon the death of the original owner. 

 

Saving is the Core of Investing:

Remember “The rule of 184”.

If you save $100 a month and invest that hundred dollars at 8%, then in 10 years you’ll have $18,444.

Which means that the opportunity cost of every $100 spent per month is $18,444 in 10 years. 

You can apply this to any $100 increment, like cable, shopping, dinners, etc. This is similar to the $5 a day rule that I talk about in prior blogs. 

Remember, you should run your personal finances like it were a business. Just like a business, you have income and expenses.

When you are itemizing your monthly bills, ask yourself is it really worth it?

What if you put $100 per month in an ETF that invests in sustainable companies? You would be supporting sustainable companies by allowing them to produce healthier and better products.

Capital allows sustainable companies to invest in research and development which leads to newer/better materials and products.

 

“How the Economic Machine Works” by Ray Dalio

 

Ever wonder why we have economic boom and bust cycles? Well, Ray Dalio does a fantastic job of explaining how the economic machine works.

Ray Dalio is the founder, co-Chief Investment Officer and co-Chairman of Bridgewater Associates. In 2012, Time Magazine named him “One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World”. Bridgewater Associates is a global macro investment firm that is currently the world’s largest hedge fund.

Ray is an active philanthropist with an interest in oceanographic research and conservation. He is a participant in The Giving Pledge (a commitment to give more than half of his wealth to charity). Ray created a fantastic short film which explains why we have business cycles. 

Let’s watch an awesome 30-minute video that will help explain how the economic machine works. 

 

 

You can read Ray’s most recent economic update article here. 

To get Ray Dalio’s “All Season’s” stock portfolio diversification percentage numbers, read Stocks: A Diversified Portfolio.

 

 

How to Invest in Sustainable Companies:

 

Recent reports show that socially responsible ETFs now have over $10.63 billion assets under management. The size and power of these funds prove that ESG investing cannot be overlooked.  With an incredibly low average expense ratio of 0.42%, sustainable ETFs are becoming hard to ignore.

The largest socially responsible ETF is the iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF DSI, which has around $1.38 billion in assets.

In the last trailing year, the best performing socially responsible ETF was the LRGE fund which reigned in a whopping 20.23%.

ETFs are the way to go, due to their incredibly low cost. According to Nerdwallet.com, a 1% fee could cost $590,000 in retirement savings over 40 years.

So now that we have covered how you can make money by investing in sustainable companies, let’s talk about how you can save money by being green at home.

 

How to Save Money by Going Green:

 

Here are a few easy actionable steps that can help you save money by going green:

  1. Run your appliances at night…Energy rates are usually higher during the day, so run your dishwasher and washing machine before you head to bed.
  2. Typically you spend less per unit when you buy things in bulk, and it helps reduce the amount of packaging you use per item.
  3. Freezers with top opening doors release less cold air that ones with doors that open outwards.
  4. Remember to stock up when an item is on sale! I buy non-perishable items in bulk (careful not to purchase perishable items in bulk unless you have space in your freezer).
    • Warning: Don’t be fooled by buying too much of a perishable item unless you can freeze it.

 

 

Saving the environment and preventing climate change is the most important issue we face today. This challenge impacts every individual on this planet, regardless of social economic status or physical location.

I find it odd that schools don’t teach children about sustainability or how to manage their finances. These two topics impact everyone, yet we don’t teach our student about personal finance and sustainable living.

Meaning that people grow up and go out into the world without the proper preparation to handle their finances or what it means to live in harmony with the planet.

It’s no wonder why so many people are in debt or live month to month. Every person on this planet is impacted by the monetary system, and everyone has a financial report card so why isn’t it part of the mandatory school curriculum?

My goal is to help as many people as possible make smarter financial decisions and live a more sustainable lifestyle!

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

 

Feedback is always welcome, so feel free to comment below!

Tax-Free Income: A Guide to Reducing Your Taxes Legally While Going Green (Part 2)

Only you have the power to reduce your taxes! This is because you have to know which actions will result in the ability to write off a cost as an expense. You have to know enough about how to apply the tax code to your situation in order to use it to your benefit.

For example, you don’t have to know all of the rules of a 1031 exchange, just that you know what one is and when you might be able to take advantage of one.

 

Tax-Free Income_ A Guide to Reducing Your Taxes Legally While Going Green (Part 2)

Similarly, you don’t have to know the exact tax form you need to write off a recent home energy efficiency purchase (e.g.insulation). You just need to know that you can lower your tax burden and reduce your utility bill by adding insulation to your home.

In fact, adding adequate insulation is one of the most cost-effective home improvements that you perform on your property.

Tax Credit Amount: 10% of the cost, up to $500.

 

You Are Your Own Bookkeeper:

 

To take advantage of this tax credit, all you have to do is keep track of the expense on a spreadsheet and give it to your tax accountant at the end of the year. You are your own bookkeeper, which can be a good or bad thing.

It’s great if you know which expenses to keep track of or terrible if you don’t know what you are doing.

If you don’t know what you are doing, the result will be that you will pay the most you can possibly pay in taxes.

 

Why You Need to Understand the Principles of the Tax Code:

 

The government uses incentives to get the free-market (entrepreneurs, homeowners, and investors like you and me) to focus on projects that it wants us to invest in, build, and/or fund.

The government wants people to “go green”, which is why they provide a 30% tax credit for installing solar panels and offer a credit of 10% of the cost, up to $500 for adding insulation to your home.

When we do want the government wants, the government rewards us with tax breaks!

Luckily, you don’t have to memorize all 2,600 pages of the tax code. You just need to understand the principles behind them.

Once you understand the tax code principles, you’ll know when you may be in a situation to write an expense off. When you get good at recognizing these kinds of situations, you will edit your actions so that you purposely take the path of putting yourself in more of these kinds of situations.

The saying, “You don’t know, what you don’t know” rings true in this situation.

If you spent time learning about the principles behind the tax code, then when you find yourself at a crossroad, you can ask your tax advisor how to navigate the situation to your advantage.

With the tax code principles in hand, you can apply this knowledge to your daily actions.

For example, you can write off meals with a business partner or a friend who consults in your industry.

You just have to write down:

  1. What you talked about
  2. Who you eat the meal with
  3. Save your receipt (take a photo and store it electronically)

 

Then you can write it off as a marketing or consulting expense.

The two areas that our government gives the most tax incentives are in the areas of owning a business and in real estate. This is because these two areas provide jobs, housing, products, and services.

 

 

Sustainable Business Practices: Upcycle, Recycle, and Downcycle

 

 

It is becoming an indisputable fact that the future of business prefers ESG companies.

The world’s economies are slowly moving from a linear to a circular economy. The main driver is due to the fact that the “old way of doing things” is just no longer a viable option.

The transition toward a circular economy has to occur because our linear economy of “make, use, and dispose” is unsustainable.

The goal of a circular economy is to use raw materials more efficiently, resulting in a reduction in waste. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible. By doing this, we can continue to use the same materials over and over again.

In a circular economy, we would “make, use, and return”. Here is a great video by CNBC that quickly explains how a circular economy works.

 

Upcycling:

 

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

In other words, upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often times more beautiful with more value.

Downcycling: 

 

Conversely, downcycling is a recycling practice that involves breaking an item down into its component elements or materials. Once the elements or materials are recovered, they are reused if possible. Usually, the reused materials are created into a lower-value product.

The main take away is that resources are limited because our planet does not have the capacity to produce an unlimited amount of natural raw materials.

For example, not only is the amount of copper in the ground is finite. But, pulling new copper out of the ground results in deforestation and the use of transportation fuel (which is bad for the environment and our Global Warming problem). Instead, it would be better for us to reuse the copper that is already in circulation.

 

 

Why We Need to Move to a Circular Economy:

 

The human population continues to grow at an incredibly fast rate. In fact, the UN reports that “roughly 83 million people are being added to the world’s population every year”.

The latest world population projections indicate that the global population will reach 10 billion people in the year 2055 and 11 billion in the year 2088.

To see a website dedicated to the global population growth visit worldometers.info. It is pretty scary to watch how many people are born every second and know that each one of those people needs to be fed, clothed, and bathed. Now imagine that each one of those people wants to buy a house, car, and iPhone.

 

 

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint While Increasing Your Income?

 

Eco Economics is devoted to helping you learn about personal finance while creating a more sustainable future.

Remember, saving is the core of investing. One way you can save money is by buying reusable and sustainable products. A second way to save is by insulating your home.

Start saving money today so that you can purchase income-producing assets to secure your financial future.

Becoming a minimalist will inherently help you save more money (because you are buying less). This, in turn, will allow you to invest more. The zero-waste lifestyle has many health and budget benefits.

How to View the Tax Code: 

 

By learning the tax code you can keep more of your hard-earned money.

Think about your financial IQ, financial report card, and financial freedom like it is a game. Once you shift your perspective, you will love learning about how to win the Financial Freedom Game of Life.

Treat the tax code as if it were a treasure map. As you follow the map, your taxes will go down. In turn, you get to keep more of your money, which you will then re-invest to make more money!

The Financial Freedom Game of Life is exactly that… A Game, so use all of the tools you can to ensure that you have the best chances of winning.

Are you saving for retirement? Hopefully, the answer is yes. If it is “Great”!

Are you invested in mutual funds? Like a Target Date Fund?

If the answer to this is yes, you are likely paying too much in fees!

To quote Nerdwallet,

“A 1% Fee Could Cost $590,000 in retirement savings over 40 years.”

 

 

Be a Life-Long Learner:

 

There are many ways to learn throughout life, all of which cost money, time, or a combination of both. Typically, there are 3 ways to learn. You can pay to learn a subject, ascertain knowledge from a mentor, or you can go through the-school-of-hard-knocks.

With a mentor, you are limited to the time that you are able to physically spend with them and you need to coordinate your schedules. Your mentor has their own life, so you will likely need to conform your schedule to theirs.

The difficult part with the “learn-as-you-go” through the trial-and-error method is that you may not know what you should have done instead.

More importantly, you cannot undo mistakes (you can only learn from them because the damage is already done). Typically, there is a cost for fixing a mistake, whether it be a monetary or time cost.

Another result of the “learn-as-you-go” through the trial-and-error method is that you will constantly get blindsided by obstacles and have serious feelings of uncertainty.

Invest in yourself and take the time to learn about the tax code.

Like what you see? Stay a while!

 

 

Feedback is always welcome, so feel free to comment below!

 

How to Save for Retirement by Going Green: Insulation

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!

How to Save for Retirement by Going Green Insulation (1)

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.

For instance, a homeowner in the Northeast with an uninsulated attic can save around $600 a year by adding about 15 inches of insulation (R-38- ill go over R-values later in this article).

In fact, just 6 inches can net annual savings of around $200.

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, by simply reducing your home’s air leakage by 25%, you can lower your annual energy costs by around $300.  

The money you save can be put toward any number of uses, but since Eco Economics is about sustainability and increasing your financial IQ…

I would say that the highest and best use of this money is to devoted it to a tax-advantaged account that helps you achieve financial freedom!

Depending on the type of materials you use, you will pay an average of $1,500 to insulate an 800-square-foot attic. If you do this, you can expect to have a payback period on your investment in three years.

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!

 

 

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.

If you are interested in learning how you can DIY your own solar panel system, visit Renewable Energy Tax Credit: How to Install DIY Solar Panels. You can build your own solar energy system for 60%-70% cheaper than if you were to get one installed!

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.

 

To find utility company rebates offered in your zip code read, “Renewable Energy Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates“.

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)
  • Exterior doors
  • 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.

 

 

R-Value:

 

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.

 

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

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.

Gardening Tips and Tricks to prevent Global Warming

Gardening Tips and Tricks to Prevent Global Warming

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.

 

Gardening Tips and Tricks to prevent global warming

 

Benefits of Planting Your Own Organic Garden:

 

Here is a list of benefits that gardening can bring to your life:

  1. Reduces the amount that you spend at the grocery store each week. Consequently, the money you save can be used to fund your Roth IRA (Roth IRA: How to Become a Millionaire by the Time You Retire!)
  2. Reduces the transportation fuel (carbon output) used to ship vegetables across oceans and highways to get to your local store.
  3. 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! 
  4. Organic food tastes better because it is fresher and is able to ripen on the vine (instead of a gas chamber).
  5. It is an outdoor activity. Certainly, you can replace one of your indoor electricity using (TV, video games, social media time) hobbies with gardening. Keep in mind, Fossil fuels and coal make up nearly 62% of how we generate electricity in the U.S
  6. 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.
  7. 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!!!
  8. 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:

 

  1. Eliminates the addition of chemical pesticides that you are currently putting into your body.
  2. No chemical fertilizers. In short, worm casting is nature’s Miracle Grow and is an all natural organic fertilizer! Read on to learn about worm casting.
  3. It helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  4. Adds a bit of exercise to your life.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

 

The Survival Garden Seed Kit by Open Seed Vault:

 

 

Inside the Survival Garden Seed Pack are carefully selected vegetables to provide a well balanced and healthy diet.

This seed pack comes with 32 varieties of all-natural vegetable seeds that are non-hybrid, non-GMO, 100% naturally grown, and open pollinated. Plus, a 14-page growing and seed saving guide.

 

Each pack contains the following 32 seed packets:  Seeds

  1. Kale Vates Blue Scotch
  2. Eggplant Black Beauty
  3. Green Bean Tendergreen Improved
  4. Zucchini Dark Green
  5.  Lettuce Buttercrunch Butterhead
  6. Brussels Sprouts Long Island
  7. Lettuce Ruby Leaf
  8. Lettuce Black Seeded Simpson
  9. Bell Pepper California Wonder
  10.  Radish Cherry Belle
  11. Okra Clemson Spineless
  12. Beet Detroit Dark Red
  13. Onion Evergreen Bunching
  14. Cabbage Golden Acre
  15. Corn Golden Bantam
  16. Cantaloupe Hales Best Jumbo
  17. Winter Squash Jumbo Pink Banana
  18. Tomato Beef Steak
  19. Lima Henderson
  20. Swiss Chard Giant Fordhook
  21. Cucumber Marketmore
  22. Spinach Bloomsdale
  23. Carrot Scarlet Nantes
  24. Turnip Purple Top
  25. Pumpkin Sugar Pie
  26. Cauliflower Snowball
  27. Pea Sugar Daddy
  28. Broccoli Waltham
  29. Winter Squash Waltham Butternut
  30. Sunflower Mammoth
  31. Parsnips Harris Model
  32. Celery Tall Utah Improved

 

The packets are USA Seed Stored in an airtight and moisture proof resealable bag for safer, long-term storage. Plus, the seeds have been tested for maximum germination and vegetable yield.

The Survival Garden Seed Pack is the perfect seed starter kit to bringing fresh vegetables to your kitchen table!

 

 

 

Epica’s Stainless Steel Compost Bin:

 

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:

  1. Helps plants grow faster.
  2. Increases soil aeration, which helps plants absorb nutrients and allows their roots to breath properly.
  3. Increases water retention, which makes it possible to use 50-75% less water in some situations. Money Saved! 
  4. Is all-natural! The consumption of fewer chemicals is vital to a healthier lifestyle. Worm casting allows you to grow “organic” vegetables!
  5. 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! 
  6. Burn-proof. Often times fertilizers are too high in nitrogen, which burns your plants. Casting will never burn the roots of your plants 🙂
  7. It is a natural pesticide! Save money on pesticides while avoiding the need to spray chemicals.
  8. Increases your crop yield :). In 2014, Nature Research published a study that showed that crops grown in worm castings produce 25% more yield.

 

 

Worm Casting Kit:

 

 

The nice thing about producing your own casting is that you will continuously produce natural fertilizer for your garden every month.

Producing your own casting will save you money over time, as opposed to purchasing casting from the store (which is typically packaged in a plastic bag).  

I have included a video to shows how the worm factory produces approximately 6 quarts of worm casting per month.

What’s more, the cost of worm casting bought from a store can be as much as $25 for 8 quarts.

In sum, if you are serious about wanting to grow organic vegetables, making the investment in a worm casting kit is totally worth it!

Moreover, you get to collect worm casting tea (to be clear, this is not the kind of tea you drink) that your plants love!! You should mix the tea with water and water your plants for an extra boost. worm casting

The Worm Factory comes with a bonus “What Can Red Wigglers Eat?” infographic refrigerator magnet.

This allows you to quickly determine which foods are perfect for your worms, and which you should avoid. 

Plus, the Worm Factory is odor-free and included a 38-page instruction manual that is a step-by-step guide to managing your Worm Factory.

This worm casting kit has a built-in “worm tea” collector tray and spigot for easy draining.

I have included this instructional video to help you set up your worm casting kit by Growyourgreens.com.

 

 

 

Red Worms:

 

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!Red worms

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.

Moreover, becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits.

 

You may be Interested In:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to spread the word by sharing so that we can help others become Sustainability Heros too!

I encourage interaction, so please feel free to comment below!

 

8 Ways to Reduce Global Warming by Increasing Energy Efficiency (2) (1)

8 ways to Reduce Global Warming by Increasing Energy Efficiency

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.

 

8 Ways to Increasing Energy Efficiency to Prevent Climate Change

 

8 Ways to Reduce Global Warming by Increasing Your Energy Efficiency:

Insulation Socket Sealer

1. Electrical Outlet Insulation:

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.

 

3. Thermostat: 

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.

 

100 watt lights

 

5. LED Light Bulbs: 

Replace light bulbs with LED lights. Learn how you can save over $5,000 by switching to LED lights. According to EnergyStar.gov, the average home has approximately 40 lightbulbs.

 

Energy star rated light bulbs

 

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.

USA today LED

 

6. Low Flow Water Conservation Kit: 

Install a water conservation kit. 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).Insulation Window Kit

 

7. Window Insulation:

 

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 these Blackout Insulation Curtains that are Insulating Black out curtains 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 waterproof and you can either dry clean or machine wash them.

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.

Remember, fossil fuels and coal make up nearly 62%  of how we generate electricity in the U.S.

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

The federal/state governments and even some local utility companies offer tax breaks and incentives when you upgrade your home to be more energy-efficient.

To learn more about these tax credits and rebates, read my article called: Renewable Energy Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates

The article will link you to the EnergyStar website where you can look up specific rebates and energy-saving programs that your utility company may offer.

Becoming a Sustainability Hero has health, environment, and budget benefits.

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to spread the word by sharing. That way we can help others become Sustainability Heros too!

Renewable Energy Incentives, Tax Credits, and Rebates

Renewable Energy Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates

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. 

 

Renewable energy Tax breaks

 

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.

The average price of a home solar system in the United States is around $15,800 for a 5kW system. A 30% tax credit on that amount saves homeowners just over $4,720.

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. 

 

Federal solar tax credit

 

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.

This is why I wrote an article about how you can DIY (Do It Yourself) solar panels.

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 states and 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:

  1. Energy efficiencyuse less energy by insulating your home, and installing WaterSense and Energy Star rated appliances or conversion kits.
  2. Renewable energy install solar panels, wind turbines, etc.

 

State programs are very specific and vary widely, so make sure to research your state’s energy tax policy. Of course, a simple online search should produce very helpful results.

 

State tax breaks can be broken down into three main categories:

 

  1. Sales tax exemptions (many states exempt purchases of energy-efficient products or renewable energy equipment)
  2. Income tax credits or deductions (available in 22 states)
  3. Property tax rebates or exemptions (available 32 states)
Similarly, this list is broken down by state and is very easy to navigate.

 

 

 

Appliance Rebates:

 

 

EnergyStar has a rebate finder that is super easy to use! Simply, type in your zip code and it will give you a list of the current rebates that your utility companies are offering!

Santa Monica, California is offering 10 mail in rebates. I couldn’t get a screenshot off all 10, but here is an example of what three of them look like:

 

 

rebate offers

 

 

 

Utility Company Rebates:

 

Check with your utility company to see whether they have any of the following programs:

 

1. LED lightbulb replacements

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! 

 

 

Energy star rated light bulbs

 

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. 

 

 

AmazonBasics LED (100-watt incandescent light bulb replacement)

 

 

2. Programmable thermostats

Some utility companies offer rebates or incentives if you install a programmable thermostat.

Most importantly, a programmable thermostat helps you have more control over the temperature in your home and save you money by doing so. You can read about the 8 Benefits of Programmable Thermostats here. 

 

3. Recycle old appliances

There are some utility companies that will pick up your old appliances and then give you a rebate on purchasing a new EnergyStar rated one! Double dip savings! 

Moreover, often times when you purchase a new appliance from a store they will charge you to remove your old appliance.

Calling your utility company before shopping for a new appliance can help you by:

First, save money by getting advice on which appliances are the most energy-efficient.

Second, they may remove your old appliance and recycle it for free.

Third, they may offer rebates for approved EnergyStar and WaterSense appliances and fixtures.

 

4.  Upgrading to EnergyStar rated appliances

Use the EnergyStar rebate finder to see what kinds of incentive programs your utility company offers for washers, dryers, dishwashers, tankless water heaters, etc.

5. Tune up your furnace

Your utility company may offer a forced air furnace diagnostic tune-up rebate.

6. Winterization and insulation upgrades

Ask your utility company what kinds of rebates they offer for upgrading your home to become more energy-efficient.

In sum, by implementing these energy efficienct and renewable technology suggestions you can attain large savings. Moreover, it would seem that you can obtain savings from many different avenues.

 

 

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

Start by changing simple habits and using products that are sustainable/reusable.

Moreover, make sure to talk to your family, friends, and community about sustainability. Knowledge helps people become aware of their actions which will help everyone make a larger impact together.

We got into this resource depletion and global warming issue together, which means that the only way out is to solve the issue as a community 🙂

Recently, scientists have released a warning that the world has less than 15 years to reduce the carbon output to nearly 0 or else face serious climate change consequences.

 

Articles that may interest you:

 

 

If you have enjoyed this content, please remember to pin and share!

By sharing we can help others become Sustainability Heros too! Remember, it is our own lives and futures at stake.

Interested in a particular topic? Comment below!

 

 

 

Top 5 Eco-Friendly Sustainable Yoga Mats!

Top 5 Eco-Friendly Sustainable Yoga Mats!

Top 5 Eco-Friendly Sustainable Yoga Mats!

Hello, My fellow Yogis ! Fantastic news. I have found 5 Eco-Friendly sustainable or biodegradable yoga mats to help you center your prana!

There are so many ways to center yourself and live in harmony with Mother Earth. Why not bring your yoga practice to the next level by raising the quality of your mat?

I am sure you already know how harmful plastic and PVC products are for this plant. If not, please read up on the Pacific Garbage Patch to get up to speed. Yes, there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating around in the Pacific that basically makes up its own island.

So, if you are on board with reducing the amount of plastic you use, then this post is written just for you!

So many of the products that we buy and use throughout our lives end up landfills or worse yet in the ocean. It is critically important that we consciously think about the products we purchase. Eco Economics is all about promoting sustainable conscious consumerism. The goal is to incentivize businesses to expand their Eco-Friendly product lines. We want to reward those companies that provide plastic-free and earth conscious products.

 

[convertkit form=5211613]

 

 

Plastic and other unrecyclable or uncompostable products have lifespans that far exceed our own lives. This means that the single-use solo cup, which we used for that one game of beer pong, will be around when our grandchildren inhabit the earth!! That is so crazy to think about, right?!?

 

The True Meaning of Yoga  Practice:

As you perform your sun salutation, realize that you are praying to the sun. When you let out an audible Om, know that you are making the origination vibration of the universe and of Mother Earth.

Throughout history, the concept of primordial energy has had many names. In India and Sanskrit, it is known as “Prana“. In the Chinese culture, it is called Chi, and in Ancient Egypt, it is called Ka.

If I may be so brave, I would like to link our current society’s intellectual era of science. Today, scientists believe that the lowest level common denominator in quantum physics is “String Theory”.

Without getting into it, the basic principle of string theory is that every subatomic particle is made up of vibrating strings of energy. While I am not a theoretical physicist, I do enjoy reading the works of Steven Hawking and Michio Kaku (who are, in fact, physicists).

What I am trying to say is that there must be some validity to the idea that Mother Earth does have a vibration, and her spirit must exist.

The ancient indigenous people of the Andes (most notably the Incas), called this spirit “Pachamama“.

Yoga is about self-realization and connection. Connection to yourself and the Earth. 

As you practice yoga, the intention is to focus on the integrity of the mind, body, and soul. You are a part of Mother Earth, and thus integrity must also be with her as well.

Somehow, during the industrial age, we forgot about the ancestral teachings and began to take more than we gave to our Mother Earth. We have lived in this way for over 100 years, and we are truly starting to see the effects of our actions.

The good news is that we are beginning to realize the errors of our ways.

It is up to you to make a change! 

 

The Truth About Plastic Yoga Mats: 

Today, many yoga mats are made of PVC or polyvinyl type materials that fall apart easily.

Thankfully, an increasing number of companies are producing sustainable, plastic and chemical-free yoga mats. Most of these yoga mats are made from all-natural rubber, so you don’t have to sacrifice grip quality for a sustainable mat.

If going sustainable is not enough of a reason to transition to a “green” mat, think about this…

The CDC (Center for Disease Controle and Prevention) clearly states on its website that:

The use of lead in plastics has not been banned. Lead softens the plastic and makes it more flexible so that it can go back to its original shape.

Unfortunately, yoga mats usually fall into the category of plastic, unrecyclable, and uncompostable products.

Now think about this… When you sweat, your pores open up… and you are now laying on a plastic mat that could have been made with lead…

Without further ado, here are 5 Eco-Friendly yoga mats that can help you and our planet live in greater harmony!

 

5 Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats:

 

1. The Vegan Ajana Yoga Mat

 

Sustainable vegan yoga matIf you subscribe to the Vegan lifestyle, this Ajana Jute Yoga Mat is for you! Naturally, this mat is eco-friendly, recyclable, vegan, and made from organic jute fiber. 

Jute fiber is 100% biodegradable and recyclable. The Jute stem has a high volume of cellulose and can be harvested within 4-6 months (which is extremely quick!).

In comparison, the only useful part of a cotton plant is the flowering portion. Whereas the majority of the jute plant is usable material. 

Comparatively, trees take many years to grow and hence jute can save the forest! Due to how fast it can grow, jute can meet the cellulose and wood demand of the world.  The wonderful thing about jute is that it is one of nature’s most sustainable forms of fiber.

Additionally, this mat is free from harmful toxic chemicals (including BPA, PVC, and heavy metals).

Furthermore, Ajana is a CSR company! The best part is that for every mat that is purchased, Ajana donates $1 to One Tree Planted.

One Tree Planted is a 501c3 non-profit organization that’s mission is to reforest in 4 regions: North AmericaLatin AmericaAfrica, and Asia

If you are a Vegan, check out the Ajana Jute Yoga Mat that was created with you in mind!

 

 

2. The Mindful Mat

 

The Mindful Mat is made of a 100% biodegradable and recyclable plastic!! Don’t worry, you read right. That is because it is made with TPE (Thermoplastic elastomers)

Due to uncured molecular chains, it is possible to melt down the TPE again and again. Sustainable yoga mat 2

I love thick yoga mats, and The Mindful Mat is 6 mm (approx. 1/4 inch) in thickness, which is one of the more plush options of this list.

This mat uses a closed cell technology that is eco-friendly. Moreover, it is PVC, latex, and lead-free.

Additionally, this mat boasts a double layer design with a super grip bottom texture for an anti-slip experience.

Of course, this super sustainable mat comes with a lightweight durable carrying strap for easy transportation and storage.

Click here to check out the full details about the Mindful Mat here (affiliate link).

 

 

3.  Yoloha Cork Yoga Mat

 

Sustainable yoga mat corkThe Yoloha Cork Yoga Mat is super lightweight and portable (weighing in at just 2.5 lbs).

This mat offers antimicrobial properties and is made of a highly sustainable material.

Sustainable yoga mat cork tree

 

Moreover, the manufacturer stands by the quality of its products and offers a full refund or exchange within 30 days. No questions asked!

One thing to keep in mind is that due to the nature of how porous cork is, this yoga mat is probably not the one to go with if you are really into hot yoga.

On the other hand, the best thing about using cork is that you don’t have to cut the tree down or kill it to harvest its bounty!!!

You can strip the outer rings of the tree, and harvest it again in 9 years!!! 

Get this, the average cork tree can produce around 100 pounds of cork per stripping!! Ill open a bottle of wine to that :).

Click here to read the exact specs of the Yoloha Cork Yoga Mat! 

 

4Athoon Yoga Mat

Sustaibale yoga mat

The Athoon yoga mat is one of the more cost effective mats on this list. The Athoon mat is also made of TPE, which is a mix of rubber and plastic. As described above,TPE can be recycled and reused.

If your goal is to make the switch to a non-plastic mat, then the other mats on this list are going to be a better fit.

If your budget is a bit tight, then this could be a great happy medium! 

That being said, it is, of course, biodegradable and non-toxic.

Truthfully, I have not personally used this mat, but from the reviews, it seems to be a “great bang for your buck” deal.

Furthermore, this mat comes with a yoga strap, carrying bag, and a carry strap!

Another great feature is that the Athoon yoga mat is very thick at 6mm for that extra soft feel.

Interested in learning more about the Athoon Eco-friendly yoga mat? Click here!

 

 

5. Manduka EKO Lite Yoga Pilates Mat

 

 

sustainable yoga mat natural rubberThe Manduka EKO Lite Yoga Pilates Mat is Latex-free and made of Non-Amazon (sustainably harvested) rubber. Moreover, this zero waste yoga mat is made from biodegradable materials

The Manduka Mat does not contain PVC or toxic plasticizers and is safe for latex sensitivities people

A Tri-Layer Technology is used for an optimal combination of grip, durability, and slip-resistance.

Additionally, instead of using a synthetic polyester for reinforcement, the manufacturers use a blend of polyester and natural cotton.

My boyfriend has this mat, and he absolutely loves it (because of how grippy it is)! Yes, it is a bit on the pricey side, but it is 100% worth it! 

For more information on the Manduka EKO Lite Yoga Pilates Mat click here! 

***Quick note: There is a 1.5mm version that is cheaper, but you do get what you pay for. I really like my yoga mats to have that soft padded feeling, otherwise, you might as well practice on the hard floor. Trust me, sit-ups done straight on the floor suck. But that is because I do more than just yoga on my mat.

 

The 10,000 Foot Overview:

 

Typically, when it comes to your yoga practice, you are rolling around on your mat for at least an hour. You want to make sure that you are practicing on a chemical free surface.

Remember your skin is porous, and you do not want to absorb plastic toxins while centering yourself during practice.

Again, most plastics are made with BPA and lead! Eeeek!!!

Invest in a high-quality yoga mat is both good for your health and the environment!

The biggest benefit that I have found with a high-quality mat is its grip factor. Making the switch to a high-performance mat completely changed my practice!

Remember, you get what you pay for. With the right care, these mats can last years.

A yoga mat isn’t an item that you buy on a regular basis, so get one that will accelerate your practice, is free of toxins, and is good for the planet!!!

If you enjoyed reading this article or would like me to write a comparison article about another kind of sustainable product out there. Let me know by commenting below!

 

 

 

Photo Credit:

Cork Tree

Why the World is Running Out of Clean Water

Clean Water Facts:

 

The world is running out of clean water because there isn’t much potable (drinkable) water to start with. I bet that you have heard that 70% of the world’s surface is covered by water. But did you know that 97.5% of it is salt water?  This means that only 2.5% of all the water on earth is drinkable. Of that, almost 68.7% of the freshwater is frozen in ice caps and glaciers. 

So in total, only 1% of all the water resources on earth are available for human use!

Water is the foundation of life, yet 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water worldwide.

While the population and demand on freshwater resources are increasing, the supply will always remain constant. The EPA website states that the U.S. population has doubled over the past 50 years, while our thirst for water has tripled!!!

The EPA estimates that at least 40 states anticipate having water shortages by 2024, and the need to conserve water is critical.

Although it’s true that the water cycle continuously returns water to Earth, it is not always returned to the same place, or in the same quantity and quality. Humans have a tendency to add chemicals, waste, and hormones that pollute the water system.

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) estimates that each person uses around 80-100 gallons of water per day!

The Average American Water Utility Bill 

sustainability Water usage

According to the Water Research Foundation, toilets, showers, and faucets are the biggest consumers of our clean water resources (within a household). Luckily I have found 3 great and super cheap ways to help you become a clean water saving hero!

The best thing of all is that these water saving gadgets will more than pay for themselves in 1-2 years!

Then it’s extra saving into the bank for next 5-8 years (or the lifespan of their useful lives)!!! 

By curtailing our water use and pollution we can reduce the impact of climate change and hopefully slow down global warming!

Woo hoo! This means healthier lives, more savings, and a happier Mother Earth!!!

 

What You Can Do Today to Help Save Our Clean Water Resources

I wish the products for sustainability were sexier. I mean, come on… Selling a Lamborghini with a bikini-clad model is way easier to market than a water-conserving toilet tank bag!!!

But my hope is to make sustainability “cool”. Because after all, living in a wasteland is NOT sexy…

So here is my bikini-clad model showcasing this very “cool” and sustainable toilet tank bag! 

sustainability. clean water bikini

A Water Conserving Toilet Tank Bag:

Sustainability. Clean water

This super cheap water displacement pouch conserves 80 -160 oz. of water per flush!

One gallon of water is equal to 128 oz. Say for math sake, you fill the bag up to the smallest level of water savings (80 oz). You then take the average household of 4 people that flush around 4,000 times per year and multiply it by the amount of water saved per flush 80 x 4,000 = 320,000 oz of water. Now we divide that number by 128 oz to get the amount in gallons.

The average household can save up to 2,500 gallons of water per year! 

This is a much cheaper option than purchasing a brand new low flow toilet. Remember, remodeling and construction are one of the most wasteful industries. If your toilet works just fine, then save water and money by converting your current toilet into a low flow toilet using this water displacement bag.

If your current toilet is broken or needs to be replaced, you can visit this toilet cost calculation website to find out how much it will cost to replace your current throne with a low flow version. A standard toilet install should take between one and two hours to complete and cost an average of $348 or less to install. Plus the cost of a low flow toilet.

Don’t have $400-$800 for material, labor, supplies, and tools to install a low flow toilet? Opt for this inexpensive fix!!!

Click here to learn more about  the Toilet Tank Bank

Low Water Flow Showerhead:

 

sustainability clean water showerheadIn an average home, showers typically consume 20% of the utility bill. The average American shower uses 17 gallons and lasts for 8 minutes (or 2.1 gallons per minute). 

This showerhead has a low flow rate of 1.2 gallons per minute. Meaning that by making the switch you could be saving 7.4 gallons of water per shower.

If we take the average household of 4 people who shower once per day, that equals 10,804 gallons of clean water saved per year!!!

The Math:

  • If the average shower lasts 8 minutes, and this showerhead has a water flow rate of 1.2 x 8 minutes= 9.2 gallons.
  • 17 gallons-9.6 gallons used=7.4 gallons saved!
  • If the average household contains 4 people, then 7.4 gallons x 4 people x 365 days per year=10,804 gallons of water saved per year per house!!

 

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of America is 325 million as of 2017. Imagine how many millions of gallons of clean water we could save?!?

This super awesome showerhead comes with 5 spray pattern functions (Saturating, Massage, Dot Massage, Saturating & Massage, Saturating & Dot Massage), and has a 1-year limited warranty!

If you wanted to turn up the shower pressure, it has a maximum 2 GPM water flow rate at 80 PSI (meaning that you could get a mini back massage out of the deal)!

By switching over to this low flow WaterSense showerhead you get the same benefits of a squeaky clean body, but with the satisfaction that you are saving money and the environment!

Click here for more details Kingston Brass WaterSense showerhead

 

Low Flow Faucet Conversion Attachment:

sustainability clean water Sense water faucet

By reducing the faucet flow rate, you can save a ton of clean water. Faucets are the third largest consumer of water in your household, and there are many of them throughout your house.

The good news is that these faucet conversion attachments are super cheap!!! Unless you have a very special faucet head, this conversion kit will easily screw on to most bathroom and kitchen faucet nozzles.

Click here for more details Low Flow Faucet conversion

How to Save Water at Home: 

 

  1. Shut off faucets whenever possible 🙂
  2. Make sure your faucets don’t drip or leak. Tighten those babies up!
  3. Use a water flow-reducer on your tap, shower, and toilet.
  4. When hand-washing dishes, don’t run the water continuously.
  5. Try washing dishes in a partially filled sink and then rinse them using the spray attachment on your tap.
  6. If you have a dishwasher, make sure you wash full loads. You use the same amount of water whether you are washing a partial or full load of dishes.  Check to see if your dishwasher has a conserver/water-miser cycle!
  7. When brushing your teeth, turn the water off while you are actually brushing. Use short bursts of water for cleaning your toothbrush. (This saves about 80% of the water normally used.) This also goes for shaving.
  8. If you have to wait a period of time for the hot water to reach the shower, try collecting the normally discarded cold water in a bucket for watering plants.
  9. Wash full loads in your washing machine, and check to see it has a “suds-saver” feature cycle.
  10. Look for “environmentally friendly” products while shopping.

How You Can Save Water Outdoors: 

  1. Lawns and gardens require only 5 millimeters of water per day during warm weather. Less is needed during spring, fall, or cool weather.
  2. Consider decorating your garden with plants that grow locally!
  3. Water lawns every three to five days, rather than for a short period every day. Water in the evenings to prevent it from quickly evaporating. Plants will have all night to soak it all in!
  4. Soil cannot store extra water, so over-watering in an anticipation of a shortage doesn’t pencil out.
  5. Use sprinkler timers to manage how much water is being used.

 

Be the change you want to see in the world. As Michael Jackson would say, ‘If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and make a change”.

Become a Water Saving Hero Today!

It’s easy and convenient. If you have Amazon Prime and purchase all of these items together you will get them in 2 days and it will ship for free to your door!!!

If you have enjoyed this article or have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below!

 

 

Photo Credits below:

Average utility bill EPA

Domestic water use EPA 

EPA WaterSense logo