Categories
Consumer Products

The iPhone and the Environment

recycle iphone

Never before in the history of mankind has so much waste been caused by electronic devices. Unfortunately, the iPhone is no exception to this as we see around the world, massive stockpiles of e-trash, electronic devices that are no longer used, or desired, just thrown out and sent to large dump grounds. CBS News reported way back in 2007 that in 2005, out of 2.2 million tons of electronic items went into landfills. Out of that, only 345,000 tons of it was recycled. Bear in mind this is ten years ago, and the introduction of the iPhone and other smart phones will have significantly added to that burden, which will see a massive rise in those figures.

This is a harrowing statistic, and one that each one of us should bear in mind. We should also consider that the advances in iPhones and smartphones in general are beginning to plateau. Of course, we shall see new things enter the market place, but in essence, there is really not a lot of difference between an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 6 when you think about it. Sure the iPhone 6 has some nice new features, runs a bit faster and has a better quality camera, but do these features matter that much? Of course Apple and other manufacturers wouldn’t want you to think so, but consider companies such as iPhonefixed who are intent on keeping these older phones going for longer than their marketable lifetime.

It is a colossal waste. With the average phone contract lasting a couple of years, the latest and smartest phone will replace the old one, despite it largely doing the exact same thing the previous phone did. These old phones will likely sit in people’s drawers, with some intent of being used again sometime, for some other purpose, but ultimately, they’ll end up in the landfill. And of course, this only accounts for the phones that actually last the length of the contract, as a vast majority of phones will get dropped, or submerged in water, and be rendered useless. These units can be repaired. They do not need to be replaced!

The cost to the environment is immense. The cost to people is immense. The majority of these phones will end up in landfill, polluting the environment as the CBS report above mentions. But then there are the phones and other e-trash that actually makes it to being recycled. Where do these end up? In a small town in China, mountains of old electronic items are sent for the workers to extract the valuable metals from them. The name of this town is Guiyu.

Pictures speak a thousand words, and Time magazine published a series of photos from this town. In it, we see rivers of black ash, people being poisoned by working in conditions that could never be allowed to exist in the west, and mountains of discarded circuit boards, plastic casings. One very sad fact of this village is that the children suffer from a very high rate of lead poisoning.

Consider now the amount of work and energy that has gone into developing the device. Then, the amount of work taken in extracting the materials needed for the device. These materials have to be transported to places where they can be purified and treated. Then once again, transported to the factory to be turned into the product. The product then needs to be transported throughout the world in order to be sold. People then drive and purchase the product. They use it for a year or two. Then they are thrown out and discarded. And then cycle repeats for the next newest iPhone, which really isn’t that drastically different from the previous incarnation!

Isn’t this is a massive waste in resources, materials, and damage to the environment and people? Isn’t it completely ridiculous when you stop to think about it?

And yet, it is so simple to stop, or at least slow it all down. Do you really need a new phone that often? Could you consider using the same phone for 3 years, or more to help slow this waste and pollution down? It really is something that could be done by every one of us. And the time to stop is now. Keep your phone. Keep it protected, make sure it is safe, and if any damage happens to it, get it fixed. It’s not difficult to repair an iPhone, and if you are unsure, there are plenty of places where it can be fixed.

So make a difference. Make your current phone last for the next few years.

Categories
Solar Energy

Solar Energy is Versatile Around Your Home

Solar Energy Panels
Solar Energy Panels

It is not really all that surprising that solar energy is steadily becoming an attractive alternative for people all over the world. Lots of people will only take so much, in terms of higher costs, before they begin doing something about it. Since we are talking about solar power, your ability to see savings just depends on where on the earth you are. If you are interested in solar energy, then continue reading to learn more about your choices.

Along with the monetary advantages, you will feel good knowing you are doing your part to help keep the environment safer. The power from the sun will not last forever, but in relation to you and me it basically will last forever. Any time you use fossil fuels, you are emitting the waste they generate which contributes to pollution.

Obviously any fossil fuels have costs incurred due to moving the material so they can be used. As you know, moving fossil fuels around takes more energy and more gasoline just to transport it.

Basically more and more people are attempting to take more control over their lives. There are quite a few practical considerations you can look at on the subject.

What you may discover is the thrill of escaping from underneath the weight you have endured for so long. Of course there is a certain degree of protection involved from things like storms, etc. It can give you peace of mind, then, to have solar energy as either a backup or as your main source of energy.

One relatively simple way to put more value into your home is through solar additions. Solar has a definite appeal to many people, and that could help you sell it in a tight market. It is all about perception because most people feel solar power upgrades or installation is cost prohibitive and involved. Solar power is really an investment in your home that you will realize at closing time. Solar energy is one of the most natural and green friendly ways to power your home and personal devices. There are compelling reasons to seriously consider this alternative. While many people get interested in solar energy because they’re concerned about the environment, today this option is drawing just as many people who simply want to live more economically.

Categories
Blog

Eco-Friendly Gifts

Eco Friendly GiftsWith an increasing awareness falling on how we can do a better job taking care of the environment, more and more people are trying to make smarter purchases. Making better choices, however, can sometimes be very difficult if you don’t know where to look for the right kind of gift. This is especially difficult if you’re buying for a child or for someone you don’t know very well. Below are some helpful suggestions for what to look out for when buying great gifts that are sure to please, but still keep an eye out on the environment.

Food

If you’re looking to bring food to someone as a gift, either as part of a party offering, or because they need a little pick-me-up, the main thing to look for is whether or not it’s local and whether or not it’s organic. Organic foods contain less pesticides and are grown naturally, meaning they are less harmful to the land in which they are grown. Local foods cost less to transport to you, making them a much better choice in terms of keeping the environment safe. Plus, they usually taste better, since they don’t have to be picked so early! If you have any questions about the nature of a food you’d like to buy, never hesitate to ask someone at the store. They should know where the food comes from and how it’s grown. Keep in mind that the fresher the ingredients, the more you have to be careful about how you store the food. When in doubt, refridgerate!

Toys

Here’s a hard one. You’ll want to look for toys that are packaged in either only biodegradable material, or has minimal packaging. Whatever the toy is packaged in is just going to get thrown away, so it’s best to make sure that this is at least something good for the environment, or that you buy the least damaging product. It’s also a really good idea to try to buy toys that are also made out of material that can be recycled or will break down over time. Plastics pose the biggest problem, since they usually can do neither.

Soaps, perfumes, and lotions (oh my)

Some people have very sensitive skin, so you’ll be doing them a favor by buying something environmentally friendly. Most products made in a way that is good for the earth are also often good for the skin, and will be the best option for people who can’t use most products due to sensitivity. This is because these products have less toxins, less harsh chemicals, and are often based in plant matter. Aim for the safe stuff by making sure the base ingredients in all these products are both natural, as well as safe to use on skin. This is especially true of lotions and soaps, since the chances of them getting absorbed into the skin are very high. When it comes to taking care of the earth, also make sure to take some time to take care of yourself as well. Two birds, one stone!

Categories
Lifestyle

Environmentally Friendly Homes

Eco HouseIt’s easy to buy things that you know are good for the environment, or to do things you know will lessen your carbon footprint—but what about your home? Some people decide to take the plunge and buy an entire home that is great for the environment. The rest of us may not be in a position to do that, but there is still a lot we can do to make our homes more environmentally friendly by mimicking some of the things others are doing.

Use all the space

Wasted energy happens when we maintain and keep up space in our homes we never use. A lot of our wasted space comes from good intentions, such as keeping the backyard open for the kids, or keeping a guest bedroom. Instead, use this space for something productive—try growing some easy vegetables in the backyard rather than just having grass. You’ll be amazed by how much energy and money you’ll end up saving.

Set up solar panels

People may think they’re ugly and useless, but solar panels will bring you so many positive things. For starters, it’s a great way to give back to the environment with minimal effort. Once they’re installed, you don’t have to do much more. In addition to that, they’ll end up decreasing the amount of money you pay every day in energy. What’s better than making money off of doing something good for the environment?

Reuse and recycle

Before buying anything new, see if you can either make it from something old, or if someone nearby is giving it away. Looking online for ideas of how to make something is a great start—there are so many websites devoted to repurposing or recycling what would seem to be garbage. Plus, if you just look around long enough, you can usually find something worth a great deal of money that someone’s giving away for free.

When in doubt, go back to insulation

Most of our money goes towards heating our homes every winter. If you’re spending a great deal of money, you’re also wasting a lot of energy heating something that isn’t maintaining the heat. Instead, go back and fix your rooms so that the heat you put into it stays there. Fix windows and walls for any drafts or problems in insulation. Even though this seems like a huge pain in the butt, you’ll be infinitely happy when your home is both environmentally friendly and cheaper to maintain. Maybe with all that extra money you can finally go on that vacation you always wanted?

Fix your lighting

Everyone seems to already be on board with changing their bulbs to more energy efficient ones, but they forget that they’re still running those lights longer than they need to. Opt to have motion sensor lights rather than the traditional switch lights. This is great for two reasons—one, if you forget to turn the lights off, you don’t have to worry about them never going off on their own. The other reason is when you’re finally ready to call it a night, you won’t have to get up to turn them off, just go to bed and enjoy the pleasure of helping the environment, while still being comforted.

Categories
Consumer Products

Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

Cleaning ProductsWe’re all in the same boat—we’re hearing horrible stories on the news concerning natural disasters that keep getting worse and all we can do is our part to take care of the environment. It’s a daunting task, but everything great starts at home. This is no different! Changing over to products that are safer and less damaging to the environment is easy when you know where to start. If you’re lost regarding how to start finding the kinds of products that will get the job done but help the environment, check out the top five environmentally friendly products below.

Murchinson-Hume Everyday Furniture Spritzer

This is a great product because not only is it safe for the environment, and safe to use around pets and children, but it’s been proven to get rid of grime and dust each time. It’s safe to use on wood or fabric, so don’t worry about accidentally ruining your grandma’s favorite chair. It’s pretty cheap too, coming at just about ten dollars.

Laundress Surface Cleaner

This product is biodegradable and safe to use on any surface. Tried time and time again, people have claimed that this product can get just about anything to shine. If you’re hoping to switch to a cleaner that will get the job done without the harsh chemicals, this is your chance. It sells for about twelve dollars, but it’s definitely worth each cent.

Greenworks Free and Clear Laundry Detergent

Finding the right kind of detergent is almost impossible, especially if you’re looking for a cleaner option. This stuff has two great things to brag about. One, it’s safe to use and has been tested to not irritate the skin. Two, it’s just as powerful as bleach, but won’t dull your clothes in the same way harsh cleaners will. This product is ready to clean your clothes without harming you or the environment—and all for about twelve dollars a bottle.

Every Day Stain and Odor Remover

Whether the stain is on your clothes or on a carpet, this environmentally friendly cleaner is bound to do the trick. It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, so your rugs and clothes are safe. It smells great and will leave anything that was once dirty smelling and looking fantastic. It’s a great buy for only six dollars.

Meyers Lavender Surface Wipes

This is a huge deal for anyone with a toddler, or who finds themselves often clumsy. Not only are the wipes already moist, but they are also biodegradable. On top of that, they don’t use any harmful chemicals that would worry anyone around children. They come in a small package, so feel free to stick them in your purse, or keep a few in the car. No matter where you are, these will definitely come in handy. And the best part? They also come in a lemon scent. For just three dollars, this environmentally friendly wipe can be part of your life.

Categories
Consumer Products

Environmentally Friendly Diapers

Baby DiaperWe all know a laundry list of things that are bad for the environment. Plastics are filling up our garbage dumps, and chemicals are destroying our water supply. However, there is a culprit that greatly damages the environment, and does so without most people knowing. That culprit is the diaper.

At some point in your life you’ve been around a small child, and that child has needed a diaper. So how do you ensure that you aren’t damaging the environment while also making sure to take care of your infant? The easiest way to just invest in some diapers that also take care of our planet. Lucky for you, below are the top five brands of environmentally friendly diapers.

1 – Earth’s Best Organic

Earths Best DiapersEverything about this diaper is completely natural and non-toxic, which is great news since it’s going to be sitting next to your baby’s most sensitive areas.

It’s made from naturally absorbent materials such as corn and wheat. And the best news for any parent?

The sides are refastenable, so when you accidentally mess up at four in the morning, it’s no big deal, they’re easy to fix.

 

 

2 – Nature Babycare

Nature BabyCare DiapersThe entire inside is essentially made from our good ol’ friend corn.

Because the inside is made of all natural products, it’s both safe to put on your baby without fears of it irritating or bothering them, but it’ll also break down after you throw it away, which is great news for the earth.

Plus there are no harmful chemicals or toxins anywhere in this diaper.

 

3 – Whole Food’s 365 Everyday Diapers

WholeFoods DiapersThese diapers are guarded against leaks, all while not using any toxic chemicals.

The gel they use is super absorbent, meaning you’ll be able to rest knowing your little one isn’t going to have an accident in bed again.

On top of that, they’re sold at Whole Foods, so whenever you head to your local store, grab a few of them and make sure you always stay in stock.

 

4 – Seventh Generation

Seventh Generation DiapersFor those already into products good for the environment, you’ll be familiar with this brand.

These diapers are made from chlorine-free wood pulp and non-toxic material that’s ready to absorb anything your little one can throw at it.

These diapers won’t disappoint fans of Seventh Generation—they fit right in with the best quality in a safe product for your family and the planet.

 

5 – Tushies

Tushies DiapersThis is the only brand of diaper that’s made completely from cotton. If you’re worried about your baby having sensitivity problems, or worryied about any toxins being in your diapers, this is the solution.

It’s completely natural, but will ensure that at the end of the night, you and your little one are resting comfortably without any worries. And the best part is that this is designed as a disposable diaper, so when you’re done with it, toss it away.

Categories
Transport

Environmentally Friendly Cars

Electric CarsWhen it comes to today’s priorities, most people want to find products that not only work the best, but also benefit and help preserve the environment. In some cases, like when it comes to finding the perfect car, it’s a lot harder to find one that both does the job without hurting our planet any more than usual. Below is a quick guide to the top five environmentally friendly cars.

1 – Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Smart Four Two Electric DriveThis car ranked number one amongst all of its competitors as the “greenest” car of 2014. It’s small and adorable, and definitely going to make those who usually have to struggle daily to find parking spots happy.

It was awarded a green score of 59, making it one of the best cars around.

The drawback is its small size—if you’re looking to move to a new state or live out of your car, this one is going to make it a bit difficult. But if you’re just looking for a clean way to get around—jump on it.

2 – Toyota Prius C

Toyota Prius CSurprising as it is to see the prius come in at number two, it’s just behind by two point, bringing in a green score of 57.

Sleek, sexy, and stylish, this car comes looking like a million bucks while also ensuring that the environment isn’t going to suffer for your transportation.

These cars are popular because of their quality performance, so if you’re looking to invest in something that’s already past the test of time, this is your answer.

3 – Nissan Leaf

Nissan LeafThis great car is only one of two electric models to make it to the top environmentally friendly cars of 2014. It’s attractive and effective, bringing in a green score of 55.

There’s a lot more room in the back of this one, so if you have a family, this car will suit your life just fine. Bring it on trips, or just drive it too and from work. Regardless, this car will make sure you get the biggest bang, for the most green.

4 – Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius Here’s the car we were all expecting to take number one—and though the back doesn’t contain the kind of storage other cars tote around, this model is extremely nice to look at, and it ties with the Nissan Leaf’s green score of 55.

Toyota is constantly being voted top car company, so when it comes to choosing a new car to ride in, why not stick with what everyone knows works?

5 – Honda Civic Hybrid

Honda Civic HybridBeautiful, elegant, and extremely good for the environment. What more do you want from a car? It ranks with the Leaf and the Prius with a green score of 55, and it promises to make your commute all the better.

Treat yourself to something nice, and buy a car that looks as pretty as it is good for the environment.

Hondas are known to last—this car is sure to be worth every penny.