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Think Big, Shop Small: Supporting Your Local Economy

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shopping bags

While it may not always seem like it, our everyday choices have an impact on the planet. From the food we eat to the way we dispose of trash; our actions have consequences beyond what we might consider.

The same can be said for our shopping habits and where we choose to shop. Because of this, it’s important to be mindful of our behaviors and the bearing they have environmentally speaking.

One solution to live more sustainably is to “shop small.” A nice reminder to support the local economy, this phrase goes beyond helping entrepreneurs and small businesses. It encompasses giving back to your friends, neighbors and community while still getting your day-to-day products in a “greener” fashion.

Related:
”Localistos” Step Lightly on Mother Earth

How could shopping small affect the bigger picture? For starters, it reduces your carbon footprint. The majority of products lining the shelves of chain stores and large retailers are produced and carted in from outside your community.

What’s more, many were likely produced overseas and shipped via ocean freighters or even by plane.

Although such international commerce helps the global economy, the transportation of goods does significant damage to the environment by elevating greenhouse gas emissions. These gasses, mainly carbon dioxide, pollute our air and contribute greatly to climate change.

Local businesses on the other hand, generally source goods and supplies from within the area. Doing so decreases emissions and, therefore, lowers your own carbon footprint when you support them.

Along the same lines is the produce at local business tends to be procured more carefully to prevent waste. For larger retailers, it’s usually the opposite as they tend to overstock the produce department with much of it spoiling and going to waste.

Related:
How to Buy Organic Food on a Tight Budget

Furthermore, small shops may get their stock of fruits and veggies from neighboring farmers. On top requiring less transportation, this fresh supply is sometimes organic and less impactful on the planet in terms of pesticides, chemicals and growth hormones.

There are many ways to improve your shopping habits and even encourage others to do the same. For instance, by buying gift cards or certificates to local shops and sharing your experiences on social media, you could spread a message of support. Other approaches include buying seasonal wares at your community farmer’s market or choosing to dine at family-owned restaurants.

By deciding to live eco-friendlier lifestyles, we all can make a difference in protecting wildlife and reducing carbon emissions. It’s up to all of us to do what we can to help restore the ecological imbalance our choices create.

For further information on the environmental and economic impacts of shopping small businesses, please see the accompanying resource.

think big shop small infographic

Related:
What’s Good for You is Good for All of Us: Why Farmers’ Markets are Making a Comeback

Are Vertical Farms a Better Solution for Desert Environments?

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crops growing seen from above

Desert agriculture has always been challenging, with limited water resources and extreme temperatures making it difficult to grow crops. However, vertical farming allows farmers in desert regions to find new ways to overcome these obstacles and produce fresh, healthy food. One of the most significant vertical farming advantages is its ability to conserve and use minimal water.

Vertical farms, also known as tower gardens or skyscraper farms, are revolutionizing growing food in desert environments. These innovative systems stack layers of plants on top of each other, using LED lighting and precision irrigation to create a controlled environment for optimal growth.

 

Vertical Farming Advantages for Desert Environments

cacti growing in desert

Vertical farming helps farmers produce more food with fewer resources in desert regions, where water is scarce and temperatures can soar. Growers can control temperature, humidity and light levels, creating a perfect growing environment for plants anywhere.

The vertical farming method offers a sustainable solution for desert environments and is quickly gaining popularity. Here are some vertical farming advantages in desert environments.

 

1.  Water Conservation

One of the significant challenges in desert environments is water scarcity. Vertical farming offers a solution to this problem, as it uses significantly less water than traditional methods. It employs the closed-loop system, which allows for precise monitoring and management of the water used, thereby reducing waste and inefficiency.

Related:
5 Myths About Water Conservation

 

2.  Increased Yields

plant growing in desert

Vertical farming hydroponic methods enable growing crops in stacked layers, meaning more can be cultivated in a smaller area. This increased crop density leads to higher yields, which is especially important in desert environments where land is scarce. Natural resources are often lacking in desert areas, and using less land through vertical farming can aid in preserving its ecosystem.

 

3.  Year-round Growing

Extreme temperatures and lack of rainfall can make growing crops in the desert challenging. Vertical farming allows plants to grow indoors in a controlled environment, meaning they can be grown year-round, regardless of the weather conditions outside. This can also help reduce food insecurity in desert communities by giving them a steady supply of fresh produce.

 

4.  Pest and Disease Control

Vertical farming advantages include controlling pests and diseases, as the closed environment eliminates the need for pesticides and herbicides. This is beneficial for the environment and consumers’ health.

 

5.  Energy Efficiency

Traditional farming methods in desert environments require a lot of power to pump water and cool down the greenhouses. Vertical farming is more energy-efficient as it uses less water and the closed-loop system allows for energy recycling.

 

6.  High Employment Rate

Vertical farming allows for jobs created by technology. Thanks to robotics and mechanized growing techniques, indoor farms only require a little manual labor. Nevertheless, it generates many new jobs in plant cultivation, farm construction and management, technological research, and support. Imagine towering skyscrapers filled with lush greenery in remote desert communities.

Related:
Are Vertical Farms the Future of Sustainable Agriculture?

 

Organizations That Have Succeeded in Vertical Farming

Sundrop Farms is one organization that has realized the benefits of vertical farming in deserts. It has developed a sustainable farming system that uses solar power to desalinate seawater, which is then used to grow crops in desert climates. This innovative approach has allowed it to grow various fruits and vegetables in regions previously considered too arid for agriculture.

Desert Control is another organization that has made significant strides in vertical farming in desert environments. It has created a system that uses liquid soil made from a mixture of sand, clay and a nutrient solution. This allows it to grow crops in desert areas without irrigation. The technology has been used to grow food successfully in desert regions worldwide, including Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Also, the Sahara Forest Project uses vertical farming and other sustainable technologies to turn desert land into productive farmland. It uses solar power, seawater greenhouses and other innovations to grow crops in arid regions. It’s already begun to make a difference in desert communities by creating jobs, providing food security and improving local ecosystems.

These organizations have demonstrated that it is possible to use vertical farming to grow crops successfully in deserts, even in the harshest conditions. They are indeed an inspiration to others, and their methods prove that sustainable agriculture is the future.

Related:
Vertical Farming: Benefits for Small House Owners + Its Impact on Full-Scale Farming

 

Tips for Engaging in Vertical Farming

Here’s how you can begin vertical farming and ensure its success:

  • Research and understand the technology behind the vertical farming method.
  • Choose a location that is conducive for crops to grow sustainably.
  • Invest in quality equipment to ensure optimal performance.
  • Identify the right crops that are well-suited to the controlled environment.
  • Monitor water pH, temperature, humidity and light levels.
  • Continuously educate yourself about vertical farming.

 

Vertical Farming Takes Desert Agriculture to New Heights

Vertical farming has several advantages when it comes to farming in desert environments. It improves desert agriculture and brings new opportunities for people living in those regions. The system allows farmers to grow crops indoors, eliminating the need for irrigation systems. It can also create job opportunities in a sustainable industry.

The next time you look up and see a skyscraper, imagine it could be a farm producing fresh greens and herbs, taking desert agriculture to new heights.

Are Vertical Farms the Future of Sustainable Agriculture?

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vertical farm growing plants


Vertical farms are an interesting alternative to the traditional horizontal farming model. Instead of needing acres of land to grow crops, vertical farming allows people to produce an abundance of produce in a small space.

With this technique, you can grow a variety of plants in as little as 2 square feet of space. It works by stacking layers of plants vertically, which maximizes the area and ensures ample growth.

Vertical farming is a revolutionary concept that could be applied to a variety of places. You could even place one in the desert! This could be an incredible asset for sustainable agriculture in the future.

It’s an exciting idea that could be a game changer for how we produce food. Keep reading to learn all about this technology and how it can be used.

 

vertical farm growing vegetables

What is vertical farming?

Vertical farming is a technique of producing food and medicine in vertically stacked layers, such as in a skyscraper, used warehouse, or shipping container. The crops are grown using hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics, in an indoor, controlled-environment agriculture system, with or without the use of soil.

Vertical agriculture has several potential benefits, including reducing the use of land, water, and fertilizer, and reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides.

It also allows for more efficient use of space, and faster production and harvesting. This can result in faster, fresher, and cheaper produce for consumers, while promoting sustainability and environmental protection.

Related:
DIY Gardening: How to create a Vertical Wall Garden

 

How is climate change affecting the global agriculture industry?

Climate change is having a significantly negative impact on the global agriculture industry. It is impacting growing seasons by making them longer, shorter, or more unpredictable, leading to crop failure and decreased yields of crops.

In addition, extreme weather events caused by climate change, such as flooding, drought, and heatwaves, have caused significant crop damage and disruption to farming operations.

Furthermore, rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are leading to increased pest and disease pressure, as well as soil erosion and other environmental degradation, further exacerbating the effects of climate change on the global agriculture industry.

 

vertical farm located in a sandy desert

Is vertical farming beneficial for desert environments?

A vertical farm is a great way to take advantage of unused space and make productive use of it. It’s especially useful in desert areas, where limited water resources can make traditional farming impossible. 

In addition to reducing water consumption, vertical farms can also help increase the local food supply, create new jobs and reduce air pollution. By taking advantage of the natural light and temperature of the desert environment, vertical farms can produce fresh, organic foods in a fraction of the time of traditional methods. It’s an innovative idea that has the potential to change the way we think about farming.

 

plants growing in a vertical farm

What are the advantages of vertical farming?

Vertical farming offers several unique advantages over traditional farming methods. Vertical farming provides a year-round growing environment, enabling farmers to produce high-yield crops regardless of the weather or season.

Additionally, vertical farming allows farmers to maintain strict control over the environment, using technology to regulate temperature, humidity, and water inputs to maximize growth and yield.

As a result, vertical agriculture can increase production efficiency and, as previously mentioned, reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides, and water and energy consumption, as well as transportation costs.

Finally, vertical farming can also help reduce agricultural land loss by freeing up more space for other uses, such as housing and commercial development.

Related:
Vertical Gardens: Sprouting Up Everywhere

 

vertical farming in a desert

What are the challenges of vertical farming in desert environments?

Vertical farming in desert environments can be quite a challenge. The lack of rainfall, intense heat and rapid swings in temperature all create problems for farmers. Irrigation can help, but the water needs to be properly stored and managed in order to be an effective solution.

The intense sunlight of the desert can also be an issue, as the intense light can easily damage crops if shading isn’t provided. Additionally, the harsh soil conditions present in the desert may require additional nutrient inputs to create an ideal growing environment.

While vertical farming can be successful in desert environments, it does present additional challenges compared to more temperate climates.

 

vertical farm in a desert

What are the potential solutions to these challenges?

If you’re interested in the possibility of vertical farming in desert environments as a potential solution to food scarcity and water conservation issues, there are a few potential solutions you should know about.

Hydroponic systems can be used to grow plants without the need for soil, which can help to reduce water usage. Additionally, growing crops in open or closed greenhouses, or indoor vertical farming, has potential to help protect the plants from desert conditions.

Finally, using technologies like aquaponics, which combines fish and plant farming, and renewable energy to power the facilities, can create a self-sustaining ecosystem that can help overcome the challenges of desert farming.

 

vertical farming plant

Why havent vertical farms become more widespread?

Vertical farming offers a potential solution to many of the issues associated with traditional farming, such as shorter growing seasons, limited access to land and resources, and environmental concerns. Despite its advantages, however, vertical farming has not become more widespread due to the high cost of implementation and the lack of available technology.

In addition, the methods used to grow vertically tend to be more labor-intensive than traditional methods and require considerable expertise. As a result, the cost and complexity of implementing vertical farming can make it difficult for many farmers to justify the investment.

 

vertical farm growing leafy vegetables

What are the challenges to grow staples like wheat and rice in vertical farming?

Growing staples like wheat and rice in vertical farming can present a range of challenges. Staple crops tend to require large amounts of space and large-scale farming methods. Vertical farming, while more efficient in terms of space, still has its limitations.

Additionally, staple crops often require ample amounts of sunlight, water, and soil nutrients, all of which are harder to provide when growing them in vertical farming setups.

Finally, the quality of vertical-farmed staple crops may not be as high as those grown in traditional farming methods, leading to a lower yield which could make the venture unprofitable.

 

vertical agriculture building

Are there already vertical farms producing rice on large scale?

Vertical farming is a relatively new concept, and as such, it is not yet producing rice on a large scale. However, some organizations are currently experimenting with vertical farming with the goal of eventually producing rice. This is being done through urban agriculture and controlled environment agriculture, both of which aim to make use of a confined space and controlled climate to maximize yield.

Through the use of hydroponics, aeroponics, and other systems, vertical farm prototypes are now being tested to determine the viability of producing rice on a large scale. With this in mind, it is possible that vertical farms may one day become a major contributor to rice production.

 

sustainable agriculture production in a vertical farm

Can vertical farms produce foods that grow underground, like potatoes, carrots, ginger, or peanuts?

Vertical farming can be a great way to produce many kinds of food, including potatoes, carrots, ginger, peanuts, and other underground growing foods. Vertical farms can be made to fit many different sizes and budgets, making them an ideal option for farmers looking for sustainable and efficient agricultural production.

Utilizing hydroponic and aquaponic systems, vertical farms are able to produce high-quality and nutrient-rich foods in a much smaller space than traditional farming. Vertical farming also offers farmers the opportunity to extend their growing season and reduce their reliance on chemical fertilizers, thereby helping to promote a more sustainable approach to food production.

Vertical farms can indeed be used to grow vertical farm produce, such as potatoes, carrots, ginger, peanuts, and other underground-growing foods.

 

vertical farms growing rows of plants

Can vertical farming be a profitable business?

Vertical farming has the potential to be a highly lucrative business as it offers advantages over traditional methods of farming. Vertical farming typically requires less land and lesser amounts of water, fertilizer, and other inputs, making it a more efficient and cost-effective way of producing crops.

Furthermore, because it can be done in urban areas, vertical farming can provide access to fresh foods in areas that are traditionally underserved in terms of grocery stores.

Finally, vertical farming can provide distinct advantages when it comes to the quality of the products, as the crops are typically grown in more controlled, contained environments. All of these factors point to vertical farming being a potentially highly profitable business.

Related:
Vertical Gardens: What You Need To Know To Grow Your Own

 

two vertical farm buildings

Can vertical farms help prevent global food shortages?

Vertical farming has the potential to greatly reduce global food shortages by providing much needed fresh food in areas of the world where arable land is scarce or unavailable. Vertical farms stack layers of hydroponic crops in indoor facilities, making the most of limited space.

This technology can also reduce the environmental impact of traditional open-air farming, since vertical farms require fewer resources such as water and soil. Vertical farming can also help farmers to manage their crops more efficiently, as the environment within the facility can be more easily controlled than if they were grown outside.

With these advantages, vertical farms could be a powerful tool in helping to prevent global food shortages in the future.

Related:
How Can Green Technology Improve Food Security?

 

What is the future of vertical farming in desert environments?

Vertical farming in desert environments offers an exciting new way to source sustainable food in areas where traditional farming and crop production may not be possible. It could also be an effective way to use limited land resources in desert environments more efficiently.

Vertical farming in desert areas has the potential to maximize water use, reduce soil erosion, and decrease the amount of energy needed for large-scale farming operations. With the right environment and technology, it could even provide a self-sustaining system that produces enough food to feed a large population in the desert.

There is still a lot of research and development to be done, but the potential of vertical farming in desert areas is certainly something to keep an eye on.

 

vertical farm concept image

Is vertical farming the future of agriculture?

Vertical farming is an intriguing idea that could offer a sustainable and space-efficient way to produce food in the future. It involves growing plants on vertically stacked shelves in a climate-controlled environment. This would allow farmers to more easily control water, temperature, light, and other environmental conditions needed for plants to thrive.

Vertical farming could help reduce the need for pesticides, conserve water and energy, reduce the demand for land, and potentially produce a greater yield than traditional farming.

Related:
Vertical Farming: Benefits for Small House Owners + Its Impact on Full-Scale Farming

Vertical farms offer a great solution for growing fruits and vegetables in desert environments. They also offer a great alternative for other sources of food that can be grown in these dry, harsh environments.

Although there are still many challenges that need to be addressed before vertical farming can be a successful solution, its potential for transforming the agricultural industry is exciting and could be an important tool in the future of sustainable farming.

Understanding Eco-Friendly Labels for Better Education on Sustainability

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greenpace poster on street pole that says

A Guide to Eco-Friendly Labels for Better Sustainability

Shopping more sustainably is the way of the future. As consumers become more educated on the growing environmental issues, they actively take steps to reduce their impact. And a large part of this global movement towards more ethical and sustainable consumerism is seen in the world of commerce, where companies are judged based on how eco-friendly they are and the steps they are actively taking to reduce their carbon footprints.

Labels are the quickest and easiest ways to gather all the information needed about a product to gauge the level of the environmental impact it may have. And it is crucial to understand label manufacturing and how to properly read and understand the information provided to be as well-informed as possible.

 

What are eco-friendly labels?

When looking for an eco-friendly label, there are a few factors and accompanying information that can be used to identify them.

These types of labels are created with sustainable materials, like recycled paper, biodegradable plastic, and FSC-certified paper, to name a few.

They also must use recyclable liners, as the traditional silicone-coated label liners cannot be recycled with conventional methods. Additionally, you can opt for linerless labels.

Related:
What Does “Biodegradable” Mean on a Label?

 

Why are they important?

plastic floating in the oceanProduct packaging is a massive contributor to the overall waste in landfills worldwide. Nearly 20% of all single-use plastic products spill over into the environment, typically the oceans, creating massive patches of garbage throughout the oceans of the world. In addition, only 14-18% of all plastic gets recycled globally.

Furthermore, using the incorrect label can make your company’s investments in recyclable product packaging obsolete should the MRF (Material Recovery Facility) reject the packaging.

If a business has received special certification or endorsements from organisations like the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) for meeting the necessary requirements, only for their products to be rejected through improper packaging, it can be tremendously harmful to the image of a company.

Related:
Circular Packaging Explained

 

How do they contribute to a Growing Business?

As all consumers are becoming more invested in sustainable consumerism and the impact of industry on the environment, sustainability and eco-friendly packaging and labels will quickly become the driving force in attracting and maintaining customers. These customers have shown loyalty toward brands that positively contribute to global sustainability.

Related:
Sustainability in Business: A Practical Guide for Eco-Minded Business Leaders

Therefore, a company must align itself with these movements to avoid falling out of favor with consumers.

Going green can be more expensive and energy-intensive in the initial stages of transition. But as practices change and a steady ground is found, it can have many financial benefits too. As companies seek out more cost-efficient ways of doing business and maximize resources and energy used, budgets can stretch further than before.

Businesses making eco-friendly improvements also open themselves to various government incentives, like grants, loans, and tax benefits. For example, in the U.S., companies can win government contracts through the Green Purchasing Plan and qualify for various federal benefits.

 

sustainable product label

 

Identifying Labels

Obtaining the correct labels to confirm products abide by specific sustainability guidelines is essential when building or rebranding a company as environmentally conscious. The certification you are after largely depends on the product and the process used to create it.

However, six main types of labels are used to signify an eco-friendly brand.

B Corp

Certified B Corp
The B Corp certification shows that a business has pledged to follow strict social and environmental standards through its practices. These standards apply to the entire company, including employee benefits, charity, supply chains, and the materials used throughout their products.

To maintain this certification, a company has to actively and continuously asses its impact on its employees, environment, suppliers, and customers.

 

Energy Star

energy star

According to an industry-standard set by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, the Energy Star tag is used to communicate a product’s energy efficiency. You will see this mainly used on various appliances, electronics, heating, and cooling equipment, lighting, and a selection of other products found in the household.

Buying items that feature this label will help you reduce your own energy costs and any greenhouse gasses emitted through use.

 

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

global organic textile standards

The GOTS certificate is used for textile products confirmed to be organic and sustainably manufactured through the entire creation process. In addition, strict ecological and social standards must be met throughout the supply chain, including aspects like processing, packaging, labeling, and trading, to name a few.

Items like blankets, pillows, rugs and various fabric items must contain at least 70% organic fibers to receive the GOTS label.

 

Fair Trade

fair trade logo

The Fair Trade program puts companies in the spotlight to adhere to specific social, economic, and environmental standards regarding their operations. The seal confirms that attention has been given to environmental protection, safe working conditions, and overall improved livelihoods for those employed by massive corporations, especially those responsible for making the products.

It can be applied to all business spheres, from food to clothing and make-up.

Related:
Why “Fair Trade” is “Green Trade”: Celebrating October as Fair Trade Month

 

Green-e

green-e

The Green-e certification verifies that clean energy and sustainable services have been used during production. It is primarily sought after by companies that use renewable energy in their day-to-day processes or those looking to purchase renewable energy credits or carbon offsets to balance their own emissions.

Related:
The Beginner's Guide to Carbon Offsetting

 

Made Safe

made safe

Made Safe labels are issued to items that have been manufactured only with ingredients that are safe for humans. These program screens products for thousands of harmful chemicals and evaluates if a component can harm people or the wider environment.

You will find these labels on cleaning products, make-up, and toiletries, amongst other things.

Not everyone aware sustainable diets are about helping the planet [Science Daily]

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bowl of veggies and legumes

A new study has found that young Brits would be willing to change to a more sustainable diet, but a lack of understanding about what that actually means is preventing many from doing so.

Link to full story

Vaping: Liquid Nicotine Can Kill the Environment

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e-cigarette nicotine vape
Image source: Unsplash.com

Many smokers have switched to e-cigarettes (otherwise known as vaping) to reduce the effects on their health caused by smoking tobacco. However, despite its widely touted benefits as a replacement for traditional cigarettes, vaping can harm the environment.

The percentage of self-confessed cigarette smokers continues to drop. And vaping has become popular with some groups as a replacement, especially among young adults. But despite its benefits to smokers, vaping causes danger to the environment. It produces toxic wastes due to the materials and chemicals it contains, including nicotine. 

According to research, around 1.3 million single-use vapes are thrown away in the UK per week, equivalent to two per second. And people are not aware of what happens once they toss their used e-cigarettes away.

Related:
How to go 'Zero Waste': 15 habits to break your single-use plastic addiction

So, why does vaping harm the environment, and how can liquid nicotine be dangerous? Know the answers below.

 

What is nicotine?woman using nicotine vape

Nicotine is an addictive, poisonous substance found in tobacco. It increases the heart’s rate and oxygen usage as soon as it enters the body. Also, it provides a sense of relaxation and well-being, and as a result, many people get addicted to cigarettes.

Over the past several years, many have switched to vaping due to tobacco cigarettes’ adverse effects on the human body. But unbeknownst to many, the juice used in e-cigarettes and vapes also contains liquid nicotine.

Disposable pre-filled vapes (also called Puff Bars) are made for one-time use only. This vape type contains high levels of nicotine and is discarded after a few puffs. Puff Bars have become a significant environmental issue because of the amount of waste it creates.

 

How liquid nicotine and other substances hurt the environment

vape cartridge on wooden plank outdoors

Aside from being the main component of tobacco cigarettes, nicotine has been used as a natural pesticide for many years. This substance is highly toxic and harmful to animals and humans when ingested. For this reason, farmers and agriculturists have turned to using safer pesticide alternatives, such as neem oil and soap sprays.

In addition, discarded vape cartridges and refills may contain traces of liquid nicotine, which may leak into soil and waterways. Over time, it may lead to contaminated drinking water and food, harming humans, animals, and wildlife.

Related:
How Do Plastic Bags Affect Our Environment?

Unfortunately, many vaping companies haven’t developed an effective recycling program for their e-cigarette products. Their marketing should include advising users to throw their devices or pods in a proper trash bin. In a survey, 51% of young vapers report disposing of used pods or disposables in regular trash bins, and 10% report just throwing them on the ground. Nearly half (49.1%) of young vapers have no idea what to do with their disposable pods and devices.

Many users are unaware of how to dispose of their e-cigarette products safely. Companies that manufacture vapes lack an impactful information drive. As a result, many users don’t know where to look for proper e-cigarette drop-off sites.

Aside from nicotine, vape devices and e-liquid containers contain other hazardous substances, such as mercury and lead. Furthermore, e-cigarette batteries may cause explosions and fires in waste management facilities and garbage trucks if exposed to extreme heat or is damaged.

 

How liquid nicotine affects indoor air quality

vape smoke indoors

Many studies have shown that e-cigarettes can also affect indoor air quality. E-liquid, which contains nicotine and other substances, is vaporized through heating and then inhaled. Some amounts of the toxic chemicals blend with the air through fugitive emissions and in exhaled breath.

Various intrinsic factors affect e-cigarette emissions. These include vape device type, power voltage, heating coil temperature, and e-liquid composition. The presence of nicotine in e-liquid raises more health concerns. Particles of e-cigarettes may grow in human lungs and may lead to acute health effects.

If e-cigarette particles are released into the room air, they are subject to aerosol dynamics under particular environmental conditions. Compared to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarette particles primarily contain more vaporous droplets due to the main e-liquid ingredient, which has a high saturation vapour pressure.

Related:
Improve Indoor Air Quality with These Simple Tips

E-cigarette particles evaporate within seconds and can be removed from the room air through gravitational settling and surface deposition. It may lead to potential third-hand exposures, an issue that needs future study.

 

E-Cigarette Proper Disposal

man in white t-shirt holding green recycling bin

The proper disposal of e-cigarettes is vital to reduce the impact of liquid nicotine on the environment. Due to the increasing number of e-cigarettes thrown away anywhere, it’s crucial to know the proper way to dispose of vape, including batteries, cartridges, and e-liquid containers.

Here are some best practices for properly disposing of your e-cigarettes:

  • Look for your state and local environmental agencies’ rules and guidance about vape waste disposal.
  • Turn off the vape and remove the battery before disposal.
  • Store all items in a sealed and labelled container and a cool temperature-controlled environment.
  • Never put rechargeable batteries into the garbage bins. Place them in a separate container for hazardous waste.
  • Take the sealed container of vape waste to a local hazardous waste facility every 90 days.
  • Don’t wash vape items like cartridges to remove the liquid nicotine. This may cause contamination in water, and you have to store and dispose of the water properly.
  • Avoid throwing used cartridges in the regular garbage bin to prevent unintentional exposure to unused nicotine.
  • Be careful in handling e-cigarette products. Liquid nicotine can be taken in through the skin and may cause poisoning.

You must remember that improper disposal of vape items may result in unintentional exposure and nicotine poisoning. It can also hurt the environment and become a danger to humans and wildlife.

Related:
How Sustainable Is Recycling?

 

Practice Proper Vape Waste Disposal

Vaping remains controversial because its health impact is unknown. But people should not only focus on the health benefits, but also consider its environmental impact. 

As vaping becomes more popular, it generates more vape waste which causes leakage of nicotine and other substances into soil and water. Fortunately, we can prevent this disaster by coordinating with the regulations for safe vape waste disposal and recycling. 

10 New Year’s Resolutions for a Sustainable Year Ahead

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champagne glasses cheers

New Year’s is a time for reflection and goal setting and this New Year could be the best year yet if you make some simple eco-friendly resolutions.

With energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and cost-effective measures taken, individuals have a plethora of options when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.

According to a recent study conducted by Uswitch and Professor Sam Fankhauser of Oxford University Net Zero, from changing our diets, energy consumption habits, to how we travel – there are plenty of actions for 2023 that can help reach zero emissions.

Related:
3 Upcycling Projects for the New Year

Results were calculated against the UK’s overall CO2 emissions to reveal which resolutions make the biggest impact in terms of energy savings and environmental protection.

Uswitch.com green energy experts advise that one of the most impactful New Year’s resolutions to reduce your carbon footprint is by switching to a renewable energy tariff, reducing your CO2 emissions significantly.

Implementing any one or all of these resolutions may potentially create great progress towards a net zero future. So this New Year, find ways to include energy saving activities into your daily routine and become part of the solution!

Below are the top 10 changes that make the biggest environmental difference in the coming year:

 

If we…

Total CO2 emissions reduction

1

Only use renewable energy

19%

2

All passenger cars went electric

12%

3

75% of cars switched to EV

9%

4

Stopped taking international flights

8%

5

All went vegan

7%

6

Stopped commuting by car (opt for the train, bike, or bus)

6%

7

50% of cars switched to EV

5%

8

Halved the number of international

4%

9

Perfectly insulated our homes

4%

10

Reduced food waste

3%

 

Related:
4 Fuel Conservation Resolutions For The New Year

Making other small changes like using public transport or cycling to work, reducing international flights, improving house insulation and opting for a vegan diet can also have a big environmental impact with around 30.5 million tons of CO2 being reduced just through changing our commuting habits alone.

So why not give these eco New Year’s resolutions a go in 2023?

Start a New Holiday Tradition: Opt for an Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree

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eco friendly Christmas tree

Christmas is a magical season. The time spent with family and friends create memories that last throughout the entire year.

For many, decorating is one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday. If you want to have a “green” Christmas this year, it is important to note that you can still have fun and decorate in a festive fashion.

The following ideas will help you keep the environment in mind as you seek out the perfect tree for your home.

 

Opt for a Live Tree

If you are choosing between a live or an artificial tree, always go with the real version. While they are growing, live trees provide a home to squirrels, birds and other wildlife. In addition, they also help humans by providing oxygen to breathe and getting rid of carbon dioxide in the air.

In contrast, artificial Christmas trees provide no real benefits for the Earth. Because they can’t be recycled, they simply wind up as trash at a landfill. In addition, they are made with a whole host of materials that you probably don’t want around your family, including PVC and petrochemicals.

Related:
Which Variety of Natural Christmas Tree is Right For You?

If you want to really go “green” when selecting your live tree, make sure that it is organic. Search for tree sellers that have an organic option online, and you can feel safe in the knowledge that you are bringing home a tree that was grown without the use of pesticides.

 

Think Outside the Box

christmas tree made from wooden planks

There are a number of Christmas tree alternatives on the market, and all make more environmental sense than chopping down a living fir or pine. Recycled cardboard trees can be purchased unfinished, allowing you to add your own decorative touch.

Some are even able to support the ornaments that you would typically put on a living tree. And, there are low voltage, energy efficient LED lights on the market that can safely be strung on these “trees.”

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How To Keep It Green with Eco-Friendly Christmas Decorations!

If cardboard isn’t right for you, there are living options that can be used at your residence year-round, making them much more Eco-friendly than a traditional tree. Consider a small version of the Christmas tree or an herbal bush that will enhance the atmosphere of your living space. Also, paper trees are unique and recyclable!

 

Switch up Your Strategy

outdoor christmas tree

Rather than cutting anything down, decorate a tree outdoors instead! You and your family will still have the opportunity to make memories together, and you won’t have to deal with the mess that typically results from bringing a tree inside.

As an added bonus, there’s no chance of bringing in little pests with your tree if the tree stays outside. Not only that, but the tree that you choose to decorate will continuing living and helping the Earth long after the decorations come down and the weather grows warmer.

Christmas is a special time of the year. It is important to remember, though, that it is possible to decorate for the holidays while still maintaining a green mindset. Since a tree is one of the symbols of Christmas, start by considering how you can do things a little differently this year.

You won’t regret it, and you may discover a new tradition that you truly love in the process.

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Treecycling: Christmas Tree Recycling

Which Variety of Natural Christmas Tree is Right For You?

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Christmas Trees

There really is nothing quite like a real tree to release that magical aroma of the season and breathe life into your Christmas decorations.

But choosing which one to buy is harder than it may sound, as there are so many varieties available that have their own unique qualities.

And before you even consider the particular variety, think about whether you want a cut tree or one that is potted or pot-grown. Pot-grown trees have a greater success rate if you want to grow them year after year but can’t be kept in the house for long or exposed to much heat.

With all Christmas tree types, you should try to keep them outside for as long as possible to enable them to retain their needles and freshness more effectively.

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Artificial Christmas Trees: Eco-Friendly or Not?

When you do bring your tree indoors, make a fresh cut of about half an inch at the base of the trunk so the tree can easily absorb water, which helps with needle retention. And stand the tree in a water-filled stand that you keep topped up, and placed somewhere cool and away from heat sources.

When you’re ready to go Christmas tree shopping, here’s a quick overview of the different types available.

 

Nordman Fir

This Christmas tree has good needle retention and is a popular choice thanks to its deep green colour and dense, strong branches that are ideal for decorating. You’ll be able to hang your tree lights and decorations with ease on this tree.

 

 

Douglas Fir

Lighter in colour than many trees but with good needle retention, this tree has long needles and emits a fantastically festive aroma.

Douglas Fir
Photo by Tom Appel via CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Noble Fir

This tree makes a great choice because of its Christmas aroma, rich dark green needles, dense branches and good needle retention qualities.

noble fir
Photo by Kyloe Woods via CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Fraser Fir

Similar in nature to the Nordman Fir tree, boasting excellent needle retention qualities and wide, dense green needles, this Christmas tree is especially suited to compact spaces.

With more branches at its top and fewer at its bottom, the Fraser Fir is great if you’re slightly limited on space as it is less wide than other trees but still has a lovely aroma and look.

fraser fir
Photo by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service via CC BY 2.0

fraser fir foliage
Photo by Teresa Sikora via CC BY-SA 3.0

 

Norway Spruce

This traditional Christmas tree is a firm favourite because of its wonderful smell and beautiful branches. It’s important to keep this tree outdoors for as long as possible and then keep in a cool room as heat encourages its needles to drop.

Norway Spruce
Photo by Laura Bittner via CC BY 2.0

 

Scots Pine

This tree features just about the best needle retaining qualities together with strong branches and a glorious pine aroma.

Scots Pine
Photo by Alexey Klyukin via CC BY-SA 2.0

 

Blue Spruce

With a distinctive colour, a silvery hue, this tree smells of the season and has strong branches that are good to decorate. It also features a wide base, making it perfect for a bigger space.

blue spruce
Photo by Gmihail via CC BY-SA 3.0 rs

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Treecycling: Christmas Tree Recycling

Wave Energy – The Potential of Wave Power Plants to Power Our Future

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Progress requires energy and lots of it. We, humans, are constantly in search of renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels and slow down climate change.

Though solar and wind energy has been receiving the most attention in recent years, wave energy has the potential to be an even bigger and more reliable form of renewable energy. In this blog post, we will explore the potential of wave power plants and how they could help power our future.

 

What is Wave Energy?

Wave energy is a type of renewable energy that harnesses the kinetic energy of ocean waves and converts it into electrical energy. The United Nations Environment Programme defines wave energy as “the energy available from the motion of ocean waves.” Wave power is a sustainable and environmentally friendly electricity source that can power homes, businesses, and even entire communities.

 

The Potential of Wave Power Plants

Wave power plants have the potential to generate large amounts of electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that “if developed, wave energy can provide up to 10% of the nation’s electricity”. That’s a huge potential! And it’s not just the United States – countries worldwide are investing in wave power plants due to their great potential.

 

How Wave Power Plants Work

wave energy potential

Wave power plants use the kinetic energy of ocean waves to generate electricity. There are two main types of wave power plants: offshore and onshore. Offshore wave power plants are located in deep water, often more than 2 miles from shore, while onshore wave power plants are located on or near shorelines.

 

Offshore Wave Power Plants

Offshore wave power plants typically use floating devices called buoys to generate electricity. Buoys are tethered to the seabed and as waves pass them, they move up and down. This motion generates electricity via a mechanical device connected to a generator. The generator converts the mechanical motion into electrical energy, which is transported ashore via underwater cables.

These types of wave power plants have several advantages over onshore plants.

For example, they can be located in deep water, away from shipping lanes and coastal development. This means that they have less impact on the environment and marine life. Another advantage is that they can harness the energy of larger waves, generating more electricity.

However, offshore wave power plants are more expensive to build and maintain than onshore plants due to their location and distance from shore.

 

Onshore Wave Power Plants

Onshore wave power plants use structures called breakwaters or sea walls to generate electricity.

Breakwaters are artificial barriers built perpendicular to shorelines that protect coastlines from erosion and storm surge damage during severe weather events like hurricanes or tsunamis. As waves hit the breakwater, they cause it to move up and down, which generates electricity via a mechanical device connected to a generator (similar to how offshore buoys work).

The generator then converts the mechanical motion into electrical energy, which can power homes, businesses, or entire communities.

One advantage of onshore wave power plants is that they can be built relatively cheaply compared to offshore plants due they do not need to be located in deep water (they can be built close to shore). They also have less impact on marine life since they are located in areas with less maritime traffic or development (such as shipping lanes).

However, one disadvantage of onshore wave power plants is that they only work well in areas with high tides (such as along coastlines) since this generates the most movement in the breakwater structures.

 

Conclusion:

Wave energy has great potential as a renewable source of electricity for powering homes, businesses, and even communities all over the world – both now and in the future! What do you think about this type of renewable energy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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