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8 Ways To Be An Eco-Friendly Dog Owner

“Humanization” of Pet Products

How can a dog be bad for the environment? Aren’t they part of it?

Although they may be animals, our dogs aren’t like wild wolves. They aren’t adapted to the natural environment, but rather to human needs and desires which, as anyone concerned about the environment know, can often get out of control in our consumer driven culture.

From their eating and play habits to their elimination cycles, humanity’s best friend can take a serious toll on the planet.

Here are 8 meaningful first steps you can take to begin greening your dog’s environmental paw-print now.


1. Dutiful Pooper Scooping

Eco-Friendly dog owner

Zoonotic – animal-borne – diseases have afflicted humans and the environment since we first began domesticating critters several thousand years ago.

There’s a reason it’s important to pick up your dog’s pile as an Eco-friendly dog owner and remove it from the environment.

But that’s not all.

If you’re one of the many who tucks it into a plastic bag for disposal, consider using a pooper scooper rake to transfer the mess to the trash.

Plastic bags are awful for the environment, even the so-called biodegradable ones.


2. Animal Waste Composting

Animal waste composting is a positive step in the right direction, although it could be a bit difficult to implement, depending on your living situation.

If you have the means, composting your dog’s dump is an Eco-friendly alternative to numerous unsustainable waste disposal methods. It’s a way to skip the landfill and save waterways by turning hazardous remains into safe, fertile mulch.

The USDA has good information on how to begin composting dog waste.


3. Upcycle Dog Toys

dog toys

Why are many dog toys colored bright red when canines cannot see that color? Because the toys aren’t marketed to pet dogs; they are being marketed to the human owners.

Dogs don’t have our sensibilities; they don’t care about fashion, and they don’t discriminate between new, brand-name toys and ones upcycled from ordinary stuff lying around your house.

Landfills are filled with the former. Here are some starter ideas for upcycling your dog’s next accessory:

  • Rope toy: tie an old T-shirt into knots.
  • Chew toy: stick a plastic bottle in a sock.
  • Puppy sweater: use old kid’s clothes from the attic.


4. Don’t Overfeed

It may not come as a surprise that the obesity problem facing many humans is also weighing down our pets.

Pets are being fed up to 20 percent more than is necessary, according to the latest research.

Too much food means unnecessary food waste, which extracts more from the environment.

It doesn’t do your pup’s health any favors, either. By the way, it is a myth that domesticated canines are good at regulating their own food intake.


5. Green Flea & Tick Treatments

Often, what’s good for the environment is also good for dogs’ health, and for you asn an Eco-friendly dog-owner.

You may have heard that common lawn pesticides can kill your canine, but what about the ones in Fido’s flea collar?

Conventional flea poisons include pesticides that inadvertently sicken and kill thousands of pet dogs a year.

Organophosphates are the main problem.

Do you have to use hazardous chemicals to kill the fleas and ticks infesting your dog’s body? Thankfully, you do not.

There are several non-toxic alternatives, like soapy water, Diatomaceous Earth and electric flea traps.


6. Little Dog, Big Dog


It has been suggested that bigger dogs have a greater impact on the planet than small dog breeds.

How big is the difference?

The ecological footprint of a medium-sized dog is about .84 gha, in one estimate; for a large dog, it is closer to 1.0 gha.

These figures are comparable to the least impactful people on the planet, although they are greater in impact than a luxury SUV, as a New Zealander couple notoriously claimed a few years ago in the book Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living.


7. Avoid Beef and Lamb

The biggest impact of most dogs is the amount of food they eat, notably all that meat product.

The impact of meat production on the planet is exorbitant. You can reduce the load on Mother Nature by investing in grass-fed animal products, which require less carbon for their production.

Also, not all meats have an equivalent impact. Eliminating carbon-intensive lamb and beef from the menu would be a substantial step in the right direction.


8. Recycled Doghouse

Whether you are thinking of buying a new doghouse or plan to build your own, you can be an Eco-Friendly dog owner by being environmentally sensitive.

If you are building your own, there are many ways to access free reclaimed wood.

Building a DIY doghouse can also be much less expensive, and more so if you have access to common construction materials.

If you purchase a commercial doghouse, however, try to buy one made from recycled, if not biodegradable materials.

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

Moving to a New Place? Here’s How to Sustainably Get Rid of Unwanted Stuff

get rid of unwanted stuff

Planning to move to a new home? Let us guess – knowing what to do with the excess clutter can get to your head!

Lightening & decluttering excessive items can help make the moving process smooth. It will also help you eliminate unused belongings and take less toll on your body. 

A new house provides a fresh start where there is no place for junk. You can use digital marketplaces, junk removal services, and mobile applications to help remove your old stuff (don’t worry, we’re going to talk about all this detail).

We have discussed useful ways to take care of your junk while moving.

Have a look. 


Sort Through Your Stuff

get rid of unwanted stuff 2

When you are deciding to move, segregate your belongings into different piles. This way, you can get rid of the stuff you don’t need anymore. At a single glance, this might seem like a daunting task. But, once you get into it, you’ll realize why it is so important.

There are some things to consider when deciding what to preserve and what to let go of. If there is any item that you’ve not used for at least a year, chances are, you can make do without it.

However, there’s a catch. If the item holds sentimental value, you might be reluctant to part with it, which is understandable. Take your wedding dress, for example. You wouldn’t have used it since your marriage, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should throw it away.

Another thing to consider is whether you love the item you’re preserving? More often than not, we tend to hoard things that we might not like or those that might not be of any use to us. So ask yourself one question about each item (Kondo Style): Does this spark joy?

Then, let some go!


Organize a Garage Sale

garage sale

Once you have segregated your things into the Keep-it & Leave-it piles, your next step is to think about what you’ll do with them. There is no use throwing away items that are in good working conditions. 

So, why not organize a garage sale exhibiting those items?

It will give you immense pleasure seeing your old things in the possession of people who need them and who will appreciate them. Not to mention, a garage sale can also act as a monetary incentive. With the bit of money you earn via the Garage sale, you can cover your moving costs. 

To make the most out of your Garage sale, advertise it on virtual platforms like Craigslist and Facebook. Post pictures of the things you are selling to attract buyers.

Having done the basics, let’s now see how you can get rid of the various clothing, Electronics and Furniture stuff. 


Ways To Get Rid of Used Clothing


If you are looking for a website to sell and buy secondhand clothes online, then ThredUp is the site for you. You need to create an account, and ThreadUp will provide you a junk bag in which you need to put all the clothes, shoes, and other stuff that you do not need anymore. You can then send it in the Post Office. 

After ThredUp receives your bag, they will send you a list of the accepted items and put them up for sale on the site. Then, you will receive your earnings from the items sold.


Donation Options

Consider donating gently used clothes at – GoodWill, Salvation Army to Dress for Success and Planet Aid, and many other charitable organizations. 


Ways To Get Rid of Used Electronics

old appliances


If you are looking for an online marketplace for selling and buying pre-owned electronics, then Gazelle can be your solution. The company purchases previously used tablets, desktops, laptops, and smartphones. Gazelle will then inspect, certify, and sell the gadgets at reasonable prices.


You can sell your gadgets on Amazon. You can also use Amazon’s Trade-In Program. Here you can trade old electronic items for Amazon gift cards.

Note: While selling an item via Amazon’s plan, the concerned company will collect some small fees.


You can sell your tablets, phones, CDs, DVDs, and other gadgets easily on Decluttr. You need to get a free online valuation and ship the items to Decluttr by using a free shipping label. 

After receiving the item, the team at Decluttr checks the item to ensure that it is functioning correctly. If the thing is working correctly, they will remove all your data and pay you for the gadget the following day. 


Ways To Get Rid of Furniture and Other Household Items

old furniture


You can sell and buy your belongings online by downloading the OfferUp application. If you want to sell your furniture, all you need to do is post a picture and description of the table’s condition. 

You need to fix a price and wait for buyers to contact you on the application. The buyers are given a rating on the application to have an idea before meeting the potential buyer.


You need to join the local Nextdoor.com group, then list and advertise the furniture items you wish to sell. It is easy to use and a free private social networking group that enables neighbors to interact and communicate online. 

After signing up, you can list your furniture under the Classifieds category. 


Junk Removal Services

If your furniture is damaged without repair (or any other household/office items), it won’t make sense to sell or donate them. Consider junk removal by a professional company that will do the job of hassle-free junk removal. 


Final Word

Moving your stuff from one place to another is never easy. However, it can be made possible by decluttering and selling/donating some of it before moving to a new place.

Which tip did you like the most in this article? Let us know in the comments section.

How to Cope in Extreme Heat [And What Not to DO]

Cope in extreme heat

It’s hot. Like really hot. Like hell hot. If you thought global warming was a hoax, just ask the people baking in over 50 degrees Celsius heat.

Given, not all the heat is a result of global warming. Some of the heat comes from natural seasonal weather patterns. 

However, even accounting for natural weather, daily record high temperatures have been rising for the past decade, especially in the Continental United States. Heatwaves have become more common too.

So, just how bad is it this summer? Here’s a small selection of some of the record-breaking temperatures around the world:

While these temperatures seem insanely high now, global warming may push the records higher if nothing’s done to curb carbon and other greenhouse gases emissions. We’ll look at how these extreme hot weather events happen and how to cope in a heatwave.


What is a Heatwave?

what to do during a heatwave

Simply put, a heatwave is a period of unusually high temperatures and humidity relative to expected weather conditions for an area. It can last for a period of two or more days.

To qualify as a heatwave, temperatures must be outside historical averages for the area.

June 2021 goes down in history as the record hottest ever month in the U.S.


What Causes Heatwaves?

Heatwaves typically occur when high pressure develops over an area, especially in summer. As heat reflects and radiates off the ground, the high pressure locks it in further, making it hotter.


Is Climate Change Contributing to Current Unusually Hot Weather?

Heatwaves are, historically, relatively rare events.

In fact, according to one climate scientist on Twitter, the odds of experiencing a heatwave like what has been experienced in June/July in Pacific NW 200 years ago would have been 1 in 150,000 years!

At just 1.2C global warming, the odds rise to 1 in 1000 years. At just 2C warming, the odds increase to 1 in 10 years.

A heatwave is now 30 times more likely to occur than during the pre-industrial revolution. That’s because of all the greenhouse gases trapped in the atmosphere.

As more CO2 gets trapped in the atmosphere, it traps more heat further worsening any heatwave effects. You can call it the “vicious carbon cycle”.

It’s also worth noting that just a 1 degree Celsius rise in global warming is causing an outsize effect on the frequency and severity of heat waves. We can only imagine the extraordinary impact further rise in global temperatures will cause if we fail to act on climate change now.


Who’s Most Vulnerable in a Heatwave?

cope in a heatwave - vulnerable people

Back in Summer 2003, heatwaves claimed more than 70,000 lives in Europe. Among the most affected were older people, especially those 75 and above.

The Pacific Northwest is still counting the dead from the recent heatwave.

Like in most extreme weather events, the marginalized often feel the most impact. The most vulnerable during heatwaves include:

  • Those living alone or in care homes
  • Boomers, especially those over 75 years
  • Babies and the very young who still haven’t fully developed natural cooling mechanisms
  • People with alcohol and other drug addictions
  • Low-income households who may not afford air conditioning
  • Bed-bound individuals and those with Alzheimer’s disease
  • The homeless
  • People who spend a lot of time outside/work outside, e.g., construction workers


How to Cope in Extremely Hot Weather

We’ll divide this section into two:

  1. What to do at the community and national level
  2. What you can do individually


Learning to live with the heat

Unless something drastic happens in addressing climate change, heat waves and other extreme weather events will form part of our day-to-day existence.


Second, there should be more programs to subsidize air conditioning for low-income households.

Social programs ought to expand to cover more people, e.g., the homeless. Public “cooling spaces/centers” can be set up to cater to the homeless and other marginalized communities.

Cities must also seriously rethink urban planning to include more green spaces to combat concrete jungle heat.

Other ideas include:

  • Planting more trees for shade and the cool air they provide around them
  • Installing greener roofs and pavements that reduce reflected heat
  • Pushing for more energy efficiency to promote electricity grid resilience during heatwaves


Cope in a heatwave (Individual level)

learning to live with the heat

  • Keep curtains and blinds closed, especially in rooms facing the sun.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking more water (even when you don’t feel thirsty. Also, limit your alcohol intake.
  • Don’t leave infants, young children, or pets in closed, parked vehicles
  • Try and avoid the sun between the peak hours of 11 am to 3 pm
  • Apply sunscreen, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses whenever you walk outside. Also, walk in the shade.
  • Limit exercise during the hottest periods of the day
  • Always take some water with you, especially when traveling
  • Take more cool showers and baths to reduce the heat
  • Opt for loose and lightweight clothing with light-colored materials
  • Check on your neighbors and anyone else in the most vulnerable group
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience heat-related illness symptoms.
  • Keep up to date with the latest news and safety updates.

Drinking Infused Water: Everything you need to know (and how to make it!)

infused water

Global health discussion platforms have long buzzed about the magical qualities of infused waters. They have really taken off in the food and beverage market, presenting bottled refreshment that is healthier than soda and more refreshing than regular water.  

What is even more exciting is how easy (and satisfying) it is to make infused water at home.


What is infused water?

infused water

Water is ‘infused’ with natural flavors, colors, and aromas using garden-grown items, for example.  

This is usually fruit, vegetables, and herbs, which are soaked in cold water.

The blend takes about 2 to 4 hours to bind successfully and the infused water may be stored in the refrigerator for about three days.


Is infused water healthy?

The concept of infusion is equally appealing to dieting gurus, environmentalists, and health nuts.  

Infused water is an especially healthy alternative to carbonated drinks and sugar-rich alcoholic choices, which can still impress the crowds at social functions.  

Homemade infused waters present a wonderful opportunity to choose a healthier beverage alternative, it’s true. They are easy to make and full of nutrients.  

Claims of ‘healthy, flavored water’ can be ignored on bottled waters because there are no hidden ingredients in the homemade versions.

It encourages us to drink more water, which is great for both detoxing and staying properly hydrated.


Is infused water sustainable?

infused water sustainable

Absolutely. Infused water made at home reduces our carbon footprint:

  • We have another excuse not to purchase plastic bottles in the name of ‘health’.  
  • Glass jars with tight lids are great water infusing tools, which encourages us to reuse jars from other products we purchase in stores.  
  • The dregs of fruit, veg, and herbs are thrown straight onto the compost heap, too, so nothing is wasted.  

Growing our own infusion ingredients also means healthier soil in our garden and happier garden birds and insects.  

What a fantastic contribution to clean air and healthy ecosystems in our area!


Is it bad to drink infused water?

No. Most home remedies are without risks, but infused water is almost free of worry.

The one possible (though improbable) downside is the interaction of herbs with medication (ask your GP if you notice side-effects with your chronic medication).

Consuming excessive amounts of infused water made with more potent ingredients, like ginger or acidic citrus may, in extreme cases, generate laxative effects, gas, or acid mouth burn.  

Again, this is unlikely for regular use. As with anything, balance is required.


6 Easy Steps to Making Infused Water

making infused water

The only secret is knowing how to put it all together. It is not even a secret, really. There are six easy steps:

  1. Chop fruit or veg or tear the leafy bits of herbs to release the oils.  
  2. Fill no more than a third of the jar with fruit, veg or herbs.  Top up with cold water and seal. Soak (called steeping) for 2 – 4 hours at room temperature. Or soak overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. After steeping, squash ingredients against the side of the jar with a spoon to release the last of the flavor.
  4. Shake it up.
  5. Decant the water and filter out the fruit. Less filtering leaves bits of tasty deliciousness in the water. A finer one, like a coffee filter paper, will leave only the clear liquid, still with a hint of color and flavor.

Voila! That’s all there is to it. Store it in the fridge for up to three days.  Infused water lasts longer when stored without the fruit, which ferments quicker when left in warm, moist settings.


20 Delicious Combos

It isn’t possible to cover all the amazing recipes but there are several delicious combos you have to try! These twenty flavor combinations are a perfect place to begin:

  • Cucumber and Mint (add Honeydew for a twist)
  • Parsley and Celery
  • Lemon, Orange or Lime Rinds
  • Frozen Berries like strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, and raspberries. (HINT: too-sour-to-eat berries make for perfect infused water ingredients!)
  • Ginger and Lemon or Honey
  • Raspberry and Mint
  • Celery (with pieces and torn celery leaves)
  • Watermelon and Basil
  • Watermelon, Kiwi, and Lime
  • Blueberry and Orange
  • Lime, Ginger, and Basil
  • Lemon, Raspberry, and Rosemary (or blueberries in season)
  • Grapefruit, Pomegranate, and Mint
  • Lime, Coconut, and Pineapple
  • Mango and Ginger
  • Strawberry and Kiwi
  • Blackcurrant and Lemon
  • Pear and Fennel (slice the pears thinly to squeeze out more flavor)
  • Lemon and Thyme
  • Orange, Guava, and Mint

A good tip to remember is to lead with one dominant flavor and enhance it with herbs, lemon, lime or sweeteners.

Watermelon, rosemary, pineapple, and berries are strong flavors, for example. These are beautifully enhanced with touches of mint, lemon, ginger or basil.  A pinch of dried herbs adds a twist on flavor, too.

There are no rules. Go wild with your own flavor combinations. Share recipes with your friends.  It’s easy, it’s healthy, it’s sustainable, and it’s delicious!

Have you discovered any great infusion flavor combinations recently? Tweet us all about it @greenerideal

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

The Green Landlord: Environmental Tips to Help Attract Tenants

the green landlord

As a real estate investor, you have an obligation to keep up with current trends. Though trends come in and often fade once the popularity has worn off, some trends become much more than passing glamour. 

Environmental sustainability efforts are at an all-time high in today’s world. This was once considered a trend years ago, but it’s no longer a trend but reality. 

With better science and research conducted each year, environmental statistics are becoming less the subject of skeptical criticism, and more the focus of those who wish to cash in on the benefits of going green while protecting the environment. 

Any real estate investor wants to make his or her property the most attractive in town. This is what lures potential buyers into your area. And, while you might not consider an apartment complex to be the best place to implement green living ideas, they’re actually one of the best venues to do so in.

If investing in an apartment building is something you’re considering, or if you’re looking to acquire an apartment building loan for a commercial real estate investment, going green is one way to attract young and environmentally conscientious tenants.

In the following guide, we’ll break down the many ways apartment building owners are going green and offering tenants much more than ordinary, cracker box living spaces.


Energy Efficiency

green landlord - energy efficiency

It’s not only an attractive green option to reduce energy consumption, it leaves more cash in your wallet and in the wallets of your tenants. 

Renovating efforts can include many elements, but installing energy-efficient appliances saves your tenants money, but you also get tax breaks for using these appliances in your complexes. Energy Star certified appliances not only reduce energy consumption but also reduce energy costs without sacrificing functionality.

With energy-saving appliances, tenants will spend less on electricity and water usage. 

Fortunately, the cost for you doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. You can sell your existing appliances as you replace and upgrade to energy-efficient models.


Make Your Property Green, Inside and Out

They say that when it comes to apartment living, the interior space speaks volumes. Well, while a nice garden tub and a spacious balcony are sure to attract a few prospective tenants, the outside of your property is a huge deciding factor as well.

Nobody wants to live in an unkempt and poorly maintained complex. Many tenants will pass by or drive through a complex before deciding where they want to live and pay rent. If your grounds are subpar, you’ll probably lose out on quality tenants over time.

Keeping an Eco-friendly mindset while maintaining your property can increase the attractive quality.

By consulting with your landscaping and general contracting professionals you can implement one or several of the following green solutions:

  • Eco-friendly pest control, fertilizer, and gardening elements 
  • Low-flow irrigation systems 
  • Re-introduce native plants, grasses, and trees
  • Charging stations for electric cars
  • Use recycled or reclaimed building materials 

Landscaping efforts can also re-introduce native species into the area such as birdhouses for the local avian population, as well as feeders and food plots. 

The bottom line is, you’ll want to make your complex as much a part of the natural environment as you can in order to facilitate an overall “green” feeling throughout the property.


Water & Waste Management

low flow toilets

For a 20 minute shower, the average person using a standard shower-head will use 50 gallons of water. In fact, it’s estimated that an average household uses between 200 and 300 gallons throughout the day on showering, laundry, and dishes. 

That’s a lot of water, right?

If you install low-flow or water reduction faucets and other hardware, you can save anywhere from 50 to 100 gallons of water per day from flushing toilets to washing dishes. It’s also great to consider installing dual-flush toilets in place of the standard toilet systems, or bidets to reduce the use of toilet paper

Dual-flush toilets use up to 60 percent less water than conventional toilets and reduce the amount of waste flowing into septic systems and leach fields.

Of all the water on Earth, we humans only have access to barely .3 percent of water fit for drinking and sustaining life. 

The rest of our water is locked in our oceans, deep underground, or trapped in glacial ice. As such, water conservation efforts are critical to a healthy and functioning ecosystem, and for the sustainability of all life. 

Additionally, while wastewater management is under constant strain, limiting the outflow into these systems allows for them to be in use longer and avoid costly upkeep from deterioration which also ultimately affects the price of the water bills. 



It has become increasingly attractive and economical to recycle. It’s a well known fact that many would-be tenants with an environmentally conscientious mindset will avoid apartment complexes because many simply do not offer recycling services. 

While the occupant of a single-family home can simply call their city waste disposal personnel and ask for recycling services, when you sign an apartment lease you don’t have this option unless provided by the complex. 

By offering recycling services, you open the door to a new customer base, and these are the tenants who care about the environment. Just as a homeowner can contact his city waste disposal department, so can you as a complex owner to inquire about recycling services in your area.

In addition to this, many private companies and non-profit businesses specialize in recycling needs. By contacting these individuals, you’ll be able to set up an attractive recycling program in your community. 

You can start by setting up recycling stations (along with legible signage) near garbage cans, or have the city waste disposal workers set this up for you.  


Why Does All of This Matter?

At the end of the day, introducing Eco-friendly practices in your complex will attract a specific type of clientele, and you’ll actually be able to push rent prices higher than you normally would in a conventional complex with no green solutions.

While the attractive quality of your complex will be one of your key advantages when attempting to land tenants, for the younger generations that are more environmentally engaged, this can often be a deciding factor on where to rent.

Not only can this increase your revenue potential, but you’ll also contribute to protecting and preserving the environment.


The Future of Sustainability 

While people can argue back and forth on the politics of going green or of climate change until we’re all blue in the face, those actually making the efforts to move towards sustainable living are the true environmental warriors of the day. 

As climate change continues to disrupt the weather patterns on our planet and affects the quality of living for all life on Earth, environmentally sound efforts will only increase as time wears on. 

As a real estate investor, consider the benefits of going green, developing wonderful practices within your community, and attracting those top-market Eco-friendly tenants.

6 Ways To Achieve A Self-Sustaining Garden

self-sustaining garden

Thanks to busy schedules, most of us find it impossible to start new things that can improve our lives, like gardening, since they are time-consuming. In fact, the amount of cash needed to grow plants can be intimidating to some homeowners. 

But with the new gardening methods like self-sustaining gardening, you can offer your family fresh veggies or fruits every day without having to spend a lot of cash and time on the garden.

As the name suggests, a self-sustaining garden can take care of itself with little assistance from the gardener. And over the last few years, these gardens have become quite popular among homeowners. 

That is because this type of garden can support itself as long as the soil is nutritious; plus, the seeds can be reused. Here are 6 simple ways to achieve a self-sustaining garden:


6 Self-Sustaining Gardening Tips

1. Choose the Right Crops



The whole concept behind a self-sustaining garden is planting crops that require little or no maintenance. So instead of going for just any crop, EcoPeanut recommends that you should look for the native plant species that thrive in your region. 

Native plants tend to do well and require less maintenance than non-indigenous crops. They are adapted to the region’s soil composition and weather conditions; therefore, they have a low likelihood of being affected by the pests and diseases common in your area.

Compared to non-indigenous crops, the native plants need fewer resources to grow. And when your plants need fewer nutrients to grow, it helps the farm remain healthy and self-sufficient. 

Indigenous crops can even thrive with less water, so you won’t need a lot of water to keep them green during the dry seasons. But make sure you plant them in the right place in your garden. If they need a shade to grow, make sure they have a shade and vice versa.


2. Improve Soil Quality Naturally Through Composting

Natural soil is crucial when creating a self-sustaining garden since a productive garden will always depend on the quality of your soil. 

Plus, healthy soil will produce the needed nutrients for your crops while preserving water. 

Unfortunately, the chemicals in most fertilizers are harmful to the environment, especially after mixing with the water and seeping into the soil. Since the primary goal of this type of farming is protecting the environment, you should use organic matter instead of fertilizer.

You can either purchase compost and add it to the garden or prepare some compost. You can start with the waste produced in your home, like falling leaves and grass. Composting is the safest way to keep your garden fertile for a very long time.

Organic materials release the needed nutrient as it decomposes while attracting the worms needed to optimize the soil. The worms then create tunnel mazes that help drain the soil and prevent your garden from becoming waterlogged.


3. Use Cover Crops

If you have a huge farm, you can protect the soil from direct sunlight using cover crops. Some cover crops like annual rye, alfalfa, and clover enhance the production of organic matter.

Besides protecting the ground from direct sunlight, cover crops can prevent soil erosion, improve nitrogen intake in the soil, and control weeds. Fortunately, cover crops are very easy to obtain, and their seeds are affordable.


4. Conserve Water

self-sustaining garden - conserve water

Water is one of the world’s most precious resources. Ensuring that you’re not using a lot of water is crucial to keeping the ecosystem healthy. You can start watering your garden at dawn and dusk; instead of during the day. 

This gives the plants more time to absorb the water. You can also confirm if the soil is dry by digging a small hole in the ground and confirming if the soil is dry before watering the garden.

Another effective method for conserving water is collecting rainwater. Install some barrels below the downspouts around the house and collect rainwater to use during the dry season. Remember, plants thrive when watered using rainwater because it’s not chlorinated like tap water.     


5. Recycle Plastic Containers and Bottles

Plastic waste is one of the world’s leading causes of environmental damage. So instead of throwing away the plastic container, you can recycle them in the garden. You can either convert them into watering cans or use the old containers to raise seedlings. You can also create plant protectors and place them around new growth or vulnerable plants to protect them from direct sunlight and wind.

Another solution for the used plastic containers in your home is converting them into planters. This will create more farming space in your otherwise small garden.


6. Avoid Herbicides and Pesticides

Most herbicides and pesticides are made using harmful chemicals that can affect the environment. Instead of using these harmful chemicals to sustain your garden, use natural and safe methods to deal with pest infestation or control the spread of weeds in your garden. One of the best solutions for weeds is mulching and planting cover crops.

On the other hand, native plants are rarely affected by the local pests, but you can try and deal with the problem using natural means when this occurs. 

You can also try and attract some helpful insects like ladybugs to deal with an aphid infestation. Or create a home remedy to take care of the pests. For example, a mixture of vinegar and water to take care of ants.  


Final Thoughts

Self-sustaining gardening is one of the best ways to protect the environment. Other than ensuring that you have a fresh supply of veggies at your disposal every day, a self-sustaining garden can help you lower your carbon footprint. 

That’s because you will not be using herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides. And since organic matter takes a very long time to decompose fully, your garden will remain fertile for a very long time. 

With the measures above, you won’t have to spend entire afternoons in the garden. Using less water and no chemical fertilizer can also help you save some cash.

The E-Waste Problem and How To Help [Infographic]

e-waste problem

According to a UN report, by 2050, the global electronic waste generated each year will have doubled from 50 million tonnes in 2020 to 110 million tonnes.

As our collective adoption of technology and electronics continues to grow, so does the amount of electronic waste (or e-waste) that’s building up around the globe.

Between TVs, cell phones, computers, and everything else with a circuit board, it’s already a considerable amount – 50 million tonnes of it are produced every year!

For instance, in 2020 alone, small household equipment such as irons, kettles, toasters, vacuum cleaners, etc., made up 37% of e-waste. Larger equipment contributed 22% to the e-waste problem, while small IT gadgets like phones and laptops added 9% to e-waste.

Surprisingly, small household appliances contribute the biggest portion to the e-waste problem. The trend is likely to worsen with the adoption of 5G technology and the internet of things.

As people rush to upgrade and connect their devices to the internet, older devices may end up in landfills, further compounding the e-waste problem.


Why is e-waste terrible for the environment?

Electronic devices comprise numerous components made from rare earth metals and materials such as gold, silver, lithium, and cobalt. A single metric tonne of circuit boards can contain more than 50 times the amount of gold and 30-40 times the amount of copper mined from just a single metric ton of ore in the U.S.

Besides rare earth metals, electronic devices also contain toxic heavy metals like beryllium, cadmium, lead, and mercury that harm both humans and the environment.

With most e-waste ending up in landfills, the heavy toxic metals seep into the ground, into the soil and water supply systems.

Again, with the high demand for electronic devices, the need for rare earth components grows bigger. This, in turn, drives mining and manufacturing demand that’s sometimes worse for the environment.


Is E-Waste Recycling the Solution?

E-Waste Recycling

E-waste recycling is only part of the solution. According to an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) report, the world generated more than 53 metric tons of e-waste in 2019. Only 17.4% was documented as properly collected and recycled. The rest most likely ended up in landfills, were incinerated, or still stuck in people’s closets.

Some of the purported recycled e-waste from developed nations actually ended up in developing countries in Asia and Africa, where informal and unregulated “recycling” happens.

At most of these developing nations’ recycling workshops, workers recover valuable materials by burning devices or using toxic heavy metals such as mercury to recover gold.

Without protective gear, these workers are exposed to hazardous materials, which may increase health complications such as premature births, congenital malformations, and lead poisoning.

Wealth nations send more than 20% of their e-waste to developing countries. Your fried toaster may find its way to the landfills of Ghana or China.


So, what can you do about it?

The e-waste problem requires a multi-pronged approach. For instance, manufacturers ought to make better products – durable and recyclable.

Gadgets should also be repairable, and people empowered to repair them. While some companies deny customers the right to repair citing copyright, users must assert their rights.

Additionally, companies should be held responsible for products within and beyond their useful life. For instance, they can provide customers with simpler options to get repairs, upgrades, and even spare parts.

Recycling should also be made more convenient. For instance, you should have the ability to drop your dead gadget at a recycling point, have it evaluated, and either repaired or sold for reuse, refurbishment, or recycling.

At the home level, keep the three tenets of environmental protection while dealing with the e-waste problem: Recycle. Reuse. Repair.


Protect the environment, save some money!

Can you repair or reuse the gadget? For instance, old tablets can turn into digital photo frames. Think twice before rushing off to buy another gadget to replace an old one. Do you REALLY need it? Can the old one be repaired?

We must deal with our need and desire for more things (read greed) to begin addressing the e-waste problem and other environmental issues.

Most of the habits that protect the environment are also good for our health (including mental health) and friendly to our pockets.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about the e-waste problem and what can be done to lessen the negative environmental impacts.

[ Click to view full size

ewaste infographic

Did this infographic change how you think about e-waste? How do you deal with your e-waste? Tweet us @greenerideal and let us know.

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

8 Business Opportunities in the Solar Industry

solar energy - US renewables

Environmental consciousness is growing across the world and everyone, from global governments to your next door neighbor, is taking action. This landscape presents unique business opportunities and there are many ways you can leverage your skills to start a business in solar. 

Let’s see how solar is projected to grow, and how you can grab yourself a piece of the solar pie.


Solar Industry Growth

Business opportunities in solar

Renewable energy has been an important sector for many years, and there’s no sign of this slowing down.

As financial institutions divest from fossil fuels and world governments commit to climate objectives, investment in renewables is guaranteed to grow. Renewables are establishing themselves as a fundamental component of our models of the future.

Solar PV (photovoltaics) are estimated to form around half of the expansion in renewables – that means this industry is growing fast. Projections into the next decade suggest that there’s a multi-billion dollar market in solar. It’s a great time to invest in a solar business.


Business Opportunities in Solar

1. Distributor

If you’re a born businessperson, then becoming a distributor in solar is a huge opportunity to take part in this emerging market. 

A distributor builds a network of connections between manufacturers and solar dealers. Initial investments for distributors are sometimes significant as you’ll need stock and storage, but by placing yourself integrally in the solar supply chain you can expect to see a strong return on that investment within 12 months.


2. Dealer

Becoming a dealer for solar in your area is a fantastic way to tap into this emerging demand. Dealership is a great option for those with limited capital as you can start in this industry with little initial outlay.

Since solar energy can be accessed on an individual household scale, you can become a dealer of units with only a small investment – simply make connections between distributors and the consumer. 

Dealers in solar can expect to make decent profits thanks to significant mark up costs on individual units.


3. Installer

solar installation

Becoming a solar panel installer is another way to leverage this growing market. When an individual or a business purchases solar panels, they usually need a professional to install them. 

If you have electrical skills or a history of working in a trade, you can make a horizontal move into solar installation with ease.

Often, this will require no investment on your part whatsoever – simply diversify your existing business into the art of installation.


4. YouTuber

Thanks to a surge in interest in renewables, there are more people than ever seeking information online about solar energy. 

You can turn this interest into profit by starting your own YouTube channel discussing the merits of solar energy – simply fire up the laptop and log in. 

YouTubers can make as much as $180 for 10,000 views – easily achieved if you have the answers to popular questions and the ability to deliver them with charisma.


5. Content Writer/Blogger

You can tap into the solar business through your writing skills by starting a blog about solar energy and monetizing it through ads. 

As people become fascinated by the possibility of solar, they turn to search engines like Google to answer their questions. Writing articles with optimized keywords can bring visitors to your site and along with them, revenue.

You could blog about how to install your own solar panels or about technological advances in the solar industry – provide people with valuable content and your blog will profit.


6. Photographer

solar photography

Anyone with photography skills can start a solar photography business – your only investment needs to be a good quality camera. 

Solar dealers and distributors require high quality photographic content to enable them to sell their wares, so reach out to members of the industry to offer your skills. Photographers can expect to be paid a day rate of between $200 – $400, depending on their experience.


7. Tutor / Course Developer

People are fascinated by the potential of solar energy and interested to learn. You could become a tutor, teaching people how to build their own solar panels or install them on their homes. 

Tutors can share their skills with the masses – setting yourself up as a tutor requires little outlay: build a website and promote your classes on social channels.


8. Financing Service Provider

Although becoming a financial service provider in the solar industry requires a great deal of capital to invest, there’s potential for enormous profit. 

One way to tap into this sector is by funding research in solar. If you have thousands, or even millions of dollars to invest you can see a healthy return by investing in new solar technology.


Wrapping Up

With so many avenues of entry into the solar industry, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a piece of the pie. Put your skills to work and start a business in solar today – the future’s bright for solar.


Cherry Chutney with Red Currants Recipe

Cherry Chutney

The Okanagan is known for its succulent fruit, causing juice to run down a chin with every bite and a sweetness that lingers long after pits or cores are discarded.

Buy this local bounty rather than fruit from the states to both experience its flavorful delights as well as reduce your carbon footprint.

As the growing season is so short, one means of lengthening your usage of local fruits is to create preserves.

This cherry chutney can accompany a variety of dishes – spooned on to curries, cheeses and desserts, or mixed with mayo to become a veggie burger condiment.


fresh cherries

cherries for chutney

sliced cherries for chutney

cherry chutney with red currants

Cherry Chutney

Cherry Chutney
Yield: 36 servings

Cherry Chutney with Red Currants

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This cherry chutney can accompany a variety of dishes – spooned on to curries, cheeses and desserts, or mixed with mayo to become a veggie burger condiment.


  • 2 cups red currants
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup candied ginger, minced
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 cloves pinch
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • salt, to taste


  1. Combine the red currents and water in a medium saucepan. Set it to medium heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, or the fruit has become mushy and flesh separates from the seeds. Remove and pour into a sieve placed over a bowl. Push as much liquid and flesh through as possible, while the seeds remain in the sieve. Rinse out the saucepan and pour the seeded current mixture in to it.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the saucepan. Stir thoroughly and turn to medium heat. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is reduced almost by half and has become thick and fragrant.
  3. Remove from heat and can the mixture or freeze for future use.


Originally posted Aug 7, 2012. This recipe has been updated for consistency.

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Vegan Mango Mint Coconut Ice Cream Recipe

vegan mango ice cream recipe

With a twist on the typical mango flavor, this ice cream uses the refreshing flavor of mint to create a cooling flavor on the tongue.

Using coconut milk instead of standard cream makes this an appealing ice cream for all.

If an ice cream maker is unavailable, just soften store bought coconut ice cream and combine the pureed, fresh mango and mint with it before re-freezing it.

vegan mango mint coconut ice cream
Yield: 4 servings

Vegan Mango Mint Coconut Ice Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

With a twist on the typical mango flavor, this ice cream uses the refreshing flavor of mint to create a cooling flavor on the tongue.

Using coconut milk instead of standard cream makes this an appealing ice cream for all.


  • 2 cups coconut milk, whisked
  • 1/2 cup fresh mango puree
  • 3/4 cup fine sugar
  • 1 tblsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 mango, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped


  1. Blend the coconut milk, mango puree, sugar, orange juice and vanilla in a blender on a high setting, for one minute.
  2. Whisk the coconut milk mixture with the fresh chopped mango and mint until combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve after freezing or place in a freezer to make it more stiff.

    Vegan Mango Mint Coconut

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 463Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 21gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 0mgSodium 18mgCarbohydrates 63gFiber 2gSugar 57gProtein 4g

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