Go Zero-Waste with Online Invitations from Punchbowl: 10 Eco-Friendly Holiday Tips

Last Holiday season, we shared the “Tradition or Trash” infographic from Punchbowl, which outlines the environmental impact of paper invitations & cards sent during the Holidays. We learned that between Thanksgiving & Christmas, household waste increases by more than 25% — including more than 1.6 billion paper invites and cards that are discarded at the end of the season. This holiday season, Punchbowl is urging consumers to #ChooseDigital invitations over paper to help cut back on this staggering statistic and do their part to reduce Holiday waste.

Punchbowl, the gold standard in online invitations, is promoting a Zero Waste Holiday season — all starting with online invitations and cards! Holiday hosts can take their eco-friendly efforts one step further to help cut back on holiday waste. From homemade gifts to upcycled Christmas decorations, you can follow this simple 10-step guide for a more sustainable season.

Ready to start your zero-waste celebration? You can send digital holiday invitations to family & friends in just minutes! Browse the Christmas online invitations from Punchbowl to get started. When you choose to send digital Holiday invitations this season, you help the Earth. Punchbowl has also pledged to make a donation to reduce paper waste when party hosts choose one of these specially-marked holiday invitation designs.

Go Zero-Waste with Online Invitations from Punchbowl

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm

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How Passive Houses Can Help the Environment

Passive houses are still very niche. There are currently over 60,000 passive houses in the world with 20,000 of those based in Germany. This infographic from Half Price takes you through the growth of passive houses and looks to clear up some myths that may stop people from looking to build a passive house. For example, many people point to the fact that the walls are a bit thicker, and while this is true, passive houses allow you to sit by windows and sliding doors all through winter. In a regular house, these areas are often avoided during winter as they’re too cold.

At present, passive houses are still more expensive but prices are coming down all the time. For example, they are around 8% more expensive in Germany but do check with local authorities in your area about if they offer support to people who want to build passive houses.

Of course, the savings from lower energy bills will add up over time but it’s understandable why people aren’t willing to pay more for them as present. Hopefully at some point in the very near future, the prices will be more in line with what we can afford. Find out more in the infographic

How Passive Houses Can Help the Environment.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm

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Eco-friendly Solutions to Boost Indoor Air Quality

Good air quality in your home is one of the major factors that contribute to the overall health of all family members and it can be easily improved in various ways. Essentially, it comes down to keeping the bad influences out and the good ones in throughout the entire home, from the attic to the basement and crawl spaces.

Main causes of poor indoor air quality are mold, particulates and chemicals. The latter two are released by furniture, household cleaners and building materials, and are known to be causes of allergies, respiratory problems, headaches and even severe organ damage in extreme cases. Mold is another widespread contributor to allergies and asthma. It thrives in moist environments and spreads quickly, especially in homes that are designed to seal in heat or cold air and regulate indoor temperature. Mold grows quickly in an environment without natural airflow.

Here are several eco-friendly and cost-effective ways to improve your indoor air quality.

Limited sources of pollution

The quickest solution is to adopt the habit of regularly cleaning your house. Dust and dirt accumulate daily on all surfaces and the particulates that they contain are the ones that trigger allergies and weaken the immune system. By keeping your home clean, you will help reduce the presence of irritants and allergens.

Another important factor is to be more eco-conscious when it comes to cleaning. Give up the harsh and abrasive cleaners and cut back on chemicals. A lot of chemicals linger in the air long after the cleaning has been done. Nowadays, there are many natural alternatives available instead of bleach and ammonia-based cleaning products.

The final pollutant that you can easily limit or completely eliminate is cigarette smoke. Tobacco smoke is known to contain more than 200 cancer-related toxins, including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. It contributes significantly to pneumonia, asthma and infections of the lower respiratory system, especially in children.

Improved ventilation and humidity control

Improved ventilation and humidity control

Poor ventilation also leads to high accumulation of harmful particles in the air and it prevents the natural airflow in the house. The result is a high level of humidity that enables mold growth and increases the concentration of air pollutants. This means that all family members spend a lot of their time exposed to harmful influences as they go about their daily lives eating, sleeping, watching TV or working around the house. Therefore, whenever the weather allows it, open your windows to let the fresh air in and stuffy, stagnant air out.

If your budget allows it, invest into a good humidity control system that will help a great deal in regulating humidity levels in your home, especially if you opt for a house-wide system. This will include those most sensitive areas of your home, such as the attic, basement and bathrooms, and it’ll make your home more comfortable with clean air, as well less prone to mold and other airborne toxins.

Incense

Air purification

One more option that you can go for is an air purification system that will mechanically purify your indoor air. However, if this investment proves too much for you, there are simpler solutions. Try using aromatherapy. Its benefits are not just a beautiful scent that permeates the house, but it’s also been proven to reduce stress and improve mood. And more importantly, essential oils, such as lemon, peppermint and tea tree, have antifungal and antibacterial properties.

In addition to essential oils, another way to kill air pathogens is to install a high-quality UV lamp that can be very effective in fighting viruses and bacteria, maintaining infection control and keeping your water hygiene at the highest level.

As the last resource, consider adding plants that are known air purifiers, such as the peace lily. They act as natural air filters and help eliminate harmful toxins in addition to producing oxygen.

Candles

Conclusion

These eco-friendly tips will help you breathe more easily and improve your indoor quality without having to live in a bubble or spending heaps of money. Knowing the enormous health benefits of clean indoor air, it’s clearly worth the effort.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 17, 2017 at 3:26 pm

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Energy Efficiency: How to Save Your Own Energy and Make Your Home Green

There are two major reasons why people decide to go with a green lifestyle. The first one is the fact that they want to cut down on their utility expenses and make their home cheaper for long-term upkeep. The second one is the altruistic idea of doing something good for their planet. Needless to say, both of these reasons can be quite persuasive and are definitely positive.

Still, your reason for going green may significantly influence the way in which you decide to do so. For instance, those who are primarily concerned about the planet might put an emphasis on the environmental impact of your home. We are talking about things like the construction materials it was made from and the kind of waste that your home produces. On the other hand, those who are eco-minded, yet a bit more budget-oriented need to put the energy-efficiency of their home as a paramount.

1.     Start with the insulation

The first thing you need to do in order to make your home more energy-efficient is – to insulate the walls, the roof and the attic. The price of such a project varies from A) the material that you intend to use for insulation and B) whether or not there is a government grant. Sometimes, we are talking about things like tax deductions or monetary incentives, while the situations where the government provides you with the insulation materials are as common.

2.     Doors and windows replacement

One more thing you should know about the insulation is that it doesn’t end with your walls. You also need to pay a close attention to your exterior doors and windows. Replacing a traditional single-pane window with a double- or triple-glazing one can reduce the amount of heat that leaves your home by as much as 40-60 percent. Needless to say, this will allow you to warm up your home in the winter with much less energy spent, as well as to cool it down with the AC in the summer much easier.

3.     Exterior maintenance

Keep in mind, however, that a proper maintenance of your home’s exterior also plays a huge part in its energy efficiency. A thing as simple as a regular gutter cleaning can have a major impact on the overall integrity of your home’s exterior. This is due to the fact that clogged gutters may cause in roof and wood fascia damage, as well as damage to walls, windows and doors. In the previous two sections, we went to lengths to describe a part that each of these elements plays in energy-conservation within your home. Due to the fact that gutter cleaning takes a lot of time and even skill, more and more people are turning towards hiring professionals to do this in their stead.

4.     LED light bulbs

One of the most widely known ways of saving money on power lies in replacing all your standard light bulbs with LED ones. The advantage that this creates is that it allows you to generate the same amount of light with only one-quarter of the power invested. For instance, a 10 W LED bulb creates a 600 lm strong light. In order to get the same intensity of light, you would have to go with a 40 W incandescent bulb instead.

5.     Exploit natural light

Another way to cut down your power spending is to try to take advantage of natural light as much as possible. If you are just planning a construction of your home, make sure your living room is oriented so that it gets as much daylight as possible. Furthermore, use mirrors and reflective paint in order to maximize the effect.

6.     One step further

Finally, those who aren’t scared to invest some serious money into this project might even consider the installation of solar panels in order to make their home self-sustainable. At very least, you could install a solar-powered water heater and get a much better short-term ROI (it can pay itself off in as little as 2 years). In the end, you could also switch some of your old, power-hungry appliances for the low-power new ones.

In conclusion

By following these six simple steps, you can make your home significantly greener and your utility bill much smaller. Of course, seeing as how you will have to invest in order to get there, it might take a while until you get your money back and actually start saving. Still, each of the above-listed improvements also adds to the resale value of your home, which means that not a single dollar you put towards going green will ever go to waste.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm

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How to save water in the bathroom

Saving water in the home is simple when you know how, and there are many different ways to do just that in bathroom. From turning taps off when they are not in use to making your own cleaning spray, it comes down to a lot of awareness and a little action. With that in mind, let’s check out some of the best ways you can save water in your bathroom.

Water-Saving Basics

There are a number of ways to save water through changing how you use your bath. For one, make sure the taps aren’t leaking – that can lead to a lot of wasted water over a long period of time. Also, rather than fill the bath all the way and then waste some in the over spill, just half fill it and add a little more when you’re in. The idea of sharing a bath is a big no-no for some, but if you’re happy to do so it’s a great way of saving and can be a nice thing to do too.

Turn Off The Tap

All too often we leave the tap running. When we’re washing our face, brushing our teeth or even just wiping out the basin. In fact, there are plenty of ways you might never even have thought of to save money and the environment by not constantly running water. For example, cleaning your beauty tools. If you’re wondering how to clean a hairbrush whilst saving water, this is a great tip. Don’t just run it under the tap whilst you clean it, use a cup full of water when scrubbing and only turn the tap on to rinse when you’re finishing off.

Don’t Wait And Waste

No one likes hopping in a cold shower, so that’s why most of us let it run until it reaches a comfortable temperature. However, over the course of year that wastes an amazing amount of water. No one’s saying hop under freezing water! But you can catch it instead. Place a bucket underneath and use that water elsewhere, possibly for watering plants or cleaning.

Make Your Own Cleaning Solution

One of the best ways of saving water whilst cleaning your bathroom is to avoid using water where you can. How do I do that? you might be asking. It’s simple really; instead of using copious amounts of water to scrub and wipe down, make your own cleaning solution and fill a spray bottle with it. Rather than filling a sink and using half of the water from that, you’ll be using a fine mist which will be much more economical and environmentally friendly.

As you can see, there are many ways to save water in the bathroom. We’ve looked at a handful of obvious and not so obvious options – we’ve even looked at how to clean a hairbrush and save water – so now you can start to implement a more mindful (and less wasteful) approach. You won’t just be helping the environment; you might just knock a few pounds off your water bill too.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 15, 2017 at 7:56 am

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4 Tips To Make Your Eco-Friendly Relocation A Breeze

When it comes to moving, you’ve probably heard this a thousand times already, but relocating your home is a challenge. There are so many things you have to keep in mind, and with so many important tasks, people tend to get anxious and let the stress take over. You have to make checklists, organize a transport, keep an eye out for your kids, and quite a lot of other issues as well, so it’s perfectly normal that you forget about some things, like the environment, for example.

It’s not that hard to try and be eco-friendly while you’re moving. Moving a lot of your possessions across the country can be very bad for the environment. The amount of fuel you spend, the trash that stays behind once you unpack the boxes, even the old furniture you want to dispose of can make a seriously negative impact on our planet. So how do you deal with these issues and keep a clear head? Let’s check out some of the most useful tips for an environmentally friendly move.

Get Rid of the Excess Stuff in an Eco-Friendly Way

Take a long look at all of your possessions before you start planning your move. Think about what of those things are really needed, and which items you’re already thinking of throwing out. Make a selection of items that will be necessary for your new home, but make sure you get rid of those items you can really do without.

You can organize a garage sale, or sell your unnecessary things online. You can also donate a lot of lightly used items you won’t need to various charities. Some websites like Craigslist and Freecycle allow you to put your items for giveaway. Use all of your stocked supplies before you move, so nothing goes to waste, or contact a friend or a neighbor to let them have all of the supplies you won’t need. Of course, when it comes to disposal of hazardous materials, make sure you follow the right protocol.

Use Household Items as Packing Materials

One of the most important steps you can do to ensure the eco-friendly and affordable relocation is to use household items as packing materials. Instead of buying or renting not so environmentally-friendly packing solutions, you can use whatever you have in your home to achieve the needed effect, and still stay eco-friendly.

Use suitcases, laundry baskets, and crates; use old boxes you still have laying around for some reason. All of these items are pretty common in almost every household, so why spend money and create a lot of trash, when you can use what you already have and get the job done properly, and without the negative impact on the environment. Use blankets and towels to secure your belongings from breaking and damaging along the way, and the best thing is – once you’ve finished unpacking – there is no mountain of trash waiting for you to dispose of it.

Focus on Recycling

When it comes to recycling, almost everything in your home can be processed and recycled. From plastic and cardboard, through batteries to old electronics, there are quite a lot of household items that could and should be recycled when you’re done with them.

Batteries contain a lot of hazardous substances which can have a very bad effect on waterways, while those old appliances you have may also contain hazardous materials like lead. There are resource recovery centers that accept old open cans of paint, and there is virtually a recycling station for basically every type of material you have in your home, so before embarking on a moving adventure, make sure you’ve recycled as much of the unnecessary stuff as you possibly can.

 Hire an Eco-Friendly Relocation Company

Last, but not least – when you’re searching for an environmentally-friendly super easy storage solution you must make sure that the moving company you’re hiring is trustworthy. Look for lower-emissions trucks, use of recycled materials, LED cargo areas and similar energy-efficient solutions they are using. Do your research and try to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, even if you’re doing your own driving. Keep the speed low, and try moving during spring, when there’s no need for A/C system to be turned on.

Final thoughts

Most important thing you have to keep in mind is not to panic. Moving is a huge step, but it’s not impossible to overcome. Focus your strength on planning and thinking ahead. Big moves can have a really negative impact on the environment and know how we have already made quite a negative scar on it, you should give your best to try and make a change. It’s the least you can do for both your planet and yourself.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 15, 2017 at 7:48 am

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About the biggest reforestation project… ever

Climate change is happening, and it's happening fast. In a race to tackle sky-rocketing CO2 emissions the non-profit organisation Conservation International is setting up the biggest tropical reforestation initiative ever seen, with plans to plant an awesome 73 million trees in Brazil over a 6 year period. If deforestation stopped altogether, the world's forests could absorb as much as 37% of our annual carbon emissions all on their own. That's unlikely, but this project takes a considerable step in the right direction.

Mending the arc of deforestation

The region in question is called the ‘arc of deforestation', a massive area extending to 70,000 acres that has been cleared for pasture. The intention is to return it to lush rainforest. It's vital since some scientists predict 20% more of the Amazon rainforest might be deforested over the next two decades despite the fact that doing so will push climate change along even further. And tropical trees are our best bet. As the CEO of Conservation International, M. Sanjayan, says, “it's not just the trees that matter, but what kind of trees. If you’re really thinking about getting carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, then tropical forests are the ones that end up mattering the most.”

An innovative, more efficient and cheaper way of reforesting

To maximise the impact of the reforestation project, Conservation International has pinned down a new, very efficient planting technique called muvuca, where literally hundreds of native tree seeds from multiple species are planted, covering every inch of deforested land. The seeds will come from the Xingu Seed Network, a native seed supplier for a host of conservation organisations. They have a dedicated network of over 400 seed collectors, usually indigenous women and youths.

Much better seed survival and plant density

Once the seeds grow, nature decides which of the new plants survives. It looks like an impressive 90% of native plants germinated survive using this method, which is also cheaper and less labour-intensive than the traditional way of planting actual saplings. A density of about 160 plants per hectare isn't unusual for traditional reforestation methods compared to 2,500 species per hectare for the new method, and a decade later we could easily see 5,000 new trees per hectare.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 7, 2017 at 2:37 pm

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Road to 2040 – An overview of the petrol and diesel sales ban

The UK government recently announced a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel engine cars from 2040, amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide are posing a major risk to public health. The government claim that the ban must take place due to the unnecessary and avoidable impact that poor air quality is having on the general public’s health.

Petrol and diesel cars are amongst some of the worst generators of nitrogen dioxide, which causes many serious health issues to the public, such as long-term exposure decreasing lung function, increased risk of respiratory conditions and increased response to allergens.

Not only does nitrogen dioxide affect us, it also effects the world around us. Due to the intense levels produced by the millions of cars in the world, nitrogen dioxide causes devastating effects such as acid rain, smog and ground-level ozone formation.

In a desperate effort to reduce these effects, the government hopes that the ban of petrol and diesel engine cars will lead to a switch to less harmful electric vehicles and increase in use other forms of alternative transport.

Select have looked into the road leading to 2040, to see why this is happening and if the UK will be ready for the switch.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm

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Quiz: What Type of Recycler Are You?

Recycling – It’s worth it

We simply don’t have the room on Earth to keep burying rubbish. Recycling is essential to our future.
It’s also faster and more cost effective than sourcing materials to make new products from. Reusing materials saves a huge amount of energy, which in turn benefits the planet and its ecosystems on the whole.

Recycling Facts

•       Recycling 6 tea bags creates enough energy to make 1 cup of tea
•       Up to 60% of discarded rubbish could be recycled
•       1 recycled tin can saves enough energy worth 3 hours of television
•       A recycled aluminium can will be back on the shelves within 6 weeks
•       Recycling every newspaper would save 250 million trees per year

Click here to find out what type of recycler you are.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 30, 2017 at 4:40 pm

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A New Water Crisis Caused by…Your Favorite Outfit?

We all know that water is in crisis. Water scarcity impacts over 2.8 billion people around the world, with 1.2 billion lacking access to clean drinking water. Growing contamination concerns threaten us all.

When we think about what makes drinking water dangerous, we often reach for the big, dramatic examples the news media and Hollywood have put forward. Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich, revealing the crimes of PG&E, fracking films starring Matt Damon, the stock image of the factory sitting on the edge of a lake, spewing toxic sludge into the town’s drinking supply.

If we broaden our question about what pollutes our water, we may conjure up images of the Exxon Valdez tragically sinking into the Prince William Sound, disrupting the delicate balance of the single largest biome on earth.

The truth is, these things greatly contribute to the pollution facing our water systems, but they’re not the whole picture. In the 21st century, we are well aware of the fact that the pollution of one commons leads to the pollution of another commons, as Sherri Mason explains in this TIME article.

What might surprise you is that you are probably wearing, sitting or standing on one of the biggest threats to our water supply: fabrics comprised of microscopic plastic fibers. Everything — from your cozy blanket to your shag rug to your favorite outfit — is shedding minuscule fibers too small to be filtered out in the water treatment process.

These toxic fibers come from synthetic textiles — specifically polyester, nylon and acrylic — the “ubiquitous three”. In the past five years, synthetic fabrics have begun to exceed cotton and other natural fabrics in consumer demand, so even if you upcycled your most adorable patchwork dress, you’ve likely used a patch here and a patch there that contain harmful contaminants.

Microfibers are showing up in the guts of marine life in food markets. A recent study by the University of Minnesota estimates that as much as 94% of U.S. tap water is contaminated by microfibers. Bottled water is similarly affected. And at this point, experts have no idea how this pollution will impact human health.

So what can we do to halt this problem in its tracks? Here are a few solutions:

  • Wash differently. “Lower, shorter, colder” is your new mantra when it comes to washing and drying your synthetic fabrics. Wash your spandex pants as infrequently as you can. If you’re able to customize the wash, wash synthetics for the shortest time possible. Switch to liquid laundry soap since the grains in powder soaps tend to be more exfoliating, stripping the clothing of more fibers during the wash cycle. Use a colder wash setting. And whatever you do, don’t wash lint down the drain. Throw it away.
  • Spread the word. Speak up about microfiber pollution. It can be difficult to build awareness around eco issues, especially when it means your aunt Sally might not be able to buy a new pair of her favorite yoga pants in good conscience. Talk to your friends and family in ways that invite them into the action. Sign petitions. The more people we mobilize, the better.
  • Buy different fabrics. This is more of the long-game approach, but it’s worth it. In a society run by capitalism, where we put our money matters. It doesn’t make sense to say you’re going to throw out every fabric shedding microfibers currently in your house. You’d probably be left with a bare house. But it’s a goal to aim for in the moving target of keeping our earth safe and habitable. Whenever you can moving forward, buy products made from natural fibers — cotton, linen, and wool, etc.

Like most environmental crises, cleaning up our water is going to be a tough task. One that will take grassroots awareness efforts, growing commitment and a change in the attitudes of consumers. But our environment is worth fighting for, worth changing for…one favorite outfit at a time.


About the author

Stuart Berman is a style and fashion industry vet, designing and launching successful men’s fashion brands that have been sold in the catalogues of Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods of London, and on MTV. After going through an organic awakening with his wife and wanting a better future for his family, Stuart turned to natural fabrics, and is launching his new clothing line, Blue Zipper, in the fall of 2017.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Categories: Eco Clothing   Tags:

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