4 Easy Ideas to Reduce Your Food Waste

Ideas to Reduce Your Food Waste

Did you know that between 30 and 40% of our food gets thrown away? This estimate means that an astonishing 133 billion pounds of food are wasted in the US in a year. There is a need for people to think for ideas to reduce food waste.

This sounds like a staggeringly huge problem, and it is, but there are ways you can help. There are 330 million people in the US. If everyone put in the effort to reduce their food waste, we could watch that number dwindle.

You can get started with these easy ideas to reduce your food waste!

1. Plan Before You Shop

Most people buy too much food when they go to the grocery store. They might buy things on impulse, pick up stuff because they “might” need it, or simply buy in bulk because it works out to be cheaper per item. Unfortunately, it won’t be cheaper if you throw half of it away and, unless you’re going to use it, you really shouldn’t buy it.

To that end, make a plan for what you’ll eat over the next few days. Make a list of items you’ll need to complete that plan. When you head to the store, stick to that list and try to ignore the fact that the Oreos are on sale…

2. Use All Your Food

Before heading to the store, make sure you really need to go. Use up all the perishables you bought last time before going out to buy more. Challenge yourself to come up with ways to use up items you have on hand.

As you get better about planning your shopping trips, this will become less of a problem. You’ll have everything you need to create the recipes you planned.

3. Organize Your Fridge

How many times have you forgotten about a head of lettuce and discovered a sludgy brown mess in the back of your produce drawer? This usually happens because everything is crammed haphazardly into your fridge and you can’t see stuff well.

To avoid this, clean out and organize your refrigerator. Plus, always make sure to put newer food behind older food to help ensure the older one gets used up first.

4. Learn to Love Leftovers

Leftovers sometimes get a bad rap because some people don’t like reheating food. But we’re here to tell you that leftovers are amazing! If you’re the one responsible for cooking in your house, you probably already really appreciate leftovers.

The trouble is, they can often get forgotten in the fridge. Store your leftovers in clear containers (as opposed to opaque) so you can see them and will be more likely to eat them. If you often have leftovers, designate one leftover day each week to use up all the random bits in your fridge.

Doing Your Part

We’ve just barely scratched the surface of all you can do to help cut down on food waste. You can also get friendly with your freezer, appropriately plan your portion sizes, make compost and use food scraps to fertilize your garden, and so much more! Hope these ideas to reduce your food waste help you and your community achieve environmental goals.

For more great tips and tricks, check out more news and updates on sustainability and home life!

3 Solar Gadgets That Will Make Your Life Easier

Solar Gadgets

Solar power is more accessible than ever, without the need for installing huge, expensive panels. Lots of gadgets now have solar panels built into them so you can charge them when you’re out and about (and away from power outlets), save on electricity bills, and enjoy using a sustainable energy source. Plus, they’re a life-saver when the power goes down or in the event of a natural disaster.

They’re also a great way to simplify your life. Everyone in the family from kids to seniors can benefit from having solar gadgets on hand.

Read on for our top three solar-powered gadgets that can simplify your life.

1. ABFOCE Solar Bluetooth Speaker

Whether you’re camping, spending a day at the beach, or just enjoying your backyard, a solar Bluetooth speaker helps you keep the music going no matter what. ABFOCE’s Bluetooth speaker comes with a built-in solar panel that gathers enough juice in 10 minutes to provide a half hour of playtime. Another cool feature is that it also functions as a battery bank you can use to power up your phone or other mobile devices.

2. Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight

A good flashlight is a must for your home, but it’s useless if it isn’t powered up or you don’t have batteries for it. A solar-powered flashlight, such as the Goal Zero Torch 250 Flashlight, is a good way to make sure you have a flashlight that is ready to go when you need it. When fully charged, it can run for 48 hours, and it has three modes to choose from: flashlight, floodlight, or red light for emergencies. Like the Bluetooth speaker, this gadget also doubles as a battery that can charge up a smartphone—just use the built-in USB plug.

3. Lattis Ellipse Keyless Smart Solar Bike Lock

Bike riders of all ages will love this solar-powered bike lock made by Lattis. It stops thieves from stealing your bike by sending an alert to your smartphone through Bluetooth when someone attempts to tamper with the lock. Plus, it’s a breeze to unlock it. You simply hold your smartphone near it and it opens automatically. You can also use a touchpad to enter your personal code.

Key Takeaway

Solar-powered gadgets are here and they are easy to use for the entire family and offer a ton of money-saving and environmentally friendly benefits.

Related Reading: Solar Panels: Great for you pocket and the environment

6 Ways to Make Your Coffee Habit More Sustainable

Make Your Coffee Habit More Sustainable

Coffee is the second most sought after commodity in the world. There is no denying that coffee has a large impact on the environment. Unfortunately, that impact is mostly negative. Many factors involved in coffee consumption and production are harmful to our planet. However, this does not mean that we have to give up our daily coffee. Instead, we can become more mindful and make small adjustments to make our coffee habit more sustainable.

1. Coffee beans

Buying coffee beans is the first step you can change to make your coffee habit more sustainable. The choice you make when selecting coffee beans can make the most significant contribution to your sustainability efforts. This will not only influence what type of coffee production you support, but also the social and economic effect on the coffee producers. Therefore, you should pay attention to labels that are Fairtrade or organic. By opting for Fairtrade coffee, you can support coffee farmers around the world and help protect the environment. You should also buy your coffee beans locally to reduce negative environmental effects of transportation.

2. Use more sustainable preparation methods

There are a lot of different methods and appliances to prepare your coffee. However, some of these appliances create an incredible amount of waste. Pod-machines, such as Nespresso, consume a lot of energy and produce waste that often cannot be recycled. More sustainable alternatives include drip coffee makers, the French press or aero press. If you prefer filter coffee, you should use reusable filters that are made out of metal or cloth. This will prevent additional waste from paper filters.

3. Buy a reusable coffee cup

Many coffee shops sell coffee in single-use plastic cups. These cups are not very environmentally friendly as they are often not recycled properly. If you are prone to buying takeaway coffees, you should bring your own refillable cup or flask. Coffee shops usually offer incentives for customers who do this and you may even get a discount on your coffee. However, if a disposable cup is unavoidable, you can use a 100% compostable coffee cup.

4. Reuse coffee grounds

Reusing coffee grounds does not necessarily mean putting them back into your coffee machine. To get as much use as possible out of your purchase, you can use the grounds for other benefits. Coffee grounds can act as a skin exfoliator, plant fertilizer and deodorizers for your fridge.

5. Milk and sugar dispensers

In order to avoid additional waste, you can use glass dispensers for your sugar. Single packaged coffee creamer and sugar creates a lot of harmful waste in the environment. By switching to glass containers, you not only reduce waste but you can also recycle them once you are finished with them.

6. Dispose of coffee grounds in compost bins

Approximately 6 million tonnes of coffee grounds get sent to landfills every year. To prevent coffee ground build up, you should use a compost bin to dispose of your grounds. These must be composted for around 100 days before you can use them as fertilizer. 

Related Reading: Coffee Brewing Method and Health – What You Need to Know

5 Tips on How to Choose a Solar Company for Your Home

how to choose a solar company

As the world begins to shift slowly toward renewable and sustainable energy sources, more people are deciding to live a green life and convert their home power supply to a renewable energy source.

Solar energy has proven to be the most popular, accessible, and affordable option for the average homeowner. Solar companies are popping up everywhere to keep pace with this growing demand.

But, in this burgeoning market, the question arises: How to choose a solar company? What should you consider when shopping around for an installer? 

For most homeowners, solar paneling may seem like a daunting endeavor. And, you know, it’s understandable to get a case of the buyer’s jitters when venturing into uncharted territory. The choice to convert your home power supply to solar energy and live your best sustainable life is a huge step, and you want to be sure it is done right. Have no fear.

Just keep reading for the top 5 things to consider when choosing a solar company for your home.  

1. Shop Around 

First things first—shop around! It would help if you did your research. If you have neighbors, friends, or family who have also gone solar, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. It’s also a good idea to check out company reviews online. Where possible, look for local solar companies that have a well-established presence in the market. Going local may save you a lot of money in the long run.

A 2017 study by the NREL (National Renewable Energy Labs) discovered that large solar companies typically charge up to 10 percent more than smaller enterprises. The flashy, high-end branding that larger companies employ may look attractive. Still, it is in no way an indicator of quality or value for money. Seek assessments and quotes from at least 3-5 reputable companies. Also, be sure to check that the companies you consider are fully qualified and legally certified to do the job. 

2. Don’t Be Cheap 

 In your quest for cost-efficiency, do remember not to be cheap. While it is possible to get great deals, you should be wary of any installer whose prices seem suspiciously low compared to the competition. Chances are they may cut corners somewhere, which will inevitably cause you to spend thousands more than anticipated. 

3. Buy Your Equipment Outright

Where possible, it’s usually a good idea to steer clear of lease agreements. Large solar companies frequently prefer to offer their customers solar leases and power purchase agreements rather than selling the equipment outright. These may seem attractive at the outset but are unavoidably parasitic to the consumer.

These agreements often have escalator clauses in the contracts, which guarantee a higher profit for the company by continually draining your pocketbook. These terms are another reason to go with a smaller company. You may pay a bit more on the front end, but the long-term savings are worth it.   

4. Look into the Warranties 

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the standard warranty for your solar equipment. You also want to make sure that the contract warranty covers labor costs. 

5. Read the Fine Print

You probably already know how important it is carefully read contracts. But, for the sake of thoroughness, be reminded. Reading the fine print in your contract will stave off disputes. If your installer says that the service package includes something, make sure that it says so in the contract. 

Follow these five tips for a seamless transition to green, sustainable, earth-friendly energy. 

Coffee Brewing Method and Health – What You Need to Know

Coffee Brewing Method and Health

As coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, it is easy to understand why it comes in so many forms. In fact, each coffee brewing method produces a slightly different result and can be linked to varying health benefits. Over the years, researchers have shown that drinking coffee can lower the risk of diabetes and heart failure.  However, these benefits are dependent on the type of coffee and brewing method you use.

Unfiltered Coffee and Health

According to a study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, you will only experience positive health benefits if you drink coffee that is prepared with a filter. “Unfiltered coffee contains substances which increase blood cholesterol. Using a filter removes these and makes heart attacks and premature death less likely,” said Dag Thelle, the author of the research. “Our study provides strong and convincing evidence of a link between coffee brewing methods, heart attacks and longevity”.

The research implies that those who make coffee using a French press may experience a rise in blood cholesterol. This is because unfiltered coffee contains greater amounts of kahweol and cafestol, which are chemicals in the oil droplets within the coffee. These substances can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, thus increasing the risk of heart problems. Thelle advised that people who know they have high cholesterol levels should stay away from unfiltered brew. For everyone else, be aware of the potential risks or switch to a filtered brewing method instead.

Filtered Coffee and Health

Coffee lovers may wish to opt for filtered brewing methods to keep enjoying their coffee with a clear conscience. In fact, drinking filtered coffee can be healthier than drinking no coffee whatsoever. Filtered coffee is made by pouring the coffee through a paper filter. This brewing method is often referred to as drip or pour over. Both men and women who drank filtered coffee experienced a 15 percent reduction in the risk of premature death. People who drank filtered coffee also presented lower risks of having heart disease or a stroke.

The study also found that those who drink between one and four cups of filtered coffee a day have the lowest mortality rate out of all of the analyzed groups.  “The findings showed that those drinking the filtered beverage did a little better than those not drinking coffee at all. This could not be explained by any other variable such as age, gender or lifestyle habits. So we think this observation is true,” Thelle said. These findings are important and other studies have corroborated the evidence. The American Heart Association found that filtered coffee can also improve mental focus and performance during exercise. Consuming coffee from this brewing method can also lower the risk of different types of cancer, liver disorders and melanoma.

  • Conclusion

Many research findings have confirmed that your choice of brewing method can have different effects on your health. In order to avail of the benefits of drinking coffee, you should consider opting for filtered coffee. Also, make sure you have a BPA free coffee maker.

4 Energy Apps To Help You Go Green and Spend Less Green

Energy apps to go green and save more green

Saving energy and saving money are hot topics in today’s economic climate. Isn’t it amazing if you can control both from the palm of your hand?

You might not realize it, but having a smartphone is good for more than making calls, checking emails, and playing games. You can use it to track energy efficiency and save on electricity bills using innovative mobile apps. Renewable energy apps can be of great help for how to save energy and money in your home.

Technology can help you live a more sustainable life. Here is a list of energy apps that will help you adopt green living and a more mindful lifestyle.

 Energy Consumption Analyzer

This app works as a mobile database of your home energy use. It’s easy to lose track of your energy consumption until you get an unpleasant bill. Energy consumption analyzer provides accurate readings of your daily energy consumption. You can add your meters for electricity, gas, or water to the database and keep track of current meter readings.

The energy consumption analyzer lets you color-code readings and add comments to them for better understanding. The application asks you to input data from your meter and calculates the average consumption rate. It then displays a bar graph or table of the total amount of actually used energy during a day, week, or month to help you gain insights and view trends.

Energy Cost Calculator

While trying to cut down your energy consumption, it’s necessary to know how much energy you are using. Through the Energy Cost Calculator, you can calculate energy usage and operating cost of electrical equipment you use. It helps you analyze which appliances in your home use the most energy. 

This application lets you know how much an appliance costs to run over a period and allows you to control it. You can calculate the running cost of an appliance by entering the wattage and how often you use it. The results are not 100% accurate, as it does not have access to your tariff information, but it gives you an idea.

Energy Tracker

Energy tracker can evaluate and manage meter reading according to your electricity, gas, heat, and water consumption. It automatically detects meter readings and dates to provide a graphical analysis of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly consumption.

Energy tracker knows where you can save money by creating a report. It makes an estimate by comparing daily and monthly trends throughout the year. All data is saved to the application and will provide you with exclusive CSV reports on your energy consumption at home.

Smappee

Smappee manages your energy flows in a way that you can work, relax, and live without compromising on comfort. It gives you a clear insight into your energy consumption, and you can leave your home without any worries. Let the app control and automate your energy flows.

It provides you real-time readings for electricity, gas, water, and solar consumption. You can automate your appliances and let the application control their energy flows to optimize consumption. It also allows you to control energy use remotely using smart devices and plugs.

How often should you replace your coffee maker?

coffee maker

Not all coffee makers are created equal. There are stories of machines that last a lifetime while other coffee makers can’t go six months without breaking down. But why do the lifespans of different coffee makers vary so much?

Many things can affect the lifespan of a coffee maker, but mostly it’s about build quality and regular maintenance. Most solid machines will keep brewing quality joe for around five years, but you can extend its lifespan by a few more just by regularly cleaning the machine.

Water hardness plays a big role in determining how long your machine lasts. You might have to descale and perform maintenance on your machine more often if the water in your home is particularly hard. Even if your water is relatively soft, it’s always a good idea to create and stick to a descaling schedule, because calcium will build up in the tubes over time.

The complexity of your coffee maker is also important. More moving parts means more things that can potentially break. Coffee makers that have no tubes, pumps, or heating elements will pretty much last forever. In many cases, you can have your machine brewing like new by replacing the broken parts.

Now it’s time for you to take a good, long look at your coffee maker. How long have you had it for? Have you noticed a drop in the quality of the coffee it brews? If you’re unsure if it might be time to upgrade to a newer model, here are some questions you can ask yourself that will help you know what to look for.

Does it even brew?

This might sound too obvious, but is your coffee maker even working? In many cases, a broken pump or failed heat element can be fixed or replaced. Of course, this depends on the brand of your coffee maker and whether spare parts are readily available.

If your coffee isn’t brewing at all, or your machine won’t turn on, it’s often not worth going through the trouble of repairing it — chances are good it will break again.

Before you start shopping for a new machine, check to see if your current warranty covers repairs or replacements. If you can get a new coffee maker, and you like your current model, then replacing it is the way to go.

Is there build-up in the tubes that can’t be removed with descaling?

Water with a high concentration of calcium is called hard water. While it isn’t a health risk, the calcium can collect in the tubes and corners of your coffee maker. Over time, the buildup can affect the performance of your machine, which is why it’s so important to regularly descale (remove buildup).

Over years of neglect and constant use, the calcified minerals can accumulate and harden to the point that descaling won’t be enough to fix the problem. Cleaning it might not be feasible or worth your time. This would mean it’s time for you to find a new coffee maker.