Why Landscaping Matters to Your Home

Why Landscaping Matters to Your Home

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Why landscaping matters to your home

By Frances Black

When we moved into our country property 20 years ago, one of our new neighbors, a third-generation real estate agent, congratulated us on the wisdom of our purchase. Our lovely old farmhouse was a gem, she said, as was the old barn and the carriage house turned garage. “Then,” she added, “there’s all that you’ve inherited.”

We knew exactly what she meant: The landscaping, while not well-kept, was incredible. Dozens of shade trees. Long flowering hedges. Fruit trees and a berry patch. Shrubs that provide interest from spring blooms to winter fruit. Much was put in place by the professional groundskeeper who lived here nearly 80 years before. None was enumerated on the bill of sale, the mortgage application, or our insurance forms. This gift from long ago doesn’t merely matter to our home. Landscaping turned a bunch of buildings that met our square-footage needs into a home, the place we are always glad to be.

Improving quality of life is just one of the advantages that landscaping confers on a home. It doesn’t take much to create a private Eden. A tree, a bunch of bulbs, a luscious lawn, or even a good collection of potted plants on an apartment terrace or deck can do the trick. In the city property where I grew up, the deciding factor was the cherry tree my mother planted. In a few years, it yielded enough fruit for the birds and for pies. But the real advantage was the pink flowering branches that created just the place for a kid to sit under to read or to dream.

Landscaping is also highly practical. Consider the environmental advantages. Well-planted trees and shrubs lower energy bills in several ways. Their mere presence can cool a property and help funnel summer breezes. But studies have shown that by shielding a house from direct sunlight, well-placed trees can reduce attic heat by up to 40 percent. This ain’t hay. At our artfully-shaded house, we don’t need air conditioning.

It helps if certain of those cooling trees, on the west or south sides particularly, are deciduous. In winter the leafless limbs let in sun, lowering heating costs. Well-placed evergreens, meanwhile, to the north of a house can further lower heating costs by blocking winter winds

The environmental advantages extend beyond comfort. There are many ways to create an eco-friendly home, from recycling and reusing to installing energy-efficient bulbs, appliances, and HVAC systems. But landscaping can be part of the program. A single mature tree, for example, can cancel out the carbon emissions created by 11,000 miles of driving a car. Trees and grass also capture dust and particles and generate oxygen. Plantings of all sorts can help control erosion.

With all these strategies, in this time of droughts and increased heat, it’s wise to choose native plants that can thrive without fertilization or large amounts of an increasingly precious resource: water.

Landscaping also increases privacy. Good fences make good neighbors, the poet Robert Frost famously wrote. But in my opinion, good hedges are even better. You never have to paint a hedge. It can flower or bear fruit, if you want, and help attract nesting birds and other wildlife. And a hedge never makes you feel “fenced in.”

The big planting project at our house was the extension of just such a hedge — more than 175 feet of it added to existing screening. Our road got considerably busier in the 200 years since the house was built, and the absence of screening is one reason we could afford the property. Our massive living privacy screen shields us visually and audibly. We see and hear less traffic. And it is gorgeous. Depending on its location and the era of planting, our hedge contains arborvitae, pine, spruce, flowering lilac, forsythia and wild rose, and bird-attracting barberry. Smaller interior hedges of arborvitae, weigela, rhododendron, and spirea define several discreet spaces, making our scant two acres a place of several “yards.”

The privacy and variety these plantings provide make it easy to spend time outdoors and enjoy the ultimate backyard hobby: gardening. You don’t have to plant flower beds for landscaping to make a big difference to your home. But take it from me, it sure is fun.

Frances Black is a writer and gardener. She was born in Michigan and has planted gardens everywhere she’s lived, from New Mexico to New England.

8 Ways To Make Your Home More Eco Friendly

 

 

 

Buying a new home in San Antonio is a huge personal investment. For most people, buying a house will be the biggest investment they ever make. Considering the costs involved in the purchase of a house (from the down payment to the closing costs to the monthly interest and more), you’ll want to find ways to save some money, both in the short term and the long term. One of the most effective ways to do this is by making your home more eco-friendly.

Why Go Eco-Friendly?

Eco-friendly homes are not only good for the environment – they can also save you money. By making your home more energy-efficient, you can lower your monthly utility bills. In addition, eco-friendly homes often have a lower carbon footprint, which can save you money on your taxes. And, as an added bonus, many green features also add to the resale value of your home.

What Are Some Ways to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly?

There are lots of ways that you can make your home more eco-friendly. Some of these ways require little to no investment. However, those that do require some initial investment (whether of time or money) tend to result in a greater impact over the long term. With that in mind, the following are eight ways that you can make your home more eco-friendly:

1. Install Low-Flow Fixtures

One of the easiest ways to make your home more eco-friendly is to install low-flow fixtures in your sinks, showers, and toilets. Simply installing a low-flow showerhead can end up saving you upwards of 2,900 gallons of water a year. Low-flow fixtures use less water than traditional fixtures, thereby reducing the amount of water you waste while also can saving you money on your water bill. In addition, if you live in an area with water restrictions, low-flow fixtures can help you avoid fines.

2. Get a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to set your home’s temperature according to a schedule. This way, you can make sure that your home is only heated or cooled when you need it to be.

For example, if your home is empty five days out of the week, you can set your programmable thermostat to switch to an energy-saving setting when you leave and have it turn back on to your desired temperature right before you come back home from work. Doing so can save you money on your energy bill, as well as help to reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

3. Replace Old Light Bulbs With LEDs

It’s estimated that LED lights use around 75 percent less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs. Even though LED bulbs cost more initially, the amount you’ll save on energy use over the long run will be substantial, especially when you consider the fact that LED light bulbs last 25 to 35 times longer, which means that you’re spending way less money replacing bulbs while also contributing less to waste.

4. Invest In A Tankless Water Heater

A tankless water heater is a great eco-friendly investment for any home. Unlike a traditional water heater, which keeps a certain amount of water hot at all times, a tankless water heater heats up water on demand. As a result, you don’t have to waste energy keeping water hot when you’re not using it. In addition, tankless water heaters tend to last longer than traditional water heaters, which means you’ll save money in the long run.

5. Invest In A More Energy Efficient HVAC System

An energy-efficient HVAC system can do wonders for your energy bills and your home’s carbon footprint. While the initial investment may be a bit pricey, you’ll save money in the long run, both on your energy bills and on maintenance and repair costs. In addition, if you live in an area with hot summers and cold winters, an energy-efficient HVAC system can keep your home comfortable all year long without breaking the bank.

6. Use Energy-Efficient Appliances

Appliances are one of the biggest energy hogs in most homes. If your appliances are old and outdated, they’re likely using a lot more energy than newer, more energy-efficient models. While it may be costly to replace all of your appliances at once, you can start by replacing the most energy-intensive ones, such as your refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and washing machine. Doing so can lead to substantial savings on your energy bill.

7. Use Power Strips

Even if you turn off your electronics, they will continue to draw power from your home’s outlets as long as they are plugged in. This is known as “phantom power,” and it can account for up to 10 percent of your home’s energy use. Although unplugging any electronics that you’re not using will help, remembering to do so can be a lot to ask.

To make things easier, invest in a power strip with an on/off switch, which makes it easy to turn off all of your electronics at once. When a power strip is turned off, it will shut off all phantom power from being drawn.

8. Reuse And Recycle

One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to simply reuse and recycle items instead of throwing them away. For example, instead of buying paper towels, use reusable cloth towels. You can also compost your food scraps, which will help to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills. You can then use the compost for your garden.

And of course, recycling items such as plastic, glass, and metal can help to reduce the number of resources that are used to produce new products.

 

These are just a few of the many ways that you can make your home more eco-friendly. While some of these tips can be expensive initially, they’ll not only help save you money over the long term, but they can improve the value of your property. However, even making small changes can make a big difference in the amount of energy you use and the amount of money you spend. In addition, you’ll be doing your part to help significantly reduce your home’s carbon footprint.

The problem with microplastics

When plastic enters our world, it never really goes away. From the day it is manufactured, plastic crosses into a never-ending cycle, continuously re-entering our lives. Plastic slowly breaks down over time into increasingly tinier pieces called microplastics, no larger than a grain of rice (less than 5mm) and many are so small that they can only be seen using a microscope. They never truly go away, even if we can’t see them with the naked eye. These plastic pieces can be found in many aspects of our lives, and are so prevalent that they are almost impossible to avoid. 

Where are they coming from? All over the place! Microplastics are the breakdown of well-known plastics such as bags, bottles, and one-time-use containers, as well as face washes, children’s toys, household items, and nylon ropes. Even your regular load of laundry can release millions of tiny plastic microfibers into the water system. Clothes are manufactured with plastic too! The particles are too small to be filtered or diverted from our ecosystem. 

The more prolific plastic becomes and the longer it spends cycling around, the more toxic it becomes! Think of these microscopic plastic bits as tiny sponges on hoverboards. They absorb what they come into contact with, creating a cesspool of germs, chemicals, and other pollutants…a cesspool on a hoverboard! You’re probably asking, “Why a hoverboard?” That’s because these microplastics can circumnavigate the world with ease, maneuvering around obstacles and latching on to other vessels to propel them forward. They find their way into our oceans, streams, soil, air, marine and land animals, and even in the rain without ever breaking a sweat. Whatever goes into our eco-system, including our water supply (rain, oceans, groundwater, etc.), our soil, and even into the air that we breathe, eventually ends up in our personal eco-system.

Each of us has our own individual eco-system, and plastic just isn’t a good thing to put into our bodies. We don’t do it intentionally, but it happens nonetheless. And it all starts with the plastics that we use in everyday life. We use a plastic container, which might go into the trash or (hopefully) recycling bin, then ends up in a landfill, incinerator, or recycling plant — hopefully. But, what if it doesn’t end up in any of these places? What if it ends up on the side of the road or in the ocean or a lake or stream? Eventually, it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, going into our Earth’s eco-system. As nature takes over, the food chain becomes contaminated with these microplastics eventually finding their way back to us in the food that we consume. What started with us has come back to us…and not in a good way!

So, how do we stop the cycle? It would be ideal to simply eliminate plastic from our lives entirely, and maybe we’ll get to that point someday. But, even little steps can have a profound effect when taken by many people. We can replace single-use plastics with reusable options. We can buy organic clothing, bedding, towels, reusable napkins, etc. We can buy products that are made from recycled materials or were produced using sustainable production processes. We can buy products that last longer, which means less waste overall. 

Can you think of other ways to break the cycle? We’d love to hear your tips and success stories! Drop us a line or send us an article that you think will help others on their journey to sustainability. 

 

Thanks for reading!

Moving Day, the Green Way

Alternative, Green Packaging Materials You Can Use on Moving day

Awareness of greenhouse gas emissions is at an all-time high, and industries and individuals are conscious of their impact on the environment. Inarguably, one of the biggest culprits to the increasing carbon footprints is packaging materials used by businesses and individuals on the move.

So, how do you ensure you are playing your role to reduce harm to the planet? When the time to move houses or business premises comes, what green packaging options are at your disposal?

The good news is that eco-friendly packaging materials are never in short supply. They are all around. Look around your home and ask your neighbors for things you can use to pack up your items and move.

Here are ideas of green packaging materials you can use when moving:

Use the containers you have

The first place you should look for packing supplies is the containers you already have. You can use countless options, such as grocery bags, duffel bags, backpacks, hampers, and laundry baskets. A clean garbage bin can fit a sizable amount of your stuff. Just be creative with your packaging.

Old newspapers

Instead of purchasing packing paper, use your old newspapers to wrap the fragile equipment such as glassware, dishes, and others. However, some people may not recall the last time they bought a newspaper, and their supply may be low. In such a case, contact your local newspaper office and purchase a bundle for cheap.

Reuse Cardboard Boxes

The number of single-use cardboard boxes thrown away by local businesses and individuals is plentiful, contributing to landfills. You can get these for free or on the cheap.

Ask for these boxes from your friends, relatives, and local shops or factories, and they’ll gladly give or sell them to you.

Cardboard boxes for large products such as refrigerators are ideal for wrapping kitchen equipment into a single load. The small boxes can pack stuff such as stationery, toiletries, and electronics. Use eco-friendly packing tape to seal the boxes.

So, what do you do with all these boxes after unpacking? Throwing them away is not an eco-friendly option, but you can always resell these boxes online. If they become unusable, check the recycling guidelines of your new location for options. What does the local recycling facility accept?

Use Box Rentals

Rental plastic bins are excellent for reducing carbon footprints. The option is convenient, and you get awesome, professional packing boxes for your different stuff.

To rent a box, provide the number of rooms you need to pack to the renting company, and they’ll drop off the bins at your place. Some will often pick these bins up at your new location to reduce wasting time and resources.

Biodegradable Packaging

Some states, such as New York, are preventing the use of styrofoam, and others are looking to follow suit. Styrofoam is not biodegradable and can harm marine life when it finds its way to waterways.

Traditionally, styrofoam was a popular packaging for fragile equipment when moving. But now there are better eco-friendly materials, such as the following.

  • Packaging materials such as biodegradable packing peanuts have come of age and are great alternatives. The materials quickly decompose in water and leave no harmful traces. Cornstarch or wheat-made packaging is one of the options growing in popularity for the environmentally conscious.
  • On the other hand, most people never think about the impact that packing tape has on the environment, but the little things can also contribute to harming the environment. Recycled paper tape is an excellent alternative to use with biodegradable packing.
  • Inflatable air pillows produced from recycled and biodegradable materials are excellent alternatives to styrofoam. These fill the empty spaces in your packing boxes to cushion your items.
  • If you’re looking to avoid the controversy associated with cornstarch packaging, use mushroom packaging. The eco-friendly alternative uses a matrix of mushroom roots to fuse ground agricultural waste and mold to any suitable shape. After moving, you can compost the packaging at home to break it down into non-harmful organic matter.
  • Like mushroom packaging, seaweed packaging is a great green package. The material is sustainable and the next best thing in green packaging.

Use the items you already have to pack

Broken kitchen equipment such as pots and glasses is the last thing you want to see when unpacking. Use items you already have to pack and cushion the delicate equipment from the shaking associated with moving.

  • Use blankets, towels, and sheets to wrap the glass and china
  • Paper shred and the green wrap are a great cushioning option as well

Hire a Committed Moving Company to Eco-friendliness

Your choice of moving company should demonstrate a commitment to green moving to support your efforts. They will give a hand with ideas on moving with the least environmental impact. Play your role today to reduce the harm to the environment.

8 Sustainability tips for the busy human

We know you are busy but being sustainable doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Here are our quick tips to start making a change!

  1. Take it one step at a time; don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the ideas on the list and just try and start with one!
  2. Educate yourself on what’s going on in the world and how we can help.
  3. The easiest thing you can do is start using a reusable bottle. Have one for your coffee and one for your water! 
  4. Shop local markets! It can be an opportunity to do your grocery shopping as a fun outing for you and your family. A trip to a farmers market or local farm is far more engaging than another trip to a big-box store. 
  5. Buy natural toys or engage in fun, sustainable activities. Lots of really fun science projects can be done with items found around the house. Play games outside if the weather permits!
  6. There are a lot of really easy ways to switch to all-natural cleaning projects. As one item runs out, replace it with a new natural one. There are great companies out there that make it easy to find products and even have them automatically shipped so you don’t run out. 
  7. Try to consciously reduce waste while on the job by going digital in the office…and refuse to print! Why waste paper printing your meeting notes? Just use your tablet; you can type additional notes on it without having to worry about running out of ink.
  8. Redeem! Go to EnviroPerks.com and get discounts from local businesses and from our national partners offering sustainable goods. 

 

Thanks for reading!

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Rooms That Benefit Most from a Home Warranty

Rooms That Benefit Most from a Home Warranty

As a homeowner, you’ve probably heard about home warranties. Not to be confused with home insurance, a home warranty helps protect your budget when covered components of home systems and appliances break down due to normal wear and tear. That means taking care of the household items that keep your home running on a day-to-day basis. These things will eventually break and when that time comes, a home warranty will be there to help you out.

From home appliances to electric systems and more, the benefits of a home warranty are vast. Because it’s these little “emergencies” that most homeowners don’t calculate into the cost of owning a home. Sure, theft or fire is devastating and you should always protect yourself if able to; but it’s the day-to-day accidents or unwanted surprises (HVAC stops running) that are more likely to happen.

But, what in your home benefits the most with a home warranty? Let’s take a look at how home warranty coverage can help you in every room of your house.

  • Kitchen – This is where your home warranty will really shine. Out of all the rooms in your home, your kitchen benefits the most from any home warranty plan with appliance coverage. Think refrigerator, dishwasher, trash compactor, garbage disposal, and built-in microwave. You can also get coverage for your range hood vent, ceiling fan, chest freezer, and freestanding ice maker.
  • Laundry Room – Another room where your home warranty coverage will come in handy with coverage on washers and dryers. Next time your dryer is making a funny noise or your washer quits halfway through the cycle and won’t start up again, a service request and local professional will be there to fix your problem.
  • Furnace Room – Cover repair or replacement of everything in your furnace room, including the furnace itself and your water heater — two of the most important components of your home. The average cost of installing a new water heater can be more than $800, so your home warranty plan could pay for itself with just one water heater repair.
  • Bathrooms – Get coverage on many components of your home’s plumbing, including blockages due to most causes. Your bathroom can benefit from coverage of fixtures and components, like toilet parts, shower heads, faucets, and water or drain lines. You can also use your coverage to clear drain stoppages in the toilet, sink, or bathtub.
  • Rec Room or Family Room – Yup, even this room can benefit. While not many home warranty companies can cover what’s in your family room or rec room, American Home Shield additional coverage options provide coverage for components of your home’s electrical system, including wiring, lighting fixtures, and built-in fans or ceiling fans. And don’t forget coverage for an unlimited number of home electronics, including TVs, game consoles, cameras, printers and scanners, laptops and desktop computers, and more.
  • Bedrooms – Last, but not least, cover electrical systems, including the wiring and fixtures in your bedrooms. Coverage for your home’s HVAC can also help keep your bedrooms warm and toasty in the winter and cool in the summer. And, Electronics Plan coverage also extends into the bedroom, covering your TVs, computers, game consoles, and other electronic devices.

With over 50 years in the industry and over 2 million members, American Home Shield knows exactly how home warranties benefit homeowners and their different rooms. Offering affordable plans starting as low as $34.99 per month, American Home Shield covers systems and appliances people would like to keep in working order, and no system or appliance is too old. No maintenance records or inspection is required, just protection regardless of the age or appearance of your covered items.

In the end, home warranty coverage isn’t just for one room in your home — it can protect components of every room from unexpected breakdowns and wear-and-tear damage. Head to American Home Shield and check out their plans today to see what a home warranty can do for you.

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Take a cruise on the Disney Wish!

 

 

Disney never ceases to amaze their guests; from the theme parks to the cruise line, every guest experience is unique and tailored just for them. Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, The Disney Wish is no exception to that rule, in fact, it takes the guest experience entirely to the next level. The most noteworthy aspect of our cruise was the sheer immersion you feel once you step on board. Sure, the other cruise ships are relaxing and enjoyable, but there is something special, almost magical, about the Wish that wraps you up in the story right away. Maybe it’s the gorgeous, towering Grand Hall that greets guests as they step on board for the very first time or the sight of Cinderella and Prince Charming waving from the balcony overhead. Guests truly feel like they’re stepping right into a fairytale, where there is so much to see and do!

The Disney Wish is unlike its previous fleet members, especially when it comes to the upper recreation decks. On board, guests will find a choice of six smaller pools, two waterslides, and a Toy Story-themed splash zone just for kids! When they’re not getting wet and wild, kids of all ages will love the exclusive clubs just for them, such as the Imagineering Lab, MARVEL Superhero Academy, and Star Wars: Cargo Bay! Don’t worry, Disney never forgets about the adults, that’s exactly why they have their own exclusive space on board, too! Guests 18 and older can enjoy an iced coffee at Cove Café, or lounge infinity poolside at Quiet Cove with a cocktail. Days at sea are as exciting or relaxing as you want them to be!

The best thing about dining on the Disney Wish is that it’s an activity your family will look forward to all day long! Each menu sets the stage perfectly for the experience guests will enjoy each night, whether they’re dining in Arendelle for Queen Anna and Kristoff’s engagement party or helping Ant-Man and The Wasp with a secret mission in Worlds of MARVEL. Guests will also enjoy an elegant dining experience filled with Disney animation history in 1923 Restaurant, where the walls are full of sketches, paintings, and film props to enjoy. Rotational dining is a Disney Cruise Line exclusive experience, but don’t worry, the waiters you’ll come to love will rotate with you each night throughout your cruise!

Before relaxing in your stateroom for the evening, be sure the check the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app; you won’t want to miss the fireworks at sea! On evenings without planned activities, guests have so many themed lounges to enjoy until late into the evening! The Bayou, a Princess and the Frog-themed venue, features Tiana’s beignets, a few cocktails from Mama Odie’s Kitchen, and live music. The Star Wars Hyperspace lounge is an incredible experience for fans, but more difficult to get into, so we suggest arriving early or reserving a table for later! We know how exhausting a vacation can be, but we highly recommend staying up until midnight at least once! When the clock strikes midnight on the Disney Wish, the Grand Hall will fill with streams of light and music from Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother! It’s a truly magical experience you won’t want to miss!

There are so many offerings available on the Disney Wish for each guest to tailor into their perfect cruise vacation! No matter what type of vacation you’re looking for, action-packed, or ultimate relaxation, everyone can have their way on Disney’s new, beautiful cruise ship! Guests can now book 2023 sailings aboard the Disney Wish! Reach out to Diamond-Earmarked Academy Travel Agency, the number one seller of Walt Disney World vacations, today! Let their expert agents help you book the ultimate cruise vacation aboard the brand-new Disney Wish!

Click any image to contact your dedicated travel experts.

 

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HOW TO MAKE A ZERO WASTE LUNCHBOX

HOW TO MAKE A ZERO WASTE LUNCHBOX

Summer is filled with celebrations! And where there’s festivities there’s food. Unfortunately much of this food is wasted. Not to mention all the other materials used, ie plastic table cloths, cutlery, napkins, plates, cups, decorations. But all the summer cookouts and barbeques combined couldn’t add up to the amount of waste produced by schools, especially in the cafeteria.

 

Every year tons of recyclable materials including food waste, goes into landfills. According to the EPA, “more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash”. It is estimated that over 530,000 tons of food a year is thrown away in U.S. schools alone. 

 

Reducing food waste is an important step for fighting hunger, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable use of natural resources, and reducing food waste cost. The issue of food waste is a global concern and the amount of annual food waste produced by the U.S. is one of the highest in the world.
– Environmental Research and Education Foundation

 

This amount of waste has a massive impact on our environment and more importantly our children’s future. But there are ways to take action! Schools that implement waste-free lunch programs reduce waste tremendously. These types of manageable, environment focused actions increase environmental awareness & responsibility among students, teachers, and staff and create real sustainable habits within the school and throughout the community. 

 

One small but major way we can contribute as Perkster Parents is by packing a sustainable zero waste lunch. A zero waste lunch is basically a meal where none of the food or food related items go to waste or end up in the trash.  By reusing and recycling we can reduce our carbon footprint in schools and help forge a better future for our kids.  Let’s get started!

 

THE ZERO WASTE LUNCHBOX

Your child’s lunchbox is ground zero for combating food waste. Creating a sustainable lunch can be easy and painfree but does require a little effort. Here are the main components for composing a zero waste lunchbox along with a few other tips that will hopefully help you and your kid save the planet.

Choose A Reusable Lunch Container

“Paper bagging it” isn’t the most sustainable option. Although the bag is compostable and recyclable, opting for a container that can be reused is definitely preferable. Some very cool options include bento boxes. Bentos are usually made of stainless steel and can even be recycled. They are great for lunches and do not contain any harmful chemicals or plastics.

 

Use A Thermos

Juice boxes, pouches like Capri Sun and plastic water bottles are not the sustainable way to consume liquids. Instead opt for a reusable stainless steel thermos or a reusable water bottle.

 

Pack Utensils

Cutlery is a major polluter. Most disposable cutlery is made from plastic and can take decades to decompose. Use alternatives like this bamboo utensil set from our partners at Earthhero and get 20% off your order!

 

 

Choose Reusable Containers & Baggies

We can not stress enough how bad plastic is and now we’ve discovered that there are even micro bits of plastic in the ocean and air. Reusable eco-friendly snack bags made of cloth or beeswax paper are excellent alternatives to the one time use plastic baggies.

Buy In Bulk

Buying items that we often use in bulk then transferring those items into reusable containers helps eliminate packaging waste. Take action and refuse to purchase items that aren’t packaged responsibly. Our kids are our future without question.

 

Make a Meal Plan

Planning is key. Studies show that most food wasted in schools were fruits and veggies. What’s your kid’s fav fruit or veggie? Pack that! This ensures that your child is less likely to throw it away. 

 

A good balanced diet, exercise and a healthy, safe learning environment are crucial to a kid’s success. But if there is no planet, there is no future so it’s imperative that we do all we can within our power to change things. Start with your kid’s lunchbox this school year and come check out other cool ideas and fun ways, including redeeming your Perks Points,  you can help save the planet with us here at EnviroPerks. And don’t forget Perks+! Our brand new way to save you green!

 

J's Article Image (2)Jammica Boone is a writer and content creator for EnviroPerks.

R You Ready For Back To School Season?

R You Ready For Back To School Season?

 

We know summer just got good but your little “green beans” will be back in school before you know it. So, we wanted to give you guys a “headstart” on getting them and you prepared for back to school the clean, green way. Many of you are familiar with our 6R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rebuy, and redeem. It is a great way to REmember how to keep the Planet and you healthy and safe. This is a great way to prepare you, our Perksters, for back-to-school season. R you ready?

 

 

REFUSE: Refuse To Buy Non-Eco-Friendly Supplies 

Seems extreme but in reality, it’s the best investment in your kids’ future that you could ever imagine. Believe it or not, many products intended for children contain some super toxic ingredients, including school supplies. Asbestos, benzene, chlorine, lead, and phthalates are just a few of the highly toxic chemicals found in children’s school supplies, according to a study by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG). These chemicals can leach out over time and have been known to cause serious health complications which can ultimately effect your child’s growth and development. Eco-friendly products avoid these chemicals, ensuring proper care for the Planet and especially, your “green beans”.

 

REDUCE: Reduce Single Use & Shopping Abuse

From the classroom to the cafeteria, tons of waste unnecessarily accumulate every day in schools. They are single-use abuse havens. But you can help combat that. Being able to use a product over and over reduces waste easily, and only purchasing items when needed is a huge way to reduce your carbon footprint. Pack stainless steel water bottles in your kid’s lunches instead of juice boxes; use cloth lunch bags and bento boxes that can easily be rinsed and reused; and most importantly, take inventory of the school supplies you already have.  

Most of us purchase waaaaaaaay more than what we need because it’s usually on sale during back-to-school season. So, we load up. Heck, I still have loose leaf paper packs and binders from college in an old storage trunk of mine. Chances are, most of us have a junk drawer loaded with pens, pencils, scissors, and other useful school supplies, so why buy more? I mean, how many calculators and rulers does a kid really need anyway? Which leads us to our next back-to-school R: reuse.

 

REUSE: Reuse School Supplies 

Back-to-school season is truly a nostalgic time for most of us. We can all remember the excitement of going school shopping and the anticipation of the first day of school when we get to show off our fresh, new B2S gear. Let’s be honest, cool new backpacks, notebooks, gadgets, and clothes were just as much about self-expression as it was about academic preparedness. But where did all those clothes, supplies, and backpacks from last year go? Most likely, they’re still in your child’s closet and in perfectly good shape. These items can certainly be reused. Remember, waste not, want not

TIP: If your kid has a basic one-color backpack, add on some pins, buttons, or crafts they’ve made to make it pop and give it style. The best thing about this is, that you can reuse that backpack over and over just by trading out the buttons and patches. Neat, right!?

 

 

RECYCLE: Recycle Your Supplies

The very first thing we ever learned about the conservation of the environment was “recycling”. Recycling allows us to repurpose materials into something new and useful. It eliminates one-time use products that can end up in landfills, and we all know how bad that is for the Planet. Almost everything can be recycled in some way or another, and school supplies are no exception. Here are a few ideas you can use to recycle and repurpose those old school items into new school tools.

Upcycle Clothing

> Take an old pair of your kid’s pants and let them color, paint or design what they’d like on them. Show off their creative side!

Thrift

> Donate your kid’s old clothes to local thrift stores and purchase their new clothes there as well! Try places like the Hope House Foundation Thrift Store and get $5 off your purchase when you redeem your points. You can even make this back-to-school task even more fun and have a clothes swap party with family, friends & neighbors.

Purchase Refurbished Electronics

> Buying “like new” or refurbished electronics is a greener option requiring less raw materials that rob the Planet than buying new items. So, save your money and the Planet. Did somebody say WIN! WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN?

 

 

REBUY: Rebuy Recycled Items

One way to definitely make change is with your dollars. Rebuying or buying items made from recycled materials closes the loop. The more items we buy that are made with recycled materials, the less raw materials have to be ripped from the Earth. This definitely helps reduce our carbon footprint and could possibly get the attention of more manufacturers to take action so that natural resources aren’t destroyed. Check the labels on your products and supplies at home. Are they made with recycled materials? Help close the loop!

 

 

REDEEM: Redeem Your Points 

Last but not least, redeem your points! EnviroPerks was created to give you more incentive to be green by saving green, so log in to your EnviroPerks account now and check out the incredible rewards that will help you save money and the Planet. Here’s a list of popular back-to-school items that you can safely purchase if you need to, and that are good for your children and the planet.

 

ENVIROPERKS PICKS

We have been fortunate enough to partner with some incredible companies like EarthHero, Hamilton Perkins Collection, Beego Handmade, and Eco Maniac Company! But it doesn’t stop there, Perksters. With Perks +, you get access to even more sensational savings! Below are our top ten earth- and kid-friendly back-to-school picks from some of our most trusted brands. Don’t forget to redeem your reward to take advantage of additional savings!

Login, Redeem & Save!

  1. Onyx and Green Sugar Cane Paper 1 Subject Notebook
  2. Onyx and Green Recycled Newspaper coloring pencils
  3. Onyx and Green Bamboo Ballpoint Pens
  4. Onyx and Green Bamboo 10 pc Math Set
  5. Honeysticks Long Beeswax Crayons
  6. Dell Outlet Refurbished Computers
  7. Best Buy Electronics
  8. Wildlife Celebration Marine Mammal Lunch Kit
  9. Eco Lunch Box
  10. ABC Mouse

 

This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through these links.

J's Article Image 2 Jammica Boone is a writer and content creator for EnviroPerks

PERKS+ VACAY THE PERKSTER WAY

PERKS+ VACAY THE PERKSTER WAY

 

Summer is just a few days away! So get started on your Perks+ Vacay! Everybody loves Summer. School’s out, the days are nice, warm and long and you instantly seem to go into vacation mode. And this year we all could use a nice vacation. So of course you know EnviroPerks has you covered. Introducing Perks+.

 

Perk Yourself Up

Forget the Hub, Perk yourself up! We are so excited to bring you Enviroperks’ very own national rewards platform, Perks+. With Perks+ you, our incredible Perksters, can take advantage of more ways to save. The best part is, you don’t need to use your points. Keep them to continue shopping with and supporting local businesses. And, there’s no need to sign up. If you’re a Perkster, you already have total access right now to deals from brands you know and love like Eco Terra, Banana Republic and Instacart. But that’s not all!  Perks+ offers some hot vacation savings to cool you down this summer. And believe us, you’re gonna wanna see this.

 

Sizzling Hot Vacation Deals 

You can’t talk about hot vacation deals without mentioning Hotwire.  One of the first to launch its unique platform back in 2000, Hotwire has become a “go to” source for cheap thrills and sweet deals. You can book flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and yes, even vacation packages to almost anywhere in the world. They also offer a low price guarantee and 24-hour customer service support. Login to your EnviroPerks account and click the Perks+ icon at the top of your screen to book your hot vacay getaway today! 

 

Let’s Go To Universal!

Studios that is. Yes! EnviroPerks’ and Universal Studios’ collaboration is in full effect. With Perks+, Perksters can enjoy package deals at Universal Studios as well. Take a ride on the new VelociCoaster, “the apex predator of roller coasters”, (their words, not ours). Visit the world-famous studio tour or Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorcycle Adventure! It’s true, there’s almost too much to do at Universal Studios and you can do it for a great price with your Perks+ membership. Log in and check out the deal, my friend.

 

Vacay The Perkster Way

There are still so many more deals available to explore on Perks+. If none of these tickles your fancy for a vacation, you can always choose others as well like Disneyland or Aulani Resort. If resorts and theme parks aren’t your thing and you’d prefer something a little more relaxed, Perks+ also offers money-saving memberships to the most popular hotels too, like World of Hyatt, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Hilton Honors. No matter what accommodation or vacation package you choose, always vacay the Perkster way and save!

This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through these links.

J's Article Image 2 Jammica Boone is a writer and content creator for EnviroPerks.