One of the very best things about the green living movement is that it’s still catching on. And, as more and more people become aware of the environmental challenges we face and begin to demand products and services that will help to reduce their carbon debt, the competition for their business pushes companies into overdrive on the innovation front. At some point the scales will tip and the best companies will dominate the market while others fall behind. But at the moment there is a growing market full of options for consumers that are looking to paint their world a greener hue. And if you’re looking to throw an eco-friendly holiday party this year but still wow your guests as you’ve done in the past, this is good news for you. Of course, there are also all kinds of things you can do on your own to save on costs, as well. So here are just a few tips to help you pull off your holiday shindig with style and do a little less harm to the planet in the process.
Since one of the main reasons to attend a party is for the food (it comes in a close second to coming for the company, usually), you might be wracking your brains to figure out how to go eco-friendly in an area that has long been characterized by abuse to the Earth and animals. Luckily, there are a slew of options available in this arena. For starters, you could opt to create an organic, vegan feast. Who says you have to serve meat and cheese in order to make it a party? Instead, start with basics like fruit plates and veggie platters. Then whip up some organic pasta dishes and even vegan pizza pies. And don’t forget the desserts – this is where you can find some truly incredible uses of non-animal products to create amazingly tasty treats. You might even stock your bar with organic liquor. Check out Greenbar Collective (greenbar.biz) for products, recipes, and locations to buy in your area. Or if you’re not into vegan or you don’t want to handle all the cooking yourself, look into catering companies and restaurants that use locally sourced, organic foodstuffs.
As for the decorations, you can have a lot of fun here. It’s the holidays, so you may be keen to light the place up. But if you want to go a little greener here, consider purchasing LED light strings, which tend to be both brighter and more energy efficient than other options. Or use your leftover spaghetti and jam jars to create glowing décor for your tables. Simply use decoupage glue and some recycled tissue paper to decorate the outside of the jars, then put tea lights or small pillar candles inside for the party (you can order soy options online or find them at a retailer near you). You can also prepare by creating wreaths and centerpieces made from fallen pine cones, branches, and winter berries collected on nature walks near your home.
Finally, you might want to go super eco-friendly by asking guests to donate to a green charity instead of bringing gifts. ‘Tis the season, after all. But most people expect entertainment for fundraising events, so you’ll have to deliver. And if you want to do it in an environmentally sound manner you’ll have to go unplugged. Consider hiring a string quartet or an a capella group (or both) to perform carols for your guests. Or if you want a little more fun, hire singing and dancing waiters for the event. Any time you strive to live an eco-friendly life it’s a step in the right direction. So make this season a little greener when you host your holiday party and you can head into the New Year with a clean conscience.
Knowing how to handle common plumbing problems is an important part of maintaining a home. Many plumbing emergencies occur after hours, or they require only a few simple steps to complete. One of the simplest types of plumbing problems to fix is a clogged sink. Clogged sinks can occur in any drain when hair and other types of debris fill up the drain and block the water from being able to get through the pipes. While there are many commercial drain cleaners available, many of these contain caustic ingredients that may not always be safe to use. Instead of using these harsh chemicals, there are several natural and effective methods that are non-toxic and safe for everyone.
Power of Fizz
A method for clearing drains that has been used for many years is a simple baking soda and vinegar mixture. First, pour one cup of baking soda down the drain. Then, pour a cup of vinegar. The solution will begin to foam and bubble as it begins to work. After letting the solution set, pour boiling water into the drain to rinse out the clog. This method works because the acids created when the soda and vinegar combine helps to dissolve the fats that are in the soap scum.
Melt Clogs Away
Many clogs are simply an accumulation of built-up soap scum that has gradually filled up the pipes. Most soaps melt when they are exposed to heat. Therefore, simply pouring boiling water down the drain can be an effective way to clear the clogs. It is important to remember to stand back when using this method as the hot water can splash out of the drain. While this method may take a few times to work, it is important to remember that this uses no chemicals and is completely natural.
Plunge it Out
Everyone has seen a person use a plunger to clear a toilet, but this method can also be used to fix clogged sinks and shower drains. All a person needs to do is place the plunger over the drain. Then, they can simply pump the device until the clog begins to clear. This method uses the power of suction and can be very effective on tough clogs. This technique can also be followed with the water method to help rinse the clog away after it has been broken up.
Dismantle the Pipes
Sometimes, a clog may be located in portion of the pipes that curves beneath a sink. When the other methods have not been successful, a person may take apart the pipes to locate the clog. While this method is messier than the others, it can be very effective for clogs that are caused by foreign objects. Generally, only a few tools, such as a wrench, are needed for this method. A bucket and some towels should also be placed beneath the pipe that is being dismantled as water that has collected above the clog may pour out once it has been removed.
Clearing a clogged drain is a simple process that can be done using one or several different natural methods. In most instances, a clog is simply a collection of soap scum and hair that can be dissolved by using common household ingredients or a flush with hot water. By choosing to clean their clogs naturally, a person can be sure that their home is free from harmful chemicals while their drains run smoothly.
Wood is considered as an indispensable material in the field of construction and engineering. Such fact is not about to change. Despite a number of environmental studies which adamantly pinpoints wood processing as one of the major causes of widespread ecological degradation, and the growing support to advocacies that seek to delineate solution to this concern from a public that is becoming more invested in green-driven industrial policies and methods, wood still remains essential to various industries and its usage cannot be abruptly ceased. But there is a silver lining to this issue which we can take comfort in—more and more wood processing and distribution companies are now adhering to standards and practices which take into account green ideas and solutions.
Here are five of these emerging wood processing trends:
Reusing wood waste and residue include all soft and hard woods, boxes and crates, OSB and chipboard, laminates and melamine, hardboard, pallets, sawdust, floorboards, peeler cores, plywood, and MDF, among many others. The by-products made from these recycled wood materials are limitless. From engineering materials to poultry supplies, the generated resources made possible by recycled wood truly redefine the meaning of product sustainability.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), among other groups that keenly monitors worldwide wood harvest procedures, are to be credited to the increased number of wood harvesting companies that adhere to sustainable forestry policies, as well as wood product distributors and manufacturers that require their suppliers to have done so. Some notable wood harvesting practices include the transition from actual forests to estates and plantations, and utilization of second cut smaller diameter timber as opposed to wide diameter trees.
Technological breakthroughs that allow efficient wood-based panel production are just some of the current opportunities that support forest sustainability efforts. These processing tools renders the usage of less solid wood possible, thus ensuring the much needed replenishment and growth of forest areas. Low temperature machineries are also becoming widely popular which cuts down wood processing plants’ energy consumption.
Supply Distribution Restructuring
Wood supplies that have been pre-processed in logging sites have now become a noteworthy option for wood product manufacturers. This simple alteration or restructuring of the supply chain process paves the way to reduction of transportation-related energy costs.
Going for Alternative Materials
Timber with its significantly diminishing yield due to over harvesting is one of today’s major concerns for advocates of sustainable forestry. There are many suggested alternatives to the use of solid timber or wood. One such alternative is processed bamboo which could be used to produce various engineering or construction materials such as wood panels and laminates.
Also, instead of solid wood, wood-based materials are now becoming increasingly popular. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) and Oriented Stand Board (OSB) materials are just some of these.
These recent wood harvesting, processing, and distribution trends are reassuring for us environmental advocates who have lobbied and fought for sustainable forestry, and, environmental awareness in general. Moreover, this increasing support to environmental causes by the wood processing industry itself is truly a hopeful scenario for the rest of mankind.
About the Author
Jove Arthur is a very detail-oriented carpenter. He is working as a sales manager at Door Emporium, which offers fantastic selection of elegant wood French doors, wood entry doors, solid wood doors, and other interior doors.
Many people enjoy keeping flowers in their gardens. Gardening is a very common pastime and hobby and has the added bonus of allowing you to get some exercise whilst also getting some ‘me time’.
One of the most commonly kept plants are rose bushes. Just as with any other flowers, roses require a lot of time, dedication and care. After all, keeping a healthy rosebush is not an easy task. One of the most daunting tasks when caring for your rosebush is the ability to prune them. It is a task which requires a lot of skill, and many people often do it wrong, which then means that the rosebush no longer looks attractive, or that the further growth of the rosebush becomes compromised.
Photo courtesy of: flowershops.co.uk
This article aims to provide you readers with an insight to the perfect way of pruning your rosebushes in order to keep them growing and looking good, thus making your garden look good.
What exactly does pruning a rose bush mean? Pruning involves the removal of dead, withered or damaged leaves, stems, flowers, etc. It also involves cutting the rose bush at the correct locations in the correct angles in order to guide further growth in the desired location.
You will require steady hands in order to do this.
Additionally, a professional pair of pruning shears would be very advisable since they will cut the stems etc. correctly without damaging the plant itself. Using household scissors or blades is not advisable since they can be blunt and can leave a jagged finish, preventing further successful growth.
Hand shears are perfect for pruning smaller branches. Also, always wear thick gloves to avoid any injuries caused by rose thorns. Anvil shears are no good for pruning rose bushes because they will very often end up crushing the stems of the rose bush, jeopardizing the further growth of the bush. Additionally, crushing the stems will make the rose bush more prone to disease, which is extremely undesirable.
Before doing any pruning, your pruning shears need to be soaked in a mixture made up of equal parts of water and bleach. This will be advantageous to your rose bush since the bleach will protect your plants from insects or any disease that could attack your rose bush.
The first thing you should be removing is any dead wood. Dead wood can be identified by its colour. It will appear black on the outside as well as on the inside. Additionally, any wood which seems thin needs to be removed. A pencil can be used as a guide to help you determine which pieces of wood are too thin. If a piece of wood is thinner than a pencil, it needs to be removed.
All branches that cross and overlap each other need to be removed because these are most likely to become diseased, if they already aren’t.
The few dark green branches remaining are the healthy ones which should not be removed. Avoid roses which touch each other or overlap each other, since this will prevent the further growth.
When cutting roses is concerned, they need to be cut in a way which is going to keep them healthy. Cut so that the bud faces outwards. The cut should be at a 45 degree angle, ensuring that the slope goes inwards in order to guide the further growth outwards.
Following the above steps will ensure that your rose bush stays healthy and attractive, also promoting further growth thus prolonging its life and the joys you receive from it.
Going Green With Re-purposing
The importance of leading an eco-friendly lifestyle is continuing to come to light as we see the damage that pollution, deforestation, and other environmental hazards are causing. As such, the need for people to reduce their carbon footprints has become very clear. Our carbon footprint is the impact that our lifestyle has on the planet, from the amount of time we spend traveling in vehicles to the amount of non-recyclable and non-biodegradable items we buy. Even the materials that we are building our homes with contribute to the sum of our footprint, which is why it is very important to consider using reclaimed wood when building a home or working on a home design project that uses wood. Some benefits of re-purposing building materials like wood are as follows:
- Building a home is very expensive, and obtaining wood from a secondhand source is cheaper.
- Using re-purposed wood is best for the environment.
- Building an eco-friendly home is something you can feel good about.
The Impact Of Wood Waste and Deforestation
Using reclaimed wood is one of the most ecologically wise choices you can make for home construction. When you walk through the home construction materials department at a local home improvement store, keep in mind that each one of those large planks of wood came from trees that are being cut down especially to make those planks. With the amount of wood that is readily available to be reused, it seems almost absurd to consider purchasing those expensive planks. The creation of which contributes to deforestation and destroying mammalian and avian habitats in many areas. Finding wood to repurpose for your home can be easier than it seems. Here are some tips:
- Turn to the Internet. Websites like Craigslist often have farmers and other rural individuals looking to sell used wood or even give it away for free.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see any offers like this. Make a post letting people know you are looking to buy or take secondhand lumber for reusing in your building project.
- One great idea is letting people know that you are attempting to build your home with secondhand lumber. This may prompt local green-friendly folks to come forward with supply donations.
Reduce Your Impact On The Environment
Because ecological consciousness is coming to the forefront of the way we live as a society, ask local environmentalists if they have any resources for finding wood to reuse. Building a dwelling or working on a project with wood that is going to be burned, wasted or left to rot is an awesome way to decrease your impact on the environment and make use of the remains. The more building materials you can upcycle, the more environmentally friendly the building of your home or project will be. Don’t be afraid to ask around and see if anyone has wood they are trying to move. You may be surprised at how many people want to help.
Blue Ridge Log Cabins is a leading company in the log home industry, providing quality and efficient log cabin homes for residents nation-wide. We offer customizable lob cabins of various design and construction.
More homeowners are intrigued by the idea of renewable energy, how it can be used in a residential setting and the allure of substantial savings on the power bills. Green energy is being touted as both a great option for saving money and a solution to the problem of rising costs of fossil fuels, but is it feasible for the typical household?
Current Renewable Energy Options for Homeowners
Several eco-friendly options are currently available for home installation. Solar panels have been in use for years, and windmills are becoming more available as well. Appliances that run on geothermal energy are nearly commonplace, and many energy providers are looking at hydroelectricity. Nuclear power remains a controversial choice, but more money and research is being put into cold fusion. Despite the controversy, nuclear power is still considered a clean, renewable energy source since it creates reliable energy without pollution.
While green energy sources have the potential to save you plenty of green, at this point the costs to install these systems is still high. Many homeowners see the initial costs as an investment in the future. For example, one homeowner who paid — after government subsidies — $32,000 to install a windmill for his home has no power bill whatsoever and is actually able to sell excess energy back to the power company. While the windmill has not yet paid for itself, it will in the next few years.
Can anyone achieve these results? It depends on a number of factors including your location, how much power your family typically consumes and what type of energy you tend to use the most. To find out whether renewable energy will drive your costs down, you will need to begin with an energy audit.
Conducting an Energy Audit
An energy audit is performed by a professional auditor who is licensed by the Building Performance Institute. Prices vary by region, but you can expect to pay approximately $400 for this audit.
The auditor will look throughout your home and determine where your family uses power as well as how much it is using. Any waste is noted, and you will be provided with a final report that includes an estimate for fixes that can significantly improve your energy use.
Some of these fixes may be quick and easy such as installing insulation or fixing a leaky window. The auditor may recommend upgrading your current appliances and even simple changes like switching your light bulbs from incandescents to compact fluorescents.
Taking Advantage of Subsidies
Once you’ve plugged up all of your energy leaks and drains, you can consider whether alternative energy sources are right for your family. Depending on your budget for this project, you can begin small and switch to a solar-powered water heater, or you can take the full plunge and convert your entire home.
When you are considering the cost, find out what savings are available from both the federal and your local government. For instance, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 created an incentive program that gives property owners a 30 percent tax credit for a variety of green energy systems as long as they are installed before the end of 2016.
Contact your state’s department of energy and your local power company to find out what other savings and credits are available for switching to renewable energy. Once you have this information, look at the actual costs of installing different types of systems and the improvements they would make to your energy use according to your energy audit. The best way to determine whether the investment is worth it is to calculate how long it will take for the investment to pay for itself and whether you anticipate staying in the home for that length of time.
About the Author
Alex Wayne is a full-time blogger who enjoys writing about home improvement, HVAC and plumbing topics, with a special emphasis on saving money through a do-it-yourself approach. His current focus is on working with websites like McKeeHomesNC.com to translate tips and tricks from home improvement experts into insightful blog posts and articles for homeowners who want to work smarter, not harder. He lives in Chicago, IL.
Many decades ago only professionals and scientists were aware of the environment and the importance of it. Everyone else just got on with their day to day lives. However, now, in the twenty first century, everyone is aware of environmental issues because they are everywhere we look: newspapers to billboards, radio to television and even in magazines. Everywhere we look we see environmentally safe products, organic foods and even eco-friendly washing powder. It is safe to say that society today has gone eco-friendly crazy!
Photo courtesy of: housecleaning.org
Eco friendliness has affected our lives here, there and everywhere! One of the things the environment has influenced is cleaning. Many cleaning products are deemed harmful to health, so companies are ensuring that their products can be used without harming the environment.
This article aims to provide you with a few hints and tips to keep your house eco-friendly and clean by using something that has been used for many centuries – natural products!
Air fresheners are used in every household. Whether it is to mask those awful bathroom smells or to give your home a general fresh smell, we rely on air fresheners to make our houses smell good. But just as all other aerosols, they are not good for the environment due to the chemicals that they release to the environment. Get rid of your air fresheners and find an alternative to making your house smell nice. Boiling some cinnamon in hot water whilst leaving the kitchen door open will leave a fantastic, long lasting smell in your house. There are many similar remedies with different items which can be tried out according to your desires and tastes. Similarly, keeping fresh flowers will also provide a natural floral scent to your rooms.
Vinegar is a great substitute to environment damaging, strong cleaning products. White vinegar can act as an all purpose cleaner because it is acidic. This means that it can tackle mould, odours, and stains and is strong enough to kill bacteria. It can also be used to replace fabric softener in the washing machine and as washing detergent in dish washers! What more could you ask for? However, due to its acidity, it is wisest to use vinegar when it is diluted with equal parts of water.
Many commercially produced products are lemon flavoured, so why is it that we do not use the natural lemon itself? Lemons do not only provide a desirable smell, but also has antibacterial properties such as those of the vinegar, making it ideal for cleaning purposes. Rubbing lemon on the inside of the bins will leave it smelling fresh and will mask the smell of kitchen waste.
Baking soda has many uses, from baking to cleaning. Baking soda is also a very good odor neutralizer, making it ideal to use in the home. It also softens the water making it very useful when using washing machines or dishwashers. Baking soda can also be used to de-clog drains. Replacing abrasive cleaners with baking soda will leave your pots, pans and barbeque grills shining. You can even use baking soda to scrub your toilet! Placing a box of baking soda in a cupboard, wardrobe or even the fridge will neutralise all odors, and the best thing about it is that it will not harm your health or the environment!
Cleaning with home remedies is not only friendlier to the environment, but will also save you storage space, time and money. It almost makes you think why you never used natural products in the first place right?
How lucky are you, having the modern convenience of indoor heating? Most of us are fortunate enough to escape the discomfort and frigid temperatures. We can turn up the thermostat to just about any desired temperatures of coziness. However, upon doing this, we also turn up our volume of the planet’s resources, an unfortunate byproduct of this convenience.
Modern conveniences are aligned with a lot of smart inventions, but draining the earth of its resources is something we simply can’t afford. Luckily, there are ways our society can stay both warm and energy efficient this winter.
Reverse the Fan
We use fans in the summer to cool us off. We can also use them to keep warm air down in the winter. By reversing your fan’s direction, one can bring warm air down (hot air rises) from the ceiling, circulating it throughout the room. It’s not as effective as another heat source, but making the most out of the existing warm air in your room is practical. This is especially effective in basements and lower levels of the house. Sometimes the few degrees it can provide you is enough to keep you away from the thermostat.
Warm-up to Rugs
Rugs aren’t just fashionable; they’re also practical insulators of warmth. Rather than exposing your hardwood floors all-year or day long, consider using rugs throughout the house. They’re generally inexpensive with thousands of different, attractive styles. The process better insulates the room and makes for a warmer walking surface (especially first thing in the morning when the cold night air has chilled your bedroom). Rugs are an easy solution; displace and store them when the outside temperature picks up. They’re certainly easy enough to store.
Convenience makes it easy to forget actual weather conditions. When you wake up in a heated house, you don’t think about how cold it is outside. For example, with modern-day heating, one could wear a t-shirt and shorts inside, while there’s frost outside on your car window. It requires much more energy to heat the home in these conditions. Dressing in more clothes in the winter and less in the summer simply saves energy, while you keep the same comfortable body temperature. This doesn’t mean you need to wear your jacket in the house; just be mindful of layering up with some of your heavier, and comfortable clothes. I bet you never correlated how your clothing investment can save your heating costs and the earth’s energy.
Cook Warm, Hearty Meals
This is a great trick that can go a long way for a few hours. Cook a hearty meal at home using your oven, preparing a meal and warming the house at the same time. The kitchen will be the warmest area of the home after meal preparation. Spend a few evening hours in there, play some games, spend some family time together.
Drink Steamy Beverages
Consuming hot beverages and liquid foods in winter months, such as soup, chili, tea, and coffee, warms your insides to counter external temperatures, making it less likely you’ll want to raise your thermostat.
Enjoy Community Activities
This is a playful one, but factual. The more people in the room the warmer it will be. Schedule more communal and family time during the winter months, strengthening family bonds while making the room temperature more comfortable. Rather than multiple televisions, lights, and other devices being operated in multiple rooms, use is consolidated to one. Saving money and being green is easy; agreeing on the same television programming is another story.
About the Author
Ben Shaver is a Philadelphia resident with a passion for sustainability and working towards making green solutions economical as well as ethical. His passion carries over to his work and currently works at Quench Water Coolers which offer a bottleless solution to water needs.
Indoor air quality is a very important factor when it comes to your family’s health than you may realize. When the weather gets cold, most families seal up the house. This usually creates an environment that is perfect for stagnant air, dust and mold growth.
While indoor mold can affect the health of everyone in your family, it can be especially dangerous for the elderly, young children, people with asthma and anyone with a condition that impairs their immune system.
Do You Have a Mold Problem?
Do you know how to tell if you have a problem with mold in your home? Look for the following signs that can indicate that mold spores are present:
- Visible mold growth is a dead giveaway. Mold may appear as dark spots or fuzzy patches and could be a variety of colors including green, black, brown, red and gold.
- The air in your home may have a musty or mildewy smell that no amount of cleaning seems to help.
- Puddles or standing water in the bathroom or around the HVAC unit provide a breeding ground for mold. If your unit is leaking, call a repairman to fix it immediately.
- Your family starts experiencing symptoms that are related to mold growth in the home.
The Symptoms of Poor Air Quality and Mold
Molds can make you sick in a number of different ways. Some people are allergic to the molds while some experience irritation caused by breathing in or coming into contact with the molds. Other molds are toxic and cause infections and other illnesses. If you or anyone in your family are experiencing any of the following symptoms and can’t pinpoint a specific cause, you should have your household tested for mold:
- Ongoing nasal and sinus congestion and other flu-like symptoms
- Unexplained rashes and skin irritations
- Asthma flares and other breathing disorders
- Allergy-like symptoms including itchy, watery eyes
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Mood swings
- Nose bleeds
Preventing a Mold Problem
The best way to keep mold from becoming a problem is to prevent it from growing in the first place. Clean up liquid spills immediately. If your pipes are leaking, repair them and then clean up the damage. Molds thrive in a damp environment, so if you live in an area with high humidity, a dehumidifier or air conditioner will help to keep the moisture in your home under control.
Keeping your heating and air conditioning system well-maintained will also help to prevent mold. Changing the filter on a regular basis prevents mold spores from growing within the unit itself.
Proper ventilation is also important when it comes to preventing mold. In the cooler months, this can be more challenging since most people tend to shut their homes up tight to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Fans to help move the air around will help, and you should also occasionally open up your windows to get some fresh air in the home. This will give you almost an immediate improvement in your indoor air quality.
If you already have mold in your home, you will want to clean it promptly to prevent it from spreading. Clean the area with hot water and either a detergent or a commercial mildew remover. Dry the area thoroughly once it is clean and dispose of the rags or sponges you used to clean as reusing these may cause the mold to spread.
If the mold is throughout your home, you may need to enlist the services of a professional. Look for a company that is experienced in dealing with mold and has a history of satisfied customers. If your HVAC is contaminated, hire an experienced HVAC professional to clean your system and your air ducts.
About the Author
Alex Wayne is a full-time blogger who enjoys writing about HVAC, plumbing, and landscaping topics, with a special emphasis on saving money through a do-it-yourself approach to home improvement. His current focus is on working with websites like RSAndrews.com to translate the knowledge and experience of home improvement experts into insightful blog posts and articles for homeowners who want to work smarter, not harder. He lives in Chicago, IL.
As the holidays sneak up on us, where do you plan to do your shopping? While a lot of people tend to head to the Mall or large department stores for the convenience factor, don’t overlook your local community shops! By shopping at your local stores, you are stimulating your community’s economy and lessening your carbon footprint. Although it may seem more cost effective to shop at the bigger stores, it is very unsustainable at a local level. Also, don’t look past your groceries. Yes, the primary grocery store is just a few blocks away and you drive by it on your way home from work, but why not shop at your local market every Sunday? Take some time to think about where this “fresh” food is coming from; most food in the United States is picked a week in advance. Typically, a carrot will travel 1,838 miles to the intended grocery store. Doesn’t this seem unnecessary when you can buy fresh produce at your local market while also stimulating the local economy? In addition, materials for food packaging are among the least recycled. Between packaging, transportation and inspection, there are a lot of repercussions on the environment. Consider the amount of fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions for aircraft transport. Shipping produces emissions of 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Trucks and locomotives are responsible for 25% of smog-causing pollution and the majority of the cancer threat posed by air pollution in some urban areas.
Black Friday shopping has turned into a huge phenomenon, that many families take part in for the holidays. These massive deals, however, are offered by giant retailers who have the capability to offer such a bargain. But what about the small stores that have less of an advantage? American Express sponsored Small Business Saturday on November 24 to bring shoppers to their local stores, rather than the big department stores. While these deals may be less extraordinary, your dollar is making a bigger impact. Did you know that, on average, small businesses stay afloat for only 5 years? However, these are businesses that are creating jobs for your family and friends. America is made up on small businesses yet we continually throw money at the giant retailers. There is a massive disconnect. But how do we connect the dots?
By making a conscious effort to spend your money at local stores, you are making a huge difference. A study in Austin, Texas found that $100 spent at a local bookstore produced $45 worth of local economic activity, and $100 at the chain store Borders, brought back only $13. National chains often bring loss of employment. The opening of a Wal-Mart reduces retail employment by an average of 150 jobs in the county of its location. While it’s easy to focus on stretching your own dollar, keep in mind how much your dollar means at a local business. Over time, the contribution to your community will be huge.