SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

 


Laundry Detergent Sheets

Made with zero-waste packaging and biodegradable ingredients, Kind Laundry detergent sheets contain no harsh chemicals, yet still, harness strong cleaning power. With a mission “to eliminate millions of plastic laundry jugs going into landfills and oceans every year and provide people with a much safer laundry cleaning detergent,” the folks at Kind Laundry are really onto something here. 

With the convenience of a dryer sheet, using this laundry detergent sheet can make a difference to the planet, protect your family and make laundry less of a chore.  How?

  1. Helps reduce plastic waste to landfills (close to 1 billion plastic laundry jugs go to landfills and oceans in the U.S. alone, less than 7% gets properly recycled.)
  2. Helps reduce the number of toxic chemicals compared to traditional laundry detergent
  3. No more mess. No more waste. Save space.  These detergent sheets are pre-measured and packed in a recyclable compact box—who wouldn’t enjoy more storage room?
  4. Easy travel with its liquidless and weightless form, it is easy to squeeze in a carry-on and no more hassle at customs).
  5. No more heavy lifting.  No more lugging heavy containers of liquids or pods.

Natural plant-derived ingredients provide their strong cleaning power yet is a gentler alternative to synthetic, chemical-based products on the market. The company states that “It is so gentle that even those with the most sensitive skin can use it”. 

The Kind Laundry sheets are precut and premeasured.  Just throw in the number of sheets according to your laundry size and that's it—one sheet per load, two sheets for more cleaning power, and three sheets for large/heavy loads like bedding and towels.

Each box of laundry detergent sheets can wash up to 60 loads of laundry and retails for $19.99. They are available at www.kindlaundry.com and select stores in the U.S. and Canada. 

top


Are Solar Panels Worth It?

Throughout the past two decades, the average annual price of electricity for American households rose almost 52% and with many people working from home, households may spend more on electricity in 2020 than ever before.

As the price of grid electricity has increased, the cost of residential solar panel installation has fallen. Nevertheless, the high upfront cost of switching to solar energy can be a deterrent for some homeowners, despite the fact that this investment can pay off in the long run. 


In a new study, SmartAsset investigated the financial value of residential solar panels. They analyzed national trends on the cost of grid electricity and solar panel installation, solar panel savings and the breakeven point for those savings. They also compared the cost of grid electricity vs. solar energy over a 20-year period to find the states where solar panels may pay off the most.

solar panels save


A few highlights include:

  • The average American household can break even on a solar panel system in about eight years. According to SolarReviews, an average-sized solar installation for a home in the U.S. costs about $11,700 after the 26% federal tax credit. Most systems will pay for themselves in roughly eight years, at which point residents will not only break even on their investment, but they will also start saving money since they will need to purchase minimal to no grid electricity.
  • Homeowners considering solar panels should act quickly. Solar panels have been made more affordable to individuals throughout the past 15 years with a federal tax credit. Systems installed in 2020 will receive a 26% credit, and those added during 2021 will receive a 22% credit. In 2022, residential homes will no longer receive federal assistance for solar panel installations unless Congress renews the credit.
  • There are alternatives to buying solar panels outright. Two other options to purchasing solar panels outright are solar loans and leases. Solar loans allow homeowners to own the panels and borrow money to cover the cost of installation. With a solar lease agreement, a solar company would cover installation costs and own the solar panel system and allow the household to use the power the system creates in exchange for a monthly lease payment. 

To view the full report, click here: https://smartasset.com/checking-account/are-solar-panels-worth-it.top


Enjoy a Little Whimsy!

Let’s face it, these last few months have been trying times for all of us.  We’re worried about the health of our families, trying our best with home-schooling, and managing the demands of working from home.   What we are NOT doing is carving out just a little slice of time for some self-care.  The folks at Whimsy have come to the rescue.

Even the briefest respite from a crazy day can make all the difference.  We’re happy to introduce you to something that not only feels good + makes us feel better, but is also natural, sustainable and eco-friendly too!

“It all started as a passion project to create the perfect sugar scrub recipe,” said Keli Murphy, founder/creator of Whimsy! Her mission was two-fold:  to create a scrub that she could use AFTER her body wash that wasn't greasy but offered a silky soft finish instead; and to use simple, natural ingredients with a "what you see is what you get" concept.  Whimsy offers a variety of products that deliver both a sensory escape and extraordinary results.  We recently tried a few of the sugar scrubs and were impressed with the quality and feel.  The scents were refreshing, but not overwhelming…you can really feel the quality of ingredients that were used to create these scrubs.

Here’s why you too will love Whimsy sugar scrubs:

  • Handcrafted in small batches with you and earth in mind!
  • Simple, natural, high quality ingredients.
  • Packaged in a beautiful, recyclable + reusable glass jar.
  • Scents are balanced and spa-like, not harsh and overpowering.
  • Leaves skin silky soft.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Natural, sustainable, recyclable, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, vegan, organic.

With the holidays fast approaching, the sugar scrubs from Whimsy would make a great gift!  The sugar scrubs come in a variety of scents, including:  Bliss (floral); Creamy Coconut; For the Feet Peppermint; Gardenia; Lavender Mint; Pear Freesia; Uplifting (citrus); Simply Sugar (unscented); Sandalwood Citrus; Coffee; and Orange Clove—perfect for the fall season.  The 8 oz. jars sell online for $28.50; and the 2 oz. jars (perfect for travel and for stocking stuffers) are $7.00.  To order and explore the full line of products offered by Whimsy, visit:  www.whimsy4u.com.

top


Starbucks Strawless Lids Now Available Across the U.S. & Canada

Over the past year, Starbucks has trialed new lightweight, recyclable strawless lids in select markets across the U.S. and Canada. Due to the success of this test, the company is rolling out strawless lids to company-operated and licensed stores, marking a significant milestone in Starbucks effort to eliminate one billion plastic straws globally per year. Starbucks will continue to shift away from single-use packaging and plastics as part of its resource positive commitment announced in January.

“Recyclable, strawless lids for customers across the U.S. and Canada is another step in our journey to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer at Starbucks. “As we move closer toward our 2030 target of a 50 percent reduction in waste sent to landfills, the long-standing history of innovation within Starbucks, partnership across the industry and changing consumer behavior remain fundamental to our purpose and our prosperity as an organization.” 

Starbucks designed, developed, and manufactured its strawless lid, which will now be the standard for all iced coffee, tea, espresso, and Starbucks Refreshers® beverages. The lid was modeled after the lid customers recognize from Starbucks hot drinks and has approximately nine percent less plastic than the flat lid and straw historically used for iced beverages. Unlike straws that cannot be recycled because of their size, the strawless lid made from polypropylene, meets the Association of Plastic Recyclers design guidelines for recyclability and can be recycled in many markets in the U.S. and Canada.

“We developed and trialed several prototypes to arrive at this milestone,” said Andy Corlett, director of global packaging solutions and innovations, whose team at Starbucks helped design the lid. “A recyclable, strawless lid becoming the standard for iced drinks is one small way we can give more than we take from the planet. This is a significant moment for Starbucks as we work to reduce waste and safeguard the environment.”

Corlett’s team developed variations in lid design to match the variety of beverages Starbucks offers. For example, the distinct lid for Nitro beverages, which began rolling out in 2018, has a slightly wider, tear-drop shaped opening, designed for the perfect drinking experience of Starbucks velvety-smooth Nitro Cold Brew and beverages with Cold Foam. Similarly, Frappuccino® blended beverages and other drinks with whipped cream will continue to have a domed lid made from recyclable plastic and be accompanied by a straw, except where prohibited by local law. Straws will also remain available in stores for customers upon request.

“Last year alone, volunteers with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup removed nearly one million straws from beaches and waterways around the world, and that’s one million too many polluting our environment,” said Doug Cress, Vice President of Conservation at Ocean Conservancy. “Starbucks strawless lid is a prime example of how innovation will help us move closer to a healthy ocean free of trash, and we are committed to working with Starbucks through our International Coastal Cleanup and our Trash Free Seas Alliance to drive positive change. Our hope is that other companies follow suit, and that these innovations are met with greater investment from both the public and private sectors in recycling infrastructure and markets to keep the momentum alive.”

Starbucks continues to make progress against its commitment to phase out plastic straws worldwide. Starbucks Korea was the company’s first market to eliminate straws through strawless lids and paper straw alternatives in 2018. In 2019, Starbucks introduced strawless lids in select markets across the U.S., Canada and China, in addition to introducing FSC (Forest Stewardship Council®) certified paper straws across the UK and Europe. Strawless lids and straws made from alternative materials will continue to be tested and rolled out to more markets in the coming year.  www.starbucks.com

top


The Houseplants You're MOST Likely to Kill

Growing indoor plants will continue to be a trend this season - with searches for "autumn plants" rising by 950% and searches of “winter plants" rising by 1550%, according to Google.

But, although adding indoor greenery boosts mental wellbeing, keeping plants alive can be very demanding.

With that in mind, EndOfTenancyCleaningNearMe.co.uk surveyed 2,501 houseplant lovers and asked if they have ever killed a houseplant. The results showed that 2 in 3 "plant parents" are guilty of greenery fail!

EndOfTenancyCleaningNearMe.co.uk also asked for the type of plant killed, to find out what are the hardest plants to keep alive.

EndOfTenancyCleaningNearMe.co.uk got in touch with the gardening specialist Sally Fairbrass, from the blog Seed me Grow, to have a better understanding of the common mistakes that make us kill our houseplants!

Fiddle-leaf Fig: One of the top 10 most popular houseplants on Instagram, as HomeHow.co.uk recently revealed, this trendy plant is surprisingly difficult to keep alive. It doesn’t tolerate environment changes, so it’s important to keep it in a specific area of the house. It's also important to be careful with sunlight as too much exposure will brown its leaves!

Gardenia: They tend to be quite fussy, as they don’t like too hot or too cold temperatures. The flowers won’t form unless you stick to strict temperature requirements and take it easy on the watering - at least an inch of water a week!

Boston Ferns: Many people think it's easy to take care of this houseplant, but it needs a lot of attention! It doesn't do well in direct sunlight, doing better in indirect light. It's important to remember to keep the soil moist as it tends to dry out.

Orchids: With colorful and fragrant blooms, Orchids are a popular houseplant that many people give as gifts! Although common, people often forget to follow basic care and end up overwatering this plant. Orchids need a strict watering schedule and should only be watered once a week.

Zebra Plants: Like many tropical plants, it's crucial to keep Zebras in warm environments, which can be challenging if you live in a temperate climate. If you're keen to decorate your house with this plant, remember to keep soil moist and the plants close to sunlight all year round.

Bonsai Trees: The Japanese art of miniaturized trees make beautiful houseplants, but they need a lot of care and attention regarding cultivation, as they have special soil. They also require a good amount of sunlight and low humidity.

Miniature Roses: Another popular house gift! Despite its small size, this houseplant can be hard to keep alive. It tends to die in cold and dark environments so it’s best to place it where there is lots of direct sunlight.

African Violets:  With bright white, blue or purple blooms, this pretty houseplant needs a lot of warmth! A great tip is to place it wherever you have a radiator, keeping in mind that it also requires watering frequently.

Venus Flytrap: The best known of the carnivores, it's a fascinating houseplant to keep. The Venus Flytrap needs to be fed insects by hand a couple of times a week to survive, making it a challenge if you aren't a fan of bugs. It also lives better in warmer homes and in direct sunlight.

Croton: These are beautiful autumnal houseplants, however, they don’t like to be moved around a lot as it can cause their leaves to fall. Sally advises not to keep this plant in dark corners because it will encourage the loss of its lovely bright colours!

Extra tips on how to take care of your houseplants this autumn and winter:  Miniature Roses, Boston Ferns, Gardenia, Zebra Plants and African Violets are the hardest plants to take care of during the coldest seasons. Sally advises: "Houseplants that require a lot of direct sunlight and warmth are definitely the hardest to keep alive in autumn and winter. For example, miniature roses require at least 5+ hours of direct sunlight which can be hard during the shorter days, so you slowly see them dying. Another one is Boston Fern, as it prefers warmer temperatures. A great tip is to buy a humidifier to keep the air flowing near the plant to ensure it doesn’t dry out".

top


COVID-19 Is Rejuvenating QR Codes

iWallet startup, on the cutting edge of the O2O (online to offline) revolution, launched QR Menu in effort to help businesses reopen safely. QR Menu converts paper menus into an online form that is viewed on a mobile device. COVID-19 has turned the world upside down creating challenges to bring people back. Contactless menus can help provide peace of mind to employees and customers when it's not business as usual, plus it’s eco-friendly, eliminating the use of paper menus.

COVID has created new policies and procedures in order to meet reopening requirements. WebMD and other studies have reported restaurant menus to be one of the germiest touch points as it can contain 100 times more bacteria than toilet seats.

Businesses can eliminate sources of potential germs by implementing QR contactless menus which replaces the need for physical menus. It's a simple one step process to generate a QR menu at menu.iwallet.com. For consumers it's easier, they just point a camera at the QR code and tap the link that pops up to view the menu.

"I've been working on an exciting QR application project, however when COVID hit I saw the need to help small businesses reopen. What started locally ramped into something much bigger," States Jim Kolchin, iWallet Founder. "QR Menu was designed to be free because I know restaurants run on thin margins however it has been adopted globally including; Marriott International, Wynn Las Vegas, The Venetian, Panera Bread, Denny's and more!"

Key Benefits:

  • Eco friendly—eliminates the millions of paper menus thrown out daily
  • Safer to use—mitigates the spread of germs
  • Saves time—easy to update and make instant changes
  • Reduces costs—no more printing and ink expenses
  • Helps bring customers back

Reduced capacity, strict regulations combined with consumer habits that have changed, businesses don't need to scramble any further. QR contactless menu provide employees and customers a touch-free way to help keep them safe. Paper is going away and contactless menus are here to stay.  https://menu.iwallet.com

top