U.S citizens receive enough junk mail in 10 days to be lined up side-by-side to reach the moon and back
Unwanted junk mail contributed over a billion pounds of waste to landfills in one year (Nearly 50% is un-opened)
An Apple Top 5 App of the Year unsubscribes users from mail with their smartphone.
Papers, envelopes, insurance offers, supermarket flyers and past magazine subscriptions from previous tenants or homeowners… this is all unnecessary junk mail that ends up sorted than tossed in a recycling bin. Unsubscribing from these is traditionally a nightmare process resulting in most people accepting the environmental ‘hit’ associated with the task of sorting through clusters of paper. It is important that we are mindful of the number of trees we chop down and the natural resources we waste. Stopping junk mail from being delivered is the first step to saving more trees!
The average U.S. household received 6 pieces of junk mail each day. In only 10 days, that is enough paper to be lined up side-by-side to reach the moon and back. Much of this junk mail was delivered in wasteful and heavy envelopes or laminated papers resulting in over a billion pounds of wasted paper sent to a landfill annually. Nearly half of that mail arrives at the landfill un-opened!
One BILLION pounds of paper wasted for no good reason?
With the current climate crisis and habitat loss affecting all seven continents of the earth, it is unacceptable to be this wasteful. Hundreds of millions of trees are destroyed for literally no value to society. A huge positive impact can be made by preventing and refusing junk mail that is sent to us.
Aside from the ethical and environmental benefits, I would pay money just to not have to sort through this unsolicited trash, and that’s actually where PaperKarma comes in. Apple previously named it one of the top 5 apps of the year and for an exceptionally good reason. For a mere $1.99 a month or $19.99 annually, the startup offers a service (only available in the U.S) that has unsubscribed users from more than 8 million junk mailings and catalogs. In a few simple steps, users point and click their smartphone camera and submit the mail whether it’s from direct marketers, credit offers or catalogs.
The clean tech company unsubscribes a wide range of junk mail and is an extremely useful tool. While it can’t completely eliminate the problem, PaperKarma does help significantly. Hundreds of millions of unnecessary trees are being chopped down for unwanted mail, a serious environmental problem that we can certainly solve. There is a free non-profit alternative, CatalogChoice, that unsubscribes users from mail although it does not share the same effectiveness. Former CMO of Blog spot, Mike Volpe, wrote a 2008 blog post highlighting more shocking statistics.
New clean tech developments mean Wood Is Being Used to Build Just About Everything, from t-shirts to thousand foot tall skyscrapers… and anything in between. Trees can be put too much better use for our community and the environment as a whole. Subscribe to the Millennial Online Community to receive weekly updates of new sustainable developments and ethical products that are creating a better future for the next generation
Providing up to 6 months of fresh drinking water to villages with every purchase
Map displaying local shops offering free water refill stations inside.
An unsustainable 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute
More than 200 BILLION plastic bottles have been used so far this year
Being mindful of our environmental impact while supporting a healthy environment has never been easier with clean, ethical, and sustainably focused tech applications available today. Startups are innovating solutions to reduce the amount of water we waste and eliminate single-use plastic water bottles.
‘Tap’ uses technology to find users fresh clean drinking water
If you want people to stop using plastic bottles, you’ve got to make sure they have water available to refill their sustainable bottles. The ‘Tap’ app found on both iOS and Android offers the essential features so that everyone out on-the-go with a smart phone and a water bottle will always be able to keep it full. It’s a real buzzkill when you run out of water and have to search for a public building or a coffee shop to awkwardly ask if they can refill your bottle. Or worse, can’t find a place on the way.
Opening the app loads an interactive map displaying local businesses and shops who offer free water refill stations inside. By actively promoting the reduction of plastic water bottle usage benefits the participating store by increasing foot traffic and brand image.
Information includes distance away, hours of operations and directions with options for chilled, filtered, sparkling and/or flavored water.
This tool is incredibly useful when you’re in both familiar and unfamiliar places, either out for a run or driving through the city because tens of thousands of locations are signed up with Tap. The need for buying plastic water bottles is gone, and there’s no longer an excuse for their use.
At the current rate, “the amount of single-use plastic ending up in our oceans will outweigh fish by 2050.” Over 1 million water bottles are purchased per minute and more than 75% of them will make their way into our oceans. The United Nations estimates nearly 10 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year.
Tap sells a really great kit that comes with not only a quality reusable water bottle, but two metal straws, a tote bag and more together valued at $70 for only $55.
The best 100% recyclable, sustainable water bottle – Yuhme!
If you’re in the market for just a quality water bottle however, I’d have to recommend an entirely different brand Yuhme! This ethical company sells 100% recyclable, stunningly designed sugarcane water bottles. With the purchase of each bottle the company donates at least 3 months of fresh drinking water to villages in the Central African Republic. So far the Swedish brand has provided more than 40 thousand months of water.
Cleaning up our oceans
The vast majority of this plastic debris ends up in concentrated ‘garbage patches’ like that of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where 1 trillion particles can be found. Thankfully there are projects like ‘the Ocean Cleanup’ helping to clean the some 80,000 metric tons of plastic that has collected there. The goal of that project is to deploy the systems to remove up to 50% of the plastics every 5 years. Join the Millennial Online Community for more clean fresh content.
Solar tech is achieving record setting energy efficiencies
Marketplace to sell your stored electricity to neighbours on the blockchain
Smart machine learning hubs monitor energy use and help reduce carbon footprint plus monthly bills
As we take strides towards carbon neutral buildings, innovations in cleantech have arisen from wood used to build thousand foot skyscrapers in Tokyo to storing carbon in cement of major buildings turning cities into true concrete jungles. There has been a recent eruption of revolutionary clean energy technologies coming at no better time, as over a hundred nations make commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This surge of innovations is in large part due to the climate action plans put forward by countries to combat the climate crisis.
A Committee on Climate Change report found that the U.K. will not meet it’s legally binding targets (from the Paris Agreement) “without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings.” Extreme actions are necessary to achieve the environmental goals and reduce our carbon footprint.
Environmental action plans by governments are driving innovation in clean tech and renewable energy.
Sweden, the worlds first country to establish an environmental protection agency, plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Scandinavian country currently boasts the highest percentage of renewable energy use in the entire EU and expects to rely on those sources for 55% of the total energy output in just the next couple of years. About 40% of the countries electricity is generated by nuclear power today and is considering a gradual phaseout.
By the same 2050 deadline, the United Kingdom hopes to reduce carbon emissions to 80% of 1990 levels. In Frances climate action plan, the leaders of the Paris Agreement outline their intent to completely eliminate the sale of petrol and diesel cars, and to leave all fossil fuels beneath the soil by 2040.
These commitments set a new bar for the renewable energy sector to improve performance and efficiency from all industries.
Smart hubs, plugs and outlets are helping homeowners monitor and minimize their energy use
On Amazon you can already get smart plugs and outlets that monitor household electricity usage on an individual appliance level. These devices allow for the potential to recoup investment relatively quickly with savings from your monthly electricity bill. You’ve been told to turn off the lights to save money and today it’s not only possible to see exactly how much electricity and money you’re saving. By now they are so simple and effective that there is no reason why everyone should not have a few of these devices
One London based cleantech company Green Running is taking it one, maybe two steps further with an AI powered IoT (internet of things) hub named Verv. The hub attaches straight to the main electricity meter outside of a customers house giving unprecedented speed and data. The AI is constantly analyzing to create customer specific, smart insights. Green Runnings system is trained to identify usage behavior so that the machine learning algorithms can recognize patterns and continuously improve energy efficiency.
A life saving feature for recognizing unique energy signatures of appliances gives Verv hub the ability to detect and protect against hazards like a straightener that was left plugged in and unattended. Alerts of excessive power use are sent through an app which gives customers real time information on energy output and costs while offering tips and tools to set budgets and reduce energy.
Verv founder Peter Davies was a recipient of ‘Innovator of the Year’ at the 2016 Business Green Technology Awards. The companies COO Maria McKavanagh was nominated by Computer Weekly as one of the top 50 Most Influential Women in Tech.
First Ever Sale of Energy Using Blockchain technology in the United Kingdom
The company has raised over $15 million to achieve the goal of reducing residential electricity bills to zero. They have performed the first ever sale of energy using blockchain technology in the U.K. with a green energy marketplace where consumers can buy or sell excess solar power directly to neighbors in the community using ‘Vlux’ tokens. This peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading platform gives homes without solar panels affordable access to low carbon energy and provides incentives for people generating renewable energy with a revenue stream for a healthy return on investment.
Solar technology lighting the way
Outdoor solar lawn/garden lights and wall mounted motion sensor solar lights have reached a pinnacle in performance and price resulting in products that are not only affordable, but highly effective. You can now proudly illuminate every inch of your property… as long as it sees daylight.
Another London based company that has been shining is OxfordPV. They’ve recently broke the world record with their perovskite solar cells that reached energy efficiency of 28%. The solar tech pioneer is preparing for the first industrial installation of the product this year.
It is exciting to see the technological advancements across the clean energy sector as a whole whose businesses can compliment each others as we reduce global carbon emissions. Operating more sustainable today than yesterday, whether we’re talking about solar cells or a smart AI hub for your entire electrical system, is what we focus on. Join the Millennial Online Community for clean tech information impacting the next generation.
US workers who spent some of their work days at home has now reached 24.1%
Employee productivity increases more than 10%
An average savings of $2,000 per employee with a 50% reduction in job turnover.
Whether you love going into the office every day or not, the option to stay home some days provides great benefit and a more balanced lifestyle. Flexible work schedules have been found to improve employee happiness and output. The amount of remote workers has skyrocketed across industries worldwide as internet connectivity and communication technologies have opened so many doors.
Flexible work schedules are projected to continue to increase in popularity as more millennials gain workplace experience and the next generation continues to enter the workforce. The need for teams to be within shouting distance of one another has vanished and most companies can succeed without compromising work-life balance. Your day is valuable and its best tailored individually for optimum performance that leads to reduced expenses for employers
A flexible schedule allowed members of staff to honor both job and family obligations.
Remote work is on the rise
The number of US workers who spent some of their work days at home grew from 19.6 to 24.1% between 2003 & 2015. Sweden had a virtual workforce making up 5.9% in 1999, one year after the founding of Google. That number has since more than tripled to 1 in 5 Swedes. This mirrors the typical European average of around 20%.
The United Kingdoms Office for National Statistics officially states 13.9% of the workforce (more than 4 million people) spends majority of their days at home. This trend is not expected to slow down either. Research from the Trades Union Congress suggests a potential 20% increase.
How flexible workplace schedules impact performance
A 2017 article published in the New Technology, Work and Employment journal assessed the growth and consequences of remote work and found it to be overwhelmingly positive and beneficial in regards to both productivity and work place satisfaction for both employees and employers. Operating remotely reduced the strain of working under stressful time constraints by offering the opportunity for the employee to schedule their tasks to suit personal circumstances.
A study of 994 random call center operators found that remote workers “significantly outperformed their office-bound counterparts.” The group answered more calls per minute and spent more time logged into the company system yet also had higher levels of job satisfaction and lower staff attrition.
This particular case found the teleworkers had lower chances of being promoted, although this could possibly be reversed if communication was better enhanced between both parties. With the sad death of Google Hangouts, Slack and Microsoft Teams are newer examples of great tools for exchanging ideas during collaborations over a stable internet connection.
Happy employees are the best employees
Despite the difficulties of creating workplace relationships, most workers enjoy receiving greater spatial and temporal flexibility. Surprisingly, labour intensity and hours worked tended to rise along with enthusiasm and commitment. This signifies a boost in morale that leads to increased productivity and happier staff.
An often overlooked benefit of happy employees is the free word of mouth marketing campaign they give a company through their after hour praises, boosting brand image. These kind of positive comments stand out like a sore thumb in a world where work related complaints too often dominate conversations.
An in depth 2015 doctoral study by Walden University researching flexible work schedules and virtual work programs found more committed, satisfied and stress free employees who were healthier, happier and providing more effort than conventional on site workers.
The undoubted driver in job satisfaction and increased output was giving employees opportunity for a healthier work-life balance. A flexible work schedule allowed members of staff to honor both job and family obligations.
The best way to retain talented employees is to give them freedom
Talent retention is another major benefit of remote work employees, and seven out of ten people that work from home agreed that they would not leave their job for an increase in pay.
Stanford University researches studied 255 employees of Chinas largest travel agency Ctrip. They ultimately concluded cost savings to be the area most positively impacted by telework. Productivity went up to the tune of 13% alongside a $2,000 savings per laborer and a 50% reduction in job turnover.
Cutting employee turnover in half leads to a stronger more accumulated business knowledge within the company on top of minimizing time and money wasted on training new workers who won’t even be sticking around.
If you’re looking to hire (or be hired), companies providing a platform for virtual contract and remote workers have made it easier for skilled employees to find meaningful work online that includes enjoying a better balanced lifestyle. Employers receive the best bang for their buck, saving costs and getting the most out of their employees… everyone is happy!
a thin edible barrier that holds in moisture and keeps out air to slow the rate of spoilage
Fruits and vegetables can last more than twice as long
Funded by investors such as former CEO of Whole Foods Walter Robb, Andreessen Horowitz, and The Rockefeller Foundation
There is enough food produced globally each day to feed the entire human population yet somehow, almost one billion people are chronically undernourished. Estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest 30-40% of the food supply is wasted annually equating to $161 billion worth of food and weighing in at 133 billion pounds. That amount of weight is equal to nearly 10 million elephants (although there are significantly less than a million elephants on earth) and all of this valuable produce is sent to the trash… Food waste is the largest component entering city landfills and the third largest source of methane in the country. The current food system is inefficient, unsustainable and ripe for disruption. Each person wastes an average 200 pounds of food annually, but the USA aims to reduce food waste by 50% to some 60 billion lbs per year.
How to reduce billions of pounds of wasted food? Through innovation!
In 2012, with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, James Roger founded Apeel Sciences to combat the global food waste occurring post-harvest. Their solution was simple… slow down the natural decomposition and rotting process of produce so that people across the world could have more, longer lasting foods.
What Apeel Sciences has created is making the global goal of a sustainable food system achievable. The technology developed reinforces defenses that fruits and vegetables naturally deploy, offering a thin edible barrier that drastically slows the rate of spoilage.
extended freshness and shelf life by 2 to 3 times longer
Referred to by Forbes as “Fruit’s Fountain of Youth,” the plant based coating is derived from different seeds, fruits, and vegetables and is of course fully compliant with all U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. No pesticides or chemicals should be sprayed on produce.
Carrying no color, odor or taste, the product acts by stopping water loss and oxidation. It acts as a secondary peel, shielding the produce resulting in extended freshness and shelf life by 2 to 3 times longer. Krogers, the largest grocer in the United States, currently carries Apeel avocados. They are fortified to outlast traditional ones, staying fresh longer in stores and during transportation.
The California based startup has raised money from several big name investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, The Rockefeller Foundation, and former co-CEO of Whole Foods Walter Robb. Apeel Sciences was also listed on Time Magazines list of “the 50 Most Genius Companies of 2018.”
Systems are in place so that this product can be applied at various levels by farmers/growers, suppliers, or retailers. Typically the coating is applied by dipping or rinsing in what is a rather simple procedure once installed in wholesale factories or processing centers.
Global food waste contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than every nation on earth combined, excluding China and the United States. A total of 8% of global emissions is wasted… Thankfully new clean tech startups are sprouting at an increasing rate with the aim of creating a more efficient and sustainable food system through innovation. See how we big of a difference we can all make with our Call to Action.
Solar technology and clean energy solutions are becoming so powerful and efficient as we replace fossil fuels. It is no coincidence that the government climate action plans promising a reduction in carbon footprint is occurring now that we’ve seen major breakthroughs on tech that harnesses the energy of the sun. The last few years have seen advancements in solar cell technology making it sensible to use in just about every scenario. From industrial sized units to lawn and garden lights, it is better both environmentally and economically to have the sun power our lives.
Seven years have passed since a spin-off company out of Oxford University, OxfordPV, announced co-founder and current Chief Scientific Officer Professor Henry Snaith’s breakthrough solid state high perovskite solar cells. This year the cleantech company plans to install the first commercial perovskite silicon module out in the field. Their solar-tech has recently smashed previous world records, surpassing current solar energy efficiency limits. After raising the first 31£ million of their series D round in March of this year, they have now closed more than $100 million in funding to transform the global solar market and fight the climate crisis facing our planet.
The technological breakthrough
Traditional 156mm x 156 mm silicon bottom cells reach up to 20-22% energy efficiency, and that is where Oxford PV (photovoltaics) is making the revolutionary advancements. By taking advantage of a tandem, stacking configuration and building a transparent cell on top of conventional silicon solar cell it produces a significant improvement in performance that puts 30% efficiency into the realm of possibility. Designed to fit into existing silicon solar cell and module fabrication lines, the tandem configuration allows the remarkable performance boost resulting in increased power output on the same footprint, dramatically reducing the cost of a solar installation. The goal is to develop the ultra-thin solar cell to reach a 37% efficiency with long term stability. This would be nearly 75% more efficient than standard options today and would go a long way in achieving carbon zero buildings.
OxfordPV announced the achievement of 28% efficiency (certified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory) during a strong demonstration that took place in final few weeks of 2018. The previous world record (held my themselves) was set at 27.3%, already marginally more efficient than existing solar-tech, drastically reducing carbon footprint and energy costs.
With research labs in Oxford and Berlin, this solar tech pioneer is leading the charge as industrial solar installations and renewable energy solutions are quickly improving. Residential solar power installs have also been steadily growing.
Make the sun shine a little longer with outdoor solar lights
For consumers looking to add simple solar powered devices to their homes, quality products have come readily available and astonishingly affordable. It is now possible to harness a little bit of that free renewable energy to light up our properties well into the night.
A variety of sustainable solar powered lights and gadgets light up my backyard, front yard, and walkways. The most useful and efficient solar light is probably the versatile LightMe hanging bulb attachment that can be easily moved from gazebos, to decks, sheds and tents plus it charges in just a few hours on usb power. Combine that with a few reliable motion sensor mounted wall lights that last through the night, perfect along the side or front of homes, even above the garage or backdoor. Kapata offers great outdoor lawn ground lights that are highly recommended for adding complimentary additional lighting along paths and driveways or to brighten up your garden.
Over the next few years we will see more of a transition towards renewable energy solutions using solar technology. Thanks to the innovations from startups around the globe providing clean energy and government goals to reduce carbon emissions over the next decade. A large part of our future will be directly powered by the sun, harnessing it like we have never done before. Some day soon solar should power the majority of your personal energy use, and that day cannot come soon enough. Check out the Call to Action to see the impact we can have if we all make small mindful choices each day.
Plastic alternative made from no fossil-based materials, 98% wood fibers and reduces carbon footprint by up to 80%
The hottest selling kids toys: 3D wooden mechanical robot puzzles and projects
Thousand foot tall timber skyscrapers the size of the Empire State Building are on the horizon
Who would have thought that the earliest human civilizations were building with the same materials that the 21st century would turn towards to combat the climate crisis? Primitive structures, tools, weapons and boats were originally made from sticks, leaves and timber… the original clean tech. As we move away from plastics and resource intensive building materials with high carbon footprints, we find ourselves returning to wood with a wave of newly innovated products and technologies. From thousand foot tall timber sky scrapers to wooden t-shirts and shoes, it’s all being built by startups and businesses focused on sustainability.
The oldest wooden structure in the world
The masterfully magnificent Horyu-ji Buddhist temple in Japan is the oldest wooden structure in the world, originally built some 1400 years ago. Wooden tools have even been found dating back 100,000+ years.
In relatively recent times we have innovated materials, mainly plastics, that have carelessly been used to make items cheaper and faster than ever before. The price difference between products such as a plastic fork and a metal fork is exponential, one costing hundreds or even thousands of times more than the other. Unfortunately with every action there comes a consequence, and these cheap alternatives are damaging our environment.
Fortunately we are now beginning to see the results of billions of dollars (and countless hours) poured into innovating and creating sustainable, renewable, and recyclable building materials. Wood is being re-invented and re-used. A timber skyscraper full of plant based furniture and a closet of wooden clothes is on the horizon.
Over the last 50 years the human population has doubled in size which has led to rapidly building cities lined building by building that have essentially transformed our fields and forests into concrete slabs. With urban expansion set to triple in the next decade, the bio-economy looks to thrive as the need for sustainable alternative materials rises. Government action plans are driving demand for materials reducing global emissions and environmental impact.
A study by the United Kingdoms Committee on Climate Change concluded that the UK would not meet its targets from the Paris Act “without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK building.”
The future of urban development will include an endless amount of construction, but new technologies are emerging from companies who are quietly and more efficiently building better structures.
Innovations such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) comes from sustainably planted forests and is currently being used in projects worldwide as a replacement to concrete. Being a much better insulator and using less fossil-fuels during the entire building process, wooden structures are sprouting up all over the planet in part due to the much quicker build times and quieter build zones absent of jackhammers or concrete saws.
A Thousand Foot Skyscraper
A 42,000 sq foot, 14 residential unit standing 84 feet in Portland is currently the tallest CLT structure in the United States. An ambitious 70 story, 1,148 foot timber skyscraper is scheduled to finish construction in Tokyo in 2041 that will consist of approximately 90% wood. The idea of a wooden building towering as tall as the Empire State Building is truly remarkable and cements the notion that cross-laminated timber is a building block for future cities.
Currently a 52 metre office building built in Brisbane is the tallest CLT structure standing but the race is on and it’s easy to see why. Cross-laminated timber is the building material of the future.
3D puzzles and DIY toys
Robotime has many incredibly unique and challenging mechanical wooden puzzles and toys that capture the imagination of the most curious children. These DIY kits inspire creativity and build confidence while providing valuable educational lessons along the way. On Amazon, Pendulum clocks, treasure boxes, tractors, locomotives and old school cameras are just some of the top selling STEM projects that can be built. Between those 3D puzzles, the sound controlled walking dinosaurs, DIY music boxes and miniature replicas of the Eiffel tower, wood is the only thing any kid needs to play with.
“mouldability and flexibility of plastics plus the strength and natural feel of wood.”
Wood replacing plastics
Whether you are looking at sustainably made renewable building products, food take-out containers or dining room tables, Swedish based Stora Enso offers a glimpse into the future with many revolutionary renewable materials. One of their sustainable products is DuraSense, which has the “mouldability and flexibility of plastics plus the strength and natural feel of wood.” With 98% wood fibers and no fossil-based material they reduce carbon footprint by up to 80% and the bio-composite material was conveniently developed to fit existing plastic moulds. Environmentally friendly cigarette boxes, ready-meal packaging trays, magazine papers, and massive wood building products are just a few products of the future being offered today by DuraSense.
Wooden clothes coming to your closet
Wood is even now being used in your wardrobe for more than just dressers and drawers. Some beautiful and durable clothing is now derived from the sustainably sourced material. Wijld, German clothing company, offers wooden shirts that compete comfortably with your favorite brands. There is also a Finnish company, Spinnova, that makes sustainable wooden fibers spun into textile fibre using a mechanical process that uses far less water than traditional materials like cotton.
Effective alternatives to reduce our carbon footprint are being introduced, refined and mastered across many industries. Research, development, innovation and ultimately the deployment of clean tech is a major part of the climate action plans of many governments worldwide. It is our responsibility to support brands working for renewable energy and a sustainable future, and hold companies and governments worldwide accountable. Join the Millennial Online Community for updates on more sustainable developments and environmentally friendly products.