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Environment

Are Bike Share Programs Earth Friendly?

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Bike sharing by Kevin Zolkiewicz via Flickr

Bike sharing programs have cropped up all over Europe and the United States, especially in major metropolitan areas. Both tourists and members of the local workforce have benefited from the presence of these new programs – but there are a few hidden costs that potential users should know about before they buy in.

Breaking Down the Maths

The idea is the more people who hop on a bicycle – such as one of NYC’s bright blue CitiBikes – the less use they’ll have for cars. But the numbers are a little more complicated. How much carbon dioxide does bike sharing keep out of the atmosphere overall?

It’s hard to measure, especially in a city like New York, where most residents rely on the local public transit system. If bike sharing leads to more people using mass transit and then renting a bike to get to and from work, instead of driving a car, that’s a definite benefit – but it’s virtually impossible to define a concrete metric.

Furthermore, these numbers differ across cities, depending on how many residents already forgo car travel. In London, for example, the local bike share program has actually increased the number of automobile miles driven per year. Partly to blame may be the fact that large trucks are required to transport bikes between docking stations.

London seems to be an outlier, however. Minnesota, Washington DC, and Melbourne all saw significant car travel reduction with their bike share programs – and unlike London, the added miles for fleet rebalancing and support didn’t make up for it.

Pros and Cons of Bike Shares

Bike shares are becoming more and more mainstream, but depending on where you live and your transit needs, a bike share program might not be right for you. Consider the pros and cons as you decide whether to participate

– This could be a pro or a con, depending on how much you want (or don’t want) to stand out from the crowd. Owning a bike outright means you have the option to customize it with great gifts and products – which won’t work if you’re using a branded urban bike.

– Depending on how much mileage you put in and how much time you spend cycling in any given day, owning your own bike might be more affordable – even with the maintenance involved. Most bike share programs charge by the hour or half hour, so if you need your rental for a longer period of time, the cost can spike rapidly.

– Owning a bike requires a fair bit of elbow grease in order to keep it running in tiptop shape. On the other hand, a bike share bicycle won’t require any maintenance on your part. If you notice an issue, all you need to do is alert the company, and they’ll take care of it.

– Bike share bicycles are built for city safety, with wide tires and a sturdy frame that will help you brave even the worst street conditions. Additionally, bike share programs take the responsibility of securing your bike out of your hands. As long as you dock it properly in its high-security station, you won’t have to worry about theft. With your own bike, even the highest security locks aren’t infallible.

Final Thoughts: Changing Norms

Whether or not bike sharing is for you, one thing is for certain: these programs are fantastic for garnering support for cyclists everywhere. As more and more people use cycling as their way to get from point A to point B, cycling infrastructure such as bike lanes and clearer traffic rules will gain footing. Ultimately, this will lead to more people getting out of their cars and hitting the streets on two wheels.

 

Environment

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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