All posts by Sarah

electric vehicles plugged in to tennessee

Electric Vehicles in Tennessee

By: Caleb Powell

Tennessee is home to three major vehicle assembly plants and over 900 automotive suppliers, making it the main hub of the South’s automotive sector. General Motors, Nissan, and Volkswagen have been located in our state for many years, investing billions into the economy and creating more jobs. The industry is evolving faster than ever before and making the movement from combustion engines to electric vehicles (EVs), is a change that reduces emissions that contributes to climate change, and improves public health. Being able to adapt to trends throughout the automotive industry itself is one of the specialties of these Tennessee manufacturers. Tennessee is already the top manufacturer of EVs in the Southeast, producing more than 16,000 vehicles per year. By being proactive and investigating new technologies, these companies have put Tennessee at the forefront of this vehicle manufacturing evolution.

electric vehicles plugged in to tennessee

General Motors has announced a $2 billion dollar investment into the Spring Hill facility to build fully electric vehicles including the luxury Cadillac LYRIQ. Through a joint venture with battery partner LG Chem Ltd., they are planning to build a new plant on land leased from GM, named Ultium Cells. Volkswagen has begun expanding its Chattanooga factory to build a North American center for EVs – not only for assembly, but for engineering the EVs of the future. To power those efforts, Volkswagen‘s Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga will soon feature a unique, state-of-the-art high-voltage laboratory designed to develop and test EV cells and battery packs for upcoming models assembled in the United States.

The nation’s largest public utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority, is working with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Tennessee Department of Transportation to develop a statewide system of public EV charging stations that officials say will make the state a leader in electric transportation. The charging network is expected to include about 50 stations, primarily along interstates and U.S. and state highways. The idea is to have chargers available at least every 50 miles with a goal to complete the project in the next five years. As the industry grows and EVs become more prevalent, building out the infrastructure to accommodate more EVs on the road. You can learn more about it here.

In the very near future Tennesseans should be able to purchase EVs manufactured in Tennessee and travel throughout the state with easy access to a vast charging network.

ToDey, we don’t all have access to electric vehicles, but maybe Tomorrow we will! If you’re ready to electrify your home with clean energy, check out our blog about the easiest way to get started.

solar energy nashville

Nashville Is Experiencing a Mini-Revolution in Solar. Here’s How to Take Part. [UGL]

Read the original article on Urban Green Lab’s website.

 

For a long time, Nashville was a sunny spot in the hot and humid Sunbelt that got almost none of its energy from the sun. Regrettably, the state of Tennessee got only .2% of its electricity from solar energy as of 2018, compared to a U.S. average of 1.5%, according to the latest data available from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The electricity grid, the network of interconnecting power transmission lines that deliver electricity, is the dirtiest in the South and Midwest, according to Laura Zapata, founder of Clearloop Corp. in Nashville, which helps mid-sized and small businesses to buy into solar projects to offset their carbon footprint. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and is produced by certain activities such as burning coal to produce electricity. “We can do better,’’ Zapata said. “We’re in the Sunbelt.”

solar energy map america

Organizations such as Vanderbilt University and Facebook are indeed pushing the area’s utilities to do better, with dramatic results. Plus, the prices for solar panels have fallen in recent years, making solar economically competitive and in some cases cheaper than other sources of power, according to the financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard.

That’s driving a boom in solar energy. Energy from the sun accounted for 43% of all new electricity generating capacity in the United States in the third quarter of 2020, beating all other generation technologies, according to consulting and research firm Wood MacKenzie. Nashville is determined not to miss out any longer.

In fact, in November, Metro Nashville announced a joint deal with Vanderbilt University to pay for a 125-megawatt solar array project in Tullahoma, Tennessee, agreeing to buy the solar energy back from the region’s power generator, the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The project is estimated to create 500 new jobs and result in $6.8 million in health benefits by reducing harmful pollution, according to The Tennessean. The solar panels will help Metro Nashville reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from city operations by 40% in 2030 and by 80% in 2050.

Earlier in 2020, Vanderbilt University signed a deal with the TVA to buy 35 MW of renewable energy from a solar farm in Bedford County, Tennessee. It has a goal of powering its campus entirely through renewable energy and of being carbon neutral by 2050.

It’s not just universities and cities that are signing up for solar. So are the social media giant Facebook and the global search engine Google, both of which inked deals with the TVA in recent years to power enormous new data centers in Tennessee and Alabama with renewable energy.

Both of those companies pressure utilities and public officials to build solar in exchange for their investments. For example, Facebook had a goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions and 100% renewable energy for its operations by 2020.

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the The Whites Creek High School Solar Project.
Just because big corporations and organizations are getting the solar generation they demand, that doesn’t mean individuals, small organizations and schools can’t. “If you want it, you can get it,’’ said Jason Carney, founder and CEO of Energy Electives in Nashville. “There is financing out there.”

Here are some ways to get involved in Tennessee’s solar movement.
  • Consider weatherizing your home or business to reduce your energy use. That’s a smaller dollar ticket item with a big reward, said Carney.
  • Consider buying solar energy from a community solar project in exchange for credits against your local utility bill, such as Nashville Electric Service’s Music City Solar or Middle Tennessee Electric’s Cooperative Solar.
  • If you buy electricity, it’s likely you can participate in any number of TVA programs such as Green Power Switch, where you buy renewable energy credits through your local utility.
  • The Nashville business Clearloop, whose chairman is former Gov. Phil Bredesen, offers a simple way for small and mid-sized businesses and organizations to get a full assessment of their carbon footprint and offset that carbon by funding a solar project, the first of which is in Jackson, Tennessee.
  • Assess your home’s feasibility for solar and costs by contacting a qualified local contractor, for example, one with staff certified by the North American Board Certified Energy Practitioners. Although the TVA recently ended its rooftop solar buy-back program Green Power Providers, there’s still an opportunity to build solar. Local contractor LightWave Solar describes the options and costs here.
  • Don’t forget to advocate for more solar energy. Write letters to your city councilmember and at-large members, the mayors, the TVA and NES boards, and others who can influence policy in favor of more renewable energy.

 

If you’re an educator, you might want to engage your students in the growing movement and job training in renewable energy and sustainability.

  • Urban Green Lab offers sustainability curricula developed with Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and offers support for teachers in local schools. It also partners with the U.S. Green Building Council to certify teachers as Green Classrooms Professionals.
  • The U.S. Green Building Council has programs to help teachers master STEM concepts such as Building Learners, where students collect and analyze investigations around energy, health and transportation, and the subscription-based Learning Lab with its 600 hands-on lessons.
  • Consider getting your students to build their own solar project. Carney of Energy Electives did that with the students of Whites Creek High School in Nashville in 2019.

With President Joe Biden in office, solar energy may get an even bigger boost in the Nashville region. The president has proposed $2 trillion in infrastructure and clean energy investments across multiple sectors, from transportation to housing to electricity. It’s the perfect time to join the solar movement and be a part of Nashville’s solar revolution.

 

 

Solar panels on a rooftop

Solar energy at home, rooftop and portable

by Danielle Dorchester

Last updated: June 21, 2021

Solar energy at home is an exciting opportunity that gets more attainable every day. In addition to offering a clean source of electricity to address our increasing dependence, it also offers potential utility bill savings. It’s easy to get swept up by the idea of doing something beneficial for the environment and saving money, but there are some things to think about before starting your transition to solar energy.

Many solar installation companies offer complex, confusing solutions, and where you live can dramatically impact the price you pay and other benefits. We’re going to share considerations for using rooftop solar at home, and how to get started with clean energy today – even if you’re not ready for rooftop installation.

How does rooftop solar work?

The most widely implemented solar panels are photovoltaic (PV) panels. They turn the sun’s UV rays into electricity, and are connected to your home system and/or your community’s electricity grid. Recently, this technology has become much more affordable and accessible.

The energy you generate from the sun can also be funneled back into the city power grid, so in addition to fueling your house, you’re producing energy for other homes in your community. This practice is called net-metering. In many states the process is free, allowing you to run your meter in reverse to sell your excess energy to the city.

The efficiency of solar panels has drastically improved in the last ten years, and during that time, government incentives have resulted in a range of solar investment opportunities, new companies, and technology upgrades. Buying solar panels can be a great long-term investment, but it can also be a stressor if not implemented well.

Buying rooftop solar

As with every other business, solar panel companies determine pricing.  Since the sun’s rays are free,  you should save money on your electricity bill after installing solar panels. Ideally, you should save a solid chunk of change. If the quoted solar panel monthly lease or purchase payment is more expensive than your former electricity bill, look elsewhere.

While many companies can install solar panels for you, depending on where you live, owning them once they’re installed can be another story. A lot of companies practice leasing with rooftop solar. Leasing your solar panels is a lot like leasing a car, you make monthly payments to your solar company instead of paying a monthly electric bill. However, you never own the panels unless you buy them out on top of that lease.

Solar panels on a rooftop

Buying your own panels is more financially beneficial, and as of June 15, 2021 home buyers, and businesses, are eligible for a federal tax credit equal to 26%. of the cost of the solar panels. Note: these tax benefits go to the solar installation company if you lease panels. Many states provide solar tax incentives, in addition to the federal one. At solar-estimate.org you can view incentives available in your state and calculate lifetime solar energy savings.

If states continue to offer tax credits to encourage adoption of solar energy, competition will lead to more affordable solar panels, which is one reason environmental activism remains so important. The organized efforts to encourage states to switch to green energy consistently benefits consumers.

But what if you’re not quite ready to make that investment?

Clean solar energy with Jackery

Personally, I’m not in the position to get rooftop solar quite yet, so we went hunting for another option.

We’re thrilled at the prospect of clean energy, but the investment in rooftop solar can tally up to the tens of thousands. Though financing options are available, in many states it isn’t quite monetarily worth it. Moreover, you have to own a home before you can think about solar, and even then many communities have building restrictions. Enter Jackery.

jackery solar panels being used outside

Jackery is a relatively new company, focused on personal and portable lithium power stations. In fact, they were first to market in 2015. Since then, they’ve expanded to offer portable solar panels you can use to charge that power station. Finally, you can reap some of the benefits of clean energy at a fraction of the price.

They offer batteries and panels in a range of sizes to fit any need on the go, but since we wanted to try it out in a home setting, we went big. You can affix the solar panels to a window, on top of a car or just out in the grass or on pavement to charge. The battery is impressive, I’ve charged four devices at once without an issue, only using a fraction of its storage. 2020 brought many extreme events, and Jackery saw an opportunity to test their products while helping front line workers. They helped to  power mobile homes and facilities for free across the country.

Jackery will be the first to tell you that solar energy and battery storage technology is changing rapidly, and they’re committed to continually improving their offering. We’re extremely impressed by the performance of our battery and panels, and our Work-From-Home office is powered by nothing else!

Solar energy at home

If you’re ready to take the plunge into rooftop solar, we encourage you to go for it! Do your research, get a few quotes, and talk with your lawyer or accountant before signing the contract. While solar panels may seem like the obvious choice in the modern era, there are clearly numerous considerations, and solar panels may not be right for you, right now.

If ToDey, like us, you’re not quite ready for rooftop solar, give Jackery a try.

What is the clean beauty movement?

These days, we’re seeing the word “clean” everywhere. From “clean beauty” to “clean living”, our society seems obsessed with all things clean. The word “clean” suggests health and safety, but what does the clean beauty movement mean?

The clean beauty movement, defined

The industry’s first mention of “clean” came in the 1970’s, with CoverGirl’s campaign introducing the first advertised no-makeup makeup look. That campaign wasn’t referring to the ingredients in the cosmetics, but to the look of the makeup itself.

Today, clean beauty refers to product health and safety. Clean beauty reduces chemicals and replaces them with “natural” ingredients. This sounds good, but the truth is that there’s very little  clean beauty regulation in the United States.

clean eyelashes

Skincare and makeup ingredient regulations

 

The Federal Drug Administration or  FDA doesn’t have a definition for “clean beauty”.  Further, skincare and make-up ingredient regulation is limited; and there’s no FDA required testing or approval of most skin, hair, or other beauty products.

Other nations have much stricter regulations regarding beauty products ingredients. While the EU has banned 1,300 ingredients in beauty products, the U.S. bans only 11. To maximize corporate benefits resulting from the less stringent U.S. regulations, cosmetic companies with sales in the U.S. and Europe often sell different products on each continent. Given that the US high end beauty market is a $19 billion industry, manufacturers are reluctant to give up profits that are the result of these frightful ingredients.

Recently, consumer priorities and buying habits are changing. As people realize that what you eat and place on your skin can have effects inside and out, they are transitioning to a more holistic mindset and purchasing cleaner, greener products.

Not surprisingly, the market is responding to these consumer trends, and the clean beauty movement is booming. While many companies are nixing animal cruelty, nonorganic ingredients, and other hot button additives, others are simply using terms with an environmental association, or “gereenwashing”, to sell product. Greenwashing is rampant in the beauty industry, and therefore we recommend extreme care when hunting for your next night cream.

Brands doing better than “clean beauty”

 

At OneDey, we’ve identified a few brands that are independently proven to be upholding, or continually raising the bar, for clean beauty. Additionally, we’ve tried these products, have personally made the switch, and are sharing them with our friends and closest family members.

BeautyCounter

beautycounter clean beauty products

Though sold almost exclusively in the U.S., BeautyCounter upholds, or exceeds,  EU beauty regulation standards. They’ve created a “Never List” which is composed of 1,800 ingredients they’ve omitted from their products. As new research findings emerge, they promise to update the list accordingly.

BeautyCounter is also on the forefront of federal regulation lobbying for tighter FDA restrictions and testing. They’re seriously committed to corporate citizenship and sustainability, as is demonstrated by their certification as a B Corp, and their EWG and Leaping Bunny certified products. In 2020, they launched a comprehensive sourcing program diving into mica sourcing, labor protections and more.

Plus, Beauty Counter’s award-winning skin care line offers everything from seasonal colors, to men’s and kid’s lines and moisturizers for various life stages.

Package Free

Package Free box review OneDey

While Package Free offers wares for every room in your home, their beauty department definitely deserves a shout out. Many clean beauty brands don’t take packaging into consideration, but with a name like Package Free, you can be assured that minimal packaging is a top priority. Items like shampoo bars and moisture sticks come sans any containers, and those with liquid contents are housed in glass or coated paper.

Pomifera

pomifera eco-friendly skincare

If you want to focus on the eco conscious side of the clean beauty movement, Pomifera has you covered. Utilizing an ingredient that’s plentiful and that humans haven’t found an alternative use for, Pomifera creates luxurious skincare from trash fruit. Add in the company’s use of solar power at their manufacturing plant, and you have a very forward thinking, clean beauty company.

While we know there’s always room for advances in the clean beauty movement, the above companies are striving to do better and move the industry forward. While ToDey we might have to hunt for clean and truly green products, thanks to these brands maybe tomorrow we won’t have to.

Clearloop carbon offsets

What are carbon offsets, carbon neutral, and net zero?

Since we’re diving into clean energy this month at OneDey, we thought it might be helpful to dive into the large-scale corporate offsetting industry for a minute. It can be difficult to grasp all of the concepts, but it’s a great look into all the good that can be done ToDey for our environment if we all act together!

This article is reposted from Clearloop, check out their website for the original article here.

 

Now that we’ve talked about measuring a corporate carbon footprint, we’ll dive into the “so what”?

There are lots of claims out there that are meant to describe what an organization is doing to reduce their carbon footprint– but what do they mean and how are they different?

Carbon Offsets

Once you measure the carbon footprint of something, you should always work to reduce it directly. However, after you’ve done everything you can–from efficiencies to using more sustainable, local products–you may have to look elsewhere to offset your entire carbon footprint. Offsetting one’s carbon footprint means to compensate for one’s emissions by funding a carbon-saving method somewhere else. In order to truly offset those emissions, a carbon offset must be additional, meaning that the carbon wouldn’t be avoided otherwise. Essentially, the money spent must go toward a project that would not be built and operated without the sale of offsets.

Carbon offsetting is a popular goal for many companies, yet while it sounds easy, the truth is that there are limited options for companies.

One way to offset your corporate carbon footprint is through planting trees. It’s visual, easy to understand, and chances are the average person has planted something in their life. Unfortunately, sometimes the carbon captured by trees can be hard to measure and ensure it is a permanent way to ensure the carbon doesn’t go back into the atmosphere.

Another way to offset carbon is through capturing and destroying a greenhouse gas that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere, such as funding a methane capture project at a landfill. Although burning the methane gas turns it into a less harmful greenhouse gas for the environment, this process still results in carbon dioxide being released into the air.

A company can also offset their carbon footprint by investing in other power sources, such as wind and solar energy. The idea is to decarbonize the grid so that we are not burning fossil fuels anymore, so that we are not creating the carbon emissions in the first place. While a company might still be using coal for their energy consumption, because of their investment in offsetting through solar and wind, those emissions are being avoided from the production of electricity.

Clearloop carbon offsets

Carbon Neutral or NetZero Carbon Emissions

Carbon neutrality is the idea that we need to have a complete balance between carbon emitted and carbon reduced.

Carbon offsets are one of the many tools companies can use to achieve a carbon neutral status.  Whatever emissions you’re putting into the world, you’re taking an actionable step to “remove” all of them.

Companies that set out to be carbon neutral or have net-zero carbon emissions mean that they are accounting for the emissions they produce minus the emissions they extract directly from their own processes, as well as indirectly from another area not in their operational control (i.e. the carbon a tree absorbs or the carbon a clean energy project avoids).The ultimate goal is to have net-zero carbon emissions. If we do that, then we’ve reached neutrality.

These days, some major companies are committing to being carbon negative– meaning that they will go beyond taking responsibility for the footprint they create day to day–either by going back to offset all the emissions they’ve created since their founding (like in Microsoft’s case) or just taking responsibility for a greater amount–because these companies understand that we need to accelerate action to defeat climate change.

100% Renewable Energy

Another widely-used term, the idea behind 100% renewable energy is that everything a company does that requires electricity uses renewable energy sources. We still burn fossil fuels to generate electricity every day, so depending on where a company operates it may be easier or harder to plug into a clean energy source.

When it comes to renewable energy, the acronyms PPA and REC will often come up. PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) and RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) are the way in which a company can claim that it is using clean energy for it’s operations even if it is not directly plugging into a renewable energy project to power its business.

A PPA is a financial agreement between a large corporation and a solar power developer (such as our friends at Silicon Ranch), who will then handle all aspects of the project, from financing to actual installation. The developer sells the power generated to the host customer at a lower fixed rate than the local utility’s retail rate, offsetting the corporation’s purchase of electricity from the grid. These agreements usually get plenty of buzz because wealthy companies, such as Amazon, Google, or Facebook, can both afford the cost and have a strong enough credit rating to be able to sign a contract that promises to purchase that clean energy for the next 10 to 20 years.

Most recently, some smaller companies have been working with these large corporations to sign these long term contracts and be able to purchase clean power this way. Unfortunately for the vast majority of companies that can’t agree to purchase clean power for a set period of time, there are few other options that are as directly linked to the construction of a new project.

For example, a company can purchase “unbundled” RECs, which are generated from existing clean energy projects every time a megawatt hour of energy is produced as a way for a business to certify they are using clean energy. RECs were originally created as a market signal to show demand for renewable energy from companies. However, they don’t have a carbon reduction value attached to them. That means that a  company consuming a megawatt hour of electricity in West Virginia may not be fully making up for its environmental impact if it’s buying a REC from a clean energy project creating that megawatt hour in Vermont, because the grid is not equally dirty across the country.

Although RECs provide important verification that a company is using clean energy from somewhere else to make up for its own electricity consumption, unbundled RECs may miss the goal of reducing the actual carbon emissions that a company’s electricity is generating.

It is well-understood that money used to purchase unbundled RECs doesn’t build new projects – instead they use renewable energy that is created through existing infrastructure.

If we aren’t building new renewable energy at scale, we can’t reach our goals to reduce the carbon footprint of the U.S. electric grid. That’s where Clearloop fits in as a tool to build more clean energy capacity in the places that need it the most to help more companies reduce their carbon footprint.

Bringing it All Together

Businesses of all sizes are finding new ways to reduce their carbon footprint every day. However, the increasing number of buzzwords and acronyms can make it hard to keep up and the efforts get confusing.  When companies (or individuals) want to make a change and commit to a goal around their carbon footprint, it’s important to know the details and always ask HOW.  We’re happy to do our part to dispel myths and make it easy to understand all these terms. After all, it will take all of us working together to slash greenhouse gases and defeat climate change.

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Want to learn more about how to offset your carbon footprint and expand access to clean energy with Clearloop? Drop us a note at hello@clearloop.us or contact us here.

baby with a toy

Eco friendly baby toys your kid will love

As a concerned parent or parent-to-be, you may be considering everything in your home, and wondering if they’re baby and eco-safe.

It might surprise you how many common household items don’t make the cut when there’s a little one around. We’ve studied and reviewed cleaning products, sunscreens, chemicals, and even conventional diapers. Then, when shopping for a baby shower gift, we began thinking about other baby essentials and toys. How could we, and our friends and family members, choose the most eco friendly baby toys?

If you just began, or have been for months or years, panicking about every one of your baby shower, newborn or birthday gifts and the other items you’ve started collecting to help your little angel get off to a great start, please inhale and exhale deeply. We’ve got you covered. We’re going to dive into all you need to know about everything from binkies to toy trains. We’ll also share with you a few of our faves.

 

Eco friendly toy materials

 

We all know about the phases when everything, and I mean everything, goes into tiny peoples’ mouths. What recently sparked our curiosity is what’s in the toys they’re gnawing on.

In 2017, a sample taken in the EU found that nearly 20% of children’s toys failed the safe chemical makeup test. Phthalates, which you might remember from our chemicals to avoid during pregnancy, and BPA were the ones found most often. These undesirable ingredients are used to soften plastic for pacifiers and toys like dolls.

How to avoid toys containing chemicals

 

Avoid cheap, plastic toys. Check to see if the toy is made from bioplastics – if so, you’re probably good to go.

Look for water and vegetable-based, non toxic paints and dyes.

Look for wooden toys. You’ll need to check the paint used to color these toys, but the base material is natural and safe.

Buy cloth toys made from USDA organic, sustainable fabrics.

Skip the smelly toys. That usually signals unnatural ingredients like PVC.

Should I buy second hand or vintage toys?

 

We’re usually proponents of buying second hand when possible. It’s a great way to cut carbon emissions and reduce the waste headed to landfills. But, if you’re thinking about buying used toys, we recommend proceeding with extreme caution. Many current chemical regulations only came into being during the last two decades, so older toys contain undesirable ingredients. Two strategies for safe, second hand toy shopping: choose wood and cloth toys, and if there’s a tag, read it!

What are some eco friendly toys?

 

To soften the not so good news about baby toys, there’s also some great news! Specifically, there are many companies that have committed to making non toxic, eco friendly baby toys. Here are some companies and gifts that have resulted in smiles, !!!, and emojis from tiny ones and their parents:

toy hippo pipette

 

  1. The orthodontic natural rubber pacifier. Your baby can chew their heart out on this bad boy.
  2. Natural rubber kale chip. Another teething toy, but this one might make your bundle of joy love kale even before they can eat it!
  3. An adorable toy hippo. BPA free, and sure to make bath time more fun.
  4. 8 color eco stars drawing toys. These might need to wait until after the teething phase, but they’re SO cute for big brother or big sister gifts.
  5. This entire site is a boon for new parents. It’s filled with nearly any toy you can imagine, made in wood, with only non toxic paints and finishes. Beyond that, they use  biowaste to fuel their plant, and ensure their packaging is recycled and non toxic. The only possible downside is shipping emissions, which we’re unclear if they offset.

 

eco friendly sunscreen for founder beth and son

The best eco friendly kids sunscreen | How to choose sustainable sunscreen

There are countless new worries you encounter as a new parent. An inevitable aspect of parenthood is being concerned about products and activities that your parents never gave even a moment’s thought, one of the biggies being the sunscreen applied over and over in the warmer months.

Early baby boomer parents rarely put sunscreen on their kids, while late boomers and Gen Xers relied on mass marketed brands that  were easy to apply on squirmy kids. Once we began learning about clean beauty and choosing skincare with some trutworthy certifications like: B Corp, Environmental Working Group (EWG), or Ecocert Certified we reconsidered the sunblock we slather on our children and grandchildren. Additionally, we wondered…

What the heck is SPF?

How old should little ones be before using sunscreen?

Is it toxic if they get some in their mouth?

How do I find an eco friendly kids sunscreen?

If you’d like answers to these and other sunscreen questions, we got you and your kiddos covered…head to toe.

Babies, sun, and sunscreen

 

The esteemed EWG is a great source for tips about lots of things, including when and how to introduce your baby to sunlight:

  • Under six months old, babies should be kept out of the sun as much as possible. Specifically, avoid direct sunlight and midday outings.
  • Generally, and this is included on most children’s sunscreen bottles, children under six months old shouldn’t have sunscreen applied on their skin.
  • Sunscreen frequently includes allergens, so when your baby is old enough to have sunscreen applied on their skin, test it on their wrist and wait a day to make sure no rashes appear.
  • Once your chosen sunscreen has been tested, go for it! Apply generously and often to keep your baby safe from bright rays.

 

eco friendly sunscreen for founder beth and son

 

What is SPF?

 

SPF is an abbreviation of “sun protection factor”. It’s a relative number that reflects how much exposure you can have to sunlight without your skin getting burned. It’s important to remember that dermatologists agree that numbers above SPF level 50 are meaningless. Dermatologists also recommend that children, and adults, not use sunscreen with less than a 30 SPF rating.  So already we’re narrowing it down.

What is water resistant sunscreen?

 

While there isn’t a sunscreen on the planet that’s waterproof, there are some that hold up better at pools and beaches. You should continue to apply generously and often, but look for the FDA label reading water-resistant, those should last 40-80 minutes in the water.

What kind of sunscreen is best for my child?

 

Back to the topic of squirmy babies and kids who are eager to do anything other than have you cover them in sunscreen…

Spray sunscreens are easy and quick, but dermatologists warn that the application may be uneven. Often spots are missed entirely.

Lotions are the most commonly available, yet the most laborious to apply. Coverage from the lotion is generally considered to be the best and most reliable, not needing additions like beeswax to keep them solid.

Stick lotions can help address the messy application issues, if you’re careful about which one you buy.

What does eco friendly kids sunscreen look like?

 

You may have heard the unfortunate news about coral reefs dying out around the world. That’s at least partially due to sunscreen. Every year, 14,000 tons of the sunscreen we use to protect ourselves ends up in our oceans, leaving harmful chemicals in that are devastating ecosystems. Popular beach spots around the world are banning ingredients found in conventional sunscreen that are bleaching coral, but many sunscreen brands still contain these ingredients.

When reports of sunscreen harming our oceans began emerging, many brands scrambled to release a “natural” sunscreen. But as is the case with all other products we’ve explored “natural” has no standardized meaning. The two most important things to look for when buying an eco friendly sunscreen are: a mineral-base and Oxybenzone free. In addition to being harmful to coral, Oxybenzone can negatively impact human hormones.

Our best eco friendly kids sunscreens

 

If you’re looking to bypass reading sunscreen ingredient labels, here are some of our tried and true favorites:

 

  1. Package Free Kids Sunscreen in a Stick, SPF 30

Easy peasy to apply, full of minerals, and no plastic.

2. Pipette Broad Spectrum Mineral Sunscreen

As gentle as you could ask for.

3. BeautyCounter Baby Daily Protective Sun Balm

The award-winning BeautyCounter strikes again with this child’s version.

baby in eco friendly biodegradable diaper

The best eco friendly biodegradable diapers from one family to yours

OneDey readers are always striving to be more sustainable. But sometimes the most eco friendly option isn’t feasible. When that happens, we’re here to help you find the best available alternatives. ToDey, let’s tackle biodegradable diapers

Perhaps you, or your friends and family members, have joined many environmentally concerned parents in considering the use of cloth diapers when learning there was a baby on the way. These diapers are generally the most sustainable option; but who has the time, and can manage their on-the-go logistics, and the yuck factor?

If you and the other new parents in your sphere are using, or leaning towards using, conventional disposable diapers, consider the following:

 

We were thrilled to learn about the busy, eco-conscious mother of three who co-founded Eco Pea Co. She developed a product that one of our trusted new mamas LOVES… a biodegradable, disposable diaper.

 

baby in eco friendly biodegradable diaper

What are biodegradable diapers?

 

The term “biodegradable” describes an item’s ability to break down under certain conditions. It’s not as eco friendly as being compostable, because biodegradable products can leave behind microplastics. However, depending on what the biodegradable material is, different outcomes may result.

Eco Pea Co makes biodegradable diapers out of bamboo, which will, under most conditions, decompose quickly.

 

Why are biodegradable diapers important?

 

Until the day when compostable disposable diapers are available, biodegradable diapers are a significant improvement over convetional, disposable ones. The consensus is that disposable diapers take approximately 500 years to decompose. Because biodegradable diapers break down more quickly and keep landfills more manageable, they lessen the amount of waste associated with your little one.

 

What to look for in a biodegradable diaper

 

When you do your weekly shopping or make a late night diaper run, here are some tips to avoid greenwashing and find the best biodegradable diaper:

  • Read the ingredients list. If there is an ingredient on the package that you don’t understand, you might not want it on your child’s bum.
  • Choose fragrance free. Chemicals are often used to achieve the fragrance, and they are generally more gentle on your baby.
  • Choose paraben free.
  • Choose diapers made from sustainable materials. Hemp and bamboo grow faster than trees, and decompose faster than man-made materials.

 

Eco Pea Co OneDey sustainability

 

An eco friendly biodegradable diaper to get behind

 

Eco Pea Co. was started by a family that was displeased with the diaper industry’s negative environmental impact. This on the go husband and wife team found cloth diapers challenging, so they decided to create a better alternative for themselves and others. The result was Eco and Pea, a company that takes eco consciousness and lifestyle ease seriously.

All Eco Pea Co. product ingredients are listed on their website, as well as the reason each ingredient is included. The most commonly cited ingredients are fast-growing and quickly decomposing bamboo, water, and aloe.

Also, they don’t skimp on quality. The wipes are thick and soothing (thanks to the aloe), and the diapers fit well and are as absorbent as conventional alternatives. The wipes and diapers are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, a boon to families with particularly sensitive little ones.

Eco Pea Co. founders take environmental responsibility seriously. In addition to their eco friendly products, they offset the carbon associated with their product shipping and are members of 1% for the Planet. The Eco Pea Co. blog also provides lots of tips on eco friendly child rearing.

While reducing the carbon footprint of tiny people may appear daunting, there are many things you can do to minimize your new bundle of joy’s impact without sacrificing quality or convenience. Maybe tomorrow there will be a compostable diaper, but ToDey, Eco Pea Co. is a best practice and product quality industry leader.

baby safe cleaning products

Baby Safe and Eco Friendly Cleaning Products | Keeping your child safe at home

Many expecting mothers and fathers are concerned about the baby safety of household cleaning products. Even if your parents used bleach, ammonia and other similar products, and you’ve used them all your adult life, using them in your newborn’s home can be frightening.

They’re frightening because many commonly used, American cleaning product ingredients contain toxins. We explored specific chemicals you should avoid when pregnant, and the same holds true after your bundle of joy is born. Phthalates and formaldehyde releasing chemicals, as well as bleach, are of greatest concern.

Your child’s exposure to these chemicals can have varying degrees of consequences, but to reduce unnecessary concern we’re choosing to omit these details. But rest assured, it’s best to avoid them as much as possible.

While natural cleaning products have been growing in popularity, the term “natural” is overused and misused frequently. To assist in your search for products that are much safer to use, in addition to being truly natural, here are several tips:

How to choose baby safe cleaning products

 

Read all the labels. Some ingredients require a warning label when they’re included in products. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily harmful, but it’s a good first step.

Be aware of, and take into consideration, your family’s specific needs. Does your child have an allergy to parabens? Are you immunocompromised and need stronger than normal disinfectants?

Even if you buy only nontoxic cleaning products, make sure they have child-proof packaging and aren’t accessible to your baby when they begin to crawl and walk.

When in doubt, check the Environmental Working Group website. Most likely, they have a breakdown of the exact product you’re considering buying, including a scale that shows how relatively baby safe the cleaning product is.

Our favorite baby (and pet) safe cleaning products

 

Not all baby safe cleaning products were made specifically with babies in mind. Some are food-safe for your kitchen and restaurants, and some are designed to prevent allergic reactions. No matter the circumstance, you can trust the list of cleaning products below to be tough on grime and soft on you and the tiny ones in your home.

Laundry detergent from Package Free

Package free laundry detergent
This detergent was made to cut down on waste, and harmful ingredients. The list of what’s in the jar is delightfully short, and there’s an unscented option.

Baby wipes from Eco Pea Co 

eco and pea baby safe wipes
These biodegradable wipes are made from fast-growing bamboo, and contain aloe to keep rashes at bay. They’re unscented, which may help babies with allergies. Also, Eco Pea Co is a 1% for the planet member.

Hand sanitizer and all-purpose cleaning from Black and Berry

sanitizer-b&b-onedey
Black and Berry was launched as the result of a rare, childhood autoimmune disease from which the co-founder suffered. But their apple cider vinegar based products are safe for all members of your family. We love their hand sanitizer and multi-purpose cleaner, but all of their products are made with a handful of quality, organic ingredients. Their products also feature essential oil-based citrus or eucalyptus scents.

One additional bundle of joy note…The OneDey team’s friends and family group seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. If yours are too, we also recommend:

Baby wash and shampoo from pipette

 

This delightful body and hair cleansing combination product is available in unscented or Rose + Geranium or Vanilla + Ylang Ylang scents. All have EWG’s stamp of approval; and are gentle, sudsy products that leave no residue on even the most delicate skin.

There are so many things to think about when you welcome a baby into the world. Concern about the safety of  your household cleaning products shouldn’t be one of them. By using these products and/or the previous tips  when searching for your next bathroom or counter cleaner, you can rest assured your little bundle of joy is safe at home.

sustainable coffee making

6 Steps to an Eco Friendly Cup of Coffee

ToDey as I enjoyed my steaming first cup, I realized that making coffee more sustainable is necessary. American coffee consumers drink an average of 3 cups a day, that’s a lot of joe. So how do you make your coffee more eco friendly? There might be more to your morning sludge than you think.

From the electricity of your device, to the cup, filters, and even the grounds themselves, a lot goes into your morning pick me up. Coffee comes with an environmental cost, but there are a few ways to make sure you’re covering your bases while having your next jolt of caffeine.

1. Skip the single use pods

Okay, so we’re starting off easy. Those convenient little pods have got to go. In 2015, the company behind Keurig produced 10 billion, BILLION, coffee pods. If you put all those pods in a straight line, they’d wrap the globe more than 10 times over. Those plastic pods aren’t recyclable in most places, and let’s be honest, the grounds inside are headed straight for the trash.

The single use pods aren’t just bad for the plastic. The machines usually stay plugged in, and use almost as much electricity for a single cup of coffee as others do for a whole pot. If you’re like most coffee drinkers, your caffeine habit is using about 5,000 watts of electricity a day.

sustainable coffee making

2. Commit to a coffee mug or 10

While this might not be the most eco friendly habit, I love mugs. There are different shapes for different needs, and many are so cute they brighten my day almost as much as the coffee or tea inside. You probably don’t need the dozen I have in the cupboard, but however many it takes to ensure you don’t use disposable coffee cups is worth the investment.

Not to name names, but there are some coffee giants that have promised recyclable to go cups and have never delivered. Those ubiquitous cups with the plastic film take 20 years to decompose. When you learn that Americans alone go through 60 billion of those bad boys a year, the math is staggering. If you like the look and portability of to-go cups, try this adorable option from Package Free.

3. Use a sustainable, manual coffee-making method

So we know single use machines aren’t great, but percolators don’t rate well on the electricity scale, either. Because they keep your coffee warm for you, even when you forget to refill, they are continuously using electricity.

To cut down on the energy and your electric bill, opt for a manual coffee making method. It might sound tenuous, but they don’t actually require any more work. Using a French press, pour over, or cold brew method means only using electricity to heat the water.

 

french press coffee is the most sustainable method of making coffee

4. Ditch the coffee filters

Did you know the cloud white coffee filters are filled with chlorine-bleach? They also contain dioxins, toxic chemicals that seep into our bodies, the bodies of animals, and our water systems.

There are unbleached coffee filters that you can add to your compost bin, and there are reusable cloth choices, but the most eco friendly option is to ditch them all together and opt for methods that don’t need them. French press machines usually come with metal sieves attached, making filters an unnecessary addition, and the Toddy cold brew reusable, felt filter lasts us way longer than the ten uses specified on the label.

5. Buy small batch sustainable coffee from the right people

Coffee giants have long been criticized for their less than humane practices, and fair trade labelling has been a reaction to that. When you buy USDA certified organic and fair trade coffee from smaller companies, you ensure that growers are earning a fair wage for their beans and that those farmers took the extra care necessary to make coffee growing more eco friendly. As an added benefit, small batch coffee is likely to taste a lot better than mass produced alternatives.

Our favorite organic and fair trade coffee is Bongo Java. One of the first coffee companies and cafes to make the switch to fair trade beans, Bongo Java has stayed ahead of the game with thoughtful, eco conscious coffee.

bongo java coffee

If you buy your coffee at the grocery store, make sure to buy from the bulk section. Most large grocery chains have a bulk coffee section, and by buying coffee from there you reduce a lot of wasteful packaging.

6. Compost your coffee

If you have even a hint of green in your yard, or would like to, coffee grounds are a blessing. Throw them in your composter, or if you’re lazy like me right into your flower bed,  and watch your plants blossom. The coffee adds helpful nitrogen to the soil, acts as a barrier to slugs and snails (who can eat up little plants), and attracts worms, delivering more nutrients to your plants.

While it’s hard to kick the caffeine habit, making your morning cup of joe a little greener is easy. Not only will you have better tasting coffee, but a mug you can feel good about filling again… and again… and maybe again…

 

loose leaf eco friendly tea

How to make your tea cup a little greener

Tea can be a boon for your health. For that, for the nearly endless flavors (current favorites: Rooibos and lychee), for the pretty tea sets, and for the afternoon caffeine kick, at OneDey we love a great cup of tea. If you’re a fellow dedicated tea fan, how do you make sure you have eco friendly tea?

We recently learned that most tea bags are made from microplastics. Yes, those awful micro plastics that clog up nearly everything in our oceans, including the fish in our restaurants and grocery stores.

So, what can we do about it? There are a few ways to make your tea more eco friendly, starting with the cup you’re drinking it in.

Drink from Sustainable Mugs

Of course, this one doesn’t only apply to tea. If you haven’t banished single use cups from your life, now’s the time. Each year, 500 billion disposable cups are thrown away. 500 billion. While paper cups aren’t perceived as being as problematic as styrofoam, most are covered in a plastic film that makes them unrecyclable.

The lasting impact of the pandemic, as it relates to using personal travel mugs at coffee shops, is still uncertain. But we remain optimistic about businesses getting back to accommodating your favorite ceramic cup. There are so many cute, convenient reusable options available, why not treat yourself and Mother Nature by upping your travel mug game?

Use a Stainless Steel Tea Strainer or Tea Ball

When I’m not working at the office (yep, I still do that sometimes) on the go, or in a huge rush, I use either a stainless steel tea strainer or a stainless steel tea ball. This eliminates used tea bags and makes the next tip E Z.

Make Used Tea Your Sustainable Fertilizer

Loose leaf tea contains a lot of nutrients, including ones your flowers and plants love. Even if you don’t have a composting bin, just throwing your tea grounds in your flower bed will give your blossoms a pick-me-up.

Reuse Your Tea

There are many ways to reuse your tea bags, so many that we wrote a whole blog about it! Whether it’s stretching that bag to its last steep or treating your wooden furniture or big bites, used tea bags could be the secret home improvement tool you’ve been looking for.

Tea tins can also come in handy. We’ve seen them used as planters, pen holders, and make-up brush organizers. We’re guessing that at least some of your tea stash was purchased because of the beautiful packaging. Why throw it in the recycle bin? Put it on display!

sustainable tea pot

 

Buy Eco Friendly Tea

We now know that a lot of tea brands use microplastics in their tea bags, so the quickest swap you can make in your tea consumption is to move to loose leaf tea. Organic tea is increasingly available at grocery stores. If it’s verified organic, it’s certainly a step above the rest environmentally. However, if you’re ready for a deeper dive into the world of sustainable tea, there are many brands that are going above and beyond in the world of tea making. Here’s a couple we love:

1. Arbor Teas

Arbor Teas makes loose leaf tea that’s both organic and fair trade. The tea is packaged in easy to compost cellulose packaging – even their labels are printed on hemp or sugar cane paper. Arbor Teas takes their sustainability commitment a large step further, offsetting all their carbon emissions with the carbon fund. Their blog will help you find even more ways to use their delicious tea leaves.

2. Yogi Tea

This accessible tea brand is found in many major grocery stores, and it’s very eco friendly! To begin, the Yogi Teas tea bags come in recyclable cardboard boxes printed with vegetable-based inks. Then… The wrapper around the tea bags? Compostable. The tea bag? Compostable. The yoga pose on each box? Adorable.

The actual tea is all organic, and almost all USDA certified organic. None of their teas have been genetically modified (GMO), so you can count on a great quality and sustainable tea from Yogi Teas.

3. T Project

If you’re looking for a small-batch, artisanal tea brand that’s ALSO sustainable, look no further than T Project. T Project teas are bagged in compostable, plant-based bags, the tins are made from 80% post consumer recycled paper, and each is made in a small-batch. Every tea is organic and T Project makes some interesting seasonal blends. Finally, each tea is named after a classic rock anthem, so you get a little nostalgia with your steaming mug.

Good to the Last Drop

There are many ways to improve the environmental impact of your tea drinking experience, from savoring the last use of your tea bag to swapping out your tea gear. No matter what, if you make tomorrow a little greener than ToDey, OneDey we won’t need to be concerned about the source of our tea or the compostability of its bag.

clearloop earth day carbon offsets

Celebrate Earth Day with Clean Energy

Every year we wonder how to best celebrate Earth Day. Some years we succeed and in others, we came up short. This year, there’s a great, new option. While planting trees in remote and often critical locations, is a common approach to carbon offsetting, the Nashville-based start up, Clearloop has an irresistible fresh approach. They build new solar projects, directly powering American homes. With these new solar projects Clearloop provides you trackable, tangible carbon offsets. You can reclaim a year’s worth of your carbon footprint this Earth Day, and watch your investment come into fruition!

Below, Clearloop further explains their mission and their innovative Earth Day solution. Join OneDey and Clearloop by celebrating Earth Day with an effective new, approach to offsetting carbon footprints and increasing access to renewable energy! Read the original on Clearloop’s website.

clearloop earth day carbon offsets

Do you shop sustainably but want to take further action by helping clean up the grid? This Earth Day,  claim your own solar panel with Clearloop.

Help us Reach 1 Million Watts & Power 200 Homes in Jackson, TN

It takes 60 watts to power the average lightbulb. Our Jackson, TN solar farm will have 1,000,000 watts of clean electricity – enough to expand access to clean energy to 200 homes!

We’ve gotten this solar project started thanks to companies reclaiming their carbon footprint like Impact Snacks, Coolperx and some others we’ll be announcing soon. But, this Earth Day, individuals like you can also take action and put your name on your very own solar panel to help us cross the finish line!

Make Carbon a Relic of the Past: How it works

Your investment today will help fund new solar capacity (measured in watts) that will help clean up the grid for the next 40 years (sunshine is the best disinfectant after all!) and help us make carbon a relic of the past before we know it.

1. Calculate: Beginning on Earth Day (April 22, 2021) input any number of solar panels, pounds of carbon, dollar amount, or number of watts, you’d like to contribute to help us reach 1 million watts.

2. Reclaim: Make your individual contribution and help us clean up the grid

3. Stay in the loop: You’ll be invited to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony in Jackson this summer, and celebrate with us as we flip the switch at the end of the year.

4. Track: Check out your climate action at work as we clean up the grid and keep up with your solar panel for years to come.

Clearloop Earth Day carbon offset box

photo courtesy of FLUFF media

This Earth Day, Clean Up The Grid

Starting on Earth Day (April 22nd), you can offset your carbon footprint by putting your name on a brand new solar panel. The solar project you’re helping us build this year will be operational for the next 40 years. Thanks to your investment, we hope in 2061 access to clean energy will be universal and carbon will be a relic of the past.

Also, the first 50 people who reclaim their carbon footprint in Jackson, TN will receive time capsules to represent the carbon you’re helping us leave behind. You’ll also get an invite to the groundbreaking party where you can bury your time capsule along with anything else you’d like to see become a relic of the past!

It’s going to take all hands on deck to clean up the grid. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work, are you?

Reclaim your carbon footprint now!