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China’s Tree Planting is More Beneficial than Previously Thought


It’s no secret that China has an emissions problem, which is why the country recently declared new plans to combat climate change. However, it’s tree planting efforts were recently re-evaluated and it seems they are much more beneficial than previously estimated.

The research conducted found that the planted trees were absorbing 31% more carbon than initially thought. As such, the afforestation efforts have created a very powerful carbon sink to help the country capture emissions.

And with more trees being planted regularly, the 2060 goal is more realistic.

66 Billion Trees Later, A Massive Carbon Sink

66 Billion Trees

In 1978, China began a program to help restore its forests and stop the expanding deserts. And in the four decades since, the Chinese government has planted 66 billion trees, which have resulted in a massive carbon sink that country desperately needs.

However, instead of just trying to restore lost forests, the government planted trees in areas they never existed in.

As a result, it wasn’t able to just prevent deserts from expanding, but it actually started making them recede. In fact, in 2017, it came to light that deserts were receding at a rate of 2,400 square kilometers a year.

However, this hasn’t just benefited the environment, it has also helped the Chinese timber and paper industry in recent years.

Water Concerns Arise

While this is extremely positive news, there is one issue with China’s aggressive tree planting method.

They are planting non-native trees that require more water than the region can provide.

Remember that China is trying to prevent the desert from expanding, which it was successful in doing. However, it means those trees don’t belong in that very hot environment. Thus, it has lead to many water concerns.

While many are praising the success of the project as a whole, some scientists have a different idea. Instead of trees, it is better to plant smaller plants and shrubbery in these environments.

Yet, it’s unlikely for the government to change course.



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10 Best Online Business Card Printing Services in 2020


One of the first things you have to do when you start a new business is to decide where you are going to print your business cards. As you may know, there are a lot of choices out there, and it can be difficult to narrow down the best ones. For that reason, I have put together a list of the best online business card printing services that are available today.

The list below is filled with the best business card printing websites available now. This will give you a great place to start looking and help you make a decision that is right for you and your business when it comes to the best business card website.

Why Print Business Cards Online?

Printing business cards online has some great benefits. More often than not, the process from start to finish is going to be quicker and easier. It will also be cheaper for you to print business cards online than it would for you to do it somewhere else.

The reason is that so many of the best online business card printing services offer all sorts of deals and free shipping.

You also get to personally build and design using a number of online building and design tools. Most all the top places offer this. Before you know it, you can have 500 freshly printed business cards in your hands for a very low price.

Finally, having the ability to design and print business cards from the comfort of your home or office is also very ideal. No waiting in lines, and no having to go out and find a local print shop to haggle with.

The Best Online Business Card Printing Services

1. Vistaprint

Vistaprint online business card printing services

Vistaprint offers a very wide range of online business card printing services. They have dozens of online template designs that you can work with. You can also upload your own design and have them print that off as well.

If templates are not your thing, and you haven’t designed a business card to upload, then Vistaprint also gives you the option to work with one of their in-house designers. They will get the design you want in place and ready to print.

The Vistaprint name has been around for quite some time, and the number of services they offer is just about unmatched by other online card printing services out there.

From a wide range of different paper thicknesses and paper stock to a number of different business card finishes including foil, the site gives you everything you need to create amazing business cards. This includes things like embossed gloss, plastic, and pearl, on top of the traditional matte or gloss.

Vistaprint also offers a number of other unique design layout options for those of you who do not want the traditional rectangle layout design.

Pros

  • Excellent print quality
  • Amazing online design tools
  • QR code generator on cards
  • Tons of card design options
  • Solid and fair pricing

Cons

  • Low customer service rating
  • Too many upsell attempts
  • Templates can be too basic

2. Moo

Moo

Moo is another one of the best online business card printing services that you will find out there today. They are an excellent option for anyone who needs a custom business card that will stand out from others.

Moo is specifically known for its high-quality, as well as their huge selection of different sizes and styles for business cards that they have available. Standard, square, mini, and rounded are just a few of the options available from Moo.

They have business card dimensions and sizes that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Their pricing is more expensive than most other places. However, the quality speaks for itself, and you will be hard-pressed to find a higher-quality printed business card anywhere else.

They also allow you to design your own card online. However, if you don’t want to do that, then you can also upload your own custom design or choose from a pre-made template.

Standard business card pricing is fair, albeit a little more pricey. Moo does offer a system where you get much lower pricing if you buy in bulk.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Amazing templates
  • High-quality stock
  • Unique design options
  • Excellent shipping packages
  • Buy more for less

Cons

  • More expensive than other companies
  • Not as many customization options available

3. PsPrint

PsPrint online business card printing services

PsPrint offers a little of everything in the business card niche. That being said, they are popular and respected because of the pricing, design tools, and overall business card printing service. Matter of fact, PsPrint comes in highest for actual print service.

The pricing comes in at the lowest for all the providers on this list. Don’t get me wrong, I am a believer of getting what you pay for. However, there are some instances where value and quality are mixed well and you get a refreshing return on your product.

The PsPrint design tools on their website are also some of the best you will find. Add to that the fact that they are not overly complicated to use, and you have the ability to design some of the best business cards online you will find.

Pros

  • Solid and easy to use design interface
  • Good print quality
  • Inexpensive
  • Excellent overall printing service

Cons

  • No interface guides
  • Sometimes pricing on different tiers is not clear

4. Staples

Staples

Staples does a lot of things well. Perhaps the most attractive part of their service is that you can get your business cards in almost no time at all. You can actually get your business cards designed, printed, and in your hands, on the same day if you use the “same day pickup” option from your nearest Staples store.

The design tool is not quite as complex as some of the other tools on this list, and it is very straightforward and easy to use.

You can easily upload a card design from any of your cloud storage spaces you might be using. This includes Google Drive and Dropbox. Staples is also a little more lenient on the file type that you can use, which gives many people more options.

Pricing at Staples is very fair, and again, with same day pickup available, it makes it a very attractive option for people who are trying to get quality business cards printed up fast and easy.

Pros

  • Fast, same-day delivery
  • Solid print quality
  • Easy to use design interface

Cons

  • Not as many card material options
  • Fewer design templates available than other providers

5. Elite Flyers

Elite Flyers online business card printing services

If your business is a little larger, or you are trying to put in a high-volume order for business cards, then Elite Flyers may be the right choice for you. If you need to order in bulk for either yourself, your staff, or an event, then Elite option offers some of the very best bulk pricing and discounts available.

They also provide a very wide range of business card styles including silk, linen, foil, spot UV, and more. Paper style comes from thick to soft-touch, which means they have just about anything you want available. Variety is not a problem.

Pricing for smaller orders will vary, but again, bulk pricing and turnaround time is incredible. They do have a minimum order of 1,000 cards. However, they can also accommodate large orders of up to 25,000 cards and provide you a 3-5 day turnaround time.

Pros

  • Amazing turnaround time on large orders
  • Plenty of options
  • Professional design services
  • Fine printing quality

Cons

  • No free shipping
  • Orders have to be 1,000 cards or more
  • Templates are not organized
  • Can be pricey for smaller orders

6. GotPrint

GotPrint

Starting off the second half of the best online business card printing services is GotPrint. They will get business cards to you cheaper than just about anyone. However, it should be noted that the entry-level business card stock is very cheap and not nearly as durable as others.

They offer a selection of custom online printing options for business cards, as well as a good web-based card-designing tool. If you are looking for unique business card shapes, GotPrint also offers plenty of those to choose from as well.

All-in-all, the service offers very good quality at a very affordable price. This is important for new business owners who are trying to limit what they spend on marketing materials to start.

Pros

  • Excellent pricing
  • Good online card designs tool
  • Unique card shape options
  • Tons of printing options

Cons

  • Templates are less modern than other competitors
  • No snap-to-align in card design interface
  • Fonts are limited
  • Entry-level card orders have low paper quality

7. Zazzle

Zazzle online business card printing services

Zazzle may be an online business card printing service that you haven’t heard of. That being said, they offer a very impressive range of different business card templates, which you can explore by profession of style. This allows you to really create a style that fits your business niche.

You can upload your own design option, but you can get the most out of Zazzle if you use one of their templates. They have some of the very best available from any of the providers on this list.

The range of options looks very professional and high-quality. In terms of size and shape, you can choose standard business card size, large, square, or mini. They take their choices even further with the ability to choose Euro and Oceania, which are also bigger than the standard size.

Pros

  • Large range of templates
  • Very stylish designs
  • Search business niche by keyword
  • Tons of printing options

Cons

  • Not as much freedom if you upload your own design
  • Pricing varies more often than it should

8. Jukebox Print

Jukebox Print

For a wide selection of premium business card templates that focus on high-end designs for maximum customer impact, Jukebox Print has you covered.

This company is one of the best online business card printing services for one specific reason. They offer business cards made from different materials than that which are commonly provided by other business card printing services.

For example, at Jukebox Print, you have the ability to have business cards printed on bamboo, hemp, cork, cotton, or even wood. This is a unique way to print business cards, and you will also set yourself apart from your competitors if you try this.

There is also a large range of available gold foil designs as well.

Top all that off with the ability to print premium black business cards, and you have everything you need to make a killer impression with potential clients. While Jukebox Print offers a more detailed and higher quality business card, their prices also reflect that. You will pay more, but it is definitely worth it.

Pros

  • Tons of unique card materials
  • Very stylish designs
  • High-quality cards
  • Gold foil options

Cons

  • Not for beginning designer use
  • More expensive than other services

9. Overnight Prints

Overnight Prints online business card printing services

Like Staples, Overnight Prints is another one of those online business card printing services that can get cards into your hands at a lightning-quick pace.

This company has something called BITGIT (Buy it Today, Get it Tomorrow) specialty service. Orders placed by 8:00 pm EST will be delivered the next day. This is what sets them apart from their other competitors.

While Staples does offer same-day service, you do need to have access to a local store for pickup. With Overnight Prints, you get next day service no matter where you are, without having to leave the house.

Aside from their overnight service, they also provide high-quality cards that will help you make a lasting impression. They offer unique shapes like square, Euro sized, circle, and mini business cards.

Overnight Prints is definitely a company to check out for all your business card printing needs.

Pros

  • High-quality cards
  • Next day service with BITGIT
  • Tons of card shapes
  • Fair and affordable pricing

Cons

10. Clubcard Printing

Clubcard Printing

Rounding out our list of the best online business card printing services is Clubcard Printing. This company offers excellent graphic design, and it really shows on their business cards. Their designs are second to none and will help your company stand out from the rest of the crowd.

They have a lot of different designs to choose from, as well as a large variety of card material for printing. Some of their most popular options include laminated, 100% recycled, coated, uncoated, and foil business cards.

All-in-all, Clubcard printing has a large variety of options and a fantastic graphic design service that will help your business pop.

Pros

  • Tons of card types
  • Excellent service
  • Plenty of designs
  • 100% recycled business cards

Cons

How Important Are Business Cards?

Truthfully, a business card is still one of the most important pieces of marketing material you can have. This is a fantastic way to get your name, services, and brand out to people.

You want to make sure you design a unique and memorable business card, as having something that pops will definitely help people remember your business.

Final Thoughts

It is important to take your time and choose the right online business card printing service for your company. The choice you make is based a lot on personal preference, as well as what you are looking for.

All of the online business card printing services on the list above come highly recommended, and you probably can’t go wrong with any of them. Use the list as a tool and a place to start looking.

Before you know it, you will have amazing business cards in your hands to start handing out to people.



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Japan is the Next Nation to Aim for Zero Emissions


Japan’s new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, unveiled his new climate plan for Japan. His goal is to make the nation climate neutral by 2050 and promises that his administration will use maximum effort to achieve this.

The Prime Minister went on to say that going climate neutral would no longer impact economic growth and even went on to say it presents more growth opportunities. This new announcement will bring the country in line with EU plans to go neutral by 2050.

Japan has the potential to make a huge impact on global emissions.

Japan is the World’s 5th Largest Emitter

Solar

In 2018, Japan released 1.24 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which puts it as 5th in the world. However, it is worth noting that it is also the 5th straight year Japan has seen a decline in its emissions.

Japan’s biggest problem when it comes to emissions is its energy sector. It accounted for a whopping 456.19 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2018. And that will play a huge role in the nation becoming carbon neutral.

In fact, the administration has already highlighted that solar cells will become a big part of the change.

However, the nation is still heavily reliant on coal and is currently the third-largest importer in the world. The transition will not be easy, especially with new coal plants already in the works.

Policies Need to Be Seen

Unfortunately, while many nations around the world pledge to lower emissions, it has rarely happened. While Japan’s news is great, it is only an announcement. Until we begin to see actual policy reform and emissions begin to shrink, then it’ll be more noteworthy.

However, based on the reaction to the news from politicians and investors alike, it really does seem like there will be a huge push to go green by Japan.



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7 Best Video Conferencing Software for 2020


Video conferencing software used to be somewhat of a specialized utility. You may have used it occasionally in your work, but for most of us, it wasn’t an everyday tool. Maybe you used Skype once or twice years ago, but you weren’t on it every day.

Then in February of 2020, we were introduced to COVID-19, and everything changed. Virtually overnight.

California issued a stay-at-home order, and most other states quickly followed. Suddenly, millions of people who used to go into offices every day were working from home. We all had to learn to deal with video conferencing software (and dressing for the office from the waist up).

What Is Video Conferencing?

If you haven’t already been introduced to video conferencing, it’s an online video connection between two or more people. Using your phone or computer camera, you can see, hear, and communicate with someone in another location.

Most video conferencing software also lets you share your phone or computer screen with the other person. Video conferences are not limited to two participants. These virtual meetings accommodate dozens of people at the same time.

But which conferencing software is right for you? There are a lot of choices, so let’s look at the pros and cons of the most popular.

If you want to skip to the features of a particular choice, here’s the list of what we’ll be covering:

  1. Zoom
  2. Google Meet
  3. GoToMeeting
  4. join.me
  5. Cisco Webex Meetings
  6. BlueJeans Meetings
  7. Skype

The Best Video Conferencing Software

1. Zoom

Zoom

Zoom was up and coming before COVID, but in the months since, it’s taken over and dominates the field. When Zoom became a verb (“We’ll Zoom next Thursday”), you knew they were in the driver’s seat.

The Skype team at Microsoft must be wondering how they lost their user base so quickly.

But Zoom made its way to the forefront by being easy to use and offering features most of us want. The paid tiers are affordable, though add-ons can quickly boost the cost. That being said, the free version will be sufficient for most of us.

Quick growth, like Zoom has experienced, can often lead to technical issues. For now, Zoom has been able to avoid any serious glitches. Whether that will continue remains to be seen, but so far, so good.

Key Benefits of Using Zoom

  • Multifunctional sharing screen
  • High-quality video and audio
  • People really seem to like the virtual backgrounds

Potential Drawbacks With Zoom

  • 40 minute maximum meeting time on the free plan
  • Some people have display issues in video meetings with a lot of participants
  • Customer support can be lacking (due in part to rapid growth)

2. Google Meet

Google Meet

Zoom may have taken over the leadership role in video conferencing, but I’m getting a lot of invites to Google Meet. It’s been around for a few years, but it’s really blossomed during COVID. Tech companies and the nerd and geek contingent seem to be flocking to Meet.

And for good reason. A lot of Google products are ridiculously complicated (hello Tag Manager, I see you), but Google Meet is absolutely simple. And once you’re connected, the service sort of fades into the background.

And that’s a good thing. Technology that becomes “invisible” during use is the best technology there is. It may not be the best video conferencing software for people who need a ton of features or integrations. But if you’re a fan of simplicity, Google Meet may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Key Benefits of Using Google Meet

  • Possibly the easiest to use video conferencing software available
  • Invite participants via Google Calendar
  • Easy to rejoin a meeting if you get disconnected

Potential Drawbacks With Google Meet

  • You have to share your entire screen, you can’t share only a section
  • It can get glitchy when a conference has more than 15 or 20 participants
  • 60 minute video conference time limit in free version

3. GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting is an established name in the video conferencing software world. It’s feature-packed, reliable, and HD video-capable. And since it’s been around for a while, many people are familiar with and feel comfortable using it.

Many companies use GoToMeeting to communicate with customers one-on-one (and have for some time). It’s trusted by businesses large and small, which is as good a recommendation as you can get.

Key Benefits of Using GoToMeeting

  • Integration with a number of other platforms
  • You can schedule recurring meetings
  • Creates transcripts of recorded meetings

Potential Drawbacks With GoToMeeting

  • Not the best experience on a mobile device
  • Recent reports of long waits for customer service (likely COVID-related)
  • No free tier, just a free trial

4. join.me

join.me

join.me has a reputation as one of the easiest to use video conferencing services. People who use it frequently swear by it and don’t have many negative things to say.

join.me is a LogMeIn service (as are LastPass, GoToMeeting, and GoToWebinar), so they know what they’re doing. But, you have to wonder how one company can make the best of so many different video conferencing software platforms. It seems like one (or more) of them might not get the same attention the others do.

Key Benefits of Using join.me

  • No plugin download necessary for attendees to join meetings
  • You can include international dial-in numbers for voice meetings
  • VPN support

Potential Drawbacks With join.me

  • It’s not as widely used as some other services, so your attendees may not be familiar with it
  • Chrome extension tends to have problems when you have a lot of attendees
  • No free tier, just a free trial

5. Cisco Webex Meetings

Cisco Webex Meetings

Cisco Webex Meetings used to be called WebEx, and it was the go-to conference software for business. It was clunky and expensive, though, so while it seemed that everyone used it, no one liked it.

But since Cisco bought the company, they’ve made a lot of improvements. That isn’t always the case when a big company absorbs a small one (see: Skype), but it is here. Cisco Webex Meetings is a big improvement on the old WebEx platform.

Key Benefits of Using Cisco Webex Meetings

  • You can join a Webex meeting with any device
  • Conference host can grant access to specific features to attendees
  • You can save recordings to your computer with the free plan

Potential Drawbacks With Cisco Webex Meetings

  • Meeting length limited to 50 minutes with the free plan
  • It can be a bit complicated for non-technical folks
  • Paid plans are pricier than some of the other services

6. BlueJeans Meetings

BlueJeans Meetings

BlueJeans Meetings is an unfortunate name, but it’s a good service geared toward business. They may provide the best audio of any video conference software, something lacking in other services.

You might think great video would be more important than great audio. But audio that doesn’t sync or is choppy can tank your meeting quickly.

Verizon acquired BlueJeans Meetings earlier this year. It remains to be seen whether that will ultimately be a good or bad thing.

Key Benefits of Using BlueJeans Meetings

  • Remote desktop control and whiteboarding
  • Integrates with Google and Outlook calendars
  • You can store recordings of meetings

Potential Drawbacks With BlueJeans Meetings

  • No free tier, only a free trial
  • No registration option for joining meetings
  • Whiteboard isn’t saved as part of meeting recordings

7. Skype

Skype

Skype was the first video conferencing program to gain widespread public use. When it was acquired by Microsoft (and newer conferencing software started to appear), usage dropped off.

But Skype is still used by a lot of people, and it’s a safe bet most Windows users will have it installed. That’s a big plus when you want to conference with someone who doesn’t conference often.

Skype is free to use for video conferencing, as long as the other participants have a Microsoft account. But if you want to make calls to someone’s landline (their what?), or a foreign country, you’ll pay a monthly fee.

Key Benefits of Using Skype

  • Screen sharing
  • Easy to host multiple participants
  • Easy to install (it’s already installed in most versions of Windows)

Potential Drawbacks With Skype

  • Video and audio quality are dependent on available bandwidth
  • May not be as secure as some other choices on this list
  • Service outages can happen more often than they should

There Are Even More Options out There

This video conferencing software list doesn’t include big names like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Jabber, and Team Viewer because they’re focused on large business use. And, accordingly, their prices are higher than anything on our list.

It also didn’t include smaller video conferencing companies, and there are a lot of them. But the odds are the person or persons you want to conference with won’t have that software installed. And if you tell them to go download Tixio, Interactio, or Jiminy, they’re probably going to say, “Do what now?”

The software on our list is tried and true, and many of them are available for free. You can’t really go wrong with any of them.

The Use of Video to Keep Us Connected Has Exploded

And it doesn’t look like its use will slow down any time soon. Many businesses are learning that a remote workforce can be efficient, effective, and as a bonus, save the company money.

So even when restrictions are lifted, it’s likely that Video Conferencing Software will remain a part of our lives.

If you don’t use it now, you probably will soon. If not for work, school, or business, for keeping up with friends and family. Why not get familiar with it now and put it to work for you?



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Could the Fukushima Water Release Damage Human DNA?


The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant suffered from an earthquake and tsunami on the same day in 2011. As a result, the plant released a tremendous amount of radiation into the Pacific Ocean. To prevent further damage, water was used to help cool the reactor cores.

However, they are running out of room for the water.

With limited options available, it is very likely that the water will be returned to the ocean. Greenpeace has warned that the water contains the radioactive isotope Carbon-14, which is capable of altering human DNA.

How Much Water Is at Fukushima?

You might be wondering how much water could possibly be stored at the nuclear power plant and the answer might surprise you.

The plant currently holds 1.23 million metric tons of water.

To put this into perspective, it is the amount of water necessary to fill 492 Olympic sized swimming pools. However, you wouldn’t want to swim in this water.

According to an interview with CNN, TEPCO stated that there are 2 to 220 becquerels per liter of Carbon-14. However, they went on to urge that while Carbon-14 is dangerous, it is not in a strong enough concentration to harm humans.

Are There Other Options?

Disposal Options

The options of what to do with this amount of contaminated water are extremely limited.

The first and maybe most obvious option is to transport the water to another location for storage. This would take a tremendous amount of resources and storage capacity, after all, it’s a lot of water.

Another option is to turn the contaminated water into cement, but as we all know, the cement industry is a huge carbon emitter and that would have its own repercussions.

Dumping the water into the ocean is the easiest method available to the company, but it is also reckless. The committee must vote on the matter to ensure that the decommissioning of the plant goes on as scheduled.



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Go Green on Sustainability Day 2020


October 28th is the fourth Wednesday of the month, which means it’s Sustainability Day. While it is often overshadowed by Halloween, this year presents a unique opportunity to highlight sustainability as Halloween is canceled for many.

What is Sustainability?

The UN World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainability as “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Or to put it more simply, sustainability is making sure that anything you build doesn’t impact future generations.

For example, harnessing the power of wind doesn’t impact future generations. However, burning barrels of oil does because it release carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

How to Go Green

1. Buy Green Products

If you want to make a difference, the best way to do it is with your wallet. If there is one thing companies understand, it’s money. And giving them money for producing green products will send a clear message.

Now I know what your thinking, how will I know if a product is actually good for the environment?

This isn’t an easy thing to explain, and the answer certainly depends on what you are buying and where you are buying it from.  For example, if you are buying a home appliance, look for the Energy Star logo. This means the appliance uses electricity efficiently.

This has been made easier with the new green labels Amazon introduced for 25,000 products. It lets you sort products to find exactly what you are looking for.

2. Recycle

Recycle

It doesn’t take much to recycle, but for some reason, many people still do not take the time to separate their trash. And trust me, with over 300 million tons of plastic being produced each year, there is a great need to start recycling more.

If not, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean.

Recycled materials can be refashioned to make new products which reduce the need to make new materials. As a result, it will help reduce waste, pollution,  and emissions.

3. Drive Less

Odds are you are an owner of one of the 287.3 million registered vehicles in the United States. Unfortunately, transportation is the biggest source of emissions in the country, but there are two easy ways you can do your part.

The first is pretty obvious, drive less. I know, it’s pretty simple. But there are a lot of people who go back and forth to the store all day long. As Santa would say, “Make a list and check it twice” because that is a serious waste.

The second way is to simply switch to an electric car. There are no emissions and the prices are becoming competitive with traditional cars.

Everyone Can Make A difference

It doesn’t take much to make a difference, and there is no better day than Sustainability Day to get started.

Even if it’s something as trivial as recycling, it can have a huge effect over the course of a lifetime and you may even encourage others to follow your lead.



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Burger King is Testing Reusable Containers


Burger King will begin testing reusable containers in the cities of New York, Portland, and Tokyo next year and plans to expand to more cities in the future. This is an effort for the company to reduce its waste material and become more sustainable.

This change is part of a new partnership with the zero-waste delivery platform, Loop. However, these reusable containers are not free for customers. Instead, customers will have to pay a small deposit for the containers they use.

When the containers are returned, the deposit they paid will also be returned. The containers will then be cleaned and reused by the franchise.

Burger King Is Ramping Up Its Environmental Commitment

This is just one more thing the King is doing to become more sustainable.

Recently, they announced they will lower methane emissions by changing their cow’s diet to lemongrass. As a result, the cows will fart less. Cow farts are a major contributor to methane emissions, so while this may sound like a joke, it’s a serious change.

The company also understands that reusable containers that cost an extra fee will not solve the problem. Instead, the company has already announced that all containers will be made entirely out of renewable, recycled, or certified sources by 2025.

Burger King Isn’t Alone

Sustainability

Other companies are beginning to work towards modernizing their packaging.

Just a month ago, McDonald’s announced a similar partnership with Loop for a reusable coffee container. And most recently, Amazon has completely changed their box design to become more sustainable.

Companies are working towards changing their packaging and COVID-19 has helped accelerate that process.

It’s no secret that delivery and takeout are more common than ever. In fact, it’s the only option many restaurants can offer. As a result, the amount of waste being generated by the industry as a whole is becoming hard to ignore.



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8 Best CRM Software of 2020


A Customer Relationship Management system, or CRM, is the backbone of the relationship you build with customers. As such, picking the very best CRM software to match the needs of your business is a priority.

However, over the years, there have been a lot of CRM tools to choose from. This often makes the choice very difficult to make.  Luckily, we have combed through multiple pieces of software to find you the best CRM software to match your needs and price range.

What is CRM Software?

CRM software is any form of technology that helps a business manage its communications with both current and potential customers.  They can log the communication between employees and customers, create chatbots, track employee activities (i.e how many customers they help), and much more.

While a new business may be able to survive without CRM software for a bit, it is almost a requirement as your business grows.

This is because customers want and need to communicate with your business, and keeping proper logs is an essential part of doing business. This is also an extremely effective way of monitoring your employee’s performance.

After all, bad customer service can end a business before it even gets started.

Here are the 8 best CRM software of 2020:

The Best CRM Software of 2020

1. Hubspot

HubSpot

Starting off this list is perhaps the most well-known CRM software, Hubspot. Unlike many of the others on this list, you can start using Hubspot for no cost at all. But as your business grows, you will undoubtedly need to use the premium version.

And let me assure you, it’s well worth the cost.

However, that’s not to say the free version is anything to snuff at. Features you can use for free include contact management, ad management, email management, live chat, ticketing, and so much more.

The premium version simply takes these features to new levels to meet your growing business’s needs. Thus, making Hubspot the best CRM for small business due to how cost-effective it really is.

Benefits of Hubspot

  • It can scale to businesses of any size
  • Perfect for brand new businesses
  • Amazing online training libraries

Pricing of Hubspot

  • It’s free to start with
  • The Starter Growth Suite starts at $50 a month
  • The Professional Growth Suite starts at $1,275 a month
  • The Enterprise Growth Suite starts at $4,200 a month

2. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM

For small to midsize businesses, Zoho is one of, if not the best CRM software to use. It’s even free to use if your business has less than 10 users, which makes it perfect for brand new companies to start with.

And once you see how great the services are, you will never stop using it.

It comes with a variety of necessary features that every business is going to need including workflows, bulk email support, inventory management, canvas access, omnichannel communication (email, telephone, social media, etc.), and so much more.

However, what really sets this apart from others on the list is the price point. It starts off cheap, and even its most expensive versions are still insanely low compared to alternatives.

Just take a look at the pricing to judge it for yourself.

Benefits of Zoho CRM

  • Awesome email marketing tools
  • Makes communicating a breeze on any platform
  • Insanely cheap

Pricing of Zoho CRM

  • Free up to 10 users
  • Standard starts at $12 a month per user
  • Professional starts at $20 a month per user
  • Enterprise starts at $35 a month per user
  • Ultimate starts at $45 a month per user

3. Apptivo

Apptivo

The mobile market for users has grown rapidly over the years and is still continuing to grow. As such, you are going to need CRM solutions that excel in the mobile aspect of your business, and Apptivo is exactly what you are looking for.

Trust me, your interactions with mobile users will improve tremendously.

As you can imagine, Apptivio has a lot of features for businesses to take advantage of. Some of them include integrations with other large platforms like Slack and Office 365, sales planning, lead tracking, mass email support, and other features.

The best part about Apptivo has to be its incredible mobile platform.  In the past, you would need multiple mobile apps to manage all of your add-ons, but that changed in 2020. Now you can manage everything from just one app.

Benefits of Apptivo

  • All-In-One mobile app
  • Easy platform integration
  • An awesome interface

Pricing of Apptivo

  • Free for up to 3 users
  • The Premium plan starts at $8 a month per user
  • The Ultimate plan starts at $20 a month per user
  • The Enterprise plan is available upon contacting Apptivo directly

4. Salesforce

Salesforce

For quite some time, Salesforce has been the CRM to beat when it comes to the quality of the services it provides. In fact, it is considered by many experts and businesses to be the gold standard of CRM solutions.

And that’s because Salesforce has branched out past just CRM software.

Simply listing the features does not do this service justice. Instead, you need to carefully look at what each package they offer includes as there is a lot to choose from. Each one was built to deliver a specific experience catered for specific business types.

And don’t worry if you pick the wrong package, the first 30 days are free to use. This means you have plenty of time to switch to the package that your business needs. Most importantly, unlike other CRMs, you can never outgrow Salesforce.

Benefits of Salesforce

  • Free online training
  • It can scale with your business regardless of the size
  • The best workflow among CRM software

Pricing of Salesforce

  • Free 30-day trial
  • The Essentials plan starts at $25 a month per user
  • The Sales Professional plan starts at $75 a month per user
  • The Service Professional plan starts at $75 a month per user
  • The Pardot Growth plan starts at $1,250 a month

5. Less Annoying CRM

Less Annoying CRM

Less Annoying CRM has the best name on this list, and let me assure you, it is one of the best pieces of CRM you can get for the price point. Unlike others on this list, it is not as feature-rich, but that isn’t a bad thing.

In fact, it might just be its biggest strength.

Setting up a CRM can be quite a daunting task, especially if it has a lot of features to offer a business. And as a new business, it can cost you quite a bit of time to get started. But as the name implies, Less Annoying CRM saves you from the headaches.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this CRM is lacking. It offers essential features every CRM needs which includes contact management, leads and pipelines, mobile access, calendar and tasks, and collaboration support.

Benefits of Less Annoying CRM

  • No pricing tiers makes it simple to understand
  • The intuitive interface makes navigation a breeze
  • Mobile access means you are always connected

Pricing of Less Annoying CRM

  • Free 30-day trial
  • It’s $15 a month per user

6. Keap

Keap

If you are not confident in your abilities to use CRM software due to computer skills, Keap is the best option available. It is, by far, the easiest CRM to use for a small business on this list thanks to its simple interface and customer support.

If you ever have a question about Keap, the 24/7 live chat will be there to assist.

Keap comes with an awesome selection of easy-to-use tools that help you get the job done. Some of the features include the contact manager, invoice payment and collection tracking, viewing all of your emails in one location (Outlook, Gmail, etc.), and much more.

The end result is an easy-to-use platform that is there to help you at every step. In fact, you can even pay for coaching to get advice from Keap experts to get the very best performance and optimization for your CRM.

Benefits of Keap

  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Email integration to help organize your messages
  • Set up invoice payments for clients

Pricing of Keap

  • Keap Grow starts at $40 a month for the first three months
  • Keap Pro starts at $75 a month for the first three months
  • Infusionsoft starts at $100 a month for the first three months

7. Zendesk

Zendesk

Zendesk is another great option to consider as a CRM solution for your small business. The full package is called the Support Suite and includes 4 services: Zendesk Support, Guide, Chat, and Talk.

However, you can trial and purchase each one separately.

As a result, this CRM allows you to pick and choose what your business needs, and with each service offering a free trial, you can get hands-on practice before purchase. And each one has a host of features that are perfect for getting great results.

One of the best parts about using Zendesk is its training program. You can take courses to help you learn everything there is about the platform. In fact, you can even be certified by Zendesk, which might be something to look for when hiring employees.

Benefits of Zendesk

  • The interface looks good on both desktop and mobile view
  • You have the freedom to pick and choose which services to use
  • Detailed training course to help you learn everything

Pricing of Zendesk

  • A free one month trial is available for all Zendesk services
  • The Professional Support Suite starts at $89 per month per user
  • The Enterprise Support Suite starts at $149 per month per user

8. Freshsales

Freshsales

Freshales is intended for small to mid-size businesses and is easy to use, while also being quite cheap for the features it offers. It has an excellent design that showcases all of the important information you need to see.

As a result, it’s one of the best CRM out there.

This CRM is feature-rich and some of them include module personalization (rename the modules), supports multiple currencies and languages, email templates, supports phone, email, SMS, and live chat communication, collaboration tools, and so much more.

What makes this great is the number of plans it offers. As a result of having so many to choose from, you can find one that is perfect for your website. And as we all know, picking the plan ensures that you are not paying for features you don’t need.

Benefits of Freshsales

  • An amazing mobile app that supports voice notes
  • The ability to customize just about every part of the software
  • Multiple plans to choose from

Pricing of Freshsales

  • The Blossom package starts at $12 a month per user
  • The Garden package starts at $25 a month per user
  • The Estate package starts at $49 a month per user
  • The Forest package starts at $79 a month per user

Benefits of CRM Software

CRM software has a wide variety of benefits to offer businesses. And as a result, and according to 91% of companies with more than 11 employees utilizing CRMs, there is a lot of data to show off the amazing results of the software.

Most importantly is the sales increase companies see. According to Salesforce, companies see a 44% increase in sales leads, a 37% increase in sales revenue, a 45% increase in customer retention, and a 52% faster integration of business apps.

These stats alone should have every business hunting for the perfect CRM.

However, one of the most important benefits is how much time it saves business owners and managers. Being able to review a chat log and point out mistakes employees make, quickly review a customer’s information, and other useful features just save time.

And if you own a business, you know the importance of saving time, which makes CRM solutions invaluable to any company.

You Need A CRM for Your Business

Any business owner will tell you that CRM software is one of the first things you need to set up. And that’s because they save you a tremendous amount of time.

Keeping track of your interactions with customers, improving the experience customers receive, making the most out of sales leads, and other factors make CRM software an invaluable tool for any business.

Which CRM software are you planning to use for your business? How much has using a CRM helped your business improve?



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The New York Plastic Bag Ban is Now Enforceable


New York previously passed legislation to prohibit the use of plastic bags, and on October 19th, it is finally enforceable.  Originally, it would have begun on March 1st but was held up in courts. However, the lawsuit has been dismissed. As a result, the plastic bag ban is in full effect.

Each year, there are 23 billion plastic bags used in the state of New York. And according to the DEC, 85% of those bags end up as litter. On top of this, the bags are only used for 12 minutes before being discarded.

The goal of the ban is to significantly reduce plastic pollution in the state and encourage reusable shopping bags.

What to Do As A Shopper?

Reusable Bag

If you are a resident of New York or plan to visit in the future, shopping is going to change, slightly.

You are probably wondering if stores will even offer bags any more. While the answer is yes, you will be charged for them. For a small fee ($1), the store will provide paper bags. Although prices can vary on a store-by-store basis.

For instance, some Trader Joe’s establishments only charge $0.10 per paper bag.

However, the entire premise of the ban was to encourage consumers to use reusable shopping bags. You can use these to store all of your shopping goods and they come in a variety of styles and sizes.

It is highly encouraged to keep some in your car to avoid forgetting them.

Will Have An Impact on Emissions

While curbing plastic pollution is the primary goal, cutting out 23 billion plastic bags a year will have an impact on emissions.

As you can imagine, it takes energy to produce this many. It is estimated to take 12 million barrels of oil, as such, it will have an impact on lowering emissions. And this is just one state.

It’s very likely that more states will enact a similar plastic bag ban in the future, which will have an even larger impact on emissions.



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