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12 Earth Quotes To Keep You Focused on the Planet

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Every day, you’re making a decision about the environment. These quotes will help inspire you to do it in the best way possible.

We are all inhabitants of this planet, and it is our responsibility to do everything possible to preserve it for future generations. It is critical that we set aside time each week to reflect on
the importance of the Earth and how it has shaped us as individuals. In this guide, we'll share 12 environmental quotes from some of our favorite thinkers. These powerful words will help you stay focused on a unique mission to preserve the planet for future generations.

“The Earth has music for those who listen” by George Santayana

George Santayana is a renowned American philosopher who said, "The earth has music for those who listen." This quote emphasizes the beauty of the Earth and reminds us that there are many things in this world that we may take for granted or overlook. This reminds us of the importance of genuinely appreciating the Earth and all of its beauty. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Take the time to listen the next time you go for a walk. There's so much beauty in everyday life that we don't notice because of our constantly busy lifestyles, whether it's hearing birds chirp or watching people jog by. The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of Earth, the less appetite we will have to sit idle in environmental activism.

“The Earth is what we all have in common” by Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry is a novelist and poet from the United States who wrote this quote to remind us that we are all connected to the Earth. This is something everyone appears to forget in today's world, but it's impossible to forget when you look around you or at the people around you. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Examine the people around you to see how they are connected to the Earth. Just as we all have ties to one another, everyone has ties to the Earth, whether it's through their food or water source. Recognizing your connection to your surroundings and those close to you will increase your appreciation for yourself and the Earth.

“The Earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the Earth” by Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle was the chief of a tribe in the state of Washington. He is also known for saying, "The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth." This quote reminds us that we are only visitors on Earth, and it is up to us how long we stay. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Instead of taking Earth for granted, consider your time here. What are you doing to make it more enjoyable? How can you help the Earth and respect it while you're here? By keeping this quote in mind every day, we will be able to work hard towards preserving Earth so that everyone may enjoy its beauty for generations to come.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed” by Mahatma Gandhi

This quote was made by Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian political leader, during a speech about the importance of sharing. It reminds us that the Earth provides for all of us and that we should all have what we need to be happy, not just those in positions of power. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Go out every day and share something with someone. You will be amazed at how much good can come from simply sharing what we have, whether your time or a few dollars. By helping others as well as ourselves, we are also preserving the Earth.

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal” by John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier was a poet from the United States who believed that the Earth had a lot of beauty and hoped to offer. He wrote this quote after the death of his sister in 1855, but it is still relevant today because many people are constantly attempting to industrialize our planet's natural beauty.  What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Take a look at the beauty that surrounds you daily. Looking out the window or going for a walk, there are countless things to see and appreciate in our world, even if we sometimes take them for granted. By reminding yourself of Earth's wondrous sights, you will be able to help heal some of its wounds and keep it beautiful. Ten Ways to Ground Yourself in Nature — TreeSisters

“Be kind to the Earth; it's the only planet with chocolate” by Author Unknown

This quote serves as a reminder that the Earth is our home, and we must care for it. It also serves as a reminder that there are many things in life worth living for, such as candy!  What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Every day, think of one way you can be kind to the planet. Whether recycling or taking a short walk instead of driving your car somewhere–– just do something nice for Earth. By being mindful every day about how we treat our home, everyone will have more appreciation for Mother Nature.

“We will not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” by Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle is also well-known for his quote about how important it is to leave the Earth in a better condition than when you found it. This serves as a reminder that we must conserve the environment and everything else on this planet because our actions affect future generations. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Every day, do one small act of kindness for Earth by conserving energy or resources. Whether it is turning off the lights when you leave a room or recycling your soda bottles––everyone can make an impact on how we treat this planet and what future generations will inherit. By taking these easy steps every day to save our home, there will be a brighter future for everyone on this planet.

“Earth sings the song of life within you” by Rumi

Rumi was an Islamic poet who believed that the Earth was full of beauty. This quote was written in the 13th century, but it is still relevant today because many people do not take advantage of all that Earth offers. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Take a moment every day to appreciate the beauty around you. Whether looking at pictures of the Earth or enjoying nature wherever you are, remember to celebrate everything that makes life worthwhile. Many people will start appreciating what we have if we take the time to enjoy everything about our planet every day instead of wasting energy on waste and pollution.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks” by John Muir

John Muir was an American environmentalist who believed that the beauty of the Earth could not be described in words. This quote reminds us how wonderful it is to travel the world and try new things; you never know what you'll learn or discover. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Go on a hike! Countless trails all over the world lead to beautiful places. Whether going with your family or friends, this will be an experience you'll never forget and can share for years to come. Plus, exercising outside has been proven to improve mental health––so what could be better than feeling good inside and out?

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” by Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist of German origin who believed that the Earth possessed some of the most incredible forces. This quote reminds us to look deep into nature and learn everything we can about our planet. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? The next time you go outside, try to find the beauty in your surroundings. Whether it is admiring a flower or watching birds fly around––just take some time to be present in nature and appreciate everything Earth has to offer. By slowing down every day for five minutes in this way, everyone will discover ways that they can help replenish our planet.

“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty” by John Ruskin

John Ruskin was a British art critic and social thinker who believed that the beauty of the Earth was beyond description. He wrote this quote in 1846, making it one of the oldest on our list! It serves as a reminder of how essential nature is to all of us; we couldn't survive without natural elements. What are some ways you can put this quote into practice? Every day, try to find a way that you can be closer to nature. Whether going outside for five minutes or finding a hobby that allows you to get in touch with the world around us - just start taking steps towards becoming more connected and appreciating everything Earth has to offer. With all of these easy ideas, there will never be a dull moment.

“He that plants trees loves others beside himself” by Thomas Fuller

This quote was made by Thomas Fuller, an English churchman, and historian, in 1650, but it is still relevant today. This reminds us that we must care for our planet because it will exist long after we are gone. How can you put this quote into action? Plant a tree the next time you go outside. Whether with family or friends, make a point of doing so for future generations and the world we live in now. By helping to replenish our planet daily, many people will discover ways to help other natural elements thrive! Alternatively, by signing up for the new Aspiration Zero credit card, you can plant a tree for every purchase you make––hands-free.

Aspiration is a movement of positive progress

Aspiration is a movement of positive progress. We aim to reduce pollution, increase recycling efforts, and develop products/services that help people in need live better lives.  Our vision at Aspiration is to create an aspirational lifestyle that minimizes its environmental impact and inspires others to live more sustainably, too— hence the name of our new credit card, Aspiration Zero.  If you're looking for ways to make your lifestyle more green without compromising comfort or style, consider applying today!

Make Change Staff

November 26, 2021

Is Bubble Wrap Recyclable?

Scissors, Duct Tape, Blister Foil, Pack, Bubble Wrap Bubble wrap is one of the most fascinating recyclable materials that has grown in popularity in recent years.  Bubble wrap is a common packing material used by people to protect their belongings before transporting them. It's a great way to protect fragile items or keep them from shifting during transport. With increased environmental awareness, more people are considering recycling bubble wrap rather than throwing it away.  But can bubble wrap be recycled? What makes it so fascinating? What can you do with bubble wrap after you've used it? How do you repurpose it?  Let's look at what makes bubble wrap so interesting, why people should recycle it, and how to reuse it creatively.

What is bubble wrap made of? 

Bubble wrap is a type of plastic that is commonly used to protect items during shipping or storage. It's made of a thin plastic film wrapped around bubbles to create an air pocket.  This makes it very effective at keeping items from moving during transportation and providing temperature control––keeping items cool or warm depending on the season. Its thinness makes it a particularly excellent choice for small items.

How is bubble wrap made? 

The process of making bubble wrap is known as thermoforming.  To begin, a thin plastic film is stretched over the top of circular molds to form bubbles. Following that, each pocket is blown with air or another gas until it becomes rigid and stands on its own. The sheet is held together by an adhesive "hinge" that connects each bubble to the sheet. The film is then cut to size and sealed.

Why is bubble wrap so popular? 

Bubble wrap has grown in popularity because it provides excellent protection as well as insulation.  When packed around fragile items, the air pockets act as an absorbent cushion, limiting movement within the box or envelope during transit and protecting the objects from damage.  Since packages are stacked on top of each other during shipping, the items may cause damage to one another if not separated by bubble wrap. 

Can you reuse bubble wrap? 

You certainly can!  When you have fragile items that require special care or protection, bubble wrap is an excellent material to use. It is reusable in the same way that it is recyclable ––there are many simple changes you can make to cut down on waste and reduce your carbon footprint, such as purchasing items in bulk or reusing boxes. Although bubble wrap is recyclable, it is more difficult to recycle than other materials because it is made up of multiple components.  It may take a few attempts before successfully recycling bubble wrap, and the recycled product can be reused. However, if you recycle your bubble wrap correctly, you have a plethora of options for what you can do with your recycled bubble wrap. Bubble Wrap Sheet - General Lounge - PakWheels Forums

What to do with your leftover bubble mailers? 

Most people who receive packages will end up with a pile of empty bubble envelopes after using them for packing and shipping.  Depending on the type of recycling program, many accept them as plastic film or mixed paper materials. If your city does not have a drop-off station, several online programs will take them on your behalf and use the materials to make new products like fleece clothing, pillows, and furniture padding. 10 creative things you can do with your leftover bubble mailers:
  1. Make a DIY gift box by cutting the mailers in half and folding them together
  2. Use as a container to store your jewelry or other small items
  3. Turn into an origami project––there are lots of tutorials on YouTube!
  4. Make a DIY gift wrap
  5. Use them to package gifts
  6. Create a new pen holder for your desk or bedside table
  7. Turn it into an envelope organizer 
  8. Cut the mailers up and use them as confetti in your next party 
  9. Draw on them with permanent markers and cut out shapes that you can use as decorations for birthday parties, weddings, etc 
  10. Fill one with rice or beans and make a weighted ball (great for kids!)

Why should you recycle your bubble wrap?

It is critical to protect the environment, and recycling is an excellent way to do so.  Recycling helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also conserving resources such as water, energy, time, money, and space in the long run. Not only can you recycle bubble wrap, but you will also save landfill space, which means that less waste from other sources will have to be buried or incinerated. When you recycle bubble wrap, you not only reduce your carbon footprint but also help your community and protect our natural resources.

What happens to the environment when you recycle bubble wrap vs. throwing it away? 

It is better for the environment to recycle bubble wrap rather than throw it away Three major factors must be considered when disposing of waste in an environmentally friendly manner: greenhouse gas emissions, the toxicity of the material in question, and energy consumption during processing.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Recycling bubble wrap reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it saves energy by not extracting raw materials from the earth and manufacturing new items from them (which takes a lot of energy). When bubble wrap is discarded, it decomposes and emits methane. On the other hand, recycling ensures that waste is reused and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Toxicity

Bubble Wrap contains a high concentration of air bubbles made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) film made of polyethylene or plastics that are not easily degraded by microorganisms.  To reduce the environmental damage caused by the material, LDPE film can be recycled and reused for other purposes. Reusing bubble wrap helps you to reduce your carbon footprint.

Energy consumption

Making bubble wrap requires more energy than recycling it. Recycling also consumes less energy than producing new, comparable products. Finally, recycling or reusing bubble wrap is by far the better option for the environment.  It's important to note that when you throw away bubble wrap, it won't biodegrade quickly and will end up as an air pollutant, contributing to climate change. Throwing away bubble wrap can be hazardous because it takes many years for this type of packaging material to degrade in landfills. When you reuse bubble wrap, you use less energy than if the plastic were melted down and reformed into a new sheet of plastic for another use. When you reuse rather than recycle bubble wrap, you produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the best way to reuse bubble wrap?

The best way to repurpose bubble wrap is to use it as insulation for mailers and packages.  Bubble wrap can also be used to pack fragile and expensive items that must travel. While bubble wrap is a protective material, it is not ideal for cold-weather insulation. Bubble wrap can also be used as packing material to protect items during shipping or storage from shock and damage. Other than packaging items for transportation, the thin plastic film can be reused in a variety of ways––it's a great addition to your arts and crafts stash! You can use the bubbles as building material or craft tools by filling each pocket with paint and using it as a stamp. Simply adhere the bubble side to your paper, color through each pocket with a paintbrush or sponge, and print.

What are the benefits of reusing bubble wrap? 

You can help reduce waste and save money on supplies for your company's shipping needs by reusing empty bubble wrap.  Recycling bubble wrap can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts because fewer raw materials will need to be used. Because bubble wrap can be used for multiple purposes, reusing it makes your packaging process more cost-effective.

Explore your local recycling options

You can find out if your city or town has a recycling program that accepts bubble wrap and other types of packaging.  If you live in the United States, go to Earth 911 to see a map of nearby options. Participation is simple and convenient because many companies will come directly to your home and pick up recyclable items such as bubble wrap for free. You can also look into your county's recycling policies to see if it will accept bubble wrap and other packaging materials for reuse or disposal. Because it is difficult to sort out, some areas may refuse to accept bubble wrap and other packaging materials for recycling.

Aspiration Zero empowers you to take charge of your environmental impact

Though Aspiration is committed to reducing its environmental impact, they also understand that their customers make purchasing decisions.  As a result, in addition to assisting you in taking control of your environmental impact by reducing pollution and increasing recycling efforts, we've created a credit card that rewards you for becoming carbon neutral. Meet Aspiration Zero––helping you live a life of intention by taking care of yourself and our planet. Apply today!

Make Change Staff

November 21, 2021

10 Books on Recycling That Will Help You Stay Sustainable

Books, Bookstore, Book, Reading, Writer, Read, Reader Recycling is one of the most important ways you can help to save the environment While it can seem complicated, recycling isn't as difficult as many people think. If you're looking for ideas on making recycling easy and sustainable at home, these ten books are an excellent place to start. In this list, you'll find ten books that will teach you how to recycle correctly and make sustainability easy.  They offer a plethora of suggestions on how to make recycling more enjoyable, in addition to diving into the history behind trash and the role it plays in American society. These books will inspire you with their innovative ideas for living more sustainably without feeling like it's too much effort.

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

In Annie Leonard's book, "The Story of Stuff," you'll learn about how our society creates, uses, and discards nearly everything. This book gives readers a starting point for their journey toward a more environmentally friendly lifestyle through recycling. The Story of Stuff looks at everything we buy and what happens to it after that. This includes everything from drilling for oil to consumerism and packaging. There are numerous fascinating facts that will provide people with a new perspective on what we put into the world. This book and accompanying documentary are important because they:
  • Help you create a sustainable and ethical lifestyle by learning about how we consume and dispose of most things.
  • Provide essential information for people interested in reducing their impact on the environment.
  • Help you learn different approaches to living more sustainably. 
  • Help you understand the impact of your purchasing decisions.
  • Shows you how to live more sustainably by recycling.
  • Demonstrate where our society is headed with nearly every type of product and service, from cell phones to cars.
  • Help you understand how our society has created a culture of consumerism in which we buy and consume, never looking at the hidden costs.
  • Help you understand how your purchases affect the environment.

Plastic Free by Beth Terry

Plastic Free is a must-have for anyone looking for the best way to recycle.  This book includes helpful information such as how many items can go in each recycling bin, which bins should be kept separate, and what types of garbage bags you'll need if you're not going paperless. This book will show you what types of recycling containers and bins to use in your home. It discusses the various materials that we recycle, such as paper and aluminum cans. Most importantly, this book gets people thinking about how they can change their lifestyles to be more sustainable, and all that entails. This book is important because it:
  • Makes it easier to live a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
  • Shows you just how easy it is to make changes without spending too much money.
  • Educates through personal examples of success.
  • Is a helpful resource for beginners.
  • Provides simple changes that can be implemented in your home without completely overhauling everything.

Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte

Garbage Land is a story of waste and what we do with it.  Many people make a living off of our garbage, but there is also an environmental impact that must be considered. This book examines the world of waste and reveals what is really in our landfills. This book is important because it:
  • Helps you understand how we should manage our waste better.
  • Enables you to discover what happens behind the scenes when you recycle.
  • Helps you discover more efforts to reduce landfill waste.
  • Takes an in-depth look at the life cycle of garbage.
  • Informs you about how you can recycle better and more efficiently.
  • Helps you learn about the environmental dangers of discarded materials.

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson

This international best-seller teaches readers how to live a simple, waste-free life. An introduction to Bea Johnson's lifestyle, Zero Waste Home demonstrates how anyone can reduce their waste by 90%.  Zero Waste Home will teach you how to do everything from decluttering to using reusable bags, straws, and cups. This is an excellent book for anyone looking for ways to simplify their lives to reduce waste. This book is important because it:
  • Is an excellent resource for tips on how to reduce the amount of waste you generate.
  • Provides guidance that anyone can use without needing skills or experience.
  • Helps you to create less garbage and learn where your recycling goes.
  • Enables you to save money by cutting down what you buy, which will lead to fewer products in the trash.
Old books garbage – Stock Editorial Photo © morgenstjerne #9016321

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash by Edward Humes

This book investigates how Americans have transformed trash into a 'disposable' commodity that is cheap, plentiful, and required.  This book explains where our garbage comes from, what happens after we throw it away, and how recycling can help. The author also discusses the science behind why we are so wasteful in this country when it comes to recycling. This book is important because it:
  • Helps readers understand why there is so much trash.
  • Provides insight into how we can improve.
  • Helps readers understand the science behind recycling. 
  • Offers readers a chance to make better choices about their trash on an individual level.
  • Discusses various topics, including understanding why there is so much trash and how it impacts our environment, and ways to make positive changes in your life.

Stuffocation by James Wallman

Wallman discusses how we live in a world where possessions and junk aren't as important as they once were He claims that living with less stuff is better for the environment and your life because you will have more time to do things important to you rather than constantly cleaning, organizing, or purchasing new items. This book will give readers ideas on how to live with less stuff and how to make it work in the digital age. This book is important because it:
  • Provides helpful advice on what to do when you've "stuffed" your home with too many belongings. 
  • Supports the idea of living with less stuff so that it's easier for everyone to live a sustainable, green lifestyle. 
  • Makes investing in quality items more worthwhile than spending money on unimportant things like clothes and electronics. 
  • Provides ideas for living with fewer, better things.
  • Emphasizes how important it is to live with less and redefine what "success" means in life. 
  • Offers detailed tips and tricks on cutting down your possessions and making smarter choices to improve your quality of life.

The Waste Makers by Vance Packard

In this book, Packard talks about the role that consumption plays in our daily lives and how it affects society as a whole. This book examines how consumerism and advertising have duped people into purchasing more than they need. This sheds light on a way of thinking about how we consume things, assisting us in realizing that just because we can afford something doesn't mean we always need it. This book is important because it:
  • Sheds light on the unsustainable way of consuming.
  • Provides a better understanding of how our choices impact society.
  • Helps readers see the harmful effects on society that come from overconsumption.
  • Gives an understanding of how consumerism can have a negative impact.
  • Provides insight into why consuming more goods is not sustainable.

No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Instead of telling you how to help the environment, Colin Beavan demonstrates it by devoting one year to living a lifestyle that has the least amount of impact on our planet. This book will give you a good idea of how to go about ensuring that your life is as sustainable as possible. This book is important because it:
  • Teaches us why sustainability is so important and how to be more sustainable.
  • Gives simple, achievable, and practical tips for living sustainably.
  • Helps you gain strategies for living more sustainably and making the Earth a better place.
  • Helps you learn techniques that will help others lead by example.
This book is significant because it demonstrates how to truly be sustainable rather than providing ineffective tips. It will help people understand what they need to do to make their lives as environmentally friendly as possible, which is the best way to truly become an example for others who want to make a difference.

Waste and Want by Susan Strasser

Susan Strasser's Waste and Want is an excellent book that provides a comprehensive history of recycling.  Waste and Want is an in-depth examination of the history of household consumption, beginning in the nineteenth century. It investigates how Americans' purchasing habits have evolved to produce our current throwaway culture. This book is important because it:
  • Provides a history of recycling and connection to human nature
  • Connects past to the present by showing why we must recycle now more than ever before
  • Uses plain language without too much jargon
Waste and Want is an excellent book to read if you want to learn more about where recycling came from, why it is crucial today, and what the future may hold. This book is significant because it helps you connect the past to the present and understand why Americans waste. Waste and Want demonstrates how recycling is a natural part of human nature rather than a modern-day invention. This will give you ideas for simple ways to help protect the environment that has been around much longer than the modern recycling movement.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

The Lorax is a story about what happens when you don't care for your planet and the dangers that result.  This story is an excellent way of getting children interested in recycling that provides excellent advice on how individuals can help protect the environment and why they should preserve nature for future generations. It's also entertaining to read because of the rhyming patterns. This book is essential because it teaches children the value of recycling and why they should do so. Recycling is an integral part of protecting the environment, and this book will help children get excited about recycling.

Be eco-conscious and earn rewards with Aspiration

Aspiration is an environmentally conscious neobank with a mission to reduce negative environmental impact. We accomplish this by reducing pollution, increasing recycling efforts, and developing products/services that promote a more sustainable life.  Meet Aspiration Zero, a credit card that rewards you for going carbon neutral! Interested? Apply now!

Make Change Staff

November 17, 2021

Cardboard Recycling: The Dos and Don’ts

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Cardboard can be recycled in so many ways. But here are some common mistakes to avoid when recycling cardboard.
Recycling cardboard has never been more important. With the rise of online shopping, many boxes are coming into homes that need to be recycled. Cardboard recycling can be easy if you know how to do it right! Cardboard recycling is a great way to keep the environment clean, but it can be tricky to learn how.  Many people make mistakes when recycling cardboard, resulting in them not recycling it correctly or, worse, throwing it away. This guide will discuss some of the most common mistakes people make when attempting to recycle cardboard and provide tips on how to do it correctly.

What is cardboard recycling?

The first step in recycling cardboard is to understand what it means. Cardboard isn't just the boxes you get when you order something online; it's any box that can be flattened and recycled. This includes cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, shoe boxes, and other similar items.

Why should you recycle your cardboard boxes?

The world is in dire need of sustainable resources. Recycling cardboard boxes instead of throwing them away in landfills is one way to contribute to this effort. Cardboard can be recycled multiple times without losing its integrity, making it an excellent recycling material. Here are a few of the reasons why you should recycle your cardboard boxes:
  • When compared to other common materials, cardboard has a low environmental impact. One ton of new paper necessitates the use of 24 trees, four cubic meters (141 cubic feet) of water, and half a barrel (18.93 gallons) of oil. Given that it is made from recycled paper, cardboard does not require much energy to produce. It also does not need to be bleached with chlorine, as most new papers do, making cardboard recycling a more environmentally friendly option than purchasing virgin materials.
  • Recycling cardboard boxes saves trees and water, reduces pollution, and is an environmentally friendly way to get rid of unwanted boxes around the house.
  • After being recycled, cardboard boxes are durable and can be reused for other purposes such as arts and crafts projects or storage.
  • Cardboard recycling is better for the environment because it does not emit harmful emissions like plastic does.
  • Recycling cardboard is less expensive than purchasing new ones, so you will save money in the long run.
  • By recycling your old boxes, you are helping to reduce landfill waste.

Why is it important to recycle cardboard?

It is undoubtedly better for the environment to reuse cardboard whenever possible. Recycling cardboard also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, an essential part of combating climate change. It's a very simple way to reduce our environmental impact. Even though cardboard is one of the most commonly discarded materials, it has a high decomposition rate. It is still helpful because cardboard can be recycled into new boxes, cartons, and cups. Tips for getting started with cardboard decluttering and recycling at home:
  • Check your local recycling guide to see what can be recycled.
  • Begin by sorting through all of the cardboard boxes and other packaging materials that you have lying around the house.
  • Sort your cardboard into distinct piles (boxes, cereal boxes, old magazines)
  • Before you begin sorting, designate a location for all recyclables, so you don't forget what goes where.
  • Look for any usable items and donate them to a local charity.
  • Get rid of anything else you no longer require or use.
  • Please ensure that everything is appropriately sorted so that it does not get mixed up with anything else when you bring it to the recycling center.

Cardboard Recycling Dos and Don'ts

People enjoy recycling cardboard because it is simple and saves them money. While this is generally well-intended, there are a few ways to go wrong when attempting to be environmentally friendly. When recycling your boxes, remember to follow these guidelines. It will save you time and money while also benefiting the environment. Let's go over the dos and don'ts of cardboard recycling.

The dos of recycling cardboard

Make sure all packaging tape has been removed from your cardboard before recycling. Some people are unaware that the tape on their cardboard boxes must be removed before recycling. This is because many types of tapes contain chemicals and adhesives that can contaminate them if mixed with other recyclables in a sorting facility. When going through your trash at home, make sure that all packaging tape has been removed. When recycling cardboard, flatten it out as much as possible. Many people are unaware that you must reduce the size of your box before placing it in the recycling bin. This is because sorting facilities can become overburdened with large pieces of recyclable material, slowing down the process and increasing the facility's costs. Before recycling, make sure your boxes have been broken down and flattened as much as possible. When recycling cardboard, make sure to recycle it in the appropriate recycling bin. Some people are unsure whether to put their cardboard in a paper or plastic bin, while others simply throw it away. This is because some recycling facilities accept both, and sorting out the various types of recyclables can be time-consuming and costly. Make sure that your cartons are placed in the appropriate recycling bin. Holiday Cardboard Recycling Tips - Talking Trash Blog

The don'ts of cardboard recycling

Do not dispose of cardboard boxes in the regular trash. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to recycling their cardboard, and they don’t even realize it. This is because cardboard boxes are made up of a variety of different materials such as paper, ink, and other chemicals, which might confuse those who are unsure about recycling.  Do not rinse off your cartons before recycling them. Some people prefer to wash their cardboard boxes before recycling them, which is understandable. However, it's important to be aware that the detergent you're using to clean your cartons contains chemicals that can contaminate other recyclables if mixed with them. Make sure that this is not the case by recycling without first rinsing your boxes. Do not put food waste in your cardboard. This is a significant one. People frequently forget that their cartons were used to transport or contain food items. When they throw them in the recycling bin, it causes problems for sorting facilities, which can no longer recycle these materials due to contamination issues. Make sure that you are only recycling boxes that do not contain food waste.  Make sure you never recycle oily, greasy, or food-stained cardboard boxes when trying to be environmentally friendly. Oily or greasy cardboard boxes can ruin the machinery that recyclables are sorted with, which will require expensive repairs to fix it.  Don't put your recyclables in plastic bags. Plastic bags can clog recycling machinery and cause significant damage, which is costly to repair. Make sure you never put your recyclables in a plastic bag after you've sorted them at home. Being environmentally conscious with recycling entails doing everything in your power to recycle and ensuring that you're recycling correctly. This includes taking the time to break down and flatten your cardboard before placing it in the appropriate bin, not rinsing it off, or throwing food waste into it before recycling.

Aspiration Zero: Don't just do the right thing. Do it for the right reasons

We are all striving to make the world a better place. However, it is not always simple or convenient, which is why Aspiration Zero was created. This credit card rewards you for going carbon neutral by offsetting your environmental impact with clean energy projects that help to reduce global warming.  If this sounds interesting to you, head over to Aspiration and see how we can help you turn your good intentions into actionable change!

Make Change Staff

November 14, 2021

The Most Hassle-Free Ways to Recycle Metal in 2021

Iron, Scrap Metal, Thrash Metal, Scrap Iron, Recycling It is important to recycle metal items, but it can be a hassle. There are many different ways to recycle metal, but figuring out which method is the best can be tricky. This guide will explain some of the most hassle-free methods people have for recycling their metal items. 

Why is it so difficult to recycle metal?

Recycling metal can be complex for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons is that proper metal recycling takes a significant amount of time and energy. It can also be difficult because different types of metals have different properties, necessitating specific recycling equipment for each type.  People may not know where or how to recycle their metal items at times. Recycling electronic waste, for example, can be difficult because it sometimes necessitates specialized recycling services.

Metal recycling is necessary for environmental reasons

Many people choose to recycle their metals because they care about the environment and want to do what is best for the environment. Metal recycling
helps conserve resources, reduce pollution, and protect wildlife habitats from the destruction caused by mining or other activities.  Because of the adverse environmental effects of mining, recycling is seen as a preferable alternative to extracting metal from the earth and using it for various products.

When is it appropriate to recycle your metal items?

There are various ways to recycle metal items, making it critical for people to do as much as they can. The best time to begin recycling is now. As a result, the more metals you recycle, the easier it becomes and the better off we will be in terms of conserving resources and protecting wildlife habitats.

Types of metals that can be recycled

Metal can be recycled in a variety of ways. Recycling can be made simple or difficult depending on the item being recycled. Some good examples of recycling these materials include converting them back into raw stock metals that can be used in the future for other products. Steel - Most steel is recycled because it can be melted down and reformed to make new products. Aluminum - Aluminum recycling has become very popular in the past few decades due to its abundance of uses. It is useful for making other durable, lightweight, and easy to recycle into other materials. Aluminum has a high demand within industries, is affordable, and is not highly toxic. Copper - Copper can be recycled several times without losing its quality or functionality. When recycling this material, make sure it is not mixed with other metals because there could be issues during the smelting process that would destroy the metal rather than give us more copper for use in industry. Brass - Brass can be recycled several times before its properties deteriorate. Because brass is frequently mixed with other metals to achieve the desired consistency and color for specific products, recycling brass should not require much effort or time. Silver - Silver has a high melting point, which means that when you recycle this metal into another item, it will still maintain most of its properties and can be used in a similar way to when it was previously recycled. Gold - Gold is the most valuable of these metals. Still, unfortunately, it's also one that cannot be recycled very many times due to how hard this metal is for companies to meltdown and reform into new products without losing some level of quality or value. Zinc - Zinc is a metal that can be recycled many times to keep it from going into the landfill as waste. It's suitable for producing other items with different properties and qualities, such as electrical components or batteries. Nickel - Nickel has been found to have some of the highest recycling rates because it does not lose its overall value when being melted down to reform into another item. Tin - Tin is another metal that can be recycled many times to produce different items with the same valuable properties. Iron - Iron has become one of the most widely recycled metals because it's so abundant and easy for companies to use in their production processes. However, if iron is not separated from other types of scrap materials, this will make recycling more difficult.

Scrap Metal Recycling: The Process, Importance & Benefits

How can people recycle their metals?

Recycling your metals is something you should consider, especially if you are trying to be more environmentally conscious. Here are some of the best ways for people to recycle metal at home without too much trouble:

Scrap Dealers

Scrap dealers are one of the most popular ways to recycle. Scrap dealers pay cash for unwanted metals such as steel, aluminum, copper, tin, and others. These scrap dealers are usually found at recycling centers and in the phone book, online, or through the city. Drop-off recycling options are available at your local scrapyard. Many are open to the public and accept a variety of metals for recycling. They may also offer cash back for certain items in good condition, which is a great way to earn money.

Recycling Centers 

Another excellent option is to use your local recycling center if one is available in your area. Most of these recycling centers will accept a variety of metals and will frequently offer discounts for specific items that are in good condition after being recycled. Recycling metal is a great way to save money because they sometimes provide cashback, just like a scrap yard would. If your recycling center does not have one of these programs, they may still be able to recycle the item for you at their facility, which is often free or very cheap depending on the type of metal and the amount of work required to recycle it. People can often recycle the same metal types at a recycling center that they can take to their local scrap yard, just in case you're curious. Many of these centers will also collect various metals from your home for free if they can use or sell them on their own. This makes getting rid of all those old items cluttering up your home even easier than recycling metal would typically be.

Donation Centers 

If you want to get even more use out of your metal than recycling allows, donating it is the way to go. Many people frequently donate items they no longer want or need to charity organizations, allowing them to raise funds for their cause while also assisting others in need. This is an excellent option because most of the time, it is free, and you may even be able to get a tax deduction for your donation if you itemize. The process is usually very simple; most places will either come to pick up your items or provide a drop-off location in your area where you can drop off the items yourself. This can be very beneficial if you discover that donating your old metal items would work well for you because it eliminates the need for you to worry about how you are going to get rid of them, allowing you to focus on other things. At the same time, they recycle metal for free or at a low cost to you.

Pawn Shops

Another excellent option for recycling metal is to take your items to a pawn shop if one is nearby. Many people are unaware that most of these locations accept all types of metals and will either give money back or offer other forms of payment in exchange, which can be very useful when it comes time to recycle the item again.  Not only do they frequently buy your items, but most pawnshops will also recycle your metal for free or at a low cost.

Recycling Metal at Home 

Another popular option is curbside recycling, which entails placing all items on the curb for collection. Another option is to use drop-off centers, where people can bring their belongings directly to avoid transporting them themselves. Many cities also have curbside pickup programs where residents can sign up for weekly or biweekly collection. To utilize your local curbside pickup service: 
  1. Find out what kind of metals you have by checking their properties or asking someone who might know more about them. If you aren't sure whether the item is made from an alloy or not, then use this quick test to find out: Rub some steel wool against it and see if sparks fly off. If they do, the material isn't pure metal and should be recycled at a different location than where pure metals are accepted.
  2. Collect all of your unwanted metal in one place - cleaning up the metal and putting it all together will make recycling as easy as possible.

Live a low-impact lifestyle with Aspiration Zero

If you’re looking for a new credit card, one of the most environmentally-conscious options available may be Aspiration Zero. This unique credit card is carbon neutral and rewards its users with points to offset their environmental impact by doing things like driving less or recycling more.  We hope that this post has helped you learn about some innovative ways people strive towards an Aspiration lifestyle! Have any questions? Let us know - we're always happy to help!

Make Change Staff

November 12, 2021

What to Do With Old CDs

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Here are seven creative ideas for repurposing old CDs.
Do you have a collection of old CDs lying around your house? Do you know what you're going to do with them? Some people believe that the only use for an old CD is to put it in your car's CD player. But did you know there's a lot more you can do with them? Let's take a look at some of the different ways you can repurpose and recycle CDs.
CDs can be repurposed and recycled in various creative ways to get them out of the way. Here are some ideas for getting rid of these pesky discs:

Use scratched up CDs as coasters 

Coasters are an excellent way to safeguard your furniture against water damage and other stains. If you have a collection of scratched-up CDs, why not try making coasters out of them? On the back of the CD, you can use adhesive felt or cork. This will make it easier for you to transform these old discs into functional coasters perfect for protecting your furniture. You'll need the following materials to make a recycled CD coaster:
  • An old CD
  • Adhesive felt or cork
  • Scissors 
To make a recycled CD coaster, follow these steps: Make four squares out of the adhesive felt. Four pieces of felt should be able to cover one side of your CD, plus some extra for error. Press down on two pieces on each side of the disc to secure them.

Create a bird feeder out of old CDs 

This is also one way to repurpose and recycle your CD collection. If you have no use for the discs anymore, why not try turning them into birdfeeders? You can hang these up outside so that birds can come by and eat from them. The best part is you don't have to do anything more than attach the CD with adhesive to a piece of wood or whatever you prefer to use.  You can then fill it with birdseed, either directly on the CD itself, which will work well if your feeder is hanging from something else, or pour some seed into an old plastic container and put that in front of the feeder so that birds have easy access to food. This way, birds will be attracted by your feeder. You'll need the following materials to make a recycled CD bird feeder:
  • Old CDs 
  • Piece of wood or some other material to attach the CD on (sturdy enough to hold the weight of birdseed) 
  • Screws, adhesive, eye hooks, and string for hanging feeder (if desired)

Make Christmas tree ornaments 

If you're running short of Christmas ornaments and don't want to buy new ones, why not put those old CDs you have lying around on your Christmas tree? Slip a ribbon through them, tie it in a bow and hang. You can even paint the CDs first if you'd like. Paint them silver or gold with some nice designs on them for extra pizzazz. Label the CDs with dates or names of family members, and you'll have a cute, personalized ornament that will make your Christmas tree stand out from all the rest. You could also turn those old CDs into sun catchers for inside your house. Cut them in half horizontally, so they're thin discs rather than full circles, and hang them in a window with some string. The sunlight will shine through and create interesting patterns on the walls or floor below. You'll need the following supplies to make recycled CD Christmas tree ornaments:
  • Old CDs
  • Ribbon or twine
  • A hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • A sharp knife or box cutter
  • Holiday decorations like ribbons, bells, etc., to decorate the tree with.
  • Nail polish or paint to decorate the CD with (optional) 
Recycled CD Crafts

Make a CD mobile

CD mobiles are easy to make and are great for hanging in your child's room. Glue a circle of paper on the CD, then decorate with markers or paint. Punch holes at opposite ends near the center hole (about an inch apart). Thread string through both holes, knotting it securely, so the CD doesn't fall off. You'll need the following materials to make a recycled CD mobile:
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks or craft/super adhesive of your choice
  • Yarn
  • Paper or poster board 
  • 14 gauge craft wire
  • Paintbrush & acrylic paint in desired colors
  • Scissors  
  • A CD 
Steps: 
  • Cut a circle out of the poster board. 
  • Stick the CD in the center, and cut slits from each point to the outer edge. 
  • Thread yarn through all of your cuts around the outside. You can make it as long or short as you want! Put some paper clips on either side for hanging it up inside or
  • Decorate a CD with paint, markers, or whatever you can find. 

Make a CD bowl

Place your CDs in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. They will become more pliable and easy to work with as a result. When soft, remove them from the oven and shape them into a bowl with a mold. Allow the bowls to cool before removing them from the mold and decorating as desired. You'll need the following materials to make a recycled CD bowl:
  • CDs
  • a hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • an oven with enough space to put in your CD bowl molds
  • silicone baking pans for this project. 
  • paint or spray paint 
Steps: 
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Place CDs in the oven for about five minutes or until they become soft and pliable. 
  • Carefully remove from the oven using tongs, wearing a glove if desired, and mold into a bowl shape with your hands. Be careful not to burn yourself. 
  • Let bowls cool for about five to ten minutes. 
  • Remove from the mold and decorate as desired.
  • Place on a lampshade or doorknob. If you want something more permanent, take some resin glue (found at Michaels) and apply it to the bowl before sprinkling on glitter or other decorations. Let dry for 24 hours and then follow with a high gloss sealer spray.

Make an eye-catching picture frame out of empty cases

Picture frames are something that every home needs. They can be used for anything from photos of loved ones to works of art, and if you want to spice things up a little, they also make great canvases for paint projects. If you're going to repurpose your old CDs, consider creating unique picture frames out of their cases. You can use either the front or back cover or both. This is a fantastic way to repurpose old CDs. You'll need the following materials to make one:
  • Paint
  • A brush for applying paint with ease 
  • Clear spray varnish 
  • An empty CD case (front cover) or two if desired 
  • Ruler and pencil for drawing straight lines when cutting 
  • Screwdriver, hammer, and nails to replace the back of your picture frame when you are done with it.
The first thing you'll need to do is figure out what size case will work best for the artwork or photo that you'll be putting into this new frame. You can use a single CD case if necessary, but using two is recommended because the cavity in the back is usually much deeper, allowing for more stability when you're finished with your project. Take out all of the pieces from inside the case, including any metal fittings used to hold the CD in place, after you've decided on this important detail (which can affect both how it looks and if it will hold together). You should probably keep these pieces because they can be used for other projects later on if you don't need them right now, but that is entirely up to you. When the old case is empty and ready for repurposing, take out your ruler and draw three horizontal lines that are equally spaced apart on each side, followed by about six vertical lines that are equally spaced apart. However, don't draw the lines too close together because you'll need some space to cut around them later. Once you've laid out your basic grid for cutting, decide how deep you want your frame to be and begin by marking it with a pencil. It's better to err on the side of caution and make it a little too short than too long because you can always cut more off later if necessary. After you've marked out your desired depth with a pencil, take some strong scissors or a razor blade and carefully begin cutting along each line until they're all separated from one another. Remember that you may need to use some force when doing this, but you don't want to cut yourself or go too deep with the blade, cutting into your CD pieces below. With everything set up and ready to go, all that remains is for you to paint it however you want! If you're going to use spray varnish, make sure to apply at least two coats to the front and back of your case to give it a nice finish. Allow everything to dry for a few minutes after you've finished painting before putting in any photos or artwork. Because these cases should be fairly durable, you can use either adhesive or pushpins to attach anything to them.

Create a CD wall hanging 

Turning old CDs into decorative wall hangings is another way to repurpose and recycle them. This will be useful in your home or office, providing you with something to look at while working or relaxing. This idea is also great for decoration if you like music because it involves making the design out of the CD's song list. You will need the following materials to complete this design:
  • A pencil and ruler for drawing straight lines
  • Paint (bright colors work best) 
  • Clear spray varnish (optional) 
  • An empty CD case (front cover or back only is fine; use two if desired), paintbrush, and a screwdriver

With Aspiration Zero, you can spend your time and money on things that are important to you

Don't just throw away old CDs! Make something new and valuable out of them. Aspiration makes every effort to reduce its environmental impact. They can reduce pollution, increase recycling efforts, or develop products/services that help people in need live better lives. We're excited about the launch of Aspiration Zero, which rewards you with points for using it and going carbon neutral on your own. Aspiration Zero is a credit card that rewards you for achieving carbon neutrality! Interested? Apply here today!

Make Change Staff

November 11, 2021

Green Banking

Discover why it matters to put your money where your values are.

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Is a Socially Responsible Credit Card Really Possible?

Help, Kid, Charity, Voluntary, Children Aspiration is creating the first card that makes you feel good about using it. Credit card corporations wield considerable power over consumers, and it is important to be socially responsible when choosing one. The average person has at least five credit cards in their wallet. If you're a socially conscious consumer, then you've likely been frustrated by the lack of options when it comes to credit card companies.  It seems like every company offers rewards programs that are exclusively for big spenders while charging high interest rates and outrageous fees for those who don't have enough money to make them happy. But there is hope! In this article, we'll explore some different types of cards on the market today and how they stack up in terms of being "socially responsible."

Types of Credit Cards

There are many different types of credit cards and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. The best card for you depends on your financial goals and habits. In general, there are four main types of cards: cash back cards, travel rewards cards, co-branded credit cards, and store-branded credit cards Cashback cards: Cashback cards offer cash rewards for purchases. You can earn cash back on everyday expenses like groceries and gas, as well as special promotions during specific months of the year (like holiday shopping).  Some companies also give bonus points for online spending to incentivize people who shop exclusively online. The cashback rate is often a percentage of the total you spend, but sometimes it's a flat rate. The cash reward comes in the form of a check or statement credit that can be redeemed anytime. Travel rewards cards: Travel rewards cards are similar to cash back reward cards in that they offer points for every dollar spent and allow cardholders to use those points for travel expenses.  However, the points are generally worth more with a travel rewards card because you can use them on any airline or hotel without having to worry about blackout dates and limited availability. Travel cards also come in handy during emergencies when your credit card won't work at an ATM (or anywhere else).  Co-branded cards: These types of cards are offered by a specific company and can only be used at that company's locations or websites. They often come with very high interest rates, so it is best to use them as a last resort if you have no other option available. Store-branded credit cards: These types of cards tend to offer better rewards on the companies' products than cash back cards. They are usually offered by larger retail stores like Walmart, Target, Lowes, and Home Depot. Some store-branded credit cards also offer 0% financing on purchases for a certain period (up to 24 months), which can be an incentive if you're looking to buy big-ticket items. Rewards programs have become a big market in the past decade with many popular companies offering points that can be redeemed for gift cards, travel discounts, and other perks. But are these rewards really worth it?

The risks of traditional credit card rewards programs

Rewards programs are appealing to people who have good credit because they can earn points that eventually turn into rewards. However, these awards can cause more harm than good for people who are trying to build credit. Many cards offer rewards programs, but these often come with high interest rates and annual fees that can quickly offset the value of any points you earn. It's important to remember how these companies make money: by charging interest on your purchases. You may think that you're getting free stuff, but you are actually paying for it with high interest rates and annual fees (if they even offer them).  People often start by spending close to the amount of their credit limit in order to receive reward points, but then end up having a balance at the end of the month. This is how credit card companies make money, and why rewards programs are not always a good idea for people who are trying to build or maintain their credit score. Rewards points may seem like free prizes that you can get just by spending your hard-earned dollars on essentials like groceries and gas, but in reality, they often come with a much higher cost.

What is a socially responsible credit card?

The main issue with traditional credit card rewards programs is that they encourage people to spend more than what they can afford and rack up additional debt in the process. Therefore, a socially responsible credit card should help consumers limit their spending and avoid accumulating extra charges on top of high interest rates. Many companies offer cash back cards as well as travel reward cards that allow cardholders to redeem their points for gift cards or discounts on certain products. These programs can be attractive because you're getting something back, but they often have high interest rates and annual fees that offset any financial value you get out of the rewards program. A more socially responsible credit card would offer benefits like environmentally conscious financing, where you can get a lower interest rate in exchange for using your money to support green energy. These types of cards have lower interest rates and fewer fees, so you won't spend as much on extra charges that offset the value of your rewards. Socially responsible credit cards are becoming increasingly popular because consumers want to support companies that share the same values and principles concerning capitalism. Many people care about whether or not their money is going towards clean energy initiatives, environmental protection programs, and other socially responsible causes.

2 Women Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair

The benefits of a socially responsible credit card

There are many advantages to having a socially responsible credit card that can help you save money in the long term. This type of card would have low interest rates, no annual fee, and could even be used for things like building your credit score.

Offers great interest rates

The main benefit of a socially responsible card would be that it encourages people to only spend what they can afford without accumulating additional charges on top of high interest rates.

Helps you build or maintain your credit score

One of the main reasons why someone might choose a credit card with a rewards program over one that doesn't offer any rewards is because they want to build or maintain their credit score. This card would help these people do just that, and it would also have low interest rates and no annual fee so you wouldn't lose out on money if you paid off your balance every month. This type of socially responsible credit card could be a great alternative for those who would like to earn rewards for their purchases without paying too high of a cost in the end.

Offers rewards for enviro-conscious spending

One of the most socially responsible cards would offer rewards for enviro-conscious spending. This means you could use your money to finance green energy and receive a lower interest rate in return, which is better than getting nothing back when using other types of credit cards with reward programs.

Disadvantages of socially responsible credit Cards

Socially responsible credit cards are a great option for people who want to use their money responsibly. These types of cards have many pros and some cons that are worth considering if you're looking for more options in the world of finance. Cons:
  • Just because a credit card is labeled as socially responsible doesn't mean it will be good for everyone. There are likely some pros and cons associated with every type, so read the fine print before signing up.
  • Socially responsible cards usually have smaller sign-up bonuses than other types, so this could be a factor to consider if it's important for you to have a high rewards rate.

Aspiration, a Rewards Program with Social Impact

If you are someone who wants to have an impact on the world around you through your spending habits, Aspiration has great options for socially responsible banking that will be able to help you do just that. Socially responsible credit cards are becoming more popular as consumers become aware of companies that support the same values and principles. People who use a credit card with rewards for green initiatives can build or maintain their credit score, while also saving money in interest charges. Your spending habits can make a difference, Aspiration wants to help you do good with your purchases while still getting great value. The Aspiration Zero credit card is a new and innovative way to encourage cardholders to make more eco-conscious decisions.  With this card, you can earn points for purchasing environmentally friendly products or offset your carbon footprint by participating in green activities like driving less or donating to an environmental charity. If you’re interested in making the world a better place while also earning rewards for doing so, check out Aspiration Zero today!

Make Change Staff

October 21, 2021

The Best International Debit Cards to Choose From in 2021

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Travel more. Spend less. The best international debit card options in 2021 Not all debit cards are created equal, and that's especially true when it comes to traveling outside of the United States.  International debit cards can save you money while traveling abroad by eliminating the need for currency exchange fees. But with so many options out there, how do you know which card is right for your needs?  In this guide, we'll highlight some of the best international debit cards on the market today, highlighting their pros and cons to help you find one that suits your specific needs!

What makes a great international card? 

There are several things to consider when selecting an international debit card, but the two most important aspects of any travel-related purchase are safety and efficiency.  When it comes to deciding which is best for you, think about how much cash access you need while on your trip. If all you're doing is withdrawing cash from ATMs along your route, consider an ATM card instead. If you're planning to use your debit card for all of your purchases while traveling abroad, keep reading!

What are the five best international debit cards? 

When it comes to selecting an international debit card, there are many options available. Some of our favorites are listed below: 

Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account

The Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account is a fantastic choice for those who need quick access to cash anywhere in the world.  It's a free account with unlimited ATM withdrawals and no currency exchange costs, making it one of our top international debit card choices.
  • Service Fee: $0 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No
  • ATM fee: $0.03 
  • International fees: 0% 
  • Our Rating: 4.6/5
The pros: The Charles Schwab Investor Checking Account is an excellent choice for those who need quick access to cash while traveling abroad. It's also one of the few debit cards that allow for unlimited ATM withdrawals, making it considerably easier to keep track of your spending when traveling. The cons: This debit card doesn't come with a sign-up bonus, which is its biggest downfall.  If you're looking to explore more than just Europe, consider applying for both the Charles Schwab Investor Checking account and the Charles Schwab Bank International debit card.  This will give you access to your US dollars, Euros, British Pounds, Japanese Yen, Australian Dollars, and Canadian Dollars from any ATM around the world without incurring a single currency exchange fee.

HSBC Premier Platinum Debit Card

The HSBC Premier Platinum debit card is an excellent option for those who want to earn cashback on all of their purchases. It comes with a high interest rate, offers unlimited ATM withdrawals, and earns you up to 0.35% cashback depending on your spending habits!
  • Service Fee: $75/year  
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No 
  • ATM fee: $0.00 or $0.50 in some countries, depending on the ATM operator 
  • International fees: 0% 
  • Our Rating: 4/5
The pros: Because this debit card gives a high-interest rate on rewards, it is ideal for people who plan to make several purchases throughout their travel. It also has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and it is one of the few cards that does not impose ATM withdrawal fees when used at an HSBC bank in Europe! The cons: It doesn't come with a sign-up bonus, and the interest rate isn't as high as most cashback cards.  Although the HSBC Premier Platinum debit card can be used to withdraw up to $700 per day at any HSBC ATM around Europe without incurring an additional fee, it's important to note that there are some countries in which HSBC doesn't have any ATMs at all.

Capital One 360 debit card

The Capital One 360 debit card is an excellent choice for those who want a low-fee account with no minimums. The standard monthly fee of $0 and the lack of foreign transaction fees make it one of our top recommendations for international debit cards.
  • Service Fee: $0/month 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No
  • ATM fee: None when using an ATM located in the US. When outside, there is a maximum withdrawal amount ($400) after which Capital One will charge either $0.50 or $20, depending on the ATM operator 
  • International fees: 0% 
  • Our Rating: 4.2/5
The pros: Because there are no minimums and no monthly fees, the Capital One 360 checking account is one of our top suggestions for people looking for a low-fee account with no strings attached. The cons: There is no sign-up bonus with this card, and the ATM withdrawal fee is high if you withdraw more than $400 from an ATM outside the United States.  Capital One also has a terrific cashback program that allows you to earn up to 2% back on all debit card purchases. The Capital One 360 debit card is a terrific choice for saving money on purchases while traveling overseas! Fidelity Cash Management Account  A Fidelity Cash Management Account is an excellent choice for those looking for a low-maintenance account. There are no monthly fees or minimums, making it one of the most affordable options on this list!
  • Service Fee: $0/month 
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0% 
  • Sign-Up Bonus: No
  • ATM fee: $0.00 or $20, depending on the ATM operator 
  • International fees: None! (Fidelity will refund all transaction fees up to $12 per month)
*Please note that only US citizens can apply for a Fidelity Cash Management Account.
  • Our Rating: 4.4/5
The Pros: With no monthly fees and a modest $20 ATM withdrawal fee, the Fidelity cash management account is one of our top picks for anyone looking to save money on foreign debit card usage while traveling abroad. Furthermore, there are no foreign transaction costs, and Fidelity will refund any ATM fees for domestic transactions! The Cons: This account doesn't come with a sign-up bonus, and those who aren't US citizens won't be able to apply.  If you're looking to earn cashback on your purchases while traveling abroad, we recommend opening up a checking account with a bank that offers a high-interest cashback program! Banking, Business, Button, Card, Cashless, Commercial

Prepaid debit card

For those who aren't looking for any cash access or ATM withdrawals during their trip, it might be worth enrolling in a prepaid travel card instead.  This will allow you to lock in the exchange rate before your trip, which will save you from any unfavorable fluctuations. In addition to that, a prepaid debit card comes with plenty of other benefits: 
  • No monthly fee: A prepaid travel card doesn't charge a monthly fee as most international bank accounts do. This makes it one of our top recommendations for those on a budget!
  • No background check: International bank accounts and regular debit cards require a background check before you're able to open an account. With prepaid travel cards, however, there is no background check needed.
  • Safer than cash: Traveling with large amounts of money isn't always the safest option. A prepaid travel card comes in handy as theft protection against lost or stolen cards.
  • No need to plan ahead: Since a prepaid travel card is pre-loaded with foreign currency, you don't have to worry about having the right amount of cash on hand at all times while traveling abroad.

Which countries can I use a prepaid debit card in? 

The great thing about most prepaid debit cards is that they're accepted worldwide. You can use them in whichever country you visit! However, before applying for a card, you should do your homework. Some prepaid debit cards don't cover specific nations or regions within a country, so be sure to read the fine print before you commit!

What are some common fees associated with using a prepaid debit card? 

Like most bank accounts, there are a few fees that come with using a prepaid debit card. While these vary from one issuer to the next, here's an overview of some common fees associated with travel cards: 
  • Transaction fee: It's common to pay a transaction fee with prepaid debit cards — especially those issued by banks outside of your home country. This is typically around $0.50 per purchase made abroad.
  • Loading fee: Prepaid travel cards usually come with a loading fee, which is paid every time you add money to your card. This means that if you plan on using the same prepaid debit card for an extended period while traveling abroad, it's best to load up the card before leaving.
  • Withdrawal fee: Most prepaid debit cards have a withdrawal fee, which is usually around $0.50-$0.75 per ATM transaction. However, some banks do waive this fee for their own ATMs — so check with your issuer and bank location before using an ATM!
Prepaid travel cards might be beneficial to anyone who wants to save money on international transactions while going overseas.  They are, however, not the ideal option for everyone! Before applying, make sure you understand all of the expenses associated with these cards so you don't end up paying extra fees on your trip.

Meet Aspiration Zero, an international credit card with a conscience

One of the many perks your Aspiration Zero credit card offers is a carbon offset program.  When you purchase an item with your credit card, Aspiration will help fund projects that have been verified as being environmentally friendly and beneficial to society. You’ll also be earning points for every dollar spent which can then be redeemed for rewards like gift cards or travel packages at hotels around the world. High interest The best part? There are no limits on how much you earn so there’s plenty of opportunities to customize this reward strategy based on what matters most to you!  Interested in Aspiration Zero? Apply now to get started today!

Make Change Staff

October 17, 2021

How to Increase Your Credit Limit On Your Capital One Credit Card

Credit Card, Credit Score, Mastercard, Money, Income

Image by Pabitra Kaity from Pixabay

If you want to get a higher credit card limit, start by making your case directly to Capital One. Capital One is one of the most popular credit card companies in the United States.  Millions of people have Capital One credit cards, and thousands more apply each year. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your credit limit wasn't enough? If so, don’t worry––this guide will explain how to successfully increase your credit limit on your Capital One credit card

Understanding your credit limit 

The first step is to understand what your credit limit means.  Your current credit line is the maximum amount of money you can spend on your card, excluding any purchases made with your cash advance or balance transfers. The "credit utilization" ratio refers to the total amount of money owed on all of your Capital One credit cards. A lower credit limit, such as $500, can be problematic because it can push your debt-to-credit percentage above 30%. As a result, your credit score could suffer. When you understand how your credit limit benefits you, you will be able to understand:

Before you request a credit increase

Use your card responsibly

Before requesting an increase in your credit limit, make sure you're using your Capital One credit card responsibly. Making on-time monthly payments and never carrying a balance is always preferable! This means you'd need to make at least 12 months of on-time payments on your current cards before they'd consider raising your credit limit. If it's been at least a year since you requested a credit raise, there's no need to be concerned. Also, don't apply for too many other credit cards. Applying for too many other credit cards will almost certainly jeopardize your chances of receiving a higher credit limit. This is because lenders will interpret this as you taking on more debt, and they will be less likely to approve your request. Simple steps you can take to ensure you're using your card responsibly include:
  • Paying off your credit card in full every month
  • Maintaining a record of your spending habits and adhering to a budget
  • Using cash for small purchases, so you're not tempted to buy more than you need
  • Avoiding signing up for store credit cards unless there are benefits that will save you money
  • Checking your credit score before applying for any loans or other financial products 
  • Reviewing the terms and conditions of all contracts before signing them

Keep track of your spending habits 

If you want to increase your credit limit, you should keep track of how much money is going out (how much you are spending).  You should make sure that the amount of money you’re spending on minimum payments does not exceed 30% of your monthly income. If this occurs, Capital One will likely reject your request to increase your credit limit. In other words, make sure that you are spending no more than 30% of your monthly income on minimum payments. This means, for example, if your salary is $4000 per month, make sure not to spend more than $1200 each month. 

Plan to pay off the balances on time and in full every month

One of the most important things to do before making any kind of request for a credit increase is to have a solid game plan in place for paying down those existing credit balances within 30 days or less.  If Capital One determines that you are unable to pay off your balances on time, the request will likely be denied. Capital One advises paying off more than the minimum monthly payment. For example, if your balance is $1500 and your monthly credit card payment is only $50, you should pay more than this amount regularly to prevent accruing more debt that could risk any future requests for an increase in your credit limit.

Request a credit increase for a valid reason

If you want to increase your credit limit, make sure it's for a genuine need and not just for the sake of having more money. If Capital One suspects this is the case, your request may be denied. Valid reasons for requesting a credit limit increase include the following:
  • You've been a customer for a long time.
  • There is no outstanding balance on the account.
  • You have an excellent credit history with the organization.
  • Your income has significantly increased in recent months, or you need to purchase something expensive shortly (examples include buying your first home, paying for medical expenses)
  • You want to consolidate other debt onto this card since the terms are better than the terms on your other cards.

Consider all of your financial obligations

One of the most important things to consider before increasing your credit limit is how much debt you have currently.  Capital One recommends that if a consumer is going to request an increase in their credit line, they should first ensure that all other bills are being paid on time and within 30 days or less. This means checking car loans, mortgage payments, and any other bills you have. 4 Easy Tips to Increase your Credit Card Limit | MyBankTracker

Credit bureaus affect your approval rate 

Knowing that there is a mathematical algorithm used by all three major credit bureaus to determine your credit score (Equifax, Experian & TransUnion) makes it clear why you need to make sure that you're keeping up with responsible spending.   To determine your risk factor for payment default, this algorithm considers factors such as how much you owe, how frequently bills are paid on time, and what types of new credit have been opened recently. For example, if all three bureaus show that you've had a late or missed payment on your credit cards, getting a higher limit will be much more difficult. This is significant because it emphasizes the importance of paying off your credit card balances on time and in full each month. Repayment history accounts for 35% of the FICO score calculation. This is yet another reason why you must make all of your monthly payments on time, whether for car loans or student loans.

Keep the balance below 50% of your credit limit

Carrying balances that are less than 50% of your available credit is ideal if you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to increasing your credit limit.  If Capital One determines that this is not the case and that all they see are high balances due in 30 days or less, they will find it much more difficult to approve a credit increase.

Make sure your credit score is high enough

If your credit score is less than 700, the chances of Capital One approving an increase are slim. Before they consider giving you access to even more money than you already have, you'll need to have a solid track record with them. Having a credit score that is higher than the average tells Capital One:
  • You have a track record of paying your bills on time. 
  • You are financially responsible and can be relied upon to borrow money responsibly.
  • You understand how to save money and make sound financial decisions.
  • You're more likely to pay off your debts on time. 

How long does it take to process requests?

Capital One typically responds with an answer immediately after submitting the request. However, for other people, the process can be much faster. It all depends on how diligent you've been with your repayment and whether you're requesting an increase due to a genuine need.

Contact Capital One 

If you've been a good customer and have kept up with your payments in full and on time, then there's nothing wrong with asking for a credit increase. It never hurts to ask! This is how many people can successfully get their credit limit increased. If you need more credit but don't want to take out a loan or pay for things up front, then this can be a great way of doing it.

Building great credit is easy (and eco-friendly) with Aspiration

Building and maintaining good credit is crucial for your financial health. The truth is, it’s not that hard to do!  With the Aspiration Zero carbon-neutral credit card, you can build great credit just by going carbon neutral. All you have to do is be mindful of your spending habits and use your card responsibly.  We want our members to feel confident in their ability to manage their finances so we provide a plethora of articles on topics like budgeting and money management which will help get you started with building better habits around managing money.  Interested in Aspiration Zero? Apply now to get started today!

Make Change Staff

October 16, 2021

The Most Profitable (and Eco-Friendly) Credit Card Rewards Programs in 2021

Credit Card, Dollar, Cash, Money, Gray Money

Earn points toward free travel, gift cards, and more with a credit card rewards program. Which one would be best for you?

Credit card rewards programs can be a great way to earn money back on credit card purchases, but they vary in the level of rewards and the requirements for earning them.  We've compiled a list of credit cards with credit card rewards programs that will suit any credit card holder's needs. Read on to learn more about each
credit card's reward program!

Types of credit card rewards programs

There are credit card rewards programs that offer cash back, points for travel or other purchases, airline miles, and hotel credit. Here are some of the more popular credit card reward offers:

Cash Back

Cashback credit cards typically provide between one percent and five percent cash back on all purchases, depending on the type of credit card you have.  Cashback is received in the form of a statement credit or checks sent to your billing address after several weeks or months. 

Points for Travel/Flight Miles

If you love to travel, flight miles might be more your speed.  Flight miles centered credit cards usually provide between one and two airline miles for each dollar spent, but only with the use of a co-branded partner program (for example, you can earn United Airlines Miles if you have a Capital One Venture Card).

Hotel Reward Points

If hotels are your thing, hotel rewards cards may be the credit card for you. Hotel rewards cards usually provide between five and ten hotel points for every dollar spent at their partner hotels. 

Specialty Rewards Points

Finally, specialty rewards cards offer points in exchange for purchases at specific retailers or specific causes (for example, zero-waste living or eco-friendly purchases). 

The 5 most profitable credit card rewards programs of 2021

Our favorite card for frequent flyers

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be a great option if you’re looking to gain points for travel-related spending.  Annual Fee: $95 Rewards Rate: You can earn five times the points on travel and dining purchases, two times the points at gas stations, and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere. Introductory Offer: 100k points when you spend $4k within 90 days of opening an account, which can be redeemed for $1250 in travel statement credits or transferred 1:1 to your airline frequent flyer account. Recommended Credit Score: 720+ Our Rating: 4.5/5 The Pros 
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • The $95 yearly fee is waived the first year during seasonal promotions
  • Points can be transferred to partner airline programs. 
The Cons 
  • Very hard to get approved if you don't have a long, excellent credit history 
  • High APR of 15.99%–22.99%
  • The sign-up bonus is only available when you spend $4000 in three months.
This credit card offers high cashback rates at restaurants and hotels, along with 2X points on all other purchases. The best credit card for travel, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a sign-up bonus of 100,000 points after spending $4000 within the first three months.

Our favorite card for newbie travelers

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card could be a great choice for the keen traveler looking for a card to introduce them to airmiles and travel perks.  Annual Fee: $95 Rewards Rate: Two miles per dollar spent. Miles can be redeemed for travel purchases, including airfare and hotels (you still have to pay taxes on these transactions), or used as credit towards Capital One Venture's purchase protection service that protects your new purchases against accidental damage or theft for up to 120 days. Introductory Offer: 60,000 points when you spend $3000 within 90 days of opening an account. Recommended Credit Score: 700+ Our Rating: 4.2/5 The Pros 
  • High rewards rates on travel purchases and no foreign transaction fees. 
  • You can redeem your miles for travel or use them as a credit against Venture's purchase protection plan. 
  • Good introductory APRs on balance transfers and purchases of 0% APR for 12 months.
The Cons 
  • Points can be only used for travel
  • Only available for people with excellent credit scores (700+).
  • You have to pay taxes on travel purchases when you redeem miles, which can be costly depending on where you're going and how many miles are required for your ticket.  
This card is perfect if you're new to flight miles and not sure how to use your miles. The Capital One Venture card offers a good introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, as well as double-miles for all travel-related transactions (including taxes).  The sign-up bonus is 50k miles when you spend $3000 within 90 days of opening an account––enough for a round-trip flight to Europe or Asia (depending on where you are departing from)! white printer paper on red textile

Our favorite card for cashback rewards

The Chase Freedom Unlimited can be a solid card choice for those looking to prioritize cashback on everyday purchases.  Annual Fee: $0  Rewards Rate: The cashback rewards programs that the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers are pretty impressive. You earn one 5% cashback on travel, 3% cashback on dining, 3% cashback on all drugstore purchases, and 1.5% cashback on all other purchases.  Introductory Offer: 15k sign-up bonus when you spend $500 within 90 days of opening an account. Recommended Credit Score: 690+ Our Rating: 4.7/5  The Pros  The Cons 
  • You don't get any travel benefits like reimbursement of baggage fees or airport lounge access with this card.
  • The sign-up bonus is only available when you spend $500 within 90 days of opening an account.
  • If your credit isn't quite up to snuff, either because your score doesn't meet the recommended minimum or because you just don't have a long enough history with credit cards, then this card might not be for you. 
This card is perfect for people who want to earn cashback without having to keep track of categories or caps. By far our favorite cashback credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a great introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. A great choice if you want to maximize your cashback rewards.

Our favorite card for everyday purchases

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card offers great point bonuses on everyday spending.  Annual Fee: $0 Rewards Rate: The Amex EveryDay card offers two points for every dollar spent on supermarket purchases including grocery stores and one point for all other purchases. You can get a 20% bonus on your points if you make 30 or more purchases per billing cycle. Introductory Offer: 10,000 points when you spend $1000 within 90 days of opening an account. Recommended Credit Score: 670+  Our Rating: Our Rating: 4.2/5  The Pros 
  • No introductory APR on balance transfers or purchases for 15 months.
  • No annual fee
  • An average recommend credit score 
The Cons 
  • Rewards can only be redeemed for statement credits, and points expire after 12 months of account inactivity.
  • The sign-up bonus is only available when you spend $1000 within 90 days of opening an account. 
This credit card is a great introductory card for those that don't have a long credit history. It has no annual fee and an introductory APR on purchases for 15 months, which can help you get out of debt faster if you're trying to pay down existing balances from other cards.  Plus the rewards program is great––double points at supermarkets mean that with each purchase where you use your card, not only do you get your regular amount in points but then another 20% on top of that. There's no limit to the number of points you can earn and redeeming them is easy! person holding black and brown book

Our favorite card for low interest

The BankAmericard® Credit Card not only boasts no annual fee but it has an enticing introductory low interest offer.   Annual Fee: $0  Rewards Rate: The BankAmericard credit card offers rewards points that can be redeemed as a statement credit for any purchase you make with the card. Introductory Offer: No introductory APR on balance transfers or purchases for the first 18 months. Recommended Credit Score: 670+  Our Rating: Our Rating: 4/5 The Pros 
  • No annual fee to use this card. 
  • No interest charge when you pay your bill in full each month. You'll enjoy no interest on purchases if you do choose to carry a balance for the first year. 
The Cons  This card is perfect for anyone that wants to maximize their savings without having to pay an annual fee. Plus it has a great interest rate and rewards program so if you're looking for the lowest APR on purchases, this is one of our favorites! 

Our favorite eco-friendly credit card

The Aspiration Zero can be a great option if you’re looking for rewards for yourself and for the planet.   Annual Fee: N/A Rewards Rate: Up to 1% cashback on every purchase. Introductory Offer: With the Aspiration Zero card, Aspiration plants a tree every time you make a purchase and has a rewards program that lets you plant a tree too!  Recommended Credit Score: 700+ Our Rating: 4.7/5 The Pros  The Cons 
  • The card is still new, so it may take time to build up a comprehensive rewards program 
This card has a great rewards introductory program––you earn up to one percent on every purchase! Plus with the Aspiration Zero card, Aspiration plants a tree every time you make a purchase.  That means if you use this credit card for all of your day-to-day purchases like groceries or gas, not only are you earning rewards but also helping to fight climate change. This card is perfect for our eco-friendly friends.

Ready to get started with your new card?

All of these reward programs can be great options, but when it comes down to it, there is no one credit card reward program that is better than all of the others.  While they can be great for people who travel often or those interested in eco-friendly purchases, it's important to take into consideration what type of purchases you usually make with your credit card, to get the maximum benefit.  Interested in Aspiration Zero? Apply now to get started today!

Make Change Staff

October 11, 2021

These Credit Card Offers Can Give You Extra-Sustainable Spending Power

Hands, Earth, Next Generation, Climate Protection Have you ever been enticed by credit card offers that offer cashback incentives or 0% APR?  These credit cards seem like a great deal, but what we told you there were credit card companies out there who not only promise money back and no interest rates, but also invest in a more sustainable planet?  In this article, we’ll talk about credit card offers, how to find an eco-friendly credit card, and some of the top cards on the market.

What are credit card rewards?

A credit card reward is an incentive or benefit that credit card companies give to their customers to promote their business.  The incentives are offered to you when you choose a credit card with perks and benefits, which can include cashback rewards, 0% APR on purchases, frequent flyer miles, hotel points, and more. It may seem like credit cards are doing you a favor, but credit card companies are often the ones really getting rewarded.

How credit card offers and rewards benefit credit card companies

Credit card rewards help attract new customers and can increase the lifetime value of a customer.  The longer you stay with a credit card company, the more interest you pay on your balance. The dangers of credit card rewards are that they entice you to spend more than you might be able to afford and can cause you to buy things you do not need. This causes many people to plunge into debt and not be able to pay their credit card bills on time, hence the incurring of interest rates.

What kinds of credit card rewards can you get?

Flight miles: A credit card offer that allows you the chance to earn flight miles and travel for free. They can be a great way to rack up enough rewards points before you take your next trip, but this credit card perk isn't as green as it may seem at first glance.  Cashback: A credit card offer that provides you with cashback on all your credit card purchases, which can be a great way to save money. The credit card company takes some of the profit you would have made and offers it back as cashback rewards for users who shop at their business partners.  *Note: These business partners may not be the most eco-friendly choices. 0% APR: A credit card offer that provides consumers with 0% APR on all their purchases and balance transfers. This is a great way to avoid paying interest charges, and for credit card users to invest in themselves, but it is worth bearing in mind that the 0% APR usually only lasts for a limited time.  Reward Points: A credit card that offers users reward points for shopping at different retailers. These kinds of credit card offers are great for consumers who enjoy shopping at a variety of places and can be especially beneficial for people looking to save money on gas since they get reward points for filling up their tanks.  Other incentives: Other credit card offers include hotel reward programs, online savings, and more. Even though these credit cards may not be as environmentally friendly as companies would like to think they are, they may provide people with incentives that can help the consumer invest in a more sustainable planet.  Examples include: 
  • The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card - This credit card provides you with cashback bonus offers and 0% APR for the first 12 months. It also boasts a 6% bonus cash rewards for U.S. supermarket purchases, 3% cash rewards on transit commuting, and unlimited 3% cashback on gas purchases.
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card - This credit card provides you with a $150 sign-up bonus cash rewards offer after you use your new card to make $500 in purchases within the first three months. It also offers 0% APR for 15 months on purchases, as well as no annual fee which is great for consumers looking to save money without having to worry about hidden fees.
  • The Citi Double Cash Card - This credit card provides you with unlimited cashback rewards of up to one percent on all purchases, while also boasting no annual fee and 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers made within the first four months. The only downside is that it doesn't offer a sign-up bonus or any other incentives.
While these can be great offers, there are more sustainable financing options out there–let’s take a look.   

What makes a credit card sustainable?

Every credit card company has different ideas about what it means to be sustainable. Some credit card companies may use recycled plastic credit cards while others may use eco-friendly credit cards The credit cards may have built-in incentives that are eco-friendly, but it is up to the consumer to decide if their company practices are sustainable. The most common ways these credit cards are sustainable is through their: 
  • Materials: Credit card companies may offer sustainable materials to credit card users such as recycled plastics or biodegradable plastic. 
  • Rewards: Some credit cards have eco-friendly incentives built into their rewards programs like reward points for renewable energy incentives or organic products.
  • Energy consumption: How much energy does the company use, and from what sources? Using renewable energy sources and aiming to reduce or offset their carbon footprint can be signs of sustainability in a business
  • Eco-friendly business practices: How much effort is put into eco-friendly business practices that benefit communities, consumers, and employees?
These incentives can help people invest in sustainable living, but it does not stop at the incentive program and how much energy is consumed by their business practices. The most important way for these companies to be sustainable is to use sustainable practices in their business processes, too. These are just some of the questions that you might want to be asking yourself when deciding which credit cards to use, especially if sustainability is a priority for you. You might also want to consider the following questions:

How does the company's behavior impact the environment? 

Every credit card company has different impacts on its environment and they may or may not be environmentally friendly When it comes to consumer eco-friendly cards, companies can control what materials they are buying for their products, where they source these products from, and what incentives they use for their business.

What makes a credit card green?  

Every credit card company has different ideas about what it means to be green.  Some companies may use recycled plastic or biodegradable plastics for their cards while others are not concerned with the environmental impact of producing new materials. These cards may have built-in incentives that are environmentally friendly, but it is up to the consumer to decide if these actions make the company green. 13 Best “No Interest” Credit Cards for 2021

Credit cards that offer eco-rewards

There are credit card companies out there who not only promise mainstream credit card rewards, they also invest in renewable energy projects and other sustainable practices.  We’ve pulled together the top sustainable credit card offers available in 2021 to give you extra-sustainable spending power. 

Aspiration Zero

As a carbon-conscious individual looking for ways to make the world better and greener, you might be looking for an alternative financial solution to fossil-fuel investing by big banks The neobank Aspiration is committed not just in word but through its actions–they don't invest in any fossil fuel projects or other businesses that contribute to the destruction of our planet.   For each swipe of their Aspiration Zero credit card Aspiration will plant a tree on your behalf, in addition to giving you the chance to plant a second tree by rounding up your purchase.  Not only that, but Aspiration helps you work towards carbon neutrality through its easy-to-use app that tracks the carbon footprint of your purchases–even rewarding you in the months you hit carbon neutral.  One credit card–zero footprint. As the most sustainable card on our list, the Aspiration Zero could be a great choice for everyday spending that rewards both you and the planet

The Green America Credit Card

The Green America credit card is a great way to give back and support our environment.  The TCM Bank Visa has all of the benefits that you would expect from any other bank in addition to actively supporting green businesses. By directing some money each month toward using The Green America Credit Card, you are not only helping the environment but local businesses as well.

Amalgamated Bank Credit Card

Amalgamated prides itself on being one of the pioneering socially responsible financial institutions in America It’s unionized, which means that it not only practices sustainability but also promotes partnerships and unity for better economic equity, while combating inequality from within its company, as well.  Furthermore, Amalgamated emphasizes environmentalism by using 100% renewable energy sources. Amalgamated’s bank credit card boasts no annual fee and an introductory 0% APR offer lasting 12 months UBS debuts environment-friendly credit card made of corn

Interested in a credit card that reduces your carbon footprint? Meet Aspiration Zero

If you’re looking for a credit card that can help your purchases stay within the bounds of sustainability, we recommend the Aspiration Zero carbon credit card.   This is one of the few cards in existence that rewards you with points for going carbon neutral and offsetting your footprint. Not only does this offer give you extra sustainable spending power, but it also provides peace of mind knowing that every purchase has been made responsibly. Interested? Apply now to get started today!

Make Change Staff

October 2, 2021

The Best Unlimited Cash Back Credit Card of 2021 Is…

American Express, Cards, Credit, International Pixabay, Republica Cashback credit cards can be a great deal–they enable you to earn money back on purchases that you were going to make anyway. But with so many different cashback card options on the market today, finding the right one for you can be tough. We’ve put together this article to make it easier for you. Keep reading to find our list of the best cashback credit cards of 2021.

How do cashback credit cards work?

Cashback credit cards are pretty simple–you make purchases with them and get rewarded for doing so in the form of cash. The amount you get is a percentage of the purchases that you make. For example, if a card offers 2% cashback and you spend $100, you would make $2. These cards give you the chance to earn money by making purchases that you would already be making.  Some cashback cards, such as the Aspiration Zero, go one step further by offering cashback in addition to environmental benefits, such as planting trees. 

Unlimited cashback vs. limited cashback programs

If you have the option to choose between unlimited cashback and limited cashback, unlimited may be the better choice. Limited cashback cards put a cap on the maximum amount of rewards that you can earn in a given period of time. Unlimited cards don’t. So when you choose an unlimited card, you don’t put any limits on the bonus amounts that you can get back. How does cashback work? | PaySpace Magazine

The 7 best unlimited cashback credit cards of 2021

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

Cashback rewards rate: 2% Unlimited? Yes Other Rewards/Offers: New enrollees can earn a $200 cash reward by spending at least $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of getting the card. Pros:
  • $0 annual fee
  • No confusing category restrictions to worry about
  • Cash rewards never expire as long as you keep your account open
  • 0% APR for the first 15 months
Cons:
  • The rewards rate is lower than many specialty cashback cards
  • Need a credit score of at least 690 to qualify
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is one of the finest cashback credit cards on the market today. What makes it special is how easy it is. Users don’t have to worry about category restrictions or their rewards expiring. They can simply use the card and get cash back on their purchases -- no matter what they are. The downside is that the rewards rate isn’t as high as many specialty cards.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Cashback rewards rate: 1.5% - 5% Unlimited? Yes Other Rewards/Offers: New users can earn a $200 bonus by spending at least $500 within the first 3 months of account opening. Pros:
  • Introductory offer of 5% cashback on up to $12,000 spent on groceries in the first year 
  • Earn 5% on Chase travel and 3% on dining and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • $0 introductory APR for the first 15 months
Cons:
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • APR goes up to 14.99 - 23.74% after the first 15 months
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is another great option. It offers opportunities to earn extra cashback on specific purchases and has solid introductory offers for new users. The biggest downside is its 3% foreign transaction fee, which means you won’t want to use it abroad. It’s also worth mentioning that your APR will increase dramatically after your introductory 15 months are complete. But, keep in mind as you’re reading through these, this is true of every cashback card with a low APR introductory offer.

Citi Double Cash Card

Cashback rewards rate: 1-2% Unlimited? Yes Other Rewards/Offers: N/A Pros:
  • Rewards available for all purchases
  • 0% APR for 18 months
  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 1% on purchases and another 1% when you pay it back
Cons:
  • No introductory reward offers
  • Must pay at least the minimum amount on time every month to earn rewards during that time
The Citi Double Cash Card stands out by providing a unique way to earn cashback. Users get 1% when they make a purchase and another 1% when they pay it off. It’s also really simple, you don’t have to worry about categories or product restrictions. The downside is that there are no introductory cash reward offers with this card.

Citi Custom Cash Card

Cashback rewards rate: 1-5% Unlimited? Yes Other Rewards/Offers: $200 introductory offer for spending at least $750 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account. Pros:
  • $0 annual fee
  • Automated rewards (you don’t have to worry about any activations)
  • Boosted 5% rewards in your top spending category each billing cycle
  • 0% APR for the first 15 months
Cons:
  • Boosted 5% rate is capped at $500 monthly spending (meaning the maximum you can earn from it is $25 each month)
  • You can only get one Custom Cash Card from Citi per account
The Citi Custom Cash Card is another cashback credit card that should be on your radar. Its best feature is its boosted 5% interest rate for your top spending category each month. The downside is that this higher rate is capped, so you can only get a maximum of $25 back with it each month.

Discover It CashBack

Cashback rewards rate: 1-5% Unlimited? Yes Other Rewards/Offers: Discover will match all of the cashback you’ve earned at the end of your first year with no minimum spending requirements or maximum rewards. Pros:
  • Excellent introductory offer
  • 5% cashback on up to $1,500 in spending each quarter on certain categories
  • $0 annual fee
  • Rewards never expire
  • Can redeem cashback at any time in any amount
Cons:
  • Activating bonus categories to earn 5% can be annoying
  • Must wait a full year before getting your introductory bonus
The Discover It CashBack card offers a unique introductory offer that stands out as one of the best in its class. The card also offers up to 5% cashback in the categories you activate. It can just be a hassle to remember to activate these rewards. Another potential annoyance with this option is the fact that you don’t get your bonus right away as you do with other cards. You may end up getting a bigger bonus with this card eventually, you’ll just have to wait a full year to get it.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Cashback rewards rate: 1-8% Unlimited? Yes Other Rewards/Offers: $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months of account opening Pros:
  • High rates on both dining and groceries
  • 3% back on streaming and entertainment
  • One of the highest top-end rates for a cashback card on the market
  • No need to activate anything to earn rewards
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons:
  • The highest rates are reserved for very specific purchases
  • You may be able to get higher rewards with another card if you spend heavily in a single category
The SavorOne card from Capital One offers great rates on dining, groceries, and entertainment. You also don’t have to worry about activating anything to get these rewards. The downside is, Capital One reserves its highest rates for only very specific purchases.

Chase Freedom Flex

Cashback rewards rate: 1-5% Unlimited? Yes Other Rewards/Offers: $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months. Pros:
  • $0 annual fee
  • Rewards as high as 5% in certain categories like groceries
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months
  • No minimum amount requirements for redeeming cashback rewards
Cons:
  • Have to opt into bonus categories each quarter to get the best rates
  • Bonus categories shift each month, which means they may not always align with your spending
The Chase Freedom Flex is another solid cashback option. It offers a great introductory bonus and doesn’t require you to earn any minimum amounts to claim your rewards. The downside is, you have to activate bonuses each quarter and the categories change each month. Why Your Small Business Should Use a Cash-Back Card

The best unlimited cashback credit card of 2021 is… Aspiration Zero

If you’re as passionate about the environment as we are, then the Aspiration Zero Card is hands down the finest cashback credit card of 2021. It stands out by rewarding users for going green. Each time that you use the Aspiration Zero, Aspiration will plant a tree and give you the option of planting one too. Additionally, you get rewarded for making progress towards carbon neutrality. You’ll earn maximum rewards every month that you meet your carbon goals, and Aspiration will give you a handy app to track your monthly progress towards those goals.

Does the Aspiration Zero offer unlimited cashback? 

Yes! This is one of the best features of the Aspiration Zero card. Even if you don’t do anything at all, you’ll still get 0.5% cashback whenever you use this credit card. But you can increase your cashback rate to 1% by making more of an effort to combat climate change. If you effectively eliminate your carbon footprint for the month, your purchases in that time frame will earn you 1% cashback. Want to learn more about the Aspiration Zero card? You can do so and take the first steps towards signing up for it by visiting this link today.

Make Change Staff

September 30, 2021

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