Let’s start by saying SGA hasn’t been watching a Cheech and Chong marathon and no, we don’t have the munchies. With Earth Day just around the corner, we wanted to bring awareness to the many ways that hemp can help save the environment.
Unfortunately, hemp gets lumped in with its notorious cousin, marijuana (Cannabis sativa). The truth is that while hemp is derived from the same family of plants as marijuana, it comes from Cannabis sativa L strains that contain less than 1% THC, meaning hemp carries no psychoactive properties.
Over the years, a hemp revival has taken shape. Perceptions have shifted, especially among business owners, farmers, nutritionists, activists, and green consumers. As a renewable and raw material, hemp can be incorporated into many products, making them more eco-friendly. Even the hemp flowers and seeds can be used, leaving nothing to waste. Here are more reasons why hemp’s environmentally-friendly characteristics make it a sustainable wonder crop.
- It’s a farmer’s best friend. Not only does hemp grow in a variety of climates and soil types, it doesn’t require a lot of space and its fast growth rate produces high yields. Because the crop improves soil health, no fallow period is needed to grow food crops.
- It’s an environmentalist’s best friend. The hemp plant grows like a “weed” so there is no need for most pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides (it is naturally resistant to most pests). Hemp also thrives on less water than most crops and has also been proven to remove toxins, radioactive materials, and metals from contaminated soil. When planted around the infamous nuclear disaster site Chernobyl, scientists found that hemp conducted phytoremediation, which is the process of removing the chemicals from soil, better than any other plant.
- It can compete with cotton. Hemp has been used as a durable fabric since time immemorial. As a textile, hemp needs approximately half as much land and half as much water as cotton does to thrive. Cotton is the largest user of water among all agricultural commodities. It can take 2,700 liters to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.
- It’s a superfood. Hemp seeds are used in a variety of health foods, including hemp seed butters, hemp seed energy bars, hemp oil, and even hemp seed milks. The seeds have a nutty flavor and are regarded as a superfood since they are high in omega-3 fatty acids and are a complete protein.
- It could save the trees. Hemp pulp has been used to create paper for at least 2,000 years. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper, and even the finest Bible paper today remains hemp-based.
So this Earth Day, don’t let our environment go up in smoke…switch to a renewable product that will help save the environment, leaving a cleaner and greener planet for the next generation.
We’re going to risk saying the one word that will probably cause you to stop reading: TAXES!
Are you still with us? Great! It’s time to stop make taxes…taxing. Did you know going green can be good for the environment and for your tax situation? We know it’s hard to think green, when you’re not seeing a lot of green; but there are a lot of tax benefits available if you know where to find them. So we did the work and found some of the best green tax incentives you can take advantage of:
- Donate to a Green Charity. Here are a few non-profits that could use your help. Of course, donations are tax deductible:
- Ocean Conservancy
Charity Navigator Rating: 90.9%
Uses the best in science-based solutions to tackle the biggest threats to our ocean. One of the few non-profits dedicated to marine ecosystems.
- Sierra Club
Charity Navigator Rating: 94%
Successes range from protecting millions of acres of wilderness to helping pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.
- Natural Resources Defense Council
Charity Navigator Rating: 96.4%
NRDC works to safeguard the earth—its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which life depends using judicial and legislative positions.
- Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit
Act before December 31, 2019 to claim a federal tax incentive that covers 30% of the cost of a solar electric and solar water heating systems to any owned home.
For a list of other energy tax credits and how to claim them, click here.
- Electronics Recycling Through a Non-Profit Such as All Green
The key here is reusing over recycling slightly outdated electronics. There is tax credits available to encourage consumers to donate functioning electronics via nonprofits such as All Green. “The IRS makes this credit available so that individuals are more likely to put an item into reuse as soon as possible while it has the highest fair market value,” said All Green’s Arman Sadejhi.
For more information, check out the Internal Revenue Service’s Guide to Charitable Contributions – Publication 526 – at irs.gov.
- Electric Vehicle Incentives
If you buy an electric vehicle, you may be entitled to a tax credit of up to $7,500. The tax credit begins to phase out when a manufacturer sells 200,000 qualified vehicles – after that, the credit begins to shrink.
- Non-business Energy Property Credit
If you pay for certain qualified energy efficiency improvements in your home, you may be able to take a credit equal to the sum of 10% of the amount paid or incurred for those improvements (not including installation). Qualified improvements include adding insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and skylights, exterior doors, and metal or asphalt roofs designed to reduce heat in your home. A credit is also available for certain high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning systems, as well as high-efficiency water heaters and stoves that burn biomass fuel (including installation). The lifetime limit for these improvements and systems is $500.
You might be thinking…what about the bike I bought to ride to work instead of using my car, the organic food I buy, or the rain barrel I purchased to capture rainwater? Unfortunately, those are still not tax deductible. But guess what? You’re reducing your carbon footprint and more importantly, these are savings that will help everyone.
So think about the future because going green in 2017 will save you much green in 2018!