A Brief Introduction to Recycling

Recycling

Office rubbish removal Sydney is highly trained in the art of waste disposal and have years of experience managing, sorting, getting rid of and cleaning up trash. During the 1960s and ’70s it was thought that emissions from factory chimneys and sewage pipes constituted the biggest environmental problem. But since then, due to new, worldwide “Eco-laws”, these discharges have decreased considerably. Instead, the focus has switched to the environmental problems associated with the goods that are produced and consumed in modern society. Many of the most environmentally damaging substances are currently being supplied through glass bottles, newspapers, plastic bags, coke cans, cardboard boxes and sweet wrappers just to mention a few.

To tell you what recycling is and what the word actually embodies may seem strange to you. I am sure all of you think you know exactly what it entails. But in theory recycling involves the separation and collection of materials for processing and re-manufacturing old products into new products, and the use of these new products, completing the cycle.

Glass is one of the most common man-made materials. It is made from sand, limestone and sodium carbonate and silica. The ingredients are heated to a high temperature in a furnace until they melt together. The molten glass from the furnace cools to form sheets, or may be moulded to make objects. Actually glass is completely recyclable and making products from recycled glass rather than starting from scratch saves energy resources. Recycled glass is made into new beverage bottles, food jars, insulation and other construction materials. Usually, clear glass containers are recycled into new clear glass products, while coloured glass containers are recycled into new coloured glass products.

In fact, the recycling of glass as well other products, such as aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, car tyres, newspapers and certain plastics is a growing industry in most of the world today. In South Africa however, we don’t have a very high level of recycling. There aren’t enough people who take an active interest in the environment and try to do their bit in preserving nature, by for example, taking used bottles, aluminum cans or even leaves and other garden refuse to recycling sites. This is probably due to a lot of reasons. The first and foremost being that, in South Africa, we don’t have many recycling centres and, lets face it, how many of us really sort our rubbish before throwing it in the rubbish bin?

Since it is now these products, and no longer industrial emissions, that accounts for most of the environmentally harmful substances being discharged in nature the conditions for environmental efforts have fundamentally changed. As the “release sites” or the polluters, have become so numerous, a totally new system for controlling and handling environmentally harmful wastes is needed.

One way could be to transfer the responsibility for this to the producer of goods, according to the established principle “the polluter pays.”

However, I found this principle not be all that efficient in practise. To find out what is actually being done at the industrial level, I spoke with William Footman, one of the regional managers of Nampak, which is one of South Africa’s 2 glass manufacturers. He told me that the reason we don’t have a very developed glass recycling programme in this country, is due to the fact that we only have two factories where glass can be recycled back into beverage bottles. And as it is far too expensive for the companies to transport old bottles back to their factories for recycling, they would rather produce new, rather than re-use the old glass.

But, producers who put a product on the market should, quite simply, be responsible for taking back as much as is sold. What is important for environmental policy is the creation of a system in which each producer assumes his responsibility. But should all the responsibility lie on the producers? Every consumer who buys these products should make an asserted effort to help keep our planet clean.

I searched the Internet to find out exactly how poorly we as South Africans compare to the rest of the world in recycling. The country that has been in the forefront of recycling, particularly for household waste, is Sweden. Swedes have to carefully recycle and separate their own rubbish for the refuse collectors on a daily basis. Even in the middle of their very cold winters, in raging snowstorms, the Swedish people go to the recycling stations with their household trash to perform the daily ritual of separating cardboard from plastics and glass from biological waste.

Actually nearly all 1st world countries and many developing countries have developing or already highly developed recycling programmes, and South Africa desperately needs to jump on the ‘recycling wagon’. A step in the right direction could be to build recycling plants all over the country. Every town should set up a sufficient number of collection stations and every household should share the responsibility and sort their rubbish to ensure that batteries and electrical appliances are not thrown in landfills, that glass, aluminium cans and plastic bags don’t clutter the country-side. Working together with the producers, consumers should send items back to factories, to be recycled and thereby reused.

The process of recycling, for example paper, entails the conversion of waste paper to various types of finer grades of paper. First, careful sorting is required so that items such as plastic wrapping, paper clips and staples can be removed. Waste paper is divided into categories such as newsprint; typing and computer paper; and magazines, which have shiny paper and coloured inks and need special treatment. Next, the ink must be removed. This is done by soaking the paper and breaking it up into small pieces in giant washers, then treating it with chemicals that loosen the ink so that it can be rinsed away. Sometimes more than one such chemical must be used because many types of ink must be removed. Finally, the wet, shredded waste paper is blended with other materials according to the type of end product that is desired. Old pieces of cloth, which are used to produce the finest, most expensive grades of paper, may be mixed in. Wood pulp and other forms of cellulose such as straw may also be added in varying proportions. If white paper or paper for greeting cards or stationery is to be produced, bleach may also be added to lighten it; if newsprint is to be produced, a mixture of red and blue dyes is added to reduce the greyness of the final product. Chemical preservatives are also added at this point.

At this time, the fully treated material is a sort of liquid sludge that is ready to be made into paper. In most papermaking operations, the sludge passes through a machine called a beater, which is essentially a very heavy roller that presses the fibres in the sludge together and squeezes out the water. The paper is formed and held together by the natural interlocking of the long cellulose or cloth fibres as they are pressed and dried. No glue is used in the process and in fact, the natural glue in wood is removed chemically before the paper is made.

A refining machine brushes the roll of sludge to smooth out irregularities. The papermaking machine presses the sludge into thin slices, which are then further dried by pressing or by being placed in furnaces. Finally, the paper is polished or chemically treated to give it the proper finish and lastly packaged and sent to customers.

The papermaking process itself is pretty much the same whether one uses virgin materials, recycled materials, or a mixture of the two. The difference is in the preparation of the sludge. Recycled material requires careful sorting. This in turn means that the paper mills must have a place to store waste paper and the staff to sort it, as well as a means of disposing of waste paper that cannot be used. Removing ink from waste paper also requires special chemicals, equipment, and equipment operators. As a result, some paper mills are not set up to use any recycled materials. That’s why the forests are getting smaller and smaller.

Also, not all paper products can be made with recycled paper. Brown grocery bags, for example, can be recycled into other types of paper, but they must be made, at least partially, out of virgin materials because only virgin materials have the long unbroken fibres that give the bags their necessary strength. Unlike glass bottles and aluminum cans, which can be recycled an infinite number of times, paper cannot be recycled indefinitely. Each time it is recycled, its quality degrades slightly because the fibres become more and more broken. At some point recycled paper has to be mixed in with virgin material, and eventually after repeated uses, it ends up in a landfill or and incinerator.

Obviously as recycling plants and collection sites have to be set up all over the country and for all the various types of materials we use in every day life, it is going to be a very expensive process to start, but it is vital that the wheels are set in motion before it is too late! In turn this will lead to many new jobs opening up for unskilled as well as skilled people in South Africa helping to keep our country cleaner as well as decreasing unemployment and thereby promoting the economy.
I know that to fully understand why recycling is important and to have a general feeling of responsibility and to want to keep the environment clean stems from having an education and understanding the concept of pollution. I also understand that it is not easy for the many people in our country without a proper education, to feel the need to recycle, as they may not understand they urgency of it. But if all of us in this room today already knew and understood what recycling is and how much damage is done to the ecosystem by not recycling, why do we not feel the need to take action and start taking care of our beautiful country!

References:

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Online Ski Lessons – 7 Ski Techniques to Learn to Ski Well

This is why heli skiing Canada has become a popular thrill-seeking adventure, attracting more skiers and snowboarders every year, from first-timers to expert free-riders. The following fundamental drills are foundational to learn to ski well. While there are a variety of ski techniques, all use these 7 basics in one form or another. This is by no means an exhaustive list of exercises or drills, but they are the roots to learning to ski. Downhill skiing must of course be learned on the ski slopes. The following text will give you context, descriptions, and metaphors to give you a better understanding both before and after you actually ski.

ONE: Skiing On One Ski

If you’ve seen the Karate Kid, you’ll remember how Mr. Miyagi tells Daniel that he “must first learn balance!” Now, you won’t need to stand at the bow of a row boat or get pummeled by ocean waves (you can if you wish). You will, however, need to practice skiing on one ski. Start on easy terrain such as the beginner’s area, and slowly traverse across the hill lifting up one leg. Do this until you are comfortable with either leg raised. Practice both legs equally. Simply cross the hill back and forth, gently descending. Next, when you’re comfortable, start straightening out your turns more directly downhill. Practice this drill in small increments. It may be awkward at first, but you’ll improve rapidly.

TWO: Skating

This drill is exactly what it sounds like – skating. Just as in ice skating, you push off one inside edge of your skate to the other to move forward. You’ll just do this with skis on. On gentle terrain, push off the inside edges of your skis to propel/push yourself forward. You’ll notice that your skies with naturally form a V allowing you to push from the back (somewhat) to create the forward momentum.

Why do this? It will help your body position, which is critical in order to Ski Great! It will also help you feel the pressure and edge of your skis. You want your skis to become an extension of your body. Just as a tennis racket is an extension of Andre Agassi or a golf club of Tiger Woods, you need to feel, know, and trust your skis.

THREE: Side Slipping

This drill is also just as it sounds. You’ll be slipping down the hill sideways. Don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it sounds. Simply stand perpendicular on the hill (so you’re facing the woods or the side of the hill). The edges of your skis, which you can feel really well because you’ve practiced “Skating,” will hold you in place. While on gentle terrain, slowly flatten your skis by relaxing your ankles to the point where you start “slipping” sideways downhill. Let yourself slip side away. Tighten your ankles to stop. Then start again. Practice this exercise facing both ways. Next – have a little fun and try slipping slightly forward by pressing your toes down while you flatten your skis. To slip backwards, lift your toes up. Once comfortable with this, try it on steeper terrain.

FOUR: Stepping

We do this every day when we walk down the street. We put one foot in front of the other. We don’t lean too far forward or tilt backward – we walk in perfect balance. With this drill, you’ll just be walking with skis on. On gentle terrain, try stepping through a turn. Traverse slowly across the slope and prepare to step through another turn. What you’re doing in this exercise in training your body to lean forward (just like you do when you take a step). Just as you lean forward to begin walking down the street in perfect balance, you need to lean forward to get your body down the hill, while maintaining balance. Not an easy exercise to illustrate, but imagine taking tiny baby steps around a corner. You want your skis to stay parallel – avoid the “snow plow.” While the snow plow turn (also known as the wedge) may be helpful to brand new, or nervous skiers, stepping is “just as easy to learn.” The stepping exercise has the added benefits of not encouraging bad habits and helps you to learn to ski better faster.

FIVE: Shuffling Skis

This lesson is similar to “Stepping,” except your skis are kept on the snow. Start by sliding one ski forward and the other back. It will be similar to Cross-Country skiing or using a NordicTrack Skier. On gentle terrain, shuffle your skis back and forth as you traverse the slope. You want to train your body (your hips specifically) to stay directly above your feet.

When your hips are positioned above your feet, you have optimum control of your body and skis.

SIX: Rail Road Tracks

This is a bit more of an advanced drill that will take your skiing to new heights. Essentially you want to ski on the edges of your skis (by shifting your ankles) so you leave rail-road-track-like marks in the snow. Start with wide a parallel stance tipping both ankles and knees while simultaneously engaging your ski edges. Traverse gentle across the slope, back and forth. This should be done on gentle terrain.

SEVEN: Pivot Flat Ski

This is the most difficult exercise, but has the greatest rewards for you. Master this and your skiing will skyrocket! Start perpendicular on the hill (like you do with the “Side Slipping” technique), but release the edge of your skis by leaning your upper body across and over your skis – rather than relaxing your ankles. This body positioning will force your skis to flatten naturally. Once you feel your skis start to move, steer your feet so you swivel and face the opposite direction. Repeat and turn in the other direction. Try doing this with as little forward momentum as possible. It takes practice, but will give you the skills to ski virtually any terrain – trees, bumps, powder…etc. Own it!

For photos of the above exercises visit Online Ski Lessons

Theodore P. Olson
Editor-in-Chief, http://www.SkiGreat.com
Learn to Ski – Online

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What’s In The Future For Electronics Recycling?

We identified an opportunity to develop a company that turns up on time every time, and that provides friendly and personable, cost effective and reliable electrician Brisbane Southside services. Electronics recycling in the U.S. is growing as the industry consolidates and matures. The future of electronics recycling – at least in the U.S., and perhaps globally – will be driven by electronics technology, precious metals, and industry structure, in particular. Although there are other things that can influence the industry – such as consumer electronics collections, legislation and regulations and export issues – I believe that these 3 factors will have a more profound impact on the future of electronics recycling.

The most recent data on the industry – from a survey conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) and sponsored by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) – found that the industry (in 2010) handled approximately 3.5 million tons of electronics with revenues of $5 billion and directly employed 30,000 people – and that it has been growing at about 20% annually for the past decade. But will this growth continue?

Electronics Technology
Personal computer equipment has dominated volumes handled by the electronics recycling industry. The IDC study reported that over 60% by weight of industry input volumes was “computer equipment” (including PCs and monitors). But recent reports by IDC and Gartner show that shipments of desktop and laptop computers have declined by more than 10% and that the shipments of smartphones and tablets now each exceed that of PCs. About 1 billion smart phones will be shipped in 2013 – and for the first time exceed the volumes of conventional cell phones. And shipments of ultra-light laptops and laptop-tablet hybrids are increasing rapidly. So, we are entering the “Post-PC Era”.

In addition, CRT TVs and monitors have been a significant portion of the input volumes (by weight) in the recycling stream – up to 75% of the “consumer electronics” stream. And the demise of the CRT means that fewer CRT TVs and monitors will be entering the recycling stream – replaced by smaller/lighter flat screens.

So, what do these technology trends mean to the electronics recycling industry? Do these advances in technology, which lead to size reduction, result in a “smaller materials footprint” and less total volume (by weight)? Since mobile devices (e.g., smart phones, tablets) already represent larger volumes than PCs – and probably turn over faster – they will probably dominate the future volumes entering the recycling stream. And they are not only much smaller, but typically cost less than PCs. And, traditional laptops are being replaced by ultra-books as well as tablets – which means that the laptop equivalent is a lot smaller and weighs less.

So, even with continually increasing quantities of electronics, the weight volume entering the recycling stream may begin decreasing. Typical desktop computer processors weigh 15-20 lbs. Traditional laptop computers weigh 5-7 lbs. But the new “ultra-books” weigh 3-4 lbs. So, if “computers” (including monitors) have comprised about 60% of the total industry input volume by weight and TVs have comprised a large portion of the volume of “consumer electronics” (about 15% of the industry input volume) – then up to 75% of the input volume may be subject to the weight reduction of new technologies – perhaps as much as a 50% reduction. And, similar technology change and size reduction is occurring in other markets – e.g., telecommunications, industrial, medical, etc.

However, the inherent value of these devices may be higher than PCs and CRTs (for resale as well as scrap – per unit weight). So, industry weight volumes may decrease, but revenues could continue to increase (with resale, materials recovery value and services). And, since mobile devices are expected to turn over more rapidly than PCs (which have typically turned over in 3-5 years), these changes in the electronics recycling stream may happen within 5 years or less.

Another factor for the industry to consider, as recently reported by E-Scrap News – “The overall portability trend in computing devices, including traditional form-factors, is characterized by integrated batteries, components and non-repairable parts. With repair and refurbishment increasingly difficult for these types of devices, e-scrap processors will face significant challenges in determining the best way to manage these devices responsibly, as they gradually compose an increasing share of the end-of-life management stream.” So, does that mean that the resale potential for these smaller devices may be less?

The electronics recycling industry has traditionally focused on PCs and consumer electronics, but what about infrastructure equipment? – such as servers/data centers/cloud computing, telecom systems, cable network systems, satellite/navigation systems, defense/military systems. These sectors generally use larger, higher value equipment and have significant (and growing?) volumes. They are not generally visible or thought of when considering the electronics recycling industry, but may be an increasingly important and larger share of the volumes that it handles. And some, if not much, of this infrastructure is due to change in technology – which will result in a large volume turnover of equipment. GreenBiz.com reports that “… as the industry overhauls and replaces… servers, storage and networking gear to accommodate massive consolidation and virtualization projects and prepare for the age of cloud computing… the build-out of cloud computing, the inventory of physical IT assets will shift from the consumer to the data center… While the number of consumer devices is increasing, they are also getting smaller in size. Meanwhile, data centers are being upgraded and expanded, potentially creating a large amount of future e-waste.”

But, outside the U.S. – and in developing countries in particular – the input volume weight to the electronics recycling stream will increase significantly – as the usage of electronic devices spreads to a broader market and an infrastructure for recycling is developed. In addition, developing countries will continue to be attractive markets for the resale of used electronics.

Precious Metals
In the IDC study, over 75% by weight of industry output volumes was found to be “commodity grade scrap”. And more than half of that was “metals”. Precious metals represent a small portion of the volume – the average concentration of precious metals in electronics scrap is measured in grams per ton. But their recovery value is a significant portion of the total value of commodity grade scrap from electronics.

Precious metals prices have increased significantly in recent years. The market prices for gold, silver, palladium and platinum have each more than doubled over the past five years. However, gold and silver have historically been very volatile since their prices are driven primarily by investors. Their prices seem to have peaked – and are now significantly below their high points last year. Whereas, platinum and palladium prices have traditionally been driven by demand (e.g., manufacturing – like electronics and automotive applications) and generally more stable.

Telecommunications equipment and cell phones generally have the highest precious metals content – up to 10 times the average of scrap electronics based on per unit weight. As technology advances, the precious metals content of electronics equipment generally decreases – due to cost reduction learning. However, the smaller, newer devices (e.g., smart phones, tablets) have higher precious metals content per unit weight than conventional electronics equipment – such as PCs. So, if the weight volume of electronics equipment handled by the electronics industry decreases, and the market prices for precious metals decreases – or at least does not increase – will the recovery value of precious metals from electronics scrap decrease? Probably the recovery value of precious metals from electronics scrap per unit weight will increase since more electronics products are getting smaller/lighter, but have a higher concentration of precious metals (e.g., cell phones) than traditional e-scrap in total. So, this aspect of the industry may actually become more cost efficient. But the total industry revenue from commodity scrap – and especially precious metals – may not continue to increase.

Industry Structure
The electronics recycling industry in the U.S. can be thought of as comprising 4 tiers of companies. From the very largest – that process well in excess of 20 up to more than 200 million lbs. per year – to medium, small and the very smallest companies – that process less than 1 million lbs. per year. The top 2 tiers (which represent about 35% of the companies) process approximately 75% of the industry volume. The number of companies in “Tier 1” has already decreased due to consolidation – and continued industry consolidation will probably drive it more towards the familiar 80/20 model. Although there are over 1000 companies operating in the electronics recycling industry in the U.S., I estimate that the “Top 50” companies process almost half of the total industry volume.

What will happen to the smaller companies? The mid-size companies will either merge, acquire, get acquired or partner to compete with the larger companies. The small and smallest companies will either find a niche or disappear. So, the total number of companies in the electronics recycling industry will probably decrease. And more of the volumes will be handled by the largest companies. As with any maturing industry, the most cost efficient and profitable companies will survive and grow.

Outlook
What are the implications of these trends?
• The total weight of input volumes will probably not continue to grow (as it has at 20% annually) – and may actually decrease in the U.S.
• The electronics recycling industry will continue to consolidate – and the largest companies will handle most of the industry volumes.
• The inherent value for resale and materials recovery will probably increase per unit volume.
• Reuse and services may become a more significant part of the total industry revenue than recycling and materials recovery.

Conclusion:
In an environment of consolidation and potentially decreasing volumes, developing additional capacity or starting a new facility for electronics recycling in the U.S. could be very risky. Acquiring the most cost efficient existing capacity available would be more prudent.

All rights reserved © 2013 John Powers

For more information on electronics recycling – visit the Electronics Recycling Directory at: http://www.electronicsrecyclingdirectory.com – the most comprehensive website on electronics recycling – with searchable listings, articles, events, blogs and more – as well as a bi-weekly newsletter.

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Artists Take Advantage of Distance Learning

Concept board frames artist Sydney are artists who create illustrations of ideas, whether it’s of characters, scenes, or machinery. Artists today are continually learning new applications and are required to stay ahead of the curve as to what is up and coming and the newest ways of doing things. Most production artists have completed their formal education years ago and what they learned may now be obsolete. They must aggressively find alternative ways to learn their industry’s most popular applications, processes of using them like new workflows, and continue to improve on what they currently do.

Here are some of the more popular ways to learn:

  • On the job experience – This is the most common way that we’ve all learned a thing or two. It is probably the most effective way to learn what you need for your job. However, you may eventually be limited by what your coworkers can share with you and may find that there is a lot of information you’ll still need to know in order to move up or get another job. This way takes lots of time and patience and requires a good group of people willing to help you learn.
  • Conferences – They are fun and you get to meet a lot of people doing what you do or want to do. Most conferences foster an environment of sharing and helping. A lot can be gained from attending a conference for networking and its break-out sessions. However, they can be expensive (like traveling to South Korea!). With tightening budgets, they may not be cost-effective.
  • Onsite training – Many companies utilize this form of training to get specific information in an area that they are focused on. This is a great way to learn if you can afford it. Learners will have direct access to the instructor and can have the training catered directly to their environment. Specific questions can be asked and addressed instantly in a collaborative way.
  • Night classes – Many local Junior Colleges now offer digital art classes in the evening. These are usually general classes and you may find that you are above the level they are teaching unless you know nothing about the subject. These classes can be somewhat expensive and be very broad in the information delivered. In addition, these teachers (not in all cases) are not in the industry and may not be able to help you with specific questions to your liking.
  • Networking – Using social networking and forums is a good way to get answers and research how to accomplish certain tasks. However, there can be a delay in feedback which will motivate you to find answers in other places. But, there tends to be some good people giving back and willing to help you and stick it out until they are able to help resolve your question.
  • Webcasts – These are a slightly less formal means of training. The instructor usually has a loose idea of what is to be presented but it can change if needed. The lack of formality may cause some live viewers to be dissatisfied with the level of training and the lack of the instructor’s attention to detail. Webcasts are live and there isn’t time for editing and polishing. Sometimes these trainings can cost more than the more refined DVD trainings.
  • Web videos and DVDs – These tools are a great way to learn. You may have a specific topic you wish to learn like Model Rigging or Storyboarding and need to know it right now for a project or job. These trainings are or are near instant gratification. Usually, they require less commitment and are much cheaper than other means of learning.

There is a boom going on now in the creative education fields and there are many schools stepping up to fill that need. With the competition and strict requirements in place from their industries, schools are doing their very best to offer real-world training. However, as students, there is always a chance for there to be questions or the hunger for more information on a particular subject. This is the very nature of being a student. Inexpensive distance learning like Web and DVD training can fill in those gaps and answer those questions. Students should use these tools to supplement their education. School tends to be required to cover a large variety of subjects and as a student; you may want to take a little more time in one area. This type of training allows you to do just that.

For those of us who have already completed all the formal education we would ever like to do, we are still required to stay competitive. Already being in the “field”, many of us may have a certain level of understanding in a subject area but need to dig deeper or learn new and more efficient ways of completing common tasks. Learning from industry professionals will help busy creatives to learn more rapidly in a wide variety of subjects at their own pace.

Distance learning allows artists the ability to access hard to find, low-cost education that can begin to get them up to speed and production-ready in no time. Meaning, they’ll be able to jump right into a job or add the new knowledge gained in a short period of time to their artistic arsenal immediately.

Here are some interesting stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook

  • Employment of artists and related workers is projected to grow 16% through 2016, faster than the national average for other fields.
  • Multi-media artists and animators will be most in demand through 2016 — that profession will see a 26% increase in employment.
  • Fine artists will see a 10% increase in employment.
  • Multi-media artists and animators earn roughly $52,000 (this does not include figures from self-employed animators).

Best of luck and happy animating!

Frank Freeman is a freelance artist, trainer and CEO of Artistic Gurus, Inc. a creative training company that focuses on how-to videos in the 2D, 3D, Traditional Arts, Comics, and Manga fields. Read more about him today from http://www.ArtisticGurus.com or [http://www.RentArtVideos.com]

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Planning a Wedding That Doesn’t Kill Your Budget or Your Relationship

If you’re planning a wedding and you’re concerned about your wedding budget, there are several ways to save. The keys to successfully planning a budget-conscious wedding are having the abilities to be creative, flexible, and opportunistic. Less than an hour’s drive from Sydney CBD, Jonah’s unique Whale Beach small wedding reception venues Melbourne feels like it’s a million miles away.

Think of this scenario: You wake up in the middle of the night with a craving for ice cream. All grocery stores are closed, so you run through the options in your head. You can go to the all-night convenience store or coffee shop and pay a premium price for this craving or you can settle for the granola bar in the back of your pantry. Then the thought occurs that you could have planned ahead while grocery shopping earlier that week and had your ice cream at a fair price. The same shopping options exist for every part of your wedding. Do you pay premium prices? Do you plan ahead? Or do you simply do without? There are no wrong answers, but planning ahead can almost always offer the most bang for the bucks.

The key trick in saving money for your wedding is flexibility. Think about your wedding date. It’s probably a mild Saturday evening in late Spring or early Fall. I’m no Nostradamus, it’s just a fact that the vast majority of couples choose the same dates for their weddings. You can slash your overall wedding costs significantly by changing your wedding date away from Saturday evenings in May, June, September, or October. Go crazy and avoid Saturdays altogether and have a raging Friday night wedding or a relaxing Sunday afternoon wedding. You might not think these date/time adjustments matter, but vendors’ schedules are much less likely to be full on a Sunday afternoon in August or a Friday night in March. This availability can translate into staggering deals if you shop around. I’ve seen $10,000-$15,000 weddings (combined vendor cost) reduced to $2,000-$3,000 with every component of the wedding staying exactly the same, including the venue. The difference? An 11am ceremony time on a Saturday in June versus a 5pm wedding the EXACT SAME DAY. An unexpected perk to avoiding Saturday evenings goes to your guests who can now plan a weekend after your Friday night bash or before the Sunday nuptials. That Saturday night wedding breaks everyone’s weekend in half. Having schedule flexibility is huge for all vendors, but specific savings can also be found for each part of your big day.

Wedding venues: The venue is usually the costliest of the wedding investments, but that only means it is also the biggest opportunity to save money. If you want elegance, maybe avoid the country clubs and golf courses and find a shady park or beach and spend a fraction of your budget on elegant tables, string lighting, and candle-lit centerpieces. If you’re quirky and fun, bypass a regular venue and rent an old theater or local art gallery. Think outside the box. Depending on the size of your guest list, you can find venues that aren’t considered traditional, but will more than fit your needs. Private residences and local restaurants might fit your needs perfectly. With any non-traditional venue, be sure to get all the details. Some places may require additional insurance or have restrictions on attendance, food/drink, etc, so be sure to be thorough in your interviews. If you are looking for a traditional venue, many times finding a location that can host both the wedding and reception is ideal. For both convenience and cost, this option almost always is preferable to separate locations. If you opt for a church wedding, keep in mind that some churches offer weddings a low or even no cost. Call around and you might find a great deal

Caterer: The ideal way to cut food/drink costs is to time your wedding between traditional meal times. Having a 11am or 2pm wedding allows you to escape providing full meals and instead serve small appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, etc. If you opt for this cost-cutting schedule choice, be sure to indicate to guests when type of food/refreshments will be served. Most people will grab a bite to eat before or after the wedding if they know in advance that only snacks will be available at the wedding. If you must serve food, shop around. Some venues require you to use their preferred caterers, so know this in advance. Sample each caterer’s menus and ask them how savings can be found. Many times a limited menu with more appetizer options works well. If you decide to serve a meal, buffet style usually costs less than plated meals. And keep this question in mind: How was the food at the last wedding you attended? Most people don’t remember. Find a balance between quality, service, and price.

Cake: There are reality TV shows dedicated to cakes. Amazing, beautiful cakes are everywhere. Now for the life-changing reality: Its still just dessert. I know, that sounds harsh and emotionless. But its sugar and eggs and flour, and you’re in a market than can charge thousands of dollars for a, yes, dessert. Think about your reasoning behind the cake. Its fun and you want photos of the cake-cutting and subsequent cake-smashing. You can accomplish the same thing with a small but still elegant cake. The photos look the same, and the crowd still gathers around. And when the smashed cake is wiped from the groom’s face, all the guests are served cute little wedding cupcakes or pieces of sheet cake that have been cut and are ready to serve immediately. Buy a pretty little cake for the two of you, or for the bridal party, and ask your baker to make a sheet cake or two, or cupcakes, of the same flavor as yours. Everyone enjoys the cake and you enjoy cutting your cake budget by 50% or more.

Photographer: Many couples make the mistake of forgoing a professional wedding photographer and hiring Uncle Harry because he always has a camera, and he’ll be at the wedding anyway. Or a niece in high school just bought a really expensive camera and took photography in high school. Remember that your photographs are likely going to be the only tangible reminders of your wedding. When the cake and songs and flowers are long gone, you’ll have your photography to enjoy and share for years to come. You want a photographer with wedding experience to ensure all angles are covered and all poses are ideal. This doesn’t mean you have to blow your entire budget on photography, however. Search photographers’ websites, and only contact those whose photos fit your style. When speaking with the photographer, request a quote that excludes prints, albums, or other photo products. Get the edited photography on a disc or flash drive with a copyright release that allows you to print your photos. Most photographers’ profit lies in the printing, so you can save that money and print economically at your own convenience. If a photographer doesn’t offer this, move along. There are plenty that will offer a no-prints option.

DJ: The DJ is the vendor that some deem unnecessary and others regard as invaluable. I think both are true depending on the type of wedding and reception you want. If you want a quiet, relaxed ceremony and reception with soft music in the background throughout, just find a venue with a sound system and plug in an ipod playlist of soft grooves. If you want your reception to be a party, then hire a DJ. DJ’s styles and levels of interaction vary, so keep this in mind. If you want someone to keep the guests dancing, get someone outgoing and fun. Like the photographer, don’t skimp too much and hire the high school tech geek down the street with the loud sound system. Weddings are unique, and you want experience. Ask for deals and compare prices. No real tricks here other than shopping in advance.

Florist: Flowers are beautiful and can enhance any wedding. They also sit in vases and soak up water. Each couple needs to decide whether a little color is pretty or more elaborate floral arrangements are necessary. If you find a venue that is attractive on its own, consider skipping or reducing the floral decorations. Many florists advise boosting the greenery in arrangement and using the actual flowers strategically, which makes a lot of sense both artistically and financially. Some couples are now opting for artificial flowers in lieu of actual flowers. This can be cheaper and offer the advantage of preparing months in advance. They also last forever, so your investment doesn’t end up in the compost pile the next day. If you decide to go with real flowers, check independent florists first, as they can often work with your budget with more flexibility than a larger retail chain.

Videographer: Have you ever visited a friend and been subjected to watching their wedding video? It’s painful. Now, with the development of high-def and superior editing, today’s wedding videos are more like Hollywood features than handheld camcorders of the 80’s. they can also be very expensive. The real question is need. After the first few weeks of being married, will your wedding DVD ever be seen? Aside from distant relatives visiting or an anniversary viewing, it likely sits on the shelf. Most budget-minded couples skip the videographer, but if you really want video then find a company that uses multiple cameras and edits in a style you enjoy. Be sure they know the style you want and ask them to work with your budget.

Other: There are several other ways to save that simply didn’t fit the other categories:

Wedding favors are cute, but often sit in the backseat of your guests’ cars and ultimately get tossed. If you have a budget for them, find something personal (a small framed photo of the wedding couple, a small package of candy or mints, etc). Find something fun or quirky, but cheap. Search online for many creative options.

With any wedding, avoid placing disposable cameras at guest tables. The idea is great, but the execution is horrible. You’ll spend hundreds on these outdated cameras, and hundreds more to develops photos of kids’ feet and empty plates. Don’t even consider this for your wedding!

Limousines: Beautiful and elegant, but really only use if transportation is needed. Hiring a limo to drive you three blocks doesn’t allow you to relax or save money. If you’re travelling across town and want to splurge, go for it. Ask for wedding specials, and find a service that will allow you to use the minimum amount you need. Don’t get locked into a six-hour minimum when you only need three.

Honeymoon: If you’re wanting a honeymoon but don’t have a big budget, consider registering for your wedding with a travel agent instead of a retailer. Your guests may gift you a vacation instead of cutlery! If you’re considering a small wedding, think about a destination wedding for the two of you (or small family), and combine your wedding and honeymoon instead of a reception. Sometimes this is more economical than couples think and provides a romantic and less expensive wedding option.

Craigslist: OK, this isn’t a wedding component. But Craigslist can be your best friend. You can find vendors, dresses, wedding locations, and much more in one convenient site. If you have a particular skill, service, or item, consider using the site’s barter section to trade for wedding services. Trading your unused timeshare for a wedding photographer or bartering your automotive repair business to obtain catering can be empowering and budget-saving. Read through the section and find ideas that may help you save.

Hopefully a few of these suggestions give you ideas on stretching your wedding budget. Weddings are beautiful, amazing events and should be celebrated, not agonized. Enjoy the process, and remember that this is YOUR big day. Build the wedding you want, and let your guests enjoy the ride with you.

Shaun Baland Sacramento Wedding Photographer

916.316.1377

shaunbaland@gmail.com

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Rewiring Your Home Electrical System

Electrician Brisbane 24 hours offer electrician service to all of our customers at a very competitive and reasonable prices. One of the first things you need to consider when you are planning a home renovation is the existing electrical system. Is the condition of the existing electrical wiring and the capacity (in amps) of the system up to code? Along with plumbing and heating and cooling systems, updating the electrical system in a house will be one of the most expensive remodeling tasks. Major electrical rewiring will require you to use the services of a licensed electrician. There are situations where you can do some of the electrical work yourself with a proper permit having your work certified by a licensed electrical inspector. You need to check your local building codes before you begin.

Electrical System Components

There are a few main components of a residential electrical system. The service entrance and the main circuit panel are the most important elements of the system. Depending on the complexity of the wiring circuits, additional auxiliary circuit panels may be required. The current National Electrical Code recommends a minimum 100 amp incoming electrical service. If your service panel provides less, it should be upgraded to the minimum or higher amperage to meet the needs of modern electrical loads. Most new homes are wired with 200 amp service. Many times the old service panels do not provide adequate grounding, so if you are keeping your existing panel it should be thoroughly checked out by an electrician.

Aluminum vs. Copper Wiring

The actual electrical wire running through your home that makes up each circuit can be aluminum or copper. Older homes and some homes constructed during the 70’s and early 80’s used aluminum wiring. Modern building codes in most communities do not allow aluminum wiring to be used. There are a number of reasons for this. Aluminum and copper both expand and contract when heated. Aluminum, unlike copper, has a tendency to lose some tightness with each cycle. It can invite corrosion when contacting certain types of metal and this corrosion will increase the resistance of the connection. Fire hazard is the main concern with aluminum.

There are ways to make aluminum safe, but we will cover that in another article. Solid copper wiring is the material of choice for new homes or renovations. Although 14-gage wire is allowed for many circuits, it’s recommended you install 12-gage wiring, which costs a little more but can handle more electrical current, making it safer and more energy-efficient.

If you are renovating a very old home and the wiring has cloth insulation or if the insulation is brittle and cracked, you will need to completely replace it with new copper wiring. This requires removing wall covering material down to the studs. It’s a big job. You should get estimates from a reputable electrical contractor. Most older homes have a very limited number of outlets in each room. Be sure to take the time to plan for any new outlets you will want with their corresponding wiring at this time. Once the wiring is in place you can complete the rebuild yourself if you feel you have the required skills.

Replacing Components

If you are satisfied with the size of the system, the number of outlets, switches and circuits, (make sure you are happy with the 240 volt outlet number and locations, if any) then you won’t have to add any new circuits to the electrical system. You will just need to update and replace components of the system. Turn off the main breaker switch before doing any inspections of your electrical system. Pull the cover plates on your outlet boxes and switches and inspect the box itself. If it is intact and adequately secured to the wall and ceiling studs they will most likely not have to be replaced. Note that if you plan on adding ceiling fans to rooms you will probably need to either add bracing to that outlet box or replace it with one that is designed to accept a fan.

If your outlets are the old two prong style you will need to replace them with the grounded three prong type. It is a good idea to replace all the outlets and switches in the house. Most municipal codes will require you to use a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) type outlet in the bathroom, kitchen and any other wet areas that are in close proximity to water.

There are a lot of things a homeowner can do to determine just how big a project her or his electrical rework will be. Determining the size of the system you have and the condition of your wiring and other components and developing a plan for any new outlets and circuits you many require will go a long way in planning your budget for a home electrical system update.

If you are fortunate enough to live in the Central Texas area you can get all your electrical questions answered at Olympus Constructions Services [http://www.austintxroofers.com]

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Ted_Price/574490

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Easy Instructions For Being Your Own Handyman (or Handy-woman)

Home improvement can do a lot of things better. Not only will it make your home look nicer, but they also improve its comfort and value.Don’t be scared off from ambitious or large-scale home renovation projects can be completed without having experience in construction. The following tips will help you out in your home improvement goals and projects. With our outdoor kitchens Sydney equipment and accessories you can create a perfect cooking area.

If you plan to purchase a home, hire an inspector. A third party professional who offers a great way to keep things civil.

Build an interesting and unusual addition to your home for some class or sophistication.A wine cellar or library are wonderful spaces in any home. This will show that you are unique and potential buyers.

It is crucial that you always change air filters. A lot of repairmen are called to homes to clean out buildup found in machines from dirty air filters.

For instance, it is not a wise invest to install a sun room with no insulation in the colder climates. Do what you like, but don’t go beyond your immediate climate needs.

Consider using radiant heat floor tiles if you replace the tiles you currently have.These tiles give heat via electricity and can be very interesting. You can do this yourself if you have detailed instructions.This project that you can add on whether you are hiring someone or doing it yourself.

It can be expensive to install new flooring, so be sure to shop around to find the best deals. There are places and remodeling supplies at a discount.

You can use wallpaper to decorate a bookcase by using wallpaper. Choose a fun and one of a kind. Put the wallpaper on the back of the bookcase, when you put the books on it will show from behind them. This will give an old bookcase a new look and create a focal point in any room.

Two-liter bottles can provide excellent storage solutions in your kitchen. You can keep them on a shelf or in the freezer or fridge. Simply take of the top and pour it when you require its contents.

If a lock is having problems, you can replace the entire knob or just the cylinder. The cylinder will keep the lock responsible for activating the lock. If your key has been lost and you would like to change out the lock to ensure you’re protected, you can replace the cylinder instead.

Your outdoor chair cushions flatten over time.A good way to restore such cushions is setting them in the sunshine. The sun returns the moisture in the cushions and give them new bounce. Be sure to flip over the cushions, so make sure to give those cushions a flip periodically.

A garden and patio that match the style of your home will help bring the whole property together, but things that clash will offer the appearance of insufficient planning and end up looking outright unattractive.

If you find that it’s time to remodel your cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom, consider using wood cabinets. They are durable and stand up well under heavy use.Some of the more common woods for cabinetry include maple, cherry and oak. They can all be stained and if you want to, giving you the option to change the color later if you wish.

Choose a color scheme that already exists in the room. It may be an upholstery material, drapery or carpeting.For instance, if you have a rug featuring green, red and yellow shades, select one of the three hues to be used to color 60 percent of the room. Use the other two shades to paint trim and accent.

Do you think your house too bright or there is too much sun entering your rooms? This is a fairly easy process that anyone can do on their own. In the end, tinting your windows will help lower your overall cooling bill.

You can boost your home’s value and improve its curb appeal by adding another coat of high gloss paint on the shutters and front door. Homes that are made of light colored brick are a perfect candidate for a deep eggplant colors.

Consider your location when you are deciding what projects to take on. For instance, if it’s very windy in your area you may not need a deck, do you really want to install a pool?

You never underestimate the work involved in any home improvement project. This will help you to deal with problems more efficiently.

Before you start your DIY home improvement tasks, make a list of the actions you think will need to be taken from start to finish. Get an informed opinion from a contractor to find out if you’re missing anything important.

Be sure to prepare for the home improvement project.If you’re painting, you must cover all furniture in advance. Paint splatter on furniture can ruin it. Use plastic or cloth sheeting to cover anything that any drips land on them and not your furniture.

Use steel wool as a temporary measure to plug any holes or cracks that mice could use to gain access to your home.

Sort your tools into various toolboxes by project. For example, have a toolbox specifically for plumbing projects, containing various pipe fittings, a pipe wrench, and more. Another box could be used for electric projects, and might include items such as fuses, zip ties, and a voltmeter for use on electrical projects.

When you prepare properly and take advantage of useful tips like these, you can eliminate the hassle and unplanned expenses that are possible with poorly-planned home improvements. Now you’re ready to swing that hammer confidently in your very own home improvement projects. Click here for more info about the outdoor kitchen layout.