Everyday Zero Waste: Simple Steps for a Sustainable Life

zero waste in Long Beach
The zero waste movement is gaining speed, you can check out entire Instagram accounts, online sellers and bloggers dedicated to activities that promise to eliminate plastic pollution, reduce food waste and help us live more sustainably.

But what exactly is zero waste

In fact, that’s exactly what it means: zero waste, nothing goes to landfill, and everything is actually used, reused, recycled or maintained in the cycle of our planet Earth’s limited resources. But being zero waste is a difficult task, so it’s more of a principle that businesses, governments and individuals can use to move forward. Making the decision to go zero waste is a big step, because everyday life involves so many contrary things, like buying new (and cheap) instead of repairing, throwing in the trash instead of recycling, and plastic single use everywhere.

So is zero waste feasible for a person at home

It can be scary and overwhelming to think that you will never throw something away after going zero waste, and there is a misconception that zero waste products are more expensive, but it is possible to go zero waste with a budget. The best way to start is to break the process down into different steps and determine ways to achieve your zero waste goals, your way. First, check your trash. The best way to determine your starting point for the zero waste journey is to audit your waste. The goal of a waste audit is simple: determine what you throw away, how often, and how you can change your habits. There is no set timetable for how long waste should be collected before conducting an audit, but as a general rule, a week should be enough to provide you with valuable information. The only supplies you’ll need are heavy-duty gloves, your trash and recycling containers, and a way to record your data. In the same way that you can scan the refrigerator before you go grocery shopping to see what you have and what you need, a waste audit can help you determine how much waste your household produces and how that waste can be disposed of responsibly by other means.

Start composting to reduce food waste

Did you know that 6 million tons of food are wasted every year in California? When this organic waste is placed in garbage bags, the time required for its decomposition increases from a few weeks to several years. Luckily, you can help properly decompose organic matter and food scraps in your own garden! You don’t need a fancy trash can to start your composting journey. While not as neat and tidy as composting in a bin, a compost pile is one of the best options for beginners because no structure is needed to get started. If you don’t have a lot of green space at home, there are other solutions for converting your kitchen waste into soil nutrients. Check your municipality’s website to see if there are options, such as ordering a free food basket and/or a food waste bin. As a reminder, it’s important to keep all plastics, even those labeled as biodegradable or compostable, out of your home compost bin or pile. Marketing plant-based plastics as sustainable is a prime example of greenwashing, because these plastics only degrade in the way intended, in an industrial composting facility with just the right temperature and microbes .

Introduce reusable objects into your daily life

Although the word zero waste seems to be becoming fashionable, reusable products have been around forever and you probably already own many of them. Do reusable water bottles, thermal coffee mugs and canvas shopping bags ring a bell? Without much effort, you can adopt a waste-free lifestyle by choosing one of these items over single-use products. Of course, reusable items don’t do you or the environment any good if you don’t remember to use them. To avoid forgetting your canvas bag or thermal mug at home, try storing a few bags in the trunk of your car and keeping a clean, empty mug in the cup holder! For products that come in complex packaging (e.g. your favorite cream or shampoo), it is more difficult to do a direct exchange when there are few zero waste alternatives. Fortunately some companies provide a convenient solution for purchasing products from your favorite brands in durable, reusable packaging. After all, the future is within reach again.

Leverage your purchasing power

As a consumer, the most effective way to limit waste is to buy less and reduce the amount of excess stuff in your life. Of course, there will be situations where you need to purchase an item you don’t have. In this case, choose to purchase from companies that practice responsible production and disposal. It’s not always easy to determine whether companies have these practices in place, but companies that are actively working to limit their impact on the environment will want consumers to be in the know and are likely to be more transparent about their packaging and waste management methods. When researching the companies you buy from, ask yourself the following questions: Is this claim green or ecological without the actions that support it? Is their waste usually sent to landfills or to other countries? Even if you apply all of these zero waste tips and tricks to your daily life, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to eliminate all of your waste, all of the time. The waste experts at Long Beach Dumpster Rentals HQ designed a system to ease this burden and provide people with a convenient, comprehensive recycling solution for hundreds of typically non-recyclable items.

US upheaval in waste management

The 1990s were marked in a contradictory way by the expansion of private firms to the detriment of public management, by the pursuit of consolidation and by mistakes in the course of several of the leaders.

The combination of all these forces explains the considerable transformation of supply and hierarchies. It is a situation very different from that of continental Europe where, starting from local monopolies, we have become accustomed to a certain stability of the landscape even if then the fixed points which are the large historical groups are transformed by the interplay of Mergers and Acquisitions.

In the United States, the movements are much faster. As in the new economy, hierarchies can be reversed in a very short time; the new entrant can buy the established waste management company. The last few years have been marked by three mega-mergers, by a few bankruptcies which lead to a new landscape.

Waste Management Inc.

Waste Management is indisputably the world’s leading waste group with 1999 sales of $13bn. Its history can be broken down into three major stages: unbridled expansion, difficult digestion, imposed fusion.

The group that only went public in 1971.

At this time the turnover is $ 17m and they experienced very rapid external growth throughout the 1970s and 1980s, its turnover rising from $656m in 1980 to $6.03bn in 1990.

The 1990s was a decade of digesting these multiple acquisitions, compliance of landfills with new sanitary standards and rationalization. The group is paying the price for its exponential growth.

It continues its acquisitions, develops internationally; its turnover for 1997 was $9.2bn but it encountered serious difficulties. It announces losses of $160m for the last quarter of the year alone.

Under pressure from pension funds (including that of Georges Soros) management must review its entire policy. It’s not enough. In 1998, the management, under pressure from its shareholders, had to accept the merger offer of USA Waste, a company built in five years.

USA Waste

It is a Dallas-based company whose origins can be traced back to June 1994, when John Drury took over after being fired from Browning Ferris Industries where he was assistant manager.

At that time it was a small waste transport and dumpster rental company (hauling) which had an activity of $ 78m. Then, its history is that of a dazzling expansion which in four years leads it to the top.

As soon as he arrived, Drury merged with Envirofil, a company of the same size; his firm doubles in size to $175m. At the end of the year, in a $750m operation, it acquired Chambers Development (Pittsburg) to form the fourth group in the country with a combined turnover of $450m.

Common activities then include: 25 landfills, 37 collection companies and 13 transfer stations. Management will continue this acquisition policy with notable mergers: Western Waste Industries, Sanifill.

In April 1997, while Waste Management was going through difficulties and had to review its policy under pressure from pension funds, USA Waste climbed to third place ($3bn) by merging with United Waste Systems, again using the technique of share exchanges.

As long as the shareholders agree and the market is buoyant, this method makes it possible to grow without mobilizing too many funds. This transaction was preceded by the acquisition of the Canadian activities of Laidlaw Industries and Waste Management.

We then believe that the landscape had stabilized until the announcement of the merger with Waste Management in March 1998. The small USA Waste offered to buy back the shares of number 1 for $13bn and take control of 400 collection subsidiaries, 137 landfills and 164 transfer stations.

Waste Management shareholders will own 60% of the new company, which will keep the Waste Management name but the headquarters will be moved from Illinois to Houston.

Nice revenge for Drury who was fired from the BFI for a difference in strategic analysis when President Ruckelshauss decided to develop in recycling.

Garbage collection in Overland Park

It is provided door to door for all users except users whose homes are inaccessible by vehicles. In this case, the waste collection is ensured in points of regrouping of the containers and dumpsters, namely 18 points of regrouping.

The year 2020 was marked by the establishment a new household waste collection market which has resulted in:

  • By taking into account a greater number of users in the collection through the acquisition of equipment suitable for difficult access roads:
    4×4 chassis, mini-skips;
  • By a requirement of higher quality of service: collection of bags at the side bins (Figure 60), collection of waste discharged next to the bins

Collection of plant waste and bulky items

The government ensures a separate door-to-door collection and by eco-cubes (up to September 30, 2021) plant waste and bulky items. Door-to-door collection door is ensured by hook lift truck with grapple or manually depending on the sectors.

Since October 1, 2020 (new contract), the entire territory is collected in business (by a waste management compnay for the collection of plant waste and bulky across the state of Kansas). This new contract resulted in essentially as for the collection of household waste, by a quality of
superior service: fine sweeping after the passage of the grapple truck in particular.

Selective collection of packaging for recycling

In KS TCO municipalities, the collection of recyclable waste is performed once a week; to best satisfy this service, the users are provided with a second green bin with a yellow cover.

In 2019, the municipality of Overland Park experienced an increase in its tonnage; this positive results can be found in the extension of selective collection to the entire county.

In fact, since November 2020, the entire municipality of is now served. In addition, the nearby counties do get served by this collection only at the end of December 2020, hence the lack of figures . The population participates in selective collection, since the tonnages characterize the success of the operation.

Indeed, the rapid and continuous increase in the number of visitors to Overland Park has caused the degradation of certain public facilities (showers, toilets, telephone booths, facades of buildings) and a very increased production of garbage, which tends to overflow the trash cans and accumulate in the streets.

The parcs and their surroundings are often dirty at the end of the day (cigarette butts, papers, beverage cans). The very image of the area suffers as a result.

Some residents have been getting together and looked for dumpster rental near me services in order to remove all this junk on a regular basis. Some local waste management companies in Overland Park offer hiring of bins for a fixed duration, at affordable costs.

It is important that everyone in the area understands the importance of avoiding wastage and recycling as much as possible to limit pollution. Efforts by the municipality in coordination with dumpster rental companies have seen an increase in clean out endeavors and usage of the recycling facilities.

Let’s keep the state of Kansas clean and green, let’s all act with sustainabilty in mind, discard junk to avoid garbage pilling up everywhere.

Digital initiatives for waste treatment

What are the digital and technological innovations put in place by the players in the transformation and recovery of waste sector?

Predictive maintenance and intelligent waste collection

The strategic committee of the Transformation and recovery of waste sector unveiled last year the new contract for the sector with ambitious projects to support the sector in its transformation.

This sector, made up of actors positioned on collection, sorting, preparation, recovery and recycling activities, finds itself faced with the need to place its waste management activities more in line with a saving logic circular in order to meet the challenges of ecological transition and the objectives set by the regulatory and legal framework.

The Energy Transition Law for Green Growth and the Circular Economy Roadmap plan to reduce landfill by 50% between 2010 and 2025, thus reinforcing the need to initiate the transformation of the sector in order to improve performance.

The contract of the strategic committee of the sector which signs a commitment between the State and the actors of the sector outlines its contours, in particular by highlighting robotization and data collection.

There are many avenues of innovation with the integration of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, connected objects and even 3D printing.

What are the digital and technological innovations put in place by actors in the transformation and recovery of waste sector?

Robotisation and AI at the service of sorting centers

Demand for raw materials has become very complex. Indeed, where 6 chemical elements of Mendeleev’s classification were needed to build a mill, today it takes 60 to build a wind turbine.

Faced with this observation, the sector must innovate in order to take into account these new requirements and constraints and therefore to modernize its sorting centers. Experiments are going well and the robotic triptych, artificial intelligence and digital innovations opens the way to a new generation of sorting centers.

France installed a robot in an Amiens factory to increase the amount of sorted waste and the quality of selection. A first step in its installation consisted of sending hundreds of thousands of photos to its database. The robot was therefore able to distinguish paper and cardboard from cans and plastic bottles to be removed from the sorting stream.

During the second stage of its initialization, it was necessary to adapt the algorithm based on artificial intelligence and deep learning so that the robot is even more precise and learns from its errors. At cruising speed, the robot removes sorting flow 60% more waste per hour than an operator.

To ensure quality control after sorting by the robot, an operator from the waste management company, equipped with a tablet, remains present at the end of the chain to collect the 10% of waste forgotten by the robot. Via the tele-operated sorting, the operator indicates on his tablet the waste to be removed from the treadmill and an articulated arm comes out of the flow.

The implementation of this type of intelligent sorting robots, equipped with learning mechanisms for recognizing the different wastes whose acquired knowledge would be shared with all the sorting operators in the territory, constitutes an important development issue on which to rely. the sector’s strategic committee.

Predictive maintenance and intelligent waste collection

Sorting is not the only area of ​​the transformation and recovery sector to benefit from digital and technological innovations. The Energy Recovery Units (incinerators) and landfill sites have implemented computer-assisted maintenance management software for the past few years to help technicians trace their maintenance interventions.

Cross-referenced with data from connected objects installed on the equipment, manufacturers want to move towards predictive maintenance to better anticipate the need for spare parts, the mobilization of specialists and no longer act in an emergency, thus guaranteeing better safety of the intervening technicians.

Connected objects also make it possible to optimize waste logistics and in particular waste collection. A company has set up a connected waste management center near Lyon.

By centralizing the data from the sensors located on the garbage collection trucks and on the dumpsters and crossing them with the garbage collection areas required by their customers, the pilot center teams select the best collection route offered by the optimization algorithm.

The deployment of type of sensors will gradually generalize the concept of connected trash which, thanks to the collected data of big data type such as the filling rate or the composition of waste, will optimize the management of the collection service and improve sorting performance.

The transformation and recovery of waste sector faces many challenges: falling raw material prices, deteriorating margins, the appearance of new players and new rules. The stakes are high for the historical actors of the sector who will have to find in the technological and digital innovations a new circular economic model in order to become a leader of the ecological transition.

It will be a question for the State, the local communities and the companies of finding a good calibration in order to invest massively in equipment and infrastructures integrating the new technologies and to anticipate the future processes of construction of the trades and skills of tomorrow. It is thanks to the agreement of all the stakeholders that we will be able to build a world for our children.

The Treatment of Household Waste

The management, treatment and recycling of waste result from an observation: the volumes of waste have multiplied since 1950, as well as their harmful effects on health, the environment and the economy.

Household waste is always the same. The content of household trash has changed little since the last survey in 1993. The main differences relate to sanitary textiles (wipes, diapers, etc.), which have increased, and toxic waste which has decreased. In detail, household waste includes:

  • 32.2% organic matter
  • 21.5% paper and cardboard
  • 12.7% glass
  • 11.2% plastics
  • 3% of metals
  • 19.4% of other items

Waste management is a crucial step. If we were content to store our waste in landfills, the problem of their accumulation would arise because, depending on their nature, they can degrade, and therefore disappear, very slowly.

To avoid being invaded by this waste and to limit the risks of pollution and poisoning which would result from it, waste treatment procedures are put in place. The principles applied, before and after the production of waste, are the reduction of volumes, the reduction of their toxicity, the improvement of their recycling (potential and realized) and the secure landfill of final waste.

As these processes are expensive, the spotlight is given to those who make it possible to recover waste.

Environmental and health issues

The accumulation of waste generates four types of nuisance.

1 / A deterioration of the living environment caused by visual nuisances (plastic bags hung in trees, macro-waste on beaches) or olfactory (organic matter in decomposition, combustion of chemical materials).

2 / An economic impact due to the loss of the attractiveness of a site following this deterioration of the living environment and the decrease in its productivity, in the case of a fishing area or agricultural land . To this can be added the additional costs caused by pollution control, in the case of drinking water for example, and by the societal consequences of intoxication: medical treatment, work stoppages, etc.

3 / Because there is also a health risk following injuries (shards of green, syringes …), poisoning (water, air pollution …) and diseases (bacterial proliferation, infestation of parasites, rats …).

4 / Finally, environmental pollution and ecological degradation during eutrophication of the environment, poisoning, suffocation or injury caused to wildlife when it absorbs or clings to waste.

More indirectly, waste is a reflection of our consumer society and its exploitation of natural and energy resources. Processing them for recovery is a way to compensate for the depletion of these resources and the degradation associated with their exploitation.

What is the life cycle of our waste? In the beginning was the product … well almost, since it is itself the product of transformation processes of raw materials. After its acquisition, this product is used until it is abandoned due to the loss of its technical utility (failure) or the evolution of the social context (fashion, regulatory evolution, etc.). It then becomes waste.

Plastic caps are also recyclable and companies like Kannapolis dumpster rental help increase awareness of their customers when it comes to recycling plastic items. This waste is, depending on the case, sorted, sold, given or collected, sorted, repaired or recharged or even transformed.

A fraction of the waste cannot, in the state of current technologies and economic feasibility, be recovered. This fraction forms the ultimate waste which, after possible reduction in their toxicity, is stored in specialized centers. These ultimate waste storage (CSDU) or technical landfill (CET) centers aim to prevent any leakage into the environment which could cause pollution or affect human health.

As these technical centers, formerly known more commonly as landfills, will be bequeathed to future generations, landfilling does not comply with the principles of sustainable development. The Federal government has therefore set the objective of reducing waste destined for landfill or incineration by 15% by 2022.

You have probably already noticed these logos on recycling, which can be found on the packaging of your products. What is their significance?

It is sometimes difficult to know what to do with your waste, even with the best will in the world. Is it biodegradable, therefore compostable? Is it recyclable? If so, should we put it with plastic, in landfill or elsewhere? Is it toxic?

The reflex is to turn to labels to find clues, but we then fall into a jungle of logos and symbols in the sometimes misleading sense. The most important is the Möbius ring, which symbolizes an endless cycle of recycling. Its presence indicates that the product is recyclable. Sometimes a percentage appears in the center, it means that the product already contains this percentage of recycled materials.

The other very common symbol found is the Green Dot with its double arrow which also evoked an endless cycle. Unfortunately, this logo is misleading because it does not mean that the product is recyclable or recycled! It just signals that the producer is participating in the recycling program for household packaging. This participation is a regulatory obligation which requires manufacturers to set up packaging processing structures or to subcontract this task to a third party to which they pay a fee.

Other logos provide information on the constitutive materials of the products and therefore facilitate the sorting of waste.

Finally, symbols indicate the toxic nature of the products or their contents, for humans or the environment. Their elimination must therefore take these risks into account. This is the case, for example, for drugs which should not be thrown in the trash, or worse in the sink or toilet, but must be the subject of a specific channel.

Backyard Makeover in Arizona

backyard makeover in Phoenix
In Arizona, you can spend many months outside enjoying the weather and you want to have a yard in which it is a pleasure to do so. Use professional landscape maintenance service companies with a skilled team of experienced landscape designers that can give your landscape the complete makeover that it needs.

Year-round outdoor living is a part of life in Phoenix, AZ, one of the many reasons people are relocating there and an al fresco dining space is a must have for entertaining your friends and guests.

Have you been to a backyard BBQ and gotten jealous of your neighbor’s pool features? Want a pool you’re proud to show off again? Then it’s time for a backyard makeover. With the help of Arizona main landscape companies, you can turn your tired, boring, uninspired old pool into a marvel. Small backyard makeovers can transform that amazing space at the rear of your property. Think about creating the backyard of your dreams now.

If your backyard is a jungle or simply bland and boring, you might be dreaming of finally doing something about it. Now is the time. Backyard makeovers are creative and fun to do, and they transform more of your property into usable space.

Looking to build the backyard of your dreams without breaking the bank? Don’t pay retail when you can pay wholesale. At some landscape providers, the commitment to keeping the overhead low is passed on to their customers. Each job performed is completed by a specialist in that field.

My friend’s backyard in Phoenix was in need of a total makeover. They had this plain and very boring patio area on the side of their house. It was such an eye sore but now its a place that they can really entertain in. They love this space. They did this covered area that is much-needed in Arizona. They are now in total love with their patio set.

The supplier’s team members have been serving Phoenix for decades. Besides pools, their team has built everything from government facilities to large commercial warehouses to custom homes right here in Southern Arizona since the 70’s. Pools and backyard living is easy for them, and their leaders have 20 years experience in that as well.

A sizable landscape makeover will create a lot of junk and debris and these professionals knew they need to rent a roll-off dumpter to conveniently dispose of all these waste materials. They use the services of a AZ rolloff dumpster rentals company so that the owners of the house did not have to worry about doing any cleaning, all of it was taken care of for them.

Creating the perfect backyard landscape takes experience. The placement of furniture, accents, and amenities must be taken into careful consideration. Your outdoor kitchen and BBQ must be accessible. Your fireplace or firepit must be carefully placed to allow for seating. The backyard is divided into three different zones: a lounge area, a dining space and fire pit seating. First when you come in you step into the lounge spot. With this future vacation rental home expected to house up to ten guests, they needed to maximize the seating area, so they combined two coordinating patio sets from Lowe’s.

The re-landscaped DIY backyard now contains a patio for entertaining, a potting area, a raised bed for vegetables and herbs, a patch of Eco-Lawn, loads of native and low-water plants, and the house’s old mailbox. The swimming pool, seen on America’s Most Desperate Landscape, received a major overhaul that turned this backyard space into one the whole family will enjoy. The swimming pool received some much need attention and the pergola beside the pool is the perfect spot to relax during a warm summer night.

In addition they planted two citrus trees in the backyard that sat in a field of gravel for years and proceeded to turn brown. Until recently the backyard had not changed, now it always receives compliment from guests.

Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

Before finalizing on a property deal in Chicago, it is imperative that you ask the realtor certain questions so as to be able to gauge his efficacy and effectiveness. This article lists out few questions that you should ask of your agent before closing a deal.

1. If the agent is experienced enough

This is important as many real estate agents simply pick up skills on the go. A successful realtor who has a successful sales record has more knowledge about the industry. Thus, can help you cut better deals.

When dealing with new real estate agents, make sure you ask them how long they have been in the business for, the number of successful deals that they have clinched, and whether they understand the different legal implications and the various physical inspection processes that a deal entails. This will help you in making a right decision.

2. The neighborhoods that your agent primarily works in

There are certain nuances that you should watch out for before finalizing a property deal. These include schools, plans of lakes and parks, traffic patterns and so on. So, you need to find an agent who has some experience in the locality where you plan on living and this will give you a better chance at making informed decisions.

If the agent regularly works in a certain area, he will know about the prices in the locality, as well as be able to provide better recommendations. Thus, finding a local agent helps a lot.

3. The marketing tools that your agent will use

You should want to capitalize on the marketing expertise of your real estate agent. The realtor must use sales strategies effectively, from photographs to digital marketing and social media marketing, so as to leverage the sales.

Ask your agent if he has innovative ideas to help you find the best deals, and how effectively he will use them so as to help you sell your house. Ask him about the marketing techniques that he plans on using and then judge their feasibility.

4. The real estate agent’s average list-to-sale ratio

The list-to-sale rate of the real estate agent should not exceed hundred percent. Therefore, you should ask your agent about his list-to-sale ratio, as it will help you to gauge his performance better. Having a better list-to-sale ratio will help you in differentiating between various real estate agents.

5. The number of foreclosures and short-sale transactions that he has completed

In cases of foreclosures and short sales, the process is more complicated, thus your risks as a buyer are much greater. You should make sure that your agent has enough experience with complex deals so that you can sail through the necessary processes of negotiation, documentation and organization before you buy your dream home.

If you keep these in mind then you will be able to sail through the process and be able to get a much better deal for yourself, from the real estate agent. So make sure you ask those questions to avoid a pitfall when making a real estate transaction.

The current state of the real estate market in the USA

The USA is a beautiful country, well managed and a safe place to invest in. Many investors have bought local real estate in the United States, and will continue to do so. There are always ups and downs, so how is the market nowadays?

Many people dream of living there, and some even migrate illegally to the States just to try to live the “American Drean”. Of course the USA real estate market is the biggest real estate market of the world. This is nothing surprising as the US is the largest economy in the world.

There are two other reasons behind this. First it is a developed country and a powerful nation and the second reason behind it is that it gives employment to the citizens of almost every country. So the rental income which people pay monthly is also very high compared to other countries. But the current market conditions are not too favorable though.

Acoording to economists’ predictions of the current state of the real estate market in the USA, it is not very good. Some forecast say the real estate market is about to crash in 2019 and 2020. Even the housing hunger of the middle class millenials may not able to save it. US employment policies are the biggest reason for this downfall in the housing market. Below some sales report numbers will give more data to explain this situation:

1. The housing market update of October: as per the expectations in comparison to the month of September, a 3.4% expected decline in sales was registered. As per this expected data, the house sales fell nationally by 2.1% YTD.

2. The median price of the existing homes: as per the report, the median price of housing units in October was 3.4% lower than the median price of the month of September. The number of housing units sold in the month of October was 513 thousands. The prices of the housing units is always on the upward side but suddenly this downfall is sales is recorded continuously. The consumer debt loads are low, and the mortgage delinquency rates were also very low during this period. This problem is not only about the demand, but supply is also playing a major role.

3. New housing units construction rate in the month October: if we compare the market of October from September the sales of new housing units grew up by 2.9% but if we compare it with the sales of the month of October of last year they decreased by 7.9% of the total sales.

The housing sector is the biggest sector for earning income for every economy including the economy of the United States. The downfall of this sector may give a serious dent to the economy, so the government and other related professionals are somehow worried about this sector.

Irrespective of the current market conditions, the most expensive cities of the USA are New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Still these cities manage to sell the most expensive housing units of the whole US housing market. The good news is an improvement in the conditions in the next coming months is expected.

But if you are looking for better prices, check Chicago. This is the large US city with the lowest real estate prices at the moment, much lower than other large cities like New York or Houston. According to real estate broker Kale Realty, the yields on rental properties in Chicago are some of the most attractive in the nation, possibly reaching 3-5% and above.

5 Instagram Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Since 2010 when Instagram came into existence all top-notch brands, celebs, social media influencers as well as small companies have taken benefit of Instagram to increase their website visitors.

Companies have adjusted their social media marketing strategies rather quickly to engage their target audience and drive more traffic, leads and revenue to their business. However, some companies follow the same strategy that they follow for other social media networking platforms. It does not give them the optimal results.

Therefore it becomes vital to know what should be done or not while using any social media platform, including instagram.

Here are 5 Instagram mistakes that people or businesses generally make while running their Instagram campaign:

1. Not Setting A Goal

Instagram is one of the most powerful social media tools that allow you to bring more traffic to your website. However, if you don’t have a goal-driven strategy, you will get no positive results with your social media campaigns.

You should be clear about your goal before opening your Instagram account. Create content or image by keeping in mind your target audience. Know what you exactly want from your Instagram marketing campaign and develop a strategy around your goal.

2. Not Responding to User Comments

User engagement is an essential and most important part of building brand value. Several Instagram analytics tools are there to help you know the post viewers and the number of people who liked or commented on your post. If you have a new Instagram site and have only 2-3 comments on your photos, you can take help of paid marketing.

With the help of this, you can get users who can comment on your Instagram photos. Once people start commenting on your photos, respond them as quickly as possible. If you don’t respond to your customers, it will be interpreted as a sign that you do not value your followers. And it will result in unfollows. Therefore, it is vital to respond promptly to all user comments.

3. Not Including A Link In Your Bio

Traffic is vital for a brand to get successful. And an effective Instagram marketing campaign allows you to reach the target audience. If people like your brand, they will start following you.

However, if you don’t put a link in your bio, people will not be able to reach your website, and this will decrease your site traffic. Instagram gives an opportunity to its users to add a clickable link in the author bio. So, make sure to take complete advantage of it. You can place links to your website or landing page.

4. Not Completing Your Bio

Your profile builds the first impression of your company. An incomplete bio makes users reluctant to follow that account. Therefore, make sure to curate your profile with the good quality picture, a call to action and an interesting description.

5. Not Using Hashtags The Right Way

If you do not include proper and relevant hashtags to your posts, it means you may miss a chance to be found by new users. To get better reach, you can use up to 30 hashtags in an Instagram post. Don’t place so many hashtags in a post as it will make your post look spammy and it will also decrease your trustworthiness. Keep hashtags limited and relevant to the context to get your content discovered by people.

How To Come Back From A Google Penalty

Google constantly changes its ranking algorithm to give its users access to the most relevant and unique content. They ensure that websites with the finest and valuable articles get the exposure they deserve. During the 2012 Penguin update, they started to eliminate low-quality content and elevated the sites that produced high-quality ones to the top of the search engine results.

As for the pages that contained poor content, they were either pushed further below the search results, or they were deindexed. Since then, webmasters began to be more careful with their content strategy and SEO professionals tuned in to Google updates to ensure that their sites stay on top of the SERPs.

How do I recognize a penalty

Even the most experienced digital marketers are taken by surprise by Google penalties. The search engine may or may not inform you that you have been targeted as these penalties can be automatic or manual. If you notice that your site is not ranking well anymore, even for your brand name, then you might have been targeted.

A clue to look out for is when a high-ranking page of yours starts to slip back to two, three or four pages without any action on your end. Another determinant is that your PageRank has significantly reduced. An unexplained traffic drop is another warning sign from Google.

The most feared of all webmasters are the kind of penalties that would yield no search engine results. When you run a site search and type – site:yourdomain.com keyword on the search bar, but nothing comes up, then you have been targeted by Google. Sometimes, it would even remove an entire website from its cached search results overnight.

Here is an article explaining the different types of Google penalties.

What causes a Google Penalty

Google penalties are not randomly handed out. Since its main concern is to deliver quality websites to its users, penalties often come from websites who fail to comply with the Webmaster Guidelines released by Google. This is the bible of webmasters and digital marketers.

Misuse of Links

Your link portfolio may hold the answer to this question. If you have many links coming from unrelated and low-ranking websites, chances are, you will get penalized. Too many poor-quality backlinks will appear as if you have adopted manipulative link building schemes. These include link buying, excessive reciprocal links and other blackhat link building techniques.

To avoid getting punished by Google, or any other search engines, check your link portfolio and make sure that you are receiving high-quality backlinks. Associating your site with low-ranking and suspicious sites is dangerous.

Stuffing Keywords

On the internet, you will see all kinds of dos and don’ts about keyword density in a content. So it can get a bit confusing as to which rule you must apply to. The rule of thumb is to never use keywords excessively. In other words, if Google detects that you are cramming your content with an excessive number of keywords, you will get penalized for it.

Below are other causes for penalties:

Duplicate content – Publishing the same content or plagiarizing another work can be considered as duplicate content. You must publish unique content every single time. Use tools like CopyGator or Copyscape to screen your work for uniqueness and authenticity.

Hidden links – All links on your site should be visible to the users. Hiding links in the source code or changing its color to camouflage the link in the background will only draw negative attention to your site.

Forum Links and Blog Comments – Be careful when using signature links in forums and commenting on blogs. If you are adding a forum link, make sure to use natural and good techniques only. As for commenting on blogs, it would serve you more if you use your real name. Here is a Youtube video of Matt Cutts explaining on how you can comment on blogs safely.

Spun Articles – Spinning is basically stealing a content from another website. Do not pay marketers for cheap articles. If the price is too good to be true, chances are they are not selling unique content. If Google catches up with you, you will be in serious trouble.

What to do if I received a penalty

The most complex part of this endeavor is identifying the root cause of your penalty. Whether you got penalized due to unintentional or manipulative reasons, there is a bright side to this – penalties can be fixed.

You can track your backlinks and manually try to remove each one of them. If you fail to remove a link from a troublesome website on your own, you can reach out to Google and ask to disavow the link. You need to clean up anything that caused the penalty on your site. Once done, you can contact Google and request a reconsideration.

If your page has been completely removed from the search results, and there seems to be no other way to fix the issue anymore, the most valid option is to start all over again and create a new domain name. Once this is done, remember that it would be best to stick to white-hat SEO strategies to avoid getting penalized next time.