Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

5 Innovations to Monitor and Fight Air Pollution

October 17th, 2016

When confronted with the evidence, it’s difficult to minimize the effects of our polluted environment. According to the WHO, air pollution is now considered to be the world’s single largest environmental health risk, with an estimated 7 million deaths linked to the problem each year.   Most of the issues lie in urban areas of the world, where populations are often exposed to pollution levels that are 2.5 times higher than recommended.

Because this has become a global problem, many of our best minds have set out to develop solutions.  Here are just five of the most inspiring innovations that are helping us both monitor and reduce air pollution.

1 – Cloud Seeding

Have you ever wished, or prayed, for rain to cleanse the skies?  Scientists have found a way to tip the odds of those wishes coming true with something called cloud seeding.  Rain manifests through cloud condensation.  What happens with this process, is that condensation is artificially generated through planes “seeding” the clouds with silver iodide, or dry ice.  China allegedly used this method in Beijing in 2008 to clean up its skies leading up to the 2008 Olympics. Scientists are split on how effective this practice truly is at generating rainfall.

2 – Giant Sprinklers

In the areas of the world with high levels of air pollution, China seems to be one of the hardest hit.  The Asian country has declared war on air pollution in recent years and one of its current proposals is to use giant sprinklers on the top of its skyscrapers.   These sprinklers will spray water into the air, which should settle dust and other pollution particles.  These systems are still in the design and testing phases.

3 – Smog-Eating Buildings

Another way to clean pollution, or smog, is with passive chemical reactions.  Mexico City also isn’t known for its clean air.  Yet, an innovative design at its hospital building called the Torre de Especialidades provides a unique solution. The facade is constructed of special tiles that are coated with titanium oxide. Once the tiles are activated by UV rays, they convert mono-nitrogen oxide (pollution) into some less harmful substances.

4 – Pigeon Air Patrol

Probably one of the more entertaining and fascinating solutions, the Pigeon Air Patrol is an actual squad of pigeons that flies over the city of London and its boroughs. The feathered flock’s primary assignment is to conduct air pollution monitoring. 10 racing pigeons outfitted with air sensor backpacks measure levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and other pollutants throughout the city.  Londoners can follow Twitter accounts to determine readings in their area. This program by Plume Labs is now being expanded to help citizens understand pollution and its health risks.

5 – Smog Free Tower 

Picture one of those air purifiers that you place in the corner of your home or office.  Now imagine a massive air purifier over 20 feet high that can clean up to 1,000 cubic feet of air per hour.  This is exactly what is now sitting in Beijing’s 751 D.Park.  This smog free tower is considered the world’s largest air purifier and it runs on just a small amount of green electricity.  The smog free tower was created by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and is planned for a world tour.

While air pollution remains a serious problem, these are exciting times in the field of air quality monitoring and pollution reduction.  These new technologies are revolutionizing the way we view air quality and providing methods to clean up our environment for future generations.

Why One Manhattan Man is Wearing his Trash for a Month

September 29th, 2016

Most people don’t give any thought to the amount of trash they produce. Once they put it in a garbage can, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Rob Greenfield, an environmentalist from New York City, recently made the issue front and center when he decided to literally wear his trash for 30 days. Greenfield collected every piece of trash he produced and placed it in a specially made suit so people could see what he threw away. Nancy Judd, a designer with Recycle Runway, created the suit to support the weight of the trash in addition to making it visible.

The Amount of Trash People Produce May Shock You

In a 2013 report, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. That comes out to 135 pounds per month, which means that Greenfield will be wearing a very heavy suit at the end of his experiment. Although normally conservative with the trash he generates, Greenfield decided to live just like the average American for 30 days. By the eighth day of his experiment, his specialty suit already included:

  • Styrofoam cups from his morning coffee
  • Fast food bags and containers
  • Boxes from home delivery
  • Food remnants
  • Plastic bags from local stores
  • Newspapers and junk mail
  • Bottles from water and soda

Greenfield states that the purpose of this hilarious but also sobering 30-day experiment is to raise awareness of the problem of everyday waste. He realizes that it’s not realistic to expect people not to produce any waste. However, he hopes they will commit to making small changes after seeing his so-called garbage suit. Even something as minor as using a reusable water bottle rather than filling a new cup each time can have a big impact on the environment.

Since most cities have mandatory recycling programs, a lot of people assume they are doing all they can to decrease the problem of too much waste. Although some trash does get composted or recycled, the majority of it gets dumped into landfills. As the trash decomposes, it releases greenhouse gases into the air that have a negative effect on climate change.

Follow Greenfield on Social Media to Learn the Outcome of His Experiment

Greenfield plans to document his experience wearing the trash suit each day from now until the middle of October. He is working with a professional filming crew to document his project, which he has appropriately named Trash Me. Those interested in following along should click here to get links to his website, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. He also encourages people to have their picture taken with him and upload it to their own social media account with the hashtag #TrashMe.

Greenfield hopes to start a nationwide conversation about the impact of consumerism on people, animals, and the environment. People don’t have to be a full-time environmentalist like he is to make a big difference in their own community.

Why it Matters Where Your Old Junk is Hauled To

September 13th, 2016

Image courtesy of the Dept. of Environmental Protection – Montgomery County, MD

When individuals and businesses require earth-friendly trash hauling  services, they can rely on Fast Haul to handle their unwanted items responsibly. Serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1993, we have a long history of working with local communities to help keep the planet safe and healthy — unlike many of our “fly-by-night” competitors.

Proceed With Caution

Many lesser-known haulers that show up in store parking lots or advertise on sites like Craigslist are  just random individuals using their trucks to score a few bucks. They  typically don’t possess business credentials and lack training in junk removal hauling. As a result, they often entice unsuspecting customers with unusually low prices and lofty promises. However, as is often the case, you get what you pay for.

The Real Cost of Unethical Haulers

When businesses and residents hire haulers they do not know or recognize, they put themselves and the environment at risk. Unfortunately, unlicensed haulers often illegally dump trash and hazardous waste materials — including batteries, computers, oil, paint and other toxic waste — into waterways, vacant lots, public or private streets, and even parks. They do so to save time and money. What’s more, they do not care about acting ethically, abiding laws and regulations, or respecting their customers and the community.

According to a recent KTVU news report, the issue of illegal and unsightly dumping in The City of Oakland is continuous and seriously on the rise. Residents believe the source of the dumping may be from people outside the area who do not want to pay for waste disposal. If so, it’s very possible that unscrupulous haulers are among the culprits that are negatively impacting the health and well being of the area. This troublesome situation is probably effecting other cities as well.

Make a Difference by Choosing Wisely

Businesses and individuals have the means to combat this growing problem. They simply must select a reputable and environmentally-responsible hauling company such as Fast Haul for their waste removal needs.

Fast Haul cares deeply about the welfare of our customers and the world at large. We do everything we can to protect our customers and the environment.

To improve efficiency and reduce costs, we recycle or donate materials whenever possible. Additionally, we make sure to pass along the savings to our customers with our green promise. To keep unnecessary waste out of landfills, we routinely donate to charitable organizations. We also properly recycle metal, paper, trash, and electronic waste. We also understand and follow guidelines of landfills, donation drop-off points, and recycling centers throughout the Bay Area.

Fast Haul is an established, professional junk hauling company with a focus on keeping customers and the environment happy. When customers contact us, they know we will do our best to handle each job efficiently and safely. Our customers know how much we care about them, and we know they’re worth it.


Trash by the Numbers & Why Green Hauling is Important

August 16th, 2016

Every week we roll our trash to the curb for pickup and disposal. Rarely do we give a second thought to where it goes and how it’s processed. However, this “out of sight, out of mind” attitude does not reflect the importance of waste management in America. How to manage trash is a major issue at a national and global level. The issue becomes more critical with the increasing amount of waste Americans are contributing to landfills every year. The growing concern over waste production highlights just how important recycling and green hauling is to our environment.

A Legacy of Waste

trash recycling composting comparisonAccording the EPA, American trash output increased from just over 88 million tons in 1960 to over a quarter billion tons annually today. However, higher rates of recycling and composting today offset some of that increase. The “net” volume of waste discarded to landfills peaked in 1990 at just over 145 million tons annually. As of 2013 that figure remained around 134 million tons.


  • The average American generates roughly 4.4 pounds of trash every day.
    • 1.12 pounds recycled (about 25%)
    • 0.39 pounds composted (about 9%)
    • 2.89 pounds of remaining waste (about 66%)

Landfills Overflowing

To deal with an increasing volume of trash, municipalities build an increasing number of landfills. Additionally, they dump more trash into existing landfills far beyond the suggested capacity. Consequently, some regions with capacity issues now transport their waste to neighboring states.

The Big Run landfill in Kentucky was originally designed to hold a modest 7,000 tons. Today, it receives 3,500 tons every day from across the Eastern seaboard! Ohio faces a similar issue, with about a third of their 3.4 million tons of out-of-state trash coming from New York.

Gross Gases

Another hazardous byproduct of landfills involves the end result of bacterial decomposition of organic material. Landfills provide the perfect environment for the creation of methane. Methane, a greenhouse gas, is 84 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide. High concentrations of methane gas in the Northeast US represent a growing problem. For example, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Illinois produce 170 to 205 cubic feet of methane gas daily. The country’s worst offenders are California and Texas, producing a mind-blowing 419.6 and 331.8 cubic feet of methane per day.

Given the numerous issues with landfills, responsible waste management is mandatory. Here at Fast Haul, we work especially hard to donate or recycle as much of the junk we pick up as possible. We aim to send the absolute least amount of waste goes to local landfills.

Will Technology Disrupt Garbage Collection Next?

July 22nd, 2016

Technological advancements have become a part of everyday life over the last several decades, fundamentally changing the way we do everyday tasks. Everything from buying everyday items like groceries and movie tickets to filing taxes and starting a business has become inundated with technology, simplifying and optimizing process that used to occupy a significant amount of time and energy. While these advancements have generally been welcomed, some express concern that tech is slowly snuffing out jobs and even whole industries. Today we are going to look at a few of the recent technological developments in waste collection and analyze how they will affect the industry as a whole.

Electric Garbage Trucks

Tesla Motors, today’s gold standard in automobile innovation, are applying their technology to try and make garbage trucks quieter and more efficient. They are currently developing an electric drivetrain that can be installed in most large-scale collection trucks in operation, replacing the loud, cumbersome diesel engines and transmissions. The electric engines are powered by battery packs, and also help re-charge the batteries when the driver breaks. Should batteries run low, an on-board turbine (running on either diesel or biofuel) kicks in to give the batteries a boost.

Tesla claims that because combustion engines are least efficient on vehicles making frequent stops, the electric drive-train will make a significant impact on the environment and costs. They believe that the engines could reduce fuel consumption by 67%, emissions by 63%, and vehicle maintenance costs by as much as $25,000 annually.

“Smart” Garbage Cans

Compology, a San Francisco-based startup, has created a sensor that can be attached to the inside of any trash or recycling receptacle. By being able to detect and send alerts when the trash is ready to be collected, the developers feel that collection companies can use the data to utilize more effective collection times and routes. The data can be stored and tracked in a native OS for further analysis as well.

One of the bigger selling points for the program is that it is entirely cloud-based, meaning companies will not have to install or hast any software. That means the dashboard can be accessed through any Internet-connected device. Based on their calculations, better-planned routes will cut costs up to 40 percent.

Trash Collecting… Robots?

Easily the most “out there” idea we cam across, the Volvo corporation announced a partnership with several companies and universities in both the US and Sweden to collaborate a project called Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, or ROAR. The project aims to create robots to assist in the heavy lifting aspects of garbage collecting (i.e., picking up and emptying the cans).

While the goal is to have the robots operate as autonomously as possible, Volvo will be developing a control panel for the driver to supervise the performance of each robot. Along with preventing workplace injuries among collectors, the robots will also help make the process quitter as well.

With all of these interesting developments in waste collecting technology, one must wonder how this will affect the status quo. Both the electric motor and the garbage can sensors seem to have good upside, given that they would not require the complete replacement of the equipment in use today. Another upside is that it does not eliminate a human step in the process, like Volvo’s robot. Its hard to tell now, but garbage collectors could see this a step towards the elimination of their jobs. Of course this depends on the performance of the robots in the field, but the implications merit paying close attention to further developments.

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