Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

Tesla Taking Next Step In Green Living

May 29th, 2015

At Fast Haul, we are passionate when it comes to making our planet a better, cleaner place to live, which is why we dedicate our time to hauling off junk and making sure that it’s disposed of or recycled properly.  We’re not alone when it comes to having this passion for caring for Earth.  Tesla is one of the big names in the eco-friendly game nowadays; with their completely electric car taking the world by storm and revolutionizing the way people travel.  Just recently, they’ve decided to take the next step in eco-friendly lifestyle, shifting focus from your garage into the rest of your home.

Unveiling the Powerwall

With the goal of lessening the world’s dependency on oil and gas, Elon Musk revealed what he referred to as the “Powerwall” home battery.   At only 6 inches thick and easily mountable to a wall, it can store up to 10 kilowatt-hours (with a smaller 7 kilowatt-hour model) of electricity generated from solar panels and provide power for your home when you need it.  The battery itself looks very sleek and modern, consistent with the aesthetic of the Tesla vehicles, and utilized a similar lithium ion battery for energy storage.

How It Will Change Lives

Tesla MotorsWhile the average home electricity usage is greater in the morning and evening, the peak of solar energy generation is right in middle of the day.  Without a home battery, all of the energy that is being generated has nowhere to go, and usually is sold to power companies that can be bought and used later.

The Powerwall will allow people to store that energy and save it for exactly when they need it, whether it’s during their peak of energy usage in the evening, or even during emergencies if the power grid goes down.  It is also built to require little to no maintenance since it is completely automated.  Even the price point of $3000 – $3500 makes it more accessible to the average home.

Keep Going Green

Whether you upgrade to an electric car, use solar energy to power your home, or just making sure that your junk is recycled properly with Fast Haul, every little action can make a huge difference in the fight for a cleaner world.

Source:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2015/04/30/tesla-stationary-power/26653817/

Sustainability Tips for the Workplace

March 19th, 2015

tslgreen-buildingsOne of the main tenets of the movement towards creating a better environment is sustainability. As a society, we rely mainly on non-renewable resources like fossil fuels, earth mineral and metal ores for power. Extracting and using resources like these causes significant greenhouse gas pollution, which happens to be the biggest contributor to global warming.

Reducing your impact on the environment requires some significant changes in your home and personal life, but you can also change habits at the workplace to facilitate change.

Here are a few things you can do at work to cut your carbon footprint and contribute to a better environment:

- Replace normal incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs instead

- Make double-sided copies to reduce paper waste and printer use.

- Actively recycle all batteries and ink cartridges once they are depleted.

- Regulate thermostat use: keep heat set between 68-72 degrees during cold months, and turn heat down lower before leaving the room.

- Implement a recycling/compost program.

- Bring a personal reusable water bottle to fill up at the cooler, rather then going through countless plastic cups.

- Look for an Energy Star certification for any new appliances you might have to buy, like microwaves or refrigerators.

- Keep desks and furniture from blocking radiators.

- Utilize a power strip for all of your office electronics so you can switch it off for the weekend or days you wont be at your desk.

 

Sources:

http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/oes/residential-programs/green-tips-for-the-workplace/

https://www.luther.edu/sustainability/campus/energy-climate/conservation/savings/tips/

What To Do: Recycling Mattresses

March 9th, 2015

Mattresses_in_LandfillEasily one of the biggest eyesores you can come across in public, illegally discarded mattresses are seen far too often today. Whether it be in alleyways, vacant lots, or along the sides of the freeway, dumped mattresses have long been a thorn in the sides of public utility departments and pose some serious hazards to the general public.

While it’s far from okay to dispose of a mattress by leaving it on the side of the road, it’s easy to understand given the limited options available for resale and recycling. Lets face it, there is not much of a market for used mattresses, and in fact, a majority of donation centers will refuse mattresses unless they are nearly brand new. Heading to the landfill is an option, but not the most environmentally friendly one. Mattresses take up a lot of room (as much as 40 cubic feet) and the springs make it extremely difficult to compact. Most landfills will charge you an extra fee to deal with the added troubles of mattresses.

While the state of recycling mattresses seems grim, you need not worry. There are ways to dispose of an old mattress without resorting to the aforementioned tactics. Here are some of the things you can do with that old mattress:

  • If you feel the mattress is in decent enough shape for further use, you can offer it up for free on websites like Craigslist or Freecycle.
  • Look for specific mattress recycling centers like DR3 Recycling. They deconstruct mattresses by hand and are able to recycle 85-90% of it. Not in the Bay Area? Use this handy search tool from Earth911 to find recyclers near you.
  • If you have to tools and the time, you can opt to take your mattress apart and recycling the raw materials yourself. Check out the step-by step process you need to follow here.

Altamont Wind Farm to Power Google Offices in 2016

February 17th, 2015

Long time residents of the Bay Area are sure to be quite familiar with that Altamont Pass Wind Farm. The hills along Interstate 580 as you pass Livermore and head towards the Central Valley are dotted with massive wind turbines, erected as a result of the energy crisis of the 1970’s. The wind farm is one of the oldest and earliest examples of wind power, and at one time was the largest in the US.

altamontwindIf you are not familiar with the wind farm you might want to Google it, seeing as the Mountian View-based Internet giant is about to fund a massive equipment overhaul. As part of a 20-year power purchase agreement that will allow their home offices to be completely powered by the wind produced by the turbines, Google will oversee the replacement of over 700 older turbines and replace them with 48 new machines capable of producing twice the amount of energy.

This landmark deal means that beginning in 2016, 50% of the power (about 43 megawatts) produced by the wind farm will drastically lower Google’s carbon footprint, a goal the eco-friendly company has been working towards with the implementation of solar panel arrays and natural gas.

Besides the environmental and financial benefits that Google will reap, a few factors on the other side of the deal make this a win-win situation for NextEra Energy, the Florida-based company that owns and operates the turbines. Some of the biggest critic’s of the turbines were local conservation groups concerned with the staggering number of birds killed by them. It has been reported that thousands of birds, including eagles, raptors, and hawks, are killed every year by the turbines.

The Google deal is looked on as a major contributor to a 2010 deal that called to shut down all of the archaic turbines and replace them with newer, bird-friendly models.

Sources

http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_27503195/google-buys-altamont-wind-energy-power-googleplex

http://www.sfgate.com/green/article/New-Altamont-wind-turbines-aim-to-cut-bird-deaths-2526070.php

Food Waste Recycling Drops Dramatically in Alameda County

February 9th, 2015

It looks like the green bins in the Bay Area are not getting the love they deserve.

In a recent study completed by StopWaste, a public agency tasked with reducing waste, numerous Alameda County cities are showing drastic increases in food scraps being discarded in trash bins in 2014.

The data was complied by workers who randomly sampled 3,000 garbage bins, both commercial and residential, in 15 Alameda County cities. The data shows that all 15 cities added to the percentage of food scraps in the trash compared to data collected in 2013. For example, the city of Fremont more then doubled its figure, going from 21 percent to 43 percent. On the lower end, Union City only saw a 2 percent increase, although they were the outright worst performing city going into 2014.

20150205_061722_OAK-COMPOST-0206-WEBOther data collected by the agency shows that homes in these cities are more reluctant to put out their green bins on pickup day, with 47 percent of home opting out compared to 28 percent in 2013. Whichever way you decide to look at it, the fact is that Bay Area residents are not recycling organics like they were in the past.

Several possible reasons for this unsettling trend have been hypothesized, one being that transplants new to the Bay Area are not familiar with the concept of separating food scraps from trash, a practice not particularly common in the US. Another could be that folks who were actively composting in 2013 are simply tired of the process.

Composting and recycling organics can be a messy (and sometimes smelly) job, but it is a huge weapon in the fight against global warming on this planet. Organic matter, when mixed in with regular trash, greenhouse gases like methane get released which contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Below you will find some tips that will hopefully make collecting organic was easier in your household:

  • Remember what can and cant be put in the green bin:
    • Good: all food scraps (meat and bones, cereal, dairy, coffee grounds, fruit, veggies), food-soiled paper (paper towels, plates, napkins, pizza boxes, paper bags, coffee grounds), yard trimmings (grass clippings, tree clippings)
    • Bad: plastics, glass, metal, liquids, pet waste
  • Line both your indoor and outdoor organics bins with crumpled newspaper to help absorb any moisture. Replace the newspaper frequently to keep it from getting too soaked and stuck to the bottom.
  • Aviod animals and bugs by keeping your outdoor green bin away from fences and closed securely.
  • Sprinkle rock salt or lime to help kill any insects (like maggots) that might pop up.
  • Wrap extra messy organics like meat, fish and  in newspaper or put it in a cereal box (without the plastic bag) before adding it to the green bin.
  • If possible, freeze meesy food waste untill you are ready to roll your green bin out, it will help control strong odors.
  • Empty your household container early and often, and roll your green bin out to the curb even if its not completely full to prevent stink-ups.
  • Wash both your indoor and outdoor bins on a regular basis using vinegar or baking soda to kill bad smells.
  • Biodegradable plastic bags can help control food waste, but not all recyclers allow them in green bins. Check with your recycling service to see which bags they accept. Most recycling service providers prefer you use paper bags.

 
 
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