Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle

June 16th, 2017

In 2013, Americans generated 254.1 million tons of solid waste. That’s 4.4 pounds of trash per person, per day. While our rate of recycling has gone up from just 16% 20 years ago to 34.3% today, we can do better. Yes, we all know that plastic bottles, glass, cans, and newspaper are recyclable.  Yet, there are many things that can be recycled that still wind up in our local landfill. Here are just ten things that can be recycled that probably weren’t on your list.

1. Appliances. Whether your appliances are working or not, there is a better place for them than in a landfill. Goodwill takes working appliances. If your appliances aren’t in working order, contact the Steel Recycling Institute instead.

2. Batteries. Batteries not only shouldn’t be tossed in the trash, but they can also turn into hazardous materials over time.  Staples has a battery recycling program, and there is also a company called Battery Solutions that recycles batteries throughout North America.

3. Clothing. We might not think of it as recycling, but when you donate you wearable clothing to a worthy cause, those items are being reused. Drop of your clothing items at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you have women’s business attire, give it to Dress for Success so that low-income women can use them to find jobs.

4. Computers and Electronics. You can recycle almost any type of computer equipment or electronic device today. This includes desktop and laptop computers, printers, and tablets. You can also recycle televisions, game systems, cell phones, and iPods. One helpful tool for finding computer and electronics recyclers is called Earth911.

5. Eyeglasses. Believe it or not, there are people in need who would love to have your used eye glasses. Maybe your prescription has changed, or you’ve just decided to upgrade your style. One place to recycle eyeglasses is through your local Lions Club.

6. Carpet. Whether you are remodeling your home or just changing out the carpet in one room, that old carpet needs a final resting place. Fortunately, some carpet makers have recycling programs, or you can look for a carpet recycling center in your area.

7. Crayons. It might sound silly, but we could have a crayon disposal problem if we don’t recycle more. 120,000 pounds of crayons are produced daily in the U.S., and you can now recycle these colorful items through the National Crayon Recycle Program.

8. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. The mercury contained in CFLs makes disposal more complicated than regular light bulbs. This is why both Home Depot and Ikea now provide CFL recycling programs. Some independent lighting stores may also accept CFLs for recycling.

9. Oil. When you change the oil in your car or lawn mower, that used oil can be refined into other lubricants and petroleum products.  Earth911 can help you find a local center to drop off your used oil.

10. Cosmetics. Most people simply toss old cosmetics in the garbage when they become stale or out of favor. Various brands, including Aveda and Origins, now have their own cosmetics recycling programs.

If you already have a recycling routine that works for you, now you can add some or all of these items to your list. Reusing and recycling as much as possible is just one more way that we can reduce the strain on our local landfills and work together to save the environment.

Facts About Garbage that Just Might Shock You

May 31st, 2017

The folks over at www.trucksandparts.com manufacture a lot of different vehicles and equipment. One of the types of vehicles they specialize in is garbage trucks. As such, they recently created a very informative infographic highlighting 14 different facts about garbage and trash production in America. As a junk hauler with an emphasis on green, environmentally-responsible hauling, we think it’s great to see this kind of information distributed.

Here are few eye-opening figures from the infographic below that may give you pause:

  • The total volume of solid waste created by Americans every year is equivalent to the weight of 2.3 MILLION Boeing 747 jumbo jets.
  • Most communities spend more money on trash disposal than they do on schoolbooks and libraries, fire protection, and public parks
  • Americans throw away 40% of the world’s toys, but only 4% of the world’s children live in the United States

Find the rest of the staggering stats below:

 

Landscaping and Yard Clean-up for Fire Prevention

May 17th, 2017

oakland hills fire

It’s been almost 26 years since a massive fire ripped through the Oakland hills, killing 25 people and destroying nearly 3,500 homes. The 1991 disaster remains fresh on the minds of many long-time residents, and some local experts believe that conditions in the area could be ripe for a similar catastrophe.

While the 1991 fire led to some improved local policies that includes fireproof materials on homes and improved readiness, there remain several dangerous issues. The area is stuck in a drought, and the highly flammable eucalyptus trees that largely fueled the 1991 blaze have since regrown.

While the city, county, and some local groups wage war over the means necessary to rid the area of flammable materials, homeowners can take some simple steps to protect their individual properties from a fire. Here are several ways that you can direct your landscaping and yard cleanup activities to prevent dangerous fires.

Clean Up

As a homeowner or renter, you should make sure that your property remains clean and tidy. For the sake of fire prevention, this means that you consistently remove dead plants, shrubs, and trees. It’s also important to keep the grass mowed and shrubs pruned. If there is any debris on the property, it should also be removed.

Create Defensible Space

Not only do you want to create a safe zone around your property, but California law also gives some homeowners direction about a home defense zone within 100 feet of the home. According to the California Public Resources Code §4291, homeowners must remove and clear away all flammable vegetation and other combustible growth within 30 feet of the home. A single tree or shrub can remain as long as it is pruned and well-spaced.

You are also required to keep a “reduced fuel zone” in the remaining 70 feet or out to your property line. This means that you create space between your plants and remove plants from beneath large trees.

Landscaping and Proper Selection of Plants

As you landscape and care for your lawn, you should remove any tree branches that are below six feet from the ground. Place only fire-resistant plants in your yard and water them regularly. Mulch might be useful to maintain moisture in your gardens, but it’s important to note that it will also burn. Avoid using wood or bark mulch within three to five feet of your home. Use colored stones or some other flame resistant material instead.

Create Breaks

When you create your fire safe home landscape, you should also create breaks with hardscape materials. This includes using stone walls and pathways that can act as a fuel break to slow down, stop, or change the direction of a fire.

Emergency Readiness

No one wants to think about a fire occurring at their home, but history shows that this sort of tragedy can happen in the blink of an eye. Make sure you’re ready with some emergency preparedness steps in advance. Have your water hoses and fire sprinklers ready and easy to access and your personal exit plan in place. Also, contact your local fire department and ask them if there is anything else that you can do to be prepared.

With some proper planning and the right landscaping around your home, you can ensure that you and your family are as safe as possible from the fire dangers in your area.

Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Garage

April 26th, 2017

With a long and rainy Winter and Spring headed to the rear-view mirror, it’s time for many here in the Bay Area to start thinking about projects around the house. Quite often, cleaning and organizing a cluttered garage is long overdue task around this time of year.

If you’re among those planning a garage clean-out and overhaul in the coming months, check out the following infographic from our friends at MakeSpace Labs. They’ve laid out a clear and concise, six-stage process for executing a garage makeover. The full post is available at: https://makespace.com/blog/posts/how-to-clean-organize-garage/

Once you’ve complete Step 6 and have all of your items sorted in various piles, contact Fast Haul for a quick and free quote to have all of your junk or donate-able items hauled off to the dump and/or charitable organizations in your community!

Why Illegal Dumping is Such a Foul Act

April 26th, 2017

Most people would be shocked to learn that they have been guilty of illegal dumping at some point. However, that may be exactly what they’re doing if they dispose of waste anywhere but their own receptacle provided by the city or county. Exceptions do exist, such as when city or county governments hold electronics recycling days. Putting old furniture in the yard or along the side of a road with a free sign attached to it is an example of illegal dumping that many people don’t realize. Some others include:

  • Placing waste from a construction site in another company’s bin
  • Dumping contaminated waste from a factory into water or soil without permission or treating it first
  • Throwing leaves, lawn clippings, garden rubbish, or everyday household waste into a park or forest

Why Do People Dump Their Garbage Illegally?

The reasons that people don’t follow rules regarding proper waste disposal are as varied as people themselves. Some simply don’t want to pay to have their trash removed so they use the trash receptacles of other people or businesses and make it their problem. Perhaps they feel desperate to get rid of something, such as a broken TV monitor or old computer, and don’t know how to do so otherwise. Ignorance of dumping laws and available alternatives are a common reason as well, although neither are a valid excuse.

How Illegal Dumping Affects Communities and the Environment

Nothing can make a community look run-down faster than old furniture and trash lining the sidewalks, streets, and yards of homes and businesses. Not only does this practice make neighborhoods look unsightly and lower property values, it attracts crime and jeopardizes health and safety. Vandals may find it entertaining to spray graffiti on the trash or even start it on fire. People walking or biking on a sidewalk may hit an obstruction and injure themselves. Trash piles attract rodents, which can spread disease to people and pets.

Illegal dumping is also hazardous to the environment at large. Common items that people dump, such as freezers and refrigerators, contain types of carbon that damage the earth’s ozone layer. Dumping trash directly into a river, lake, or ocean kills marine life and makes the water unsafe for human consumption. Hazardous waste kills plants, which in turn removes a food source for many types of animals. Some species of animals and plants will never return in the same numbers.

How the Environmental Protection Agency and State Agencies Are Addressing Illegal Dumping

The EPA estimates that 100 million tons of waste material have been dumped in locations across the United States. The solution is to clamp down on people who commit crimes against the environment. A minor offense, such as throwing trash out the window of a moving vehicle, may land the offender with a $50 fine. Fines can reach thousands or millions of dollars in more serious cases.

Large corporations are often the worst offenders because they put making a profit ahead of the health and safety of others. If everyone agrees to do their part and report those who engage in this activity, illegal dumping could be reduced considerably.

 
 
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