Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

How to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

July 25th, 2017

Everyone cares about the environment. We reduce, reuse, and recycle everything that comes into our houses, but what if our houses could do these things too? Here are some tips on how to make your home eco-friendly.

Energy Drainers

Go around your house and look for ‘energy drainers’. These are appliances that can either be upgraded to new energy-efficient models, or fixed to prevent energy leaks. Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Turn your computer or TV off or on stand-by.

Lights

Changing your lightbulbs to new energy-efficient bulbs can save you hundreds of dollars a year and benefit the environment. LED and CFL lightbulbs waste less energy than traditional bulbs as they do not give off as much heat. They can easily fit into your existing light fixtures, meaning you don’t have to spend anything to install them. Each of these new bulbs are more expensive, however, they last longer, will result in reduced bills, and are generally better for the environment.

Compost

You already put your paper products out for recycling, but you can do one better by composting your leftover kitchen scraps. By using a compost bin, you will be helping to keep this refuse out of landfills. Many hardware and retail stores – both rural and residential – sell compost bins.

Water

Get into a routine of turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, and limit your showers to three minutes.

Conservation can also be done with your toilet. If you are able to afford a replacement, consider ones that have a ‘low flow’ flush option.

Air Conditioner

Having an air conditioner during the harsh summer months can be a blessing, but there are times when it is best to leave it turned off. If the hot weather is starting to get to you, your first step should be to open a window. Let the stale air inside of your house out, and enjoy some fresh air. If it is still too hot, consider using a fan. You will be using electricity, but studies have proven running an air conditioner uses much more electricity than a simple fan.

It is also an idea to double-check your sleeping habits. A lot of people confess to having the air conditioner on while simultaneously sleeping under a blanket.

Furniture

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change your house’s decor, but what happens to your perfectly-good furniture? One option available to you is to keep your current furniture, but give it a face-lift. Thefurnitureconnoisseur.com have a wide range of polishes and waxes to give your pieces a whole new look.

If you really want something different, look to the freecycle initiative. This puts you in contact with second-hand stores and private sellers and traders.

There are many ways to make your home eco-friendly. Try one or try them all!

Tips for Cheaper and Greener Construction Waste Disposal

July 18th, 2017

Image courtesy of FEMA Photo Library

Construction waste disposal is not only expensive, but it’s also damaging to the environment when not approached strategically. Whether you are a contractor, building owner, or a homeowner doing renovations, you’ll find that your projects are going to create a massive amount of waste.

Sending everything straight to a landfill might be a logical first choice, but it’s probably not the best option for the environment. According to EPA figures, 534 million tons of construction debris was generated in 2014 alone. These include materials such things as concrete, tile, lumber, carpet, steel, plastic, and drywall.

Even if you wanted to send all of these items straight to the dump, this many not be an option for much longer.  Unfortunately, landfills are becoming so overcrowded with waste that their restrictions are becoming more rigid. Here are several tips for cheaper and greener construction waste disposal that you can begin applying to your next construction or renovation project.

1. Work Smarter

Better and cheaper waste disposal almost always comes down to having a superior plan in place. Some of the construction debris sent to landfills is actually unused materials, so one way to save money and reduce waste is to have better estimating programs in place.

When you do need to dispose of materials on a worksite, create a packaging and disposal strategy ahead of time. For example, large hollow items such as sinks and bathtubs should lie open side up in a bin so they can also be filled with waste. Only spring for expensive contractor bags when there aren’t any other alternatives to hold waste.

2. Recycle Materials

One of your goals should be to set aside as much construction debris for recycling as possible. RecycleWorks reports that new construction sites in the U.S. produce an average of six pounds of waste per square foot of construction. Some construction debris items that you can set aside for recycling include asphalt, concrete, wood, metals, tile, porcelain, carpet, and dirt. When you create your construction debris plan, set aside separate areas to collect items that should be taken to a recycling facility.

3. Re-Use Construction Materials

Another option for your construction debris is to either reuse the materials yourself or sell them to a company that can integrate the waste into their own building plans. For example, old windows and doors are often reusable as-is or with some minor repairs. Fixtures such as sinks and bathtubs may also be re-used on other projects. Vegetation and trees that are removed from one construction site can be transplanted to help fill out the landscaping plan of another.

4. Outsource Materials Removal

Handling all of your construction debris in-house isn’t necessarily the cheapest or most efficient option. It’s a challenge in itself to haul hundreds if not thousands of pounds of debris away from a work site, and this is a task that you want to be completed on a regular basis. Many professional services will combine hauling away construction debris along with materials that are designated for recycling, which will save you money long-term.

Whether your current project is considered a sustainable or “green” building project or not, there are ways to tailor construction waste disposal so that it has less of an impact on both the environment and your project’s bottom line. The most effective means of waste disposal is to carefully plan and sort materials so that your materials recycling and re-use programs will have the greatest impact.

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.

 
 
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