Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

Why Curb Appeal is Important Even if You’re Not Selling Your Home

February 16th, 2018

It’s a common misconception that only people selling their home need to feel concerned with curb appeal. The realtor’s term means how a home appears from street-level to someone walking or driving by it. However, having attractive curb appeal is beneficial for homeowners even if they have no intention of selling anytime soon. It’s a welcome sight at the end of a long day at work and it makes for better relationships with neighbors as well. Here are some simple things all homeowners can do to improve the curb appeal of their home:

  • Take care of yard clean-up: Mow and edge the lawn, trim trees and bushes, weed overgrown flowerbeds, and apply a new layer of mulch every spring.
  • Improve lighting: Replace any dead or broken bulbs, replace corroded or otherwise damaged light fixtures, clean glass panels and shades, and dust off any cobwebs.
  • Clean regularly: Pick up debris, sweep the sidewalk and steps, pressure wash siding, and clean all windows.
  • Make frequent repairs: This could include repainting the front door, resurfacing the driveway, replacing a damaged mailbox, or adding a coat of paint trim to the house.

By keeping up with these basic chores, homeowners will have continually good curb appeal and won’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of doing everything at once.

Good Curb Appeal Helps to Detract Criminals

When a home’s trees and bushes become overgrown, it makes an ideal place for criminals to hide. If a neighbor can’t see the windows, they won’t be able to spot a burglar trying to case the home either. Trees and bushes should be no taller than three feet high since this allows the homeowner and possibly the neighbors to see a potential burglar. Any entrance to the home should contain bright lighting for a further deterrent. Lastly, homeowners should consider placing gravel around the windows that makes a loud crunching sound when someone steps on it. This will alert them that someone could be trying to break in.

Strategically Placed Trees Can Help Homeowners Save Energy

Besides offering better curb appeal, trees and shrubs can also help to block wind and sun. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, planting trees on the east, northwest, and west of the property provides natural protection from the sun and cuts down on cooling costs. Homeowners just need to be careful to trim trees and shrubs so they don’t block the window view, cover solar panels, or cover an air conditioning unit.

Improves Property Value Over Time

Buying a home is the biggest investment that most people make in their lifetime. It just makes sense to keep it looking and functioning well. An attractive view from the street increases property value, even for homeowners not planning to move. The increase in property value can extend to the rest of the neighborhood as well. Keeping the property well-maintained already improves neighbor relationships, so increased value street-wide will only add to the sense of goodwill.

Around the Bay Area in Waste Management News – January 2018

January 26th, 2018

As a hub for progressive environmental ideologies, you can always count on waste management to be making headlines in Northern California. As we kick off the New Year, we look around the Bay Area to see what is being done to address issues and improve recycling and waste management in the month of January:

Cupertino to Adopt a “Zero Waste” Policy

In an effort to do away with the need for a landfill or waste incinerator, the city of Cupertino has adopted a “zero waste” policy to be implemented immediately. The overall goal of the policy, comprised of 16 separate waste elimination priorities, is to dispose of 80 percent of the cities waste through alternative means such as composting, recycling or reuse by the year 2025.

While officials are skeptical that the city could ever truly achieve zero waste, they feel that the increased effort could get them quite close to the goal (As it stands now, 65 percent of residential waste and 75 percent of commercial waste is diverted away from landfills in Cupertino). Beyond reducing the level of trash produced, officials are hoping that improved waste diversion efforts will help prevent pollution and help conserve resources.

Salesforce to Implement Aggressive Water Recycling Plan

The Salesforce Tower, the latest and greatest addition to the San Francisco skyline, has revealed plans to include a membrane bioreactor in the basement that will have the ability to recycle the entire buildings wastewater. The bioreactor will be able to process water from all 61 floors of the building (as well as rainwater runoff) and treat it for reuse. When it becomes fully operational, it will be the biggest water recycling system for a commercial building in the entire US.

Working as a dual filtration and treatment system, The bioreactor will also be able to take some of the pressure off of San Francisco’s sewage system by diverting water during storms. While Salesforce is only leasing 36 of the 61 floors in the building, they company has agreed to foot the entire bill for the bioreactor.

Milpitas Residents Upset After New Garbage Hauling Contract

In December, the city of Milpitas chose to sign a waste collection contract with Milpitas Sanitation Inc., moving away from long time partner Republic Services. Although the decision to end the 30-year relationship with Republic was made to save money and reduce contributions to the nearby Newby Island Landfill, residents are seeing little benefit so far.

A recent City Council meeting saw several people lodge complaints on a litany of issues with the new trash service, namely the sizes of the new waste bins. Residents feel that the new divided bins, featuring a 67-gallon landfill section and 29-gallon compost section, are not a generous as the previous and feature a much smaller garbage allotment. Other complaints include extra trash bags being ignored or strewn across the street, garbage not being picked up at all, and issues regarding billing. Council members present to hear the complaints say they are actively working with Milpitas Sanitation in order to work though these concerns.

What Happens to a Mattress When Junked

December 28th, 2017

With an ever-increasing importance being placed on environmental issues, more and more people are taking a second look at how much waste they produce and how they can better dispose of it. Although responsibly disposing of smaller, common household items like cans, boxes, leftover food, and containers is relatively straight forward, it gets a bit more complicated once we arrive at bigger and more sophisticated items like furniture and electronics.

One such item that always throws eco-friendly folks for a curve is mattress removal. Mattresses are an item that tends to find its way into the dump rather than a recycling center. Today we are going to look at the process of breaking down and recycling an old mattress responsibly.

Old Mattresses for sale? I think not!

 Of all the different items you will find in a second hand store, you will almost never find a used mattress. In fact, most stores that deal with furniture re-sales will have a strict “no mattress” policy, and for good reason too. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that used mattresses typically have between 100,000 and 10 million mites living inside.  These mites, who thrive in a warm, moist environment, feed on the dead skin cells that humans tend to shed at night. Additionally, ridding a mattress of all mites on a regular basis is an incredibly tough job even with all of the proper tools. That being said, you most likely wont see a ton of people lining up to buy mattresses second hand.

What’s recyclable

 While mattresses do contain components of a wide range of materials, most of them can be reused or recycled. Mattress frames and their springs are almost always made of wood and steel, organic materials that have been recycled for years. The stuffing of a mattress, whether it is cotton or foam, can be reused in a number of ways (for example, carpet padding, or furniture reupholstering).

A step-by-step process

If all the materials that comprise a mattress can be reused or recycled than you might be asking yourself, what makes them so hard to recycle? It’s the fact that all those materials need to be separated and treated differently, which results in a painstaking process:

Below we will outline the general process undergone when a mattress is responsibly disposed of:

  • All mattresses are stored so that they are properly dried out and sorted.
  • After they are sorted, all of the fabric is removed and bundled based on the type of material (i.e., cotton, fabric, wool, foam, etc.) For there, the bundles are sent elsewhere so that the material can be reused.
  • From here, the steel springs are removed from the wooden frames. This process can be long and arduous to do by hand, so in most cases recyclers use a specialized machine that strips and bundles the springs for them.
  • Once the springs are removed, the wooden frames are broken down and recycled.

While it is obviously easier to just dump an old mattress in a landfill, properly recycling mattress has a significant environmental impact. Properly recycling or 10,000 mattresses can save 239 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That equates to planting 273 trees or taking 40 cars off the streets! That reason alone should be more than enough reason to research options in your area.

Tips for Winter Clean-Up of Your Home and Yard

November 13th, 2017

While spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition, the transition from autumn to winter is also a good time to organize the house both inside and outside. Although the climate here doesn’t require as much Winter clean-up and preparation as places with snow and freezing temperatures, all homeowners can benefit from completing some seasonal chores. That way, everyone will feel cozy and relaxed when the winter nesting instinct hits.

Rotate Food and Seasonal Clothing

Many people store extra food in their pantries and then forget to use it or it becomes hidden by newer stock. The calendar turning to the winter season is a great time to go through the food pantry and toss anything remaining there past its expiration date. It’s also an opportunity to donate non-perishable and non-expired food to a local food shelf. Everyone wins in that situation. The homeowner gets a clean pantry and people who might otherwise miss a meal will get the nourishment they need.

The change in seasons here means wearing slightly warmer clothing, so going through drawers and closets is also a good idea. A good rule of thumb is to remove and store clothing that no one will wear for at least the next few months to make room for more seasonally appropriate items.

Give the Yard a Once-Over

The normal activities of autumn can make even the nicest yard look unkempt. However, most people are extremely busy once the holiday season hits. There’s still a few weeks for homeowners to complete yard clean-up so they can focus their time and energy on the holidays ahead. Some ideas for seasonal chores include:

  • Clean the rain gutters. Leaves, branches, and other debris that falls into gutters can attract insects, moisture, and mold if left sitting for too long. Removing the debris at least once a year ensures that rain water can flow uninterrupted through the gutter.
  • Clean up flower beds. Weeds, leaves, and twigs that fall into a garden can attract pests that could end up killing some of the plants. Cleaning flower beds annually is a good idea. Roses need special attention because the foliage they produce invites disease in cooler weather more than other types of plants.
  • Aerate and fertilize the lawn. Aeration breaks up deep layers of soil so grass can receive proper nutrients through water, fertilizer, and direct sunlight. Homeowners with larger yards can rent a walk-behind aerator for this job. It’s also a good time to fertilize the lawn with a professional-grade fertilizer containing a large amount of phosphorus.

Clean the Windows and Floors

Streaked windows are not only unattractive, they can prevent sunlight from reaching the home. Vinegar mixed with water tends to work better than commercial cleaners at getting windows sparkling clean.

Since people tend to spend more time indoors in the winter, carpets and hardwood floors get dirty faster. Steam clean the carpet or manually scrub tiled floors. This ensures that both are prepared for the increase in foot traffic in the months ahead.

To dispose of household junk, yard clippings, unwanted furniture, or anything else you need to address in a Winter clean-up, call Fast Haul today or schedule a free estimate online.

Bay Area Cities Score Well on WalletHub “Green” Analysis

October 16th, 2017

In a recent analysis, the website WalletHub analyzed the United States’ largest cities to rank the greenest metropolitan regions in the country. In the analysis, cities were scored based on four factors: environment, transportation, energy sources, and lifestyles & policy.

Perhaps not surprisingly, cities in the Bay Area and Northern California as a region scored very well in the survey. Of the the 100 cities included in the study, 5 Bay Area/Northern California cities appeared in the Top Ten:

  • San Francisco (#1)
  • Fremont (#3)
  • San Jose (#5)
  • Sacramento (#7)
  • Oakland (#10)

Here is a map of the results. The smaller dots represent the best-performing cities:

Source: WalletHub

Fast Haul supports the green aspirations of the cities of the Bay Area. Our organization strives to recycle or donate as large of a percentage of the goods we haul as possible.

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