Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

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.

Bay Area Garbage & Waste News Round Up – July of 2016

July 1st, 2016

As we reach the halfway point of the 2016 calendar year, garbage and waste has been in the forefront across the Bay Area. Today we are going to take a look a several stories and how they stand to impact their respective communities.

San Francisco – Ocean Beach

Residents in the Outer Sunset/Richmond Districts are expressing their frustration with an initiative by the National Parks Service aiming to decrease the amount of litter at Ocean Beach. The seemingly disadvantageous plan, which was set into place in early November of 2015, involved removing 9 out of 19 trash bins along the beach in hopes that visitors would be more apt to take their trash away from the beach and dispose of it at home or elsewhere. The Parks Service cites successes at both Baker Beach and Marin County’s Stinson Beach as reasons for bringing the plan to one of the cities most popular destinations.

Although the Park Service is reporting that maintenance crews are seeing less trash, locals beg to differ. Ocean Beach residents are noticing trash continue to pile up around the trash bins that are left, indicating that visitors are not getting the message to take responsibility for their own waste. Regardless of the complaints, the Park Service plans of sticking with the plan at least until the end of the summer season, but are open to bringing the trash bins back should maintenance crews confirm the sentiments of locals.

San Francisco – Mission District

Last weekends Dyke March, and long running festival celebrating the cities’ LGBTQ community, drew criticism from Rec & Park workers once the attendees dispersed and left them to pick up an excessive amount of trash blanketing Dolores Park. This year’s event adds more fuel to the already contentious relationship between those in charge of maintaining the newly renovated park and visitors.

In all, 25 workers worked long hours starting late Saturday evening to deal the trash, continuing to work through the weekend. One worker, expressing his frustration in a Facebook post, noted that it took 13 Rec & Park employees a total of 86.5 hours to clean up the trash left behind by festival goers. While Rec & Park representatives have pointed at progress since the $20.5 million dollar renovation, which added more bathrooms, increased recycling capacity, and funded a Leave No Trace-style “Love Dolores” campaign, some are quick to point out last weekends gathering that the initiatives are not doing enough to deal with the problem.

Santa Clara County – Milpitas

A waste collection war rages on in Milpitas, specifically over where trash from the city gets dumped. City council recently voted to have waste transported to a south San Jose landfill, opting to not use the nearby Newby dump. Complicating the issue is Republic Services, the cities’ longtime waste collection company nearing the end if their 30-year contract with the city (the city is currently reviewing bids from 4 waste collection companies, including Republic Services). The company’s legal team succeeded in collecting enough signatures to add a referendum to the Nov. 8th ballot, thus giving Milpitas residents the ability to decide where their trash gets sent. Given the Republic Services operates the Newby dump, it is in their best interest to fight the decision.

The council’s decision is influenced by complaints from Milpitas residents of the odors emanating from the Newby dump, hoping that moving the waste to San Jose will help. Unfortunately for Milpitas, it looks as if San Jose residents are not going to take the waste diversion towards their city lying down. Over 6,000 signatures have been collected urging the city of San Jose to take action, expressing worry over how the estimated extra 22 to 37 truckloads of trash will effect traffic congestion, property value, and overall quality of life.

Spring Time Dirt/Concrete Removal

March 25th, 2016

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It’s spring time and time many people will begin dirt and or concrete excavation/removal projects. The first thing you need to do is call 811 (USA) underground service alert. Underground gas pipes electrical lines need to be located and marked properly! If you are going to haul away the dirt/concrete yourself, you should understand how much the dirt/concrete actually weights. A cubic yard of dirt or concrete weights over 2,000 lbs. This is the in dump truck or out of the ground weight, not in the ground weight. Your figure a cubic yard of dirt or concrete by using 27 cubic feet = 1 cubic yard or 2,200 lbs.

Example – if you are digging a 3x3x3 foot hole for a new tree (which is 1 cubic yard), this is a ground measurement, out of ground and in dump truck. This amount almost doubles so be careful, your best bet is to call an experienced dirt/concrete company with the proper equipment such as a front end loader and dump truck to take the dirt concrete away to the proper dumping location or landfill.

Key Factors In Demolition Hauling

January 27th, 2016

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Demolition is not just a matter of knocking down a structure. That is, in many ways, the easy part. The safe and efficient removal of the demolition debris is a key factor that many people pay no heed to. Proper removal of construction debris will not only make site preparation for the new construction easier, it will also prevent the spread of toxic materials that are released at the time of demolition. When looking for a construction debris removal company, using one that offers an end to end service will ensure that the process goes smoothly. Among the services that should be offered are:

  • Spa, shed and hot tub removal: The Company should have the capabilities to remove not only the shed and tub but also the old deck retaining wall, fence or arbor etc. If the wood is unpainted, the company should arrange for it to be recycled. The rest of the materials should be disposed off responsibly in an environmentally friendly manner. Before hiring a company, check on the availability of the required equipment and its experience in such work.
  • Swimming pool demolition and removal: Demolishing a swimming pool is a complex job that only experienced companies can take up. Not only does the concrete have to be broken up and hauled away, the hole must be left in a condition that makes the installation of a new pool easier. If a replacement is not planned, the hole will have to be filled, compacted and made smooth so that space is ready for landscaping or any other use.
  • Experience in a wide range of demolition: From fence demolition to brick removal, concrete drilling and more, each type of demolition and hauling presents its own challenges. Having the job done the right way depends on the experience of the people involved.
  • The right machines and people: Whether you need to have excavation or trenching done, structure removal or excavation, the right equipment, such as backhoes and bobcats, ensures that the job is done not just properly, but also quickly and economically. The equipment used should not only have the required attachments for the job to be done, the project supervisor and machine operators must have the skill to be able to use the machines in the right way. If the space available is not enough for heavy equipment to be used, the company should have a crew that will break the concrete by hand and then use wheelbarrows and other equipment to carry it out to the hauling trucks.

Removal of trash and construction debris is not a glamorous job. But it is an essential one. You don’t want to inflict the sight of the debris on your neighbors any longer than you have to. And you do not want to expose them to the dust and toxic material that the demolition will cause. Demolition is always a headache, but using the right hauling company will minimize the hassles and ensure that the debris is disposed of in the right manner.

Disposing Of Hazardous Household Waste

September 23rd, 2015

While industries are required by law to dispose of the hazardous waste that they generate in a safe manner, many households are not held to this requirement. Consequently, individuals and families are not aware of the amount of dangerous and environmentally damaging waste they generate. This lack of awareness caused them to dispose the waste without taking any precautionary measures.

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The Dangers of Improper Disposal

If not properly disposed of, hazardous waste can:

  • Place sanitation workers and others who come into contact with it, at risk.
  • If poured down drains, it contaminate septic tanks and wastewater treatment facilities.
  • If poured down drains, it can pollute the water bodies that the drains empty into.
  • If sent to unprotected landfills, it will contaminate surface and ground water that is a source of drinking water.

Examples of Hazardous Waste

The list of potentially hazardous waste that a home can generate is huge. Here is a very small list of the seemingly safe and innocent but actually toxic waste, a home can generate:

  • Rat and other rodent poisons
  • Batteries
  • Insecticides and herbicides
  • Oven cleaners
  • Drain openers
  • Nail polish and polish removers
  • Wood and metal cleaner
  • Cosmetics of various kinds
  • Adhesives
  • Automotive oils

The list goes on and on. Contact your town authorities or a green trash haulage company for more information.

Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) knows that it is not possible to regulate the waste from every household in the country. It has therefor developed a household waste exemption policy that is constantly evolving, to allow homes to control the waste they generate ina convenient yet safe manner. More information is available at the EPA website.

Every state has its own laws and policies on this matter. Click here for information on the policies and regulations in California.

Ways to Reduce Waste

Controlling the generation of hazardous waste does not mean any drastic change in lifestyle. All it requires is taking a little care in disposing of trash and using your common sense. Among the things you can do are:

  • Buy things only in the quantity you need and only when you need them.
  • Donate unused portions to community organizations or share them with friends.
  • There are specific disposal policies and sites for a number of toxic items. Learn where they are and how to use them.
  • Take a little time to read product information on labels carefully. Whenever possible, try to buy a nonhazardousalternative to a hazardous one.
  • Ensure that a toxic product is completely used before throwing it away.
  • Do not remove product labels or removeproducts from their originalcontainers.
  • Do not mix toxic and not toxic material together.

Being an environmentally friendly home is not difficult. All it takes is a little awareness of the types and quantities of waste being generated and its proper disposal. The best way to ensure that you are doing it the right way is to use the services of a registered trash and junk haulage company that is committed to and is known for recycling as much of the waste it collects. Also choose a company that dumps the rest in a safe and approved manner. It will not cost you anything extra and in fact, the best ones offer a discount on loads that contain a minimum amount of recyclable material.

 
 
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