Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

Radioactive Junk Hauled into the Ocean 50 Miles from San Francisco

January 23rd, 2014
toxic oceans

Photo credit: http://www.johnlund.com/images/Sea-of-toxic-waste-barrels.jpg

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reveals some frightening revelations about the problematic legacy left behind from a controversial Cold War-era program that allowed for the dumping of steel drums containing atomic waste into coastal waters.  Of the estimated 110,000 barrels dumped, roughly 47,000 are believed to have been hauled to a single location roughly 50 miles offshore from San Francisco and the Bay Area, in a location near the Farallon Islands. A study of areas surrounding the dump site done in 1991 revealed “a radioactive decay product of plutonium, in some fish samples from the site as well as a comparison area about 60 miles away”.

The potential health effects of such materials in fisheries located so close to a major metropolitan area is of obvious concern, especially given the potential for further corrosion of the steel barrels over time, and consequent leakage of additional radioactive materials. Further complicating the issue is the difficult nature of locating the barrels on the ocean floor, given the strong underwater currents and movement of sediment in the last 50+ years. In fact out of over 11,000 photos taken in a 1960’s survey of the dump sites in the Atlantic and Pacific, not a single waste drum was located.

Thankfully, the practice of dumping radioactive waste into our oceans has been halted, but the overriding issues of what to do with the ever-increasing quantities of waste created by our industrialized societies remains. Here at Fast Haul, we make every effort to recycle as high of a percentage of the items we pick up as possible, and we encourage all of our customers and friends to be mindful of their own personal habits with respect to waste disposal.

By: Ethan Malone

What’s in the Junk Pile? Recognizing the Pests That Collect When It Goes Uncollected

December 19th, 2013

garbage_binsMaybe it’s in your yard, maybe it’s under the deck, or maybe it’s in the garage where only those you trust can see it. The junky pile of scraps or firewood is every homeowner’s dirty little secret they don’t have the wherewithal to deal with. But, left unattended, these piles of your own procrastination will attract the worst sort of pests.

You’re not using it, you don’t need it, and you know you don’t, but they do. Here are just some of the pests your procrastination personified could be attracting or, as I like to think of it, “more than 15 reasons to haul the junk away.”

Pavement Ants or Odorous House Ants

These are not the little black ants your typically see outside in anthills. These ants nest in both piles of wood and debris, until winter, when they get into your house and eat your food The “odorous” ones smell like rancid butter when squished (because revenge, like any dish, is best served with butter involved in some way).

You can try baiting them to rid yourself of a colony once you realize they’re a problem, but not all ants respond well to bait.

La Cucaracha

Cockroaches love dark recesses of varying dampness. The closer to your home (and kitchen) that is, the better they like it. Leaving junk lying around is just making their eventual invasion of your home one step (call it 1,000 cockroach steps) easier.

And good luck if you find out they’ve jumped from the rubbish pile to your house—it’s almost certainly necessary that you call an exterminator at this point.

Covered in Bees

It’s not that these particular insects carry diseases (they don’t) or that they’re gross (honeybees are actually held by some to be quite pretty). But when bees and similar insects (especially carpenter bees and yellow jackets) make their nests in your yard—perhaps on that long-neglected vintage fixer-upper or the winter wood pile you never use?—that they become an especially semi-dangerous nuisance, especially to pets and children or those with allergies to bee sting venom.

If such a thing has happened in your yard, DO NOT try to deal with this problem yourself! This is not something you can find a Pinterest tutorial for—leave it to those trained in pest removal and then get rid of the place that allowed them to nest on your property to begin with—especially if you have young children or pets. This cannot be a reoccurring problem for you and your peace of mind.

Flies, Fruits Flies, and Fungus Gnats

These germy little winged fiends love (respectively) garbage, rotten fruit, and anything decaying.

Each of these bugs is one more reason, (1) that it’s important to keep things around your garbage can or dumpster neat and clean, and (2) that you should only start a compost pile in your garden if you’re dedicated in an in-it-to-win-it kind of way.

Luckily, except in extreme cases, they usually leave with the nasty stuff attracting them.

Millipedes and Centipedes

Well, actually you’re attracting the smaller insects that centipedes feed on, but that means attracting centipedes and their nasty stings as well as millipedes (whose secretions cause blisters on human skin upon contact).

Get rid of the places they hide and you hopefully will be done with them.

Rodents and Raccoons

Raccoons will nest anywhere they can hide, and once they have shelter in your yard it won’t be long before they’re down your chimney and making a muck of your attic and walls—same goes for rodents!

And these nasty things do have to be professionally removed and cleaned up after. Make it harder for them to nest by having large, vacuous piles of debris hauled off.

Termites

The pest to end all pests—they burrow from the ground and into any wood they can find to feed and live, practically ruining your home in the process.

Don’t give the buggers more ammunition! Remove any exposed wood from your property, and check any wood you have stored—termites spread easily from firewood piles to structural wood—where they can wreak havoc and will need to be professionally exterminated (whether you have a problem with termite control in Long Island or in Arizona). No need to draw the swarms closer.

Take care of junk piles now and keep your (and you home’s) future as pest-free as possible!

About the Author:
Lucy Markham is an avid blogger and researches with companies like Suburban Exterminating. Lucy, as a recent homeowner, considers herself a bit of an expert on all things home improvement, gardening, and home decoration.

San Francisco Artist Turns Trash Into Treasures

December 13th, 2013

SlDr.Em.4A few months back, Fast Haul created an infographic, Turning Trash Into Treasure, where they highlighted eight different examples of turning household “trash” into “treasure” by exercising just a bit of creativity such as turning old chopsticks into a retro looking fruit basket or transforming old bicycle chains into unique bottle opener. The infographic can be seen here: http://www.fasthaul.com/ecoblog/2013/04/12/turning-trash-into-treasure-infographic/.

According to the Sacramento Bee, it looks like some artists are taking the initiative to turning trash-dump finds into treasures. In partnership with Recology, the Artist in Residence program allow a selected number of applicants to gather inspiration from what others throw away at the public disposal and recycling center. Local San Francisco conceptual multimedia artists, Yulia Pinkusevich and Stephanie Syjuco are among the selected few.

Founded in 1990, the Artist in Residence program was to educate the public about recycling and conservation with the help of the ingenuity of artists from around the world. The program offer artist a stipend, dump access and nearby studio space for four months. At the conclusion of the program, the artists’ artwork will be showcased and displayed in a number of public and private spaces or exhibition.

For this year Artist in Residence, both Pinkusevich and Syjuco joined the program coming from different perspective. Syjuco joined the program with the idea of creating an alternative vending structure to showcase the things she finds. Pinkusevich, on the other hand, believes she have found her calling, as she has been avid in using reuse materials in her drawing class that she teach at Stanford University.

Source: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/20/5835578/san-francisco-artists-turn-trash.html

By: Ethan Malone

 

Wasted in America [Infographic]

October 31st, 2013

An Inside Look at Waste, Consumption, and Recycling Trends in America…

As a junk hauling company, Fast Haul loads and unloads tons and tons (literally) of consumer waste every month.  As a green-conscious company, we strive to recycle as much of the materials that we collect as possible.  As such, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the amount of trash produced, the percentage of waste recycled, and the impact of recycling in America since the 1960’s.  The good news is that we have come a long, long way and are now recycling over 34% of our waste as a nation. The bad news is, we continue to produce an increasing amount of waste at an alarming rate.

We hope you enjoy the following infographic, and we invite you to share this graphic via social media, or to re-publish it on your own blog or website. Please use the handy “embed code” located below this graphic to cut and paste the necessary HTML to display this image wherever you would like:

fasthaul-oct13-infographic

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

10 Tips to Live Clutter Free

October 22nd, 2013
clutter-free

A healthy home makes a healthy mind…

Many of us live in homes that are full of clutter. We have little bits and pieces everywhere we go. Knick knacks and gifts, forgotten tools, broken parts, paper and mail and tons of other little things add up to a big mess. Not only is clutter bad for the look of your home it is also bad for your health. Living in clutter raises your stress levels and your blood pressure. Searching for lost items in clutter means wasted time. Clutter also provides a way for dirt and grime to build up, causing unhealthy living conditions. Not to mention that clutter can hide damage, like from mold, or provide a great hiding place for pests like roaches and mice. All in all, clutter is more dangerous than you would think. But how do you start ridding your home of clutter? Here are some helpful tips to live clutter free:

 

  1. Clutter Stops at The Door – To get started you need to make a rule. No new clutter. That means that every new thing you want to bring into your home must have a place to go and a valid reason for being there. I started small. The mail did not come in the door. Junk mail went in the big outdoor trash can. Coupons got cut outside and placed into their slot. Bills were paid immediately or stored in the ‘to be paid’ section of my inbox. Just this little step helped a lot. By limiting what you bring in you can stop adding to the mess and make it possible for even your small efforts to make an impact. It is like digging in sand; if you don’t stop the hole from refilling you are just wasting your energy.
  2. The Technology Intervention – Paper free is the way to be. Technology gives us ample opportunities to save paper ad even photos without having to actually have something physical on hand. Scan your bills, important document and even photos into your computer. Then trash the rest! If you are worried about losing it online, try cloud storage or a backup hard drive. A million papers can be stored in a tiny file online. Take it from me, getting rid of the paper really helps!
  3. Fix It or Forget It – Throwing away broken things seems to be a big stigma to some people. However I have a theory. If it has been broken for more than two weeks you should just throw it away. Why? Because it is obviously not that important to you. For big fixes like broken televisions or kitchen appliances you probably already got a replacement. Why are you hanging on to the old broken stuff? Unless you are a professional it probably isn’t even safe to try to fix it yourself. Instead take it to the scrap yard and get a few bucks or toss it. Even broken antiques are often a waste of time and space. No one will want to buy or inherit a chair they can’t sit on!
  4. Good For You – Keep in mind that not everything that is clutter is broken. Some things are perfectly good, and that is what stops us from getting rid of them. But think about it. Are you keeping things that are good or good for you? If you do not love it or use it then it does not matter how good it is. Get rid of it! Give it to someone who will appreciate it, donate it to a cause, or just toss it. It might seem bad, but in reality you are helping your health and mind so it is actually a smart move.
  5. Old is Not Gold – The big debate continues: is it junk or is it an antique? Just because something is old does not mean it is valuable. Don’t cling to old things because you think they will be worth something someday. Do some research and find out what the real value is, keeping in mind the current condition of the object. If it is worth a lot then sell it now. A bird in the hand… If not then get rid of it. Don’t cling to things you only think are valuable.
  6. The Collection Crazies – Why do people have the desire to hold onto everything. From baby shoes to toy cars to ceramic angels, people hold on to collections of things in order to feel connected to them. However how can you enjoy a collection if it gets so out of hand that it becomes clutter. If you can simply display your collection in a nice way then great. However if you have a room piled to the ceiling with your collection then you are in trouble. Think about what really matters to you. Stuff or relationships? Take a picture and sell your collection. Keep an item or two that are very special to you and get rid of the rest. Don’t collect just for the sake of collecting or trying to have it all. There will always be something more. Instead try to remember the love that caused you to start collecting and let go of the burden you have taken on.
  7. One Mountain at a Time – Little by little a mountain can be moved. That is how you have to take on clutter. You may get fed up with it all one day and swear to clean out the whole house. Don’t try to do that. You will just exhaust and frustrate yourself. Instead take it one day and one spot at a time. You can try to do one room a day or one room a month, it is up to you. Some of us have more to get out from under than others. For me it took four days of steady work to clean out one walk in closet. Don’t get frustrated and give up. Instead take it one small spot at a time and enjoy the small strides you make. If you keep it up you will eventually master it!
  8. Clothes Horse – Speaking of closets, some of us have clothes to blame for a lot of the clutter. No matter who you are or what you do you do not need more than one closet and one dresser. Most of us need far less than that. Take a look at your clothes. Are you saving clothes you don’t fit in any longer? Why? If you do get back to that weight you will want new clothes by then. Styles change so fast that only a few things can survive over the years. If you have clothes you have not worn in a year then get rid of it, barring fancy dress of course. Do not buy clothes that are on sale or in fashion just because. If you don’t feel comfortable in it at the store then you won’t wear it. Clothes that wrinkle easy, show sweat quickly, stretch out fast or bind up should be tossed. You have better things to do with your time than fool around with ill-fitting clothes. If you have been meaning to sew, hem, or repair the item for more than a month toss it. You will never get to it. Think about it: you probably wear the same few outfits every week. Why make it harder on yourself?
  9. Sometimes More is Just More – A lot of us think more is always better, but sometimes it is just more. Think about what is really important to you. Do you want to spend your time maintain, cleaning or picking up stuff, or do you want to spend time with your friends and family? The less stuff you have the happier you will be. It seems counterintuitive, but it is often true. Stuff holds you back, weighs you down, and sucks up your resources. Take the time to reduce your stuff and you will feel relieved in more ways than one.
  10. A Spot for Everything –Last but not least, make a pact with yourself to have a spot for everything in your home. If there is not room then maybe you need to toss something. I have made a deal with my family and myself. Every item in means another item must go out. A new shirt means an old shirt has to go. A new toy requires and old toy (of equal size) to hit the road. This helps me to not only have room to store items but to also keep clutter from taking over once again. It can be hard to stick to, but it is much easier to do it this way then to dig yourself out again in a couple of years.

As you can see, living clutter free takes a conscious effort but it is doable. These tips can help you to get rid of clutter and live a healthier lifestyle. When you do clean out the clutter you can call Fast Haul to come pick it up for you and save you a trip. Fast Haul’s junk hauling and trash removal services is always reliable in providing environmentally-friendly recycling and disposal for the Bay Area. Happy cleaning!

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com

 
 
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