Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

How Green is California?

March 12th, 2014

323585_thumbnailA recent report showed California ranks number three in the nation in terms of being green. It’s not a big stretch, given that California has put in place many programs intended to completely eliminate waste diverted to landfill.  One standout measure taken by the state is the ratification of a seven-part strategic plan, with a zero-waste program as its crown jewel.  The plan’s goal is to engage citizens and business owners in efforts to re-introduce solid waste into the marketplace or nature, in ways that minimally impact the environment, i.e., recycling, reusing, or flat-out reducing consumption, and consequently sidestepping landfills altogether.  California was the first state to adopt a zero-waste policy.

According to the report provided by MPHonline.org, California recycles 68% of waste.  The legacy stands and California can boast being the most recycling state in the Union.  Companies like Fast Haul are a key part of the success of California’s green initiatives, offering consumers economic options for sustainably recycling or reintegrating their unwanted bulk items, via county or state sanctioned collection centers, charitable organizations, or other recycling options.

Presently, the state is considering a ban on single-use plastic bags in food retailers, such as grocery and liquor stores, as well as in pharmacies.  Recycled-paper or reusable bags will be permitted for distribution by retailers.  Hand-in-hand with its other green initiatives is California’s focus on renewable energy sources; it ranks third in the nation.

Where California has room to grow is in reducing CO2 emissions, it ranked 50th, just above the “Lone Star State” of Texas.

That notwithstanding, California still does pretty well and has many of the top green cities in the nation.   San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Sunnyvale, and Irvine, are at the head of the pack in the state, but not all California cities are on the green train.  According to Firsttoknow.com, the cities of Fresno and Bakersfield are at the bottom, not only in California, but in the nation.  But, if the rest of the state is an indication, and if the proposed statewide plastic bag ban is approved, these cities, too, might find themselves working towards a greener future for California.

By: Ethan Malone

Source:

http://campbell.patch.com/groups/going-green/p/california-ranked-3rd-greenest-state-bay-area-cities-top-list-too_887cbc91

http://waste360.com/mag/waste_california_adopts_zero

 

How Cities are Combating Waste

February 19th, 2014

San Francisco, CA, USASmart cities, or sustainable cities, are the product of multi-layered programs that seek to reduce the environmental agents that threaten quality of life for succeeding generations.  These initiatives involve efforts to reduce carbon emissions, protect natural resources, and eliminate or systemically reduce waste.  These efforts are tied closely to the hope of addressing climate change and meeting the demands of future population growth.

The following Innovate programs illustrate through real-world examples of excellence, the capacity if smart cities to incorporate and expand renewable energy, efficient waste management systems, and harness community planning that supports smart growth in cities around the world.

Critical Water Conservation Planning

As our population continues to grow, so does the burden of maintaining adequate water supply.  Current estimates suggest that by 2080 1,8 billion people could be facing water scarcity (if global temperatures increase by 3-4 degrees).  For cities concerned with their future freshwater demands, water conservation, treatment and recycling practices must be made top priorities.

In Philadelphia, their “Green City, Clean Waters” plan works to protect the city’s water supply from stormwater runoff pollution.   The city has also partnered with the environmental protection agency to create better water handling strategies that use hydraulic and hydrologic methods.

Sustainable Solid Waste Management   

No city can truly aspire to be sustainable unless it has effective waste management practices established.   In the U.S. alone, waste increased by 184% over the course of 50 years (1960 to 2010).  San Francisco has stepped confidently up to the plate, launching its zero waste program that intends to eliminate solid waste by 2020.  A key part of the infrastructure of the program is the diversion of waste from landfills through either repurposing, recycling, or reusing them.  Companies like Fast Haul are filling an important role in enabling the city’s waste management to handle the increased overflow from landfill to alternate recycling facilities.  Since the program started, the city’s recycling rate has increased by 80%.

Long-Term Energy Efficiency

Central to any smart city plan is a plan for energy efficiency.  Energy conservation and reduction saves money, reduces pollution, and supports energy independence and stability – and contributes new jobs.

Vienna, Austria, has the goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 80 by 2050.  Towards that end, it installed multiple end-user heating systems and has adapted energy efficiency standards on new construction that are among the most stringent in the world.

Renewable Energy for Future Security

Munich, Germany’s renewable energy program seeks to corral all of the city’s energy production by generating its own green energy, through harnessing locally produced biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind energy.   Renewable energy facilities provide domestic energy while decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Sources: http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/01/cities-can-address-critical-need-sustainable-development/

By: Ethan Malone

No More Bottles!: SF’s Plastic Bottled Water Ban

February 6th, 2014

sf.waterbottles.0329San Francisco continues to stake out new territory as the leader in waste diversion by proposing a ban on the sale of water bottles on public property.  If enacted, this would be among the strictest bottled water bans in the country.  This idea has sparked a debate, with people on both sides weighing in on the potential impact (positive and adverse) of such a bold move.

Who Would be Affected?

The ordinance would apply to any event conducted on public property with 100 or more attendees.   This would not just apply to conventional festivals, but would even extend to mobile food trucks — which would need to offer tap water instead of purveying bottled water, though it would only apply to events with adequate on-site tap water, initially.  That is until late 2016, when it would take affect at all events on San Francisco-owned property.

The Pros:

  • The water’s great!  Long considered exceptional, San Francisco tap water comes from snowmelt flowing down the Tuolumne River and is quality-tested  100,000> times a year.  This water is considered so pure that the both the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Public Health say it needs no filtration.
  • Back in 2007, former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s executive order prohibiting the use of city funds purchase bottled water saved half a million in annual city spending.
  • Bottled water requires 17 million (estimated) barrels of oil each year of production  and three times the water produced to produce it.

For annual events, such as Outside Lands which draws 65,000 people, only three refillable tap water stations were available.  This example is but one of the many that mandates that the city thoroughly study how to accommodate water supply demands at such events and prioritize installing water fountains and reusable bottle filling stations.

Source: http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/12/17/121024/bottled-water-sales-ban-San-Francisco

By: Ethan Malone

Potential Garbage Rate Increase For The City Of Danville

January 29th, 2014

52b387e0bb576.imageResidents and commercial properties owners in the city of Danville may see a 3.3-3.7%  hike in their trash and recycling service rates. The Town Council along with the Contra Costa County Solid Waste Authority (CCCSWA) planned a measure to increase the trash and recycling service rates in order to cover the costs and ensure adequate reserve.

The new measure calls for the typical single-family monthly bill to rise to $24.71 for a 32 gallon weekly trash and recycling service, a 90% increase compared to current rates. If this measure pass, starting March 1, 2014 residential plans will see a hike in their monthly bill:

  • $0.80 for 20-gallon service
  • $1.14 for 64-gallon service
  • $1.70 for 96-gallon service

Commercial properties will see a hike in their monthly cost for a 2-yard dumpster with weekly pickup from $270.25 to $279.22, a $8.97 rate increase.

Fast Haul, a junk removal and trash hauling services coving the Bay Area including the city of Danville, provide reasonable rates with superior services. For large items such as old appliances or electronics components (that can contain hazardous materials), local trash removal bins are not an option for disposing of them, and Fast Haul is a cost-efficient, environmentally friendly alternative to remove your trash or junk in Danville.

Source: http://www.sanramonexpress.com/news/2013/12/18/danville-garbage-rates-expected-to-rise-in-2014

By: Ethan Malone

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

 
 
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