Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

Clean Home, Clean Environment

September 19th, 2013

clean home, clean environment

As the weather cools down and summer comes to an end, I become increasingly excited for autumn, and all that the second half of the year has to offer, or what I like to call The 3 Fs of Fall, namely: family, football, and food. However, while autumn is a time for fun and festivities (two more Fs) our responsibility to the environment is no less in force. As you prepare for the fall season, here are a few housekeeping tips that will also help you stay eco-friendly.

Get Rid of Junk

As the weather cools down and the majority of your activities take place indoors, you may notice that you’ve accumulated some extra possessions that you have no need for. If you plan on having a lot of people over during this season, your home is also likely to house much more waste. Combine that with the upcoming Christmas season and you’ll find you have more stuff than you know what to do with.

The obvious solution is to just get rid of the junk, but be careful about how you dispose of certain materials. Old batteries, electronics, plastics, or anything containing powerful chemicals like petroleum cannot just be tossed in the garbage can and sent on their merry way to a landfill. Make sure you’re only throwing things in the garbage that can be easily broken down. Otherwise, consult an eco-hauling company to determine the best way to safely dispose of your junk.

Clean with Green

More people also means more mess. You can waste hundreds of dollars on cleaning products trying to keep up with it all, but many of these products can have a negative effect on the environment if released into the air or water. You can just as easily keep your house tidy and clean with baking soda and vinegar.

Distilled vinegar is a key ingredient in many common window cleaning solutions because it’s able to break up grease and dirt without damaging the surface. Simply dilute 1/4 cup of vinegar into a gallon of water for windows and other hard surfaces. If you’re not keen on that iconic vinegary smell pervading your home, add fresh lemon juice to your mixture.

Additionally, you can also use baking soda to tackle a number of different cleaning needs. Make a paste with baking soda and water when you need to scrub out tough mildew stains. If your dishes and pots have a lot of stuck-on food from last night’s football party, let them sit in boiling hot water and baking soda for 5-10 minutes, then rinse. When it comes to smelly or clogged drains, combining baking soda with vinegar in the drain can help clear the blockage and give your drain a fresh scent.

Mind the Air

As the weather cools down, you’ll probably be looking for ways to keep warm. Before you decide to switch on your heater or fireplace, take some time to inspect your vents and filters. Chances are, if you haven’t used your heating system in a while, that your vents have accumulated a fair amount of dust and debris that can prove hazardous during cold and flu season. The same goes for your fireplace.

Also, this buildup can be costly financially. Think of your ducts as arteries in the body. When they are clean and unobstructed, the whole system runs efficiently. However, if there is a blockage of some sort, the heart (your furnace or fuel) now needs to work overtime to produce the same amount of heat. Using more energy results in more dollars lost. In colder climates, this is even more important (Vancouver heating bills are through the roof enough as it is).

Author Details:

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He also has a passion for the environment.

Update: San Jose Passed Foam Container Ban

September 16th, 2013

foam-container-w300h225In regards to our previous blog post, South Bay Cities Consider Banning Foam Containers, San Jose will be the largest city in the nation to pass a ban on expanded polystyrene (ESP) foam containers from retail food establishments, effective in 2014. On Aug. 27, the City Council voted 9-2 passing a measure to phase out foam containers from ever being used as a take-away option for restaurants in the city. In addition, the ban does allow room for postponement of the implementation to restaurants who are facing financial hardship.

The foam ban debate has split the residents in San Jose. City leaders believe this ban will help reduce stormwater trash, landfills pileup, littering as well as get the city closer to its zero waste goal. However, both the American Chemistry Council and the California Restaurant Association argue that foam containers does not have a negative impact on the environment than any other waste out there and the fact that foam containers are recyclable, as there are many foam recycling programs in the city. Other Santa Clara County’s cities such as Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos and Mountain View have express their desire to ban foam containers, but have yet to make a legal decision about it.

Although, the impact of the foam container ban on the environment is unknown and debatable, Fast Haul’s junk hauling and trash removal services is always reliable in providing environmentally-friendly recycling and disposal for the Bay Area.

Source: http://www.wasterecyclingnews.com/article/20130828/NEWS08/130829940/san-jose-city-council-passes-polystyrene-foam-container-ban

By: Ethan Malone

Green Alternatives to 5 Bad Habits

September 4th, 2013

Biting your nails, spending hours on Pinterest, and drinking too much are just a few bad habits that many people have in common. While the bulk of our bad habits affect only us, some affect those around us, and others have a negative impact on our planet. Here are a few habits that are bad for the environment, as well as some helpful alternatives that Mother Earth will thank you for using:

downloadPlastic Bottles

While bottled water is a convenient means of providing uncontaminated water during a natural disaster, plastic bottles produce up to 1.5 billion tons of waste each year—and that figure includes only the bottles that make it to landfills. One alternative to this problem is to purchase a reusable plastic or metal bottle. This option is not only good for the environment, but also good for your wallet. The average American goes through roughly 165 bottles of water each year. At an average price of $1.37, that equates to $226.05.

Or you could spend $10 on a reusable bottle and get water free from any faucet.

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Shopping Bags

Using too many plastic shopping bags is another bad habit for the environment. The average American family will go through around 1,500 plastic shopping bags annually. Those bags end up at landfills, where they can either endanger wildlife or release toxins into the air as they biodegrade. If you want to cut down on your plastic bag usage, you might consider investing in a reusable tote bag. These bags are often made from recycled material and are both spacious and sturdy enough to carry your groceries through the front door. Many department stores also sell tote bags that are both fashionable and relatively inexpensive.

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Wasting Water

You might be surprised to see “wasting water” on the list of bad habits for the environment. How is wasting water bad for the environment? It certainly doesn’t cost too much. The average price of water (the kind that runs through your new Brizo faucets) is around $1.50 for every 1,000 gallons. So, what’s the big deal? Even though water is a renewable resource, the rate at which we are using it is steadily exceeding the earth’s ability to produce it. Water is also a shared resource—the more we use, the less that farmers, forests and wildlife can use.

The alternative? If you can’t afford to make the switch to water-efficient appliances (e.g. low-flow showerheads, etc.), simply use less water. Avoid taking that extra shower, or that unnecessary flush. Treat leaky faucets as soon as possible, as a faucet that drips once every second will result in 2,700 wasted gallons of water annually.

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Smoking

We all know that smoking is bad for your health. New statistics publish almost daily, detailing how smoking slowly kills us. These stats even extend beyond the immediate effects of taking a drag: secondhand smoke causes nearly 50,000 fatalities among non-smoking adults each year. The effect on the environment isn’t that much better. The average puff of cigarette smoke contains around 4,000 chemicals. When released into the air, these chemicals have ten times the effect on air quality than any one diesel engine. Cigarette butts are another problem entirely. These small plastic tubes rarely make it into trash receptacles and can easily release harmful chemicals into the water supply, or be ingested by marine life. And let’s not forget, cigarettes require paper—nearly 600 million trees are cut down each year for the tobacco industry.

While my immediate recommendation is to simply quit, I recognize how difficult that is for many. Aside from switching to the patch or gum, you might also consider investing in electronic cigarettes. Ecigs are reusable, and instead of releasing smoke into the air, they only release water vapor. Not enough research has been done to conclude if this is a healthier alternative for your body, but it’s a good way to keep the air clean.

download (3)Vehicle Emissions

Speaking of poor air quality, let’s talk about vehicle emissions. Thanks to the Clean Air Act of 1970, lead-based emissions are a thing of the past (this is why the gas you pump into your car is “unleaded”). However, we’re not quite out of the woods. The sheer volume of cars driving and idling each day still has a massive impact on the environment—the production of greenhouse gases being at the forefront. The increased demand for more gas-burning vehicles might also explain the increase in major oil spills over the past few years.

If you can’t afford to buy a hybrid or electric car, find other ways to reduce the time you spend cars. Walking, cycling and public transportation have long been eco-friendly alternatives to taking your own car.

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch. He also has a passion for the environment.

South Bay Cities Consider Banning Foam Containers

August 30th, 2013

3cb11c0e564ed79233489c1624f8c0b5Four Silicon Valley cities; Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos and Mountain View, are teaming up to ban the use of expanded polystyrene (ESP) or foam containers in the retail food establishments. Retail food establishments includes restaurants, fast-foods, bistros, food trucks and fair/festivals or any place that provides ready-to-consume food to the public will potentially be banned from using foam-based food take-away boxes.

On August 6th at the Sunnyvale Senior Center, all four cities held a open house to educate local food business owners on alternative take-out boxes as well as how to transition to the proposed ordinance.

ESP are a non-renewable resources that gets hauled away to junk landfills and are a major factor in the cities’ litter problem. As well, ESP causes pollutant to the local waterways and all four cities hope that by this ban water quality will improve considerably.

Other Bay Area cities have already implemented the ESP ban including Palo Alto, Fremont, Alameda and Burbank, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara.

Fast Haul encourage the debate for eco-friendly ordinance as well is an advocate of proper waste disposal. Cities looking to combat and cleanup trash pile-up caused by littering, should seek junk removal services such as Fast Haul to address their needs.

By: Ethan Malone

5 Latest Gardening Trends No Gardening Enthusiast Should Miss Out On

August 12th, 2013

Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast, an architect, a landscape designer, or even someone simply looking for garden layout ideas, the following are five recent gardening trends that might interest you. Have a look.

Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardening is all the rage these days. In fact, ‘rage’ might be too small of  a word to describe how popular vertical gardening is getting these days. Not only gardening enthusiasts, but literally anyone and everyone wants a vertical garden! A new and exciting style of gardening, vertical gardens are rapidly popping up across the globe in the form of home gardens, public art, or as a green cover for civic and residential buildings. From tropical plants to succulents, to fully functional herb or veggie gardens, the possibilities are endless when it comes to vertical gardening. This type of gardening is a great way to increase your growing space, and apart from that, it also offsets a space’s carbon footprint and at the same time it looks aesthetically pleasing!

Rooftop Gardening

The concept of growing greenery on roofs is also consistently catching up with other gardening trends. Whether you decorate your roof with potted plants, grow a complete patch of vegetation, or even if you grow a lush green lawn on your roof, there is no limit to the ideas and creativity that can be applied to rooftop gardening.  Many modern households and residential building these days prefer going for green roofs which have endless environmental and economic benefits. A roof garden covering the entire roof of a building reduces the effect of the heat and in turn keeps the heating and air conditioning costs down, helping you save up on electricity. Besides, a green roof absorbs air pollution, filters the air, balances the carbon footprint, blocks noise pollution, attracts birds, and even provides better insulation to the building. So if you’re looking to add some beauty to your outdoor living space and make your living healthy, eco-friendly, and sustainable, there is no reason why you shouldn’t consider investing in a beautiful rooftop garden.

Self-sustaining edible garden

Another trend that is quickly catching up is “homesteading” or growing an edible garden in an effort to be truly self-sustaining, and to grow more in less space, while at the same time trying to use less water. Gardening enthusiasts everywhere are now looking to grow their own vegetables or herbs since this empowers them at live a healthy lifestyle at an affordable cost, while being self-sufficient and self-reliant at the same time. You could start your edible garden by growing fresh herbs – you could grow them in cute little pots on your windowsill or even outside your kitchen wherever there is sufficient sunlight. If space permits, you can even go on to grow vegetables, nuts, fruits, and spices. Growing an edible garden is a deeply satisfying experience that’s results into healthy living.

Permeable Pavers

Off late, gardening lovers everywhere have been paying a lot of attention to permeable pavers, not only for their pleasant aesthetic appearance, but also for the purpose that they fulfill. With traditional paving, most of the storm water that falls on the paving either runs onto the street, or into the drain or yard. However, when it comes to permeable paving, the paver allows the movement of storm water through the joints on its surface back into the earth or into the base system, thereby reducing runoff. With this you are not only preventing landscape erosion, but you’re also reducing the leaching of any contaminants. What’s more, permeable pavers look good too –a perfect combination of good aesthetics and an efficient storm water management system.

One-color gardening trend

Another trend that is slowing catching the attention of gardening enthusiasts and landscape designers everywhere is one-color gardening.  Using a single color or different shades of the same color can bring a type of soothing unity to planting, while at the same time adding a brightening influence. Moreover, an arrangement composed around a single color highlights the elegance of your garden. Whether you go for cool whites, or a hot scheme of oranges or reds, or blend in some light pastel shades, or even if you go for shades of lavender, blues, and purples, a mono-colored planting scheme is bound to give your garden a unique yet stylish and appealing look!

Featured images:

This post was written and provided by, John Walters, an employee at WaterGarden Warehouse, a company that offers a variety of garden pots. Painting and decorating his own space are a few of his favorite things to do. To know more about his work, click here.

 
 
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