Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

2016’s Top Innovations in Recycling

December 13th, 2016

Recycling, which was once a fad of environmentalists and so-called “tree huggers” is now mainstream in nearly every developed world community and here to stay.  The benefits of recycling, and the perils of not doing it, have become crystal clear.  In the U.S. today, we have reached a 34.6% recycling rate as of 2014.  In just that one year, the recycling and composting of 89 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) resulted in a reduction of over 181 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

Advances in recycling depend not only on buy-in from consumers and businesses, but also consistent innovation from scientists, engineers, and inventors.  Here are just six top recycling innovations from the past year:

1. Diesel Fuel

A group of University of Illinois researchers have found a way to transform used grocery bags into diesel fuel and other petroleum products.  Another benefit is that the energy used in the conversion process is less than the recovered energy.

2. Lightbulb Recycling

We’re all used to seeing those reverse vending machines that give you cash for your bottles or cans.  Now, there are the same sorts of machines in some countries that will pay you to recycle your used lightbulbs.  The machines were built by a UK firm called reVend and can be found in Brazil, the UAE, and the UK.

3. Concrete Bricks

A recent architectural graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Albany, New York has developed a sustainable building material from discarded plastic.   Henry Miller took plastic bags and other plastic refuse and discovered a way to mix them with concrete to form bricks that had substantial environmental benefits.  Plastics are being recycled for use in building and the concrete mix no longer needs mined aggregate as an ingredient.

4. Wi-Fi Recycling

Finland wanted to take a look at the amount of time and fuel that they were wasting by driving around to pick up nearly empty recycling bins at homes and businesses.  If they were polluting the environment with emissions, the gains from recycling were being effectively canceled.  A firm called Enevo invented a Wi-Fi sensor that attaches to the bins, letting the collectors know fill levels so that they only come out to collect when bins are full.

5. iRecycle

Recycling isn’t just a trend; it’s become a way of life for many people around the globe.  Fortunately, we have the support of technology to help us make the most of our recycling efforts.  U.S. residents can download an App called iRecycle.  This gives users access to more than 1.6 million ways to recycle more than 350 materials.  Users can search from their current location or enter an address for nearby recycling facilities.

6. Olio

A growing trend, which has picked up steam in Europe with several well-placed regulations, is not wasting food.  Two developers, Sasha Celestial-One and Tessa Cook, have developed an App called Olio that makes it simpler for individuals and local businesses to participate in this movement.  Users can share information on surplus food items available, giving instructions for pick-up.  The App is currently being used in the UK and Ireland but is set for expansion to other countries.

Even though the U.S. is one of the countries with the highest recycling rates, we still have a long way to go. Recycling efforts and innovation is an ongoing process. Fortunately, we’re continuing to see new developments each year that promise improvements and instill the hope of sustainable communities in the future.

10 Tips for Winter Backyard Clean-up

November 22nd, 2016

fall garden clean-up

Winter will (officially) be here before you know it, and although most of us would love to shut the doors and ride out the chilly weather until March, this would be a mistake. If you want a healthy and beautiful backyard come springtime, you’ll need to take a few extra steps now.  Below are just ten winter backyard clean-up tips to prepare for the cooler temperatures. If you don’t have the time (or desire) to take care of any of these chores, take advantage of Fast Haul’s backyard clean-up and gardening services:

1. Debris Removal

No one wants pests in their backyard and debris left out is the perfect nesting spot for unwelcome creatures.  Rake and dispose of leaves as well as fallen branches or any other debris that you’ve allowed to collect in your backyard over the past year.

2. Till Vegetable Gardens

Few vegetable gardens are going to provide a harvest in the winter months.  In most areas, you’ll want to till the plot so that it is ready for a new planting in the spring.  If you compost, now is the time to add a layer to nurture your soil over the coming months.

3.  Cut Back Perennials

If your gardens have perennials, now is the time to cut them back and divide them among your other gardens, which can save you both time and money in the spring.  If you have fall perennials that are doing well, you can wait to divide these when you tend to your gardens in the spring.

4. Plant New Shrubs & Fall Plants

Do you typically add new plants or shrubs in the fall?  This is the time to add spring bulbs such as hyacinth.  You can even plant some fall annuals such as pansies to keep color in your gardens through the cooler months.

5. Trim Branches

Low branches can be dangerous when there is heavy rain or high winds.  Take a look at the branches in your backyard and either trim them yourself or hire us to do this for you.  If any branches are close to power lines, don’t risk going near them.  Call your local power company and ask them to pay you a visit. This is an essential component of Winter backyard clean-up.

6. Empty Hoses and Fountains

If you have fountains in your yard, you might want to empty them if there is even a remote risk of freezing.  Particularly if they are electric, cold temperatures can damage hoses and aerators.  You should also empty your garden hoses and store them away for the winter.

7. Fertilize

Fertilizing your lawn before winter time hits is always a good idea.  Giving your grass some additional nutrients to encourage root growth will ensure that you have a healthy lawn in the springtime.

8. Power Wash the Deck

If you have a deck or pavers in your backyard, you can prevent mildew with an annual power wash.  If you don’t own a power washer, you can usually rent one from a garden store.  Decks should be periodically stained for additional protection.

9. Mow the Lawn

Give your lawn one last mow, cutting it a bit shorter than normal.  This will allow your grass to get as much oxygen as possible in the coming months.

10. Clean and Store Everything

Before you shut the doors and light the fireplace, be sure to clean and store away all of your garden tools and backyard furniture.  Run the gas of out the lawnmower before storage, grease tools, and wipe down furniture and toys to prevent mold and mildew.  You’ll be glad that you took these extra backyard clean-up steps come springtime.

 

5 Innovations to Monitor and Fight Air Pollution

October 17th, 2016

When confronted with the evidence, it’s difficult to minimize the effects of our polluted environment. According to the WHO, air pollution is now considered to be the world’s single largest environmental health risk, with an estimated 7 million deaths linked to the problem each year.   Most of the issues lie in urban areas of the world, where populations are often exposed to pollution levels that are 2.5 times higher than recommended.

Because this has become a global problem, many of our best minds have set out to develop solutions.  Here are just five of the most inspiring innovations that are helping us both monitor and reduce air pollution.

1 – Cloud Seeding

Have you ever wished, or prayed, for rain to cleanse the skies?  Scientists have found a way to tip the odds of those wishes coming true with something called cloud seeding.  Rain manifests through cloud condensation.  What happens with this process, is that condensation is artificially generated through planes “seeding” the clouds with silver iodide, or dry ice.  China allegedly used this method in Beijing in 2008 to clean up its skies leading up to the 2008 Olympics. Scientists are split on how effective this practice truly is at generating rainfall.

2 – Giant Sprinklers

In the areas of the world with high levels of air pollution, China seems to be one of the hardest hit.  The Asian country has declared war on air pollution in recent years and one of its current proposals is to use giant sprinklers on the top of its skyscrapers.   These sprinklers will spray water into the air, which should settle dust and other pollution particles.  These systems are still in the design and testing phases.

3 – Smog-Eating Buildings

Another way to clean pollution, or smog, is with passive chemical reactions.  Mexico City also isn’t known for its clean air.  Yet, an innovative design at its hospital building called the Torre de Especialidades provides a unique solution. The facade is constructed of special tiles that are coated with titanium oxide. Once the tiles are activated by UV rays, they convert mono-nitrogen oxide (pollution) into some less harmful substances.

4 – Pigeon Air Patrol

Probably one of the more entertaining and fascinating solutions, the Pigeon Air Patrol is an actual squad of pigeons that flies over the city of London and its boroughs. The feathered flock’s primary assignment is to conduct air pollution monitoring. 10 racing pigeons outfitted with air sensor backpacks measure levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and other pollutants throughout the city.  Londoners can follow Twitter accounts to determine readings in their area. This program by Plume Labs is now being expanded to help citizens understand pollution and its health risks.

5 – Smog Free Tower 

Picture one of those air purifiers that you place in the corner of your home or office.  Now imagine a massive air purifier over 20 feet high that can clean up to 1,000 cubic feet of air per hour.  This is exactly what is now sitting in Beijing’s 751 D.Park.  This smog free tower is considered the world’s largest air purifier and it runs on just a small amount of green electricity.  The smog free tower was created by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde and is planned for a world tour.

While air pollution remains a serious problem, these are exciting times in the field of air quality monitoring and pollution reduction.  These new technologies are revolutionizing the way we view air quality and providing methods to clean up our environment for future generations.

Why One Manhattan Man is Wearing his Trash for a Month

September 29th, 2016

Most people don’t give any thought to the amount of trash they produce. Once they put it in a garbage can, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Rob Greenfield, an environmentalist from New York City, recently made the issue front and center when he decided to literally wear his trash for 30 days. Greenfield collected every piece of trash he produced and placed it in a specially made suit so people could see what he threw away. Nancy Judd, a designer with Recycle Runway, created the suit to support the weight of the trash in addition to making it visible.

The Amount of Trash People Produce May Shock You

In a 2013 report, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. That comes out to 135 pounds per month, which means that Greenfield will be wearing a very heavy suit at the end of his experiment. Although normally conservative with the trash he generates, Greenfield decided to live just like the average American for 30 days. By the eighth day of his experiment, his specialty suit already included:

  • Styrofoam cups from his morning coffee
  • Fast food bags and containers
  • Boxes from home delivery
  • Food remnants
  • Plastic bags from local stores
  • Newspapers and junk mail
  • Bottles from water and soda

Greenfield states that the purpose of this hilarious but also sobering 30-day experiment is to raise awareness of the problem of everyday waste. He realizes that it’s not realistic to expect people not to produce any waste. However, he hopes they will commit to making small changes after seeing his so-called garbage suit. Even something as minor as using a reusable water bottle rather than filling a new cup each time can have a big impact on the environment.

Since most cities have mandatory recycling programs, a lot of people assume they are doing all they can to decrease the problem of too much waste. Although some trash does get composted or recycled, the majority of it gets dumped into landfills. As the trash decomposes, it releases greenhouse gases into the air that have a negative effect on climate change.

Follow Greenfield on Social Media to Learn the Outcome of His Experiment

Greenfield plans to document his experience wearing the trash suit each day from now until the middle of October. He is working with a professional filming crew to document his project, which he has appropriately named Trash Me. Those interested in following along should click here to get links to his website, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. He also encourages people to have their picture taken with him and upload it to their own social media account with the hashtag #TrashMe.

Greenfield hopes to start a nationwide conversation about the impact of consumerism on people, animals, and the environment. People don’t have to be a full-time environmentalist like he is to make a big difference in their own community.

Why it Matters Where Your Old Junk is Hauled To

September 13th, 2016

Image courtesy of the Dept. of Environmental Protection – Montgomery County, MD

When individuals and businesses require earth-friendly trash hauling  services, they can rely on Fast Haul to handle their unwanted items responsibly. Serving the San Francisco Bay Area since 1993, we have a long history of working with local communities to help keep the planet safe and healthy — unlike many of our “fly-by-night” competitors.

Proceed With Caution

Many lesser-known haulers that show up in store parking lots or advertise on sites like Craigslist are  just random individuals using their trucks to score a few bucks. They  typically don’t possess business credentials and lack training in junk removal hauling. As a result, they often entice unsuspecting customers with unusually low prices and lofty promises. However, as is often the case, you get what you pay for.

The Real Cost of Unethical Haulers

When businesses and residents hire haulers they do not know or recognize, they put themselves and the environment at risk. Unfortunately, unlicensed haulers often illegally dump trash and hazardous waste materials — including batteries, computers, oil, paint and other toxic waste — into waterways, vacant lots, public or private streets, and even parks. They do so to save time and money. What’s more, they do not care about acting ethically, abiding laws and regulations, or respecting their customers and the community.

According to a recent KTVU news report, the issue of illegal and unsightly dumping in The City of Oakland is continuous and seriously on the rise. Residents believe the source of the dumping may be from people outside the area who do not want to pay for waste disposal. If so, it’s very possible that unscrupulous haulers are among the culprits that are negatively impacting the health and well being of the area. This troublesome situation is probably effecting other cities as well.

Make a Difference by Choosing Wisely

Businesses and individuals have the means to combat this growing problem. They simply must select a reputable and environmentally-responsible hauling company such as Fast Haul for their waste removal needs.

Fast Haul cares deeply about the welfare of our customers and the world at large. We do everything we can to protect our customers and the environment.

To improve efficiency and reduce costs, we recycle or donate materials whenever possible. Additionally, we make sure to pass along the savings to our customers with our green promise. To keep unnecessary waste out of landfills, we routinely donate to charitable organizations. We also properly recycle metal, paper, trash, and electronic waste. We also understand and follow guidelines of landfills, donation drop-off points, and recycling centers throughout the Bay Area.

Fast Haul is an established, professional junk hauling company with a focus on keeping customers and the environment happy. When customers contact us, they know we will do our best to handle each job efficiently and safely. Our customers know how much we care about them, and we know they’re worth it.

 

 
 
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