Posts Tagged ‘composting’

Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

Why You Need to be Composting (…and How to Do It Right)

August 14th, 2017

Compost is a valuable material that helps plants grow when added to soil. What many people don’t realize is that up to 30 percent of the materials for a compost blend come from yard waste and food scraps. Not only does composting aid in plant growth, it keeps a potent greenhouse gas called methane out of local landfills. Compositing is a simple process that anyone can do.

Basic Ingredients Needed for an Effective Composting Mixture

A compost pile needs to have equal amounts of brown and green materials. Branches, dead leaves, and twigs make up the brown portion while coffee grounds, fruit scraps, grass clippings, and vegetable waste make up the green portion. It also needs to include water to provide much-needed moisture. Some specific examples of items to include in a compost pile include:

  • Coffee filters and grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Tea bags
  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Wood chips
  • Yard trimmings and grass clippings
  • Lint from the vacuum cleaner and dryer
  • Straw and hay
  • Sawdust

It’s also important to understand what not to put in a compost pile, including the following:

  • Pet waste
  • Any yard trimmings treated with chemical fertilizer
  • Fish and meat bones
  • Ash from charcoal or coal
  • Dairy products such as butter, eggs, and milk
  • Lard, oil, or other types of fats
  • Diseased plants
  • Twigs or leaves from black walnut trees

Several of the above items attract rodents and other pests while others contain harmful bacteria.

Creating a Compost Pile for the First Time

After gathering the contents for a compost pile, the next step is to place them on a spot of bare earth. The pile will likely attract worms and other types of organisms that can help to aerate the compost pile. Next, place straw or twigs two to three inches deep to further aerate the pile and help with drainage. Now it’s time to start building the pile while alternating between dry and moist items. The compost pile now requires a nitrogen source. Manure is a common choice.

Compost piles need frequent watering, which people can do manually or allow it to become soaked by rain without getting drenched. It should have a cover on top of it at all other times. This keeps heat and moisture in, both essential elements for healthy compost. The last step involves turning the compost pile with a pitchfork or shovel every few weeks. This method also works for adding new materials.

The Many Benefits of Composting

While reduction of waste is the primary benefit of composting, it has several others as well. The process helps to conserve water because the compost pile soaks it up and releases it to the plants. This also prevents evaporation of water at the plant’s root level. Additionally, organic waste contains water that’s heavy and costly to transport. Composting the materials instead saves both energy and fuel.

There’s no question composting benefits the environment, but it also offers individual benefits. The less trash a homeowner throws away, the lower the cost of garbage pick-up. It also saves on the cost of purchasing similar materials from a local nursery. For those looking to cut household expenses, composting is a quick and easy way to do so.

How to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

July 25th, 2017

Everyone cares about the environment. We reduce, reuse, and recycle everything that comes into our houses, but what if our houses could do these things too? Here are some tips on how to make your home eco-friendly.

Energy Drainers

Go around your house and look for ‘energy drainers’. These are appliances that can either be upgraded to new energy-efficient models, or fixed to prevent energy leaks. Unplug appliances when they are not in use. Turn your computer or TV off or on stand-by.


Changing your lightbulbs to new energy-efficient bulbs can save you hundreds of dollars a year and benefit the environment. LED and CFL lightbulbs waste less energy than traditional bulbs as they do not give off as much heat. They can easily fit into your existing light fixtures, meaning you don’t have to spend anything to install them. Each of these new bulbs are more expensive, however, they last longer, will result in reduced bills, and are generally better for the environment.


You already put your paper products out for recycling, but you can do one better by composting your leftover kitchen scraps. By using a compost bin, you will be helping to keep this refuse out of landfills. Many hardware and retail stores – both rural and residential – sell compost bins.


Get into a routine of turning the tap off while brushing your teeth, and limit your showers to three minutes.

Conservation can also be done with your toilet. If you are able to afford a replacement, consider ones that have a ‘low flow’ flush option.

Air Conditioner

Having an air conditioner during the harsh summer months can be a blessing, but there are times when it is best to leave it turned off. If the hot weather is starting to get to you, your first step should be to open a window. Let the stale air inside of your house out, and enjoy some fresh air. If it is still too hot, consider using a fan. You will be using electricity, but studies have proven running an air conditioner uses much more electricity than a simple fan.

It is also an idea to double-check your sleeping habits. A lot of people confess to having the air conditioner on while simultaneously sleeping under a blanket.


There is nothing wrong with wanting to change your house’s decor, but what happens to your perfectly-good furniture? One option available to you is to keep your current furniture, but give it a face-lift. have a wide range of polishes and waxes to give your pieces a whole new look.

If you really want something different, look to the freecycle initiative. This puts you in contact with second-hand stores and private sellers and traders.

There are many ways to make your home eco-friendly. Try one or try them all!

Food Waste Recycling Drops Dramatically in Alameda County

February 9th, 2015

It looks like the green bins in the Bay Area are not getting the love they deserve.

In a recent study completed by StopWaste, a public agency tasked with reducing waste, numerous Alameda County cities are showing drastic increases in food scraps being discarded in trash bins in 2014.

The data was complied by workers who randomly sampled 3,000 garbage bins, both commercial and residential, in 15 Alameda County cities. The data shows that all 15 cities added to the percentage of food scraps in the trash compared to data collected in 2013. For example, the city of Fremont more then doubled its figure, going from 21 percent to 43 percent. On the lower end, Union City only saw a 2 percent increase, although they were the outright worst performing city going into 2014.

20150205_061722_OAK-COMPOST-0206-WEBOther data collected by the agency shows that homes in these cities are more reluctant to put out their green bins on pickup day, with 47 percent of home opting out compared to 28 percent in 2013. Whichever way you decide to look at it, the fact is that Bay Area residents are not recycling organics like they were in the past.

Several possible reasons for this unsettling trend have been hypothesized, one being that transplants new to the Bay Area are not familiar with the concept of separating food scraps from trash, a practice not particularly common in the US. Another could be that folks who were actively composting in 2013 are simply tired of the process.

Composting and recycling organics can be a messy (and sometimes smelly) job, but it is a huge weapon in the fight against global warming on this planet. Organic matter, when mixed in with regular trash, greenhouse gases like methane get released which contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Below you will find some tips that will hopefully make collecting organic was easier in your household:

  • Remember what can and cant be put in the green bin:
    • Good: all food scraps (meat and bones, cereal, dairy, coffee grounds, fruit, veggies), food-soiled paper (paper towels, plates, napkins, pizza boxes, paper bags, coffee grounds), yard trimmings (grass clippings, tree clippings)
    • Bad: plastics, glass, metal, liquids, pet waste
  • Line both your indoor and outdoor organics bins with crumpled newspaper to help absorb any moisture. Replace the newspaper frequently to keep it from getting too soaked and stuck to the bottom.
  • Aviod animals and bugs by keeping your outdoor green bin away from fences and closed securely.
  • Sprinkle rock salt or lime to help kill any insects (like maggots) that might pop up.
  • Wrap extra messy organics like meat, fish and  in newspaper or put it in a cereal box (without the plastic bag) before adding it to the green bin.
  • If possible, freeze meesy food waste untill you are ready to roll your green bin out, it will help control strong odors.
  • Empty your household container early and often, and roll your green bin out to the curb even if its not completely full to prevent stink-ups.
  • Wash both your indoor and outdoor bins on a regular basis using vinegar or baking soda to kill bad smells.
  • Biodegradable plastic bags can help control food waste, but not all recyclers allow them in green bins. Check with your recycling service to see which bags they accept. Most recycling service providers prefer you use paper bags.

SF State Effort To Help San Francisco Achieve Zero Waste

October 14th, 2013

9670199476_8074a4d7d0_hTo help further advance San Francisco’s zero waste goal, San Francisco State University started the Office of Sustainability that will work to reduce SF State’s landfill waste by educating as well as advocating change about waste reduction and being sustainable to the administrative staff and student body.

So far, the Office of Sustainability has already urged the University to purchase products that are recyclable or compostable, to look for ways to reduce energy consumption and integrate sustainability into all aspects of the University such as adding more compost recycling and waste bins in residence halls to comply with San Francisco mandatory recycling and composting ordinance. The new department plan to tackle other environmental issues as well as such as economic development, natural vs. man-made environment, energy-efficiency, the food systems and water conservation.

Nick Kordesch, program coordinator of the Office of Sustainability, believes through events and education, SF State can have a huge positive impact on the environment. Some events they have hosted includes Park(ing) Day, which allows artist and activist to transform the student parking lot into a recreational park for a day in order to help curb carbon emission and the . Another educational event that will take place on Oct. 23, is the Campus Sustainability Day, which will give homage to some of the successful green movements as well as provide educational opportunities to students about future challenges they may face concerning today’s global climate change.


By: Ethan Malone

Berkeley Schools Recycling & Composting Initiative

July 17th, 2013

IFGreen School Initiative, a local non-profit in Berkeley, has taken on the commitment to foster recycling and composting in public schools from elementary to high schools. With in-house recycling and composting, Green School Initiative believe school districts can save up to $50,000 a year in trash hauling services as well as reduce overall landfills and greenhouse gases.

In addition, Green School Initiative will be partnering with the Berkeley School Boards and the Alameda County Waste Management to receive educational programs for students in response to the district’s pledge to recycle and compost 90% of their waste by 2020. Berkeley schools were diverting their waste at just about 36% while neighboring cities’ school districts such as Alameda diverted at about 64% of their trash, Albany at about 57% and Oakland at about 50%.

Green School Initiative plan to improve composting and recycling efforts with signs, education and monitoring as well as get students more involve in the program. Thus far, classes have implemented paper recycling in their classrooms and started a composting station in the lunchroom. Looking ahead, Green School Initiative hopes to expand their cause to others school districts in California.

As a provider of affordable green hauling, Fast Haul support Green School Initiative and any programs that help the environment by way of proper recycling and composting.


By: Ethan Malone

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