Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

Time to Rethink Recycling and Consumer Habits

August 17th, 2018

Ever since China increased its standards for waste products coming into the country in January of 2018, it has accepted only half the waste products that it once did as imported goods from other countries. This has created a backlog of waste material that recyclers don’t know what to do with here in the United States. For example, some of the largest recycling plants here have stopped accepting plastic bags from customers that they use to contain groceries, bread, newspapers, and similar items.

China’s new law is so strict that it will not accept any bale of recyclables that it deems to have more than one-tenth of one percent contamination. This is a huge problem for the United States, especially considering than the recyclable material some centers take in has a contamination rate as high as 30 percent. Below is a breakdown of the top six materials that the United States exports to China along with the reduction or increase in percentage of acceptance since the start of the year:

  • Plastic, down 92 percent
  • Alloy, down 53 percent
  • Paper, down 37 percent
  • Copper, down 23 percent
  • Aluminum, down six percent
  • Ferrous, up seven percent

The Response of American Recycling Centers

Some recycling centers, under huge pressure from the federal government to meet certain sell rates, are simply holding onto their piles of recycled garbage and hoping for trade relations with China to improve. However, they concede that they will quickly run out of room using this strategy. Others have started charging customers larger premiums to accept their recycling material to offset their own costs of storing it. As a last resort, some recycling centers have stopped accepting new donations altogether.

A Wake-Up Call to American Consumers

Unfortunately, the 50 percent reduction of imported recycled materials in China has had the opposite of the intended effect on American consumers. Instead of monitoring their purchases and items they dispose more carefully, some people are choosing to throw previously recyclable materials into the trash. That means that items such as fast-food containers, yogurt cups, newspapers, and soda cans are ending up in landfills instead.

A better solution would be for Americans to take greater responsibility for how they separate their recyclables and trash. They need to take more time and care when preparing their disposables for pick-up to only place clean and non-contaminated items into the recycling bin. This increases the likelihood that China will accept the item as an import and provide much-needed income to recycling centers in the United States.

The Obligation of Private Junk Hauling Companies

Along with American consumers, privates junk hauling companies here also have an obligation to do their part to keep the environment as healthy as possible.

At Fast Haul, as a leading junk hauler in San Francisco Bay area, we do our part by recycling or donating as much of the materials we pick up as possible. We aim to set an example to other junk haulers in California and across the country. Contact us to schedule a free quote

Around the Bay Area in Waste Management (June 2018)

June 8th, 2018

Here at Fast Haul, we are committed to doing our part to help reduce the percentage of waste materials in the Bay Area going into landfills. Through recycling and donations, many large, bulky, and unwanted items can be diverted and re-used or re-purposed.

Below is a summary of recent news from around the Bay Area related to waste reduction efforts and ensuring a slightly greener planet for all of us:

Call2Recycle launches Bay Area battery safety campaign

“Call2Recycle announced Tuesday a new battery safety campaign with industry partners and Bay Area MRFs and waste facilities to educate California consumers about the “hidden dangers” of improper battery disposal, particularly regarding lithium-based batteries.

The “Avoid the Spark” campaign will focus on bringing best practices to Alameda, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo.”

Read the full article by Kristin Musulin at Waste Dive here:

SF to consider banning plastic straws

“In San Francisco, plastic drinking straws could soon be going the way of non-reusable shopping bags and Styrofoam containers — that is to say, strictly prohibited within city limits.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Katy Tang is expected to roll out legislation that would count San Francisco among the growing list of cities seeking to cut down on environmentally noxious litter by prohibiting restaurants, bars and coffee shops from stuffing plastic straws, stirrers or cocktail sticks into the drinks they serve.”

Read the full article by Dominic Fracassa of the San Francisco Chronicle here:

How the Bay Area is impacted by chaos in US recycling industry

“The U.S. could soon drown in a sea of recycled paper, plastic and cardboard because overseas companies that reprocess it into new products can’t handle the load. A decision made by China against accepting U.S. recycling is causing chaos.

This problem is coming to your house, and everyone else’s. It’s time to learn how to generate less recycling or learn to live in it.”

Read the full article by Tom Vacar of KTVU at:

Tips for Moving with Kids

April 9th, 2018

moving boxes in living roomIt really doesn’t matter if you are moving across the city or across the country, moving with kids is not easy to do. In reality, a young child may not understand what moving actually means. They can’t grasp the concept because they haven’t experienced it.

An older child will not want to move or may be nervous about the move because they are giving up friends, changing schools, or losing their space. Since they aren’t sure about the new place, they don’t know what to expect and therefore don’t want it to happen. So, we gathered a few tips to help you and your family out when moving with kids:

All Your “Stuff”

Moving is a headache, but it’s a great excuse to purge your old and unnecessary stuff. You know, all of the things that you’ve stored in closets, or your garage for years – said you would use later, but never have. Or that small mountain of baby carriers, swings, cribs, and other contraptions gathering dust in the attic. Many of those things could be donated, or hauled off to the dump, before a move. Using a company like Fast Haul can really help through that part of the process.

The Baby Situation

If you have a newborn or a tiny one, then you will want to remember that you can wear the baby. Keep a diaper bag fully packed and ready to go in the car. That way you always know where a diaper and wipes are. Pack and label all feeding things last and together. Label them so that you know where they are at a moment’s glance. There’s nothing worse than a crying hungry baby. make sure that your swing, soother seat, or bouncy chair are always close at hand. Put them in the vehicle that the baby is traveling in so that you know it is with you when you need it.

The Toddler

Toddlers are just a little more complicated. They want their favorite items right when they want them. Pack them a bag of the things that will soothe them in a pinch and put them up where you can pull them out. It is always best to have two bags, that way when they deplete one, you have a backup. Set their room up first. That makes it easier for them. They will know what space is there’s and it helps them to transition just a little bit easier.

The Preschooler

Talk to them and let them know what to expect. Check out books from the library that talk about moving. Get a calendar and circle your moving day. Then, as the day gets closer, have them check off the days. Take them with you to see the new house. Let them see it and the neighborhood before they move. Be honest about discussing the similarities and differences in the new place and the one you are moving from.

Tips for the Whole Family

The family is moving, not just the adults, so it really helps to have your older ones be as much as part of the process as you can. That means letting them help pack. It means discussing options on houses. Get a realtor that doesn’t mind your child tagging along. There are resources to help you find a realtor that is perfect for your family. Explain the process. Let them ask questions.

Your older kids may find it helpful to visit their new school. Let them meet the counselors ahead of time. By discussing what will change and what will stay the same may help them to adjust easier. Moving with kids should be a gradual process if possible. It seems more sudden to children when they aren’t part of that process. However, there is no reason why the whole family can’t transition to your new home with minimum bumps along the way.

Why Curb Appeal is Important Even if You’re Not Selling Your Home

February 16th, 2018

It’s a common misconception that only people selling their home need to feel concerned with curb appeal. The realtor’s term means how a home appears from street-level to someone walking or driving by it. However, having attractive curb appeal is beneficial for homeowners even if they have no intention of selling anytime soon. It’s a welcome sight at the end of a long day at work and it makes for better relationships with neighbors as well. Here are some simple things all homeowners can do to improve the curb appeal of their home:

  • Take care of yard clean-up: Mow and edge the lawn, trim trees and bushes, weed overgrown flowerbeds, and apply a new layer of mulch every spring.
  • Improve lighting: Replace any dead or broken bulbs, replace corroded or otherwise damaged light fixtures, clean glass panels and shades, and dust off any cobwebs.
  • Clean regularly: Pick up debris, sweep the sidewalk and steps, pressure wash siding, and clean all windows.
  • Make frequent repairs: This could include repainting the front door, resurfacing the driveway, replacing a damaged mailbox, or adding a coat of paint trim to the house.

By keeping up with these basic chores, homeowners will have continually good curb appeal and won’t feel overwhelmed by the thought of doing everything at once.

Good Curb Appeal Helps to Detract Criminals

When a home’s trees and bushes become overgrown, it makes an ideal place for criminals to hide. If a neighbor can’t see the windows, they won’t be able to spot a burglar trying to case the home either. Trees and bushes should be no taller than three feet high since this allows the homeowner and possibly the neighbors to see a potential burglar. Any entrance to the home should contain bright lighting for a further deterrent. Lastly, homeowners should consider placing gravel around the windows that makes a loud crunching sound when someone steps on it. This will alert them that someone could be trying to break in.

Strategically Placed Trees Can Help Homeowners Save Energy

Besides offering better curb appeal, trees and shrubs can also help to block wind and sun. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, planting trees on the east, northwest, and west of the property provides natural protection from the sun and cuts down on cooling costs. Homeowners just need to be careful to trim trees and shrubs so they don’t block the window view, cover solar panels, or cover an air conditioning unit.

Improves Property Value Over Time

Buying a home is the biggest investment that most people make in their lifetime. It just makes sense to keep it looking and functioning well. An attractive view from the street increases property value, even for homeowners not planning to move. The increase in property value can extend to the rest of the neighborhood as well. Keeping the property well-maintained already improves neighbor relationships, so increased value street-wide will only add to the sense of goodwill.

Around the Bay Area in Waste Management News – January 2018

January 26th, 2018

As a hub for progressive environmental ideologies, you can always count on waste management to be making headlines in Northern California. As we kick off the New Year, we look around the Bay Area to see what is being done to address issues and improve recycling and waste management in the month of January:

Cupertino to Adopt a “Zero Waste” Policy

In an effort to do away with the need for a landfill or waste incinerator, the city of Cupertino has adopted a “zero waste” policy to be implemented immediately. The overall goal of the policy, comprised of 16 separate waste elimination priorities, is to dispose of 80 percent of the cities waste through alternative means such as composting, recycling or reuse by the year 2025.

While officials are skeptical that the city could ever truly achieve zero waste, they feel that the increased effort could get them quite close to the goal (As it stands now, 65 percent of residential waste and 75 percent of commercial waste is diverted away from landfills in Cupertino). Beyond reducing the level of trash produced, officials are hoping that improved waste diversion efforts will help prevent pollution and help conserve resources.

Salesforce to Implement Aggressive Water Recycling Plan

The Salesforce Tower, the latest and greatest addition to the San Francisco skyline, has revealed plans to include a membrane bioreactor in the basement that will have the ability to recycle the entire buildings wastewater. The bioreactor will be able to process water from all 61 floors of the building (as well as rainwater runoff) and treat it for reuse. When it becomes fully operational, it will be the biggest water recycling system for a commercial building in the entire US.

Working as a dual filtration and treatment system, The bioreactor will also be able to take some of the pressure off of San Francisco’s sewage system by diverting water during storms. While Salesforce is only leasing 36 of the 61 floors in the building, they company has agreed to foot the entire bill for the bioreactor.

Milpitas Residents Upset After New Garbage Hauling Contract

In December, the city of Milpitas chose to sign a waste collection contract with Milpitas Sanitation Inc., moving away from long time partner Republic Services. Although the decision to end the 30-year relationship with Republic was made to save money and reduce contributions to the nearby Newby Island Landfill, residents are seeing little benefit so far.

A recent City Council meeting saw several people lodge complaints on a litany of issues with the new trash service, namely the sizes of the new waste bins. Residents feel that the new divided bins, featuring a 67-gallon landfill section and 29-gallon compost section, are not a generous as the previous and feature a much smaller garbage allotment. Other complaints include extra trash bags being ignored or strewn across the street, garbage not being picked up at all, and issues regarding billing. Council members present to hear the complaints say they are actively working with Milpitas Sanitation in order to work though these concerns.

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