Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

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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: https://www.wastedive.com/news/call2recycle-launches-bay-area-battery-safety-campaign/523606/


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: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/SF-to-consider-banning-plastic-straws-12913930.php

https://twitter.com/ecowatchADZU/status/1004685636383563776


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: http://www.ktvu.com/news/how-the-bay-area-is-impacted-by-chaos-in-us-recycling-industry


5 Tips on How to Stay Waste-Free at Work

August 23rd, 2017

recycling and composting at work

Businesses are producing large amounts of unnecessary waste. Despite the fact that about 80% of office waste is recyclable or reusable, the vast majority of office items end up in a landfill due to the lack of proper systems.

However, more and more offices are striving to be more eco-friendly and push to “go green.” There are different ways to do so. For example, it may include recycling electronics and office supplies, use of low-watt bulbs, turning off printers when and/or computers when not in use, etc.

Here are a few tips on how to stay waste-free at your work.

1. Start with Preparing Your Office for Recycling

Before facing your office waste, you should prepare for recycling. This include:

  • Finding the best recycling program that addresses office recycling;
  • Searching for state or city incentives for eco-friendly offices;
  • Hire a professional to head up a waste reduction or recycling program;
  • Establish the general list of rules all employees have to abide.

2. Clean Up Your Office Thoroughly

Why is it important? While cleaning your office, you will be surprised how many things make the waste in your office. Thorough cleaning will help you determine what items you don’t need at your office. Your best choice is to hire an expert in office cleaning that offers personalized services. Check out these cleaning services in Mississauga as an example of how to make your workplace feel fresh.

3. Reuse Office Supplies

Most of the office supplies can be recycled or reused. What can you do? Create a special room where the employees will be able to shop or leave used office supplies such as paper clips, hanging folders, file folders, binders, rubber bands, pencils, and pens. Even better, do not allow employees to access new office supplies by keeping them under lock and key. That will make people start thinking how to reuse office supplies.

4. Cut Down On Paper

Think twice before posting or printing. Posting and/or printing something out that you will never use becomes a waste in your office. You can recycle most office paper, but it’s just an additional expense for you. Instead, try to reduce recycling program budget by cutting down on paper. Here’s what you can do:

  • Consider whether you really need a paperwork or not;
  • Email rather than posting/printing out;
  • Ask your employees to post and print only what is truly necessary;
  • Use the double-sided printing whenever possible;
  • Avoid using stapled and colored paper because it’s not recyclable.

Over the time, the paper will overcrowd your office and you will need to recycle it. That’s why you should put a lot of paper recycling bins or boxes throughout the workplace. Choose the convenient areas for this purpose. Make sure to position recycle bins next to the desks and put a few of them in non-office rooms such as the warehouse or kitchen. That will encourage the employees to chuck paper in the recycle bins.

5. Recycle Old Computers, Accessories, and Appliances

When buying a new computer, ask the seller to buy back or take back your old one. Many companies provide e-waste recycling programs that allow this. Others may charge you a small recycling fee. You may also donate the old computers that are still in good working condition to organizations which refurbish electronic devices. Aside from computers and computer accessories, you can also consider recycling old televisions and other appliances.

 

Be sure to follow these five tips and get rid of office waste!

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Recycle

June 16th, 2017

In 2013, Americans generated 254.1 million tons of solid waste. That’s 4.4 pounds of trash per person, per day. While our rate of recycling has gone up from just 16% 20 years ago to 34.3% today, we can do better. Yes, we all know that plastic bottles, glass, cans, and newspaper are recyclable.  Yet, there are many things that can be recycled that still wind up in our local landfill. Here are just ten things that can be recycled that probably weren’t on your list.

1. Appliances. Whether your appliances are working or not, there is a better place for them than in a landfill. Goodwill takes working appliances. If your appliances aren’t in working order, contact the Steel Recycling Institute instead.

2. Batteries. Batteries not only shouldn’t be tossed in the trash, but they can also turn into hazardous materials over time.  Staples has a battery recycling program, and there is also a company called Battery Solutions that recycles batteries throughout North America.

3. Clothing. We might not think of it as recycling, but when you donate you wearable clothing to a worthy cause, those items are being reused. Drop of your clothing items at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you have women’s business attire, give it to Dress for Success so that low-income women can use them to find jobs.

4. Computers and Electronics. You can recycle almost any type of computer equipment or electronic device today. This includes desktop and laptop computers, printers, and tablets. You can also recycle televisions, game systems, cell phones, and iPods. One helpful tool for finding computer and electronics recyclers is called Earth911.

5. Eyeglasses. Believe it or not, there are people in need who would love to have your used eye glasses. Maybe your prescription has changed, or you’ve just decided to upgrade your style. One place to recycle eyeglasses is through your local Lions Club.

6. Carpet. Whether you are remodeling your home or just changing out the carpet in one room, that old carpet needs a final resting place. Fortunately, some carpet makers have recycling programs, or you can look for a carpet recycling center in your area.

7. Crayons. It might sound silly, but we could have a crayon disposal problem if we don’t recycle more. 120,000 pounds of crayons are produced daily in the U.S., and you can now recycle these colorful items through the National Crayon Recycle Program.

8. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. The mercury contained in CFLs makes disposal more complicated than regular light bulbs. This is why both Home Depot and Ikea now provide CFL recycling programs. Some independent lighting stores may also accept CFLs for recycling.

9. Oil. When you change the oil in your car or lawn mower, that used oil can be refined into other lubricants and petroleum products.  Earth911 can help you find a local center to drop off your used oil.

10. Cosmetics. Most people simply toss old cosmetics in the garbage when they become stale or out of favor. Various brands, including Aveda and Origins, now have their own cosmetics recycling programs.

If you already have a recycling routine that works for you, now you can add some or all of these items to your list. Reusing and recycling as much as possible is just one more way that we can reduce the strain on our local landfills and work together to save the environment.

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.

 
 
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