Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

How You Can Start Working In Your Garden

October 21st, 2013

Here at Fast Haul, we do a lot of backyard clear outs for folks who have gardens that have simply become overgrown. Once you’ve reconquered your personal outdoor space, there are lots of things you can do with it, including turning it into a home office. Find out more in this week’s guest post:

You probably think of your garden as somewhere you go mostly to relax, and you are probably focused mainly on making it beautiful as a result – perhaps with some space for the kids to kick a ball around.

But actually gardens don’t just have to be used on the odd occasion that you get time to yourself – you can actually perform many of your regular tasks and activities in the garden, and doing so will actually help you to feel more relaxed more of the time and to boost your health too.

And the holy grail of this must surely be taking your laptop outside and doing your job out there. If you ever bring home work with you, or if you are self-employed, then you will probably spend a lot of your time in a home office working away and might find yourself getting a little stir-crazy from time-to-time as a result. Imagine then being able to take your laptop outside, to kick back with your feet up and soak up some sun with a glass of juice next to you and to enjoy typing away to the sound of birds while everyone else sits in a cramped office.

Well that’s the dream, but actually it’s perfectly possible if you know how to make the most of your tech and your garden space. Read on and we’ll look at how you can work outside and be just as productive as you would inside – only hugely more relaxed and at ease.

Obstacles and Requirements

Before you can think about working outside, there are some minimum requirements that you need to consider. The first of these is of course power: while you might be able to charge your laptop most will only get you four or five hours before you need to plug in so it’s easier just to have a socket outside. The next is WiFi – mostly your broadband should reach your garden, but if it doesn’t then you should look at moving the box or investing in a booster.

Still with these things in place though there are a few issues to consider: dust and dirt getting on your laptop is one issue, as is having a comfortable position to lean, as is combating glare from the sun and not being a slave to the weather.

Office Pods

One way around these is to use something that’s becoming increasingly more popular at the moment: the office pod. This is essentially a small self-contained unit that you can place at the end of your garden. Normally this will utilise a minimalist design and a lot of glass so that you can enjoy the convenience of an office while at the same time feel as though you’re outside and away from the clutter and stress of your actual office.

Of course though not everyone can afford to build an ‘office pod’ in their garden unfortunately, so you might have to look into other options…


So how do you build an office pod without building an office pod? Well one answer is to use a pop-up shelter which is much cheaper and more versatile but can still give you protection from outside while letting you keep the doors open either end.

Of course whether you are under shelter or not, you will also want a table to lean on and a chair so that you are at a comfortable height. Additionally you should invest in some kind of light for working when it’s dark, and perhaps a heater to warm you up.

If you don’t use a shelter then you might still have an issue with glare, in which case you may be able to use a glare protector (or just buy a device with a great anti-glare screen built in). In the future though you will be able to use an e-ink display for most of your tasks. E-ink tablets and smartphones running Android are already being developed, and once hooked up to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse they should let you do most of the work you would normally do on a computer.

Finally, add a few finishing touches such as a water feature or a fish tank and you can make this a truly serene and relaxing place to get your work done.

Today’s guest author, Robert Jenkins, is a part of the team at Rhino Shelter, a company dealing in temporary shelters. He is a complete movie buff and he enjoys watching the latest releases with his family when he gets free from work.

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

Mill Valley Women Start Trash Removal Program

October 3rd, 2013

nmij0907highwaysTwo Mill Valley residents, Jill Whitebook and Vicky Dehnert, took on the initiative to run a trash removal program after seeing for years litter piling up along Strawberry frontage road right by Highway 101 and wanted to put a stop to it. The non-profit Marin Clean Highway was founded in 2011 and is managed by volunteers who actively raises money needed to pay junk hauling and trash removal contractors to clean up the roads on both side of Highway 101 from Seminary Drive to the Tiburon Boulevard/East Blithedale exit.

Marin County has no budget for litter removal but Whitebook and Dehnert continued to beleaguer their county supervisor in granting them $5,000 to embark in their trash removal campaign. With the grant, they were able to hire hauling and trash removal contractors to clean up the road three times at a cost of $250 each. Whitebook and Dehnert are now trying to raise $20,000 to continue the cleanup maintenance for the next two years.

With the growing accomplishment they have made thus far, Whitebook and Dehnert hope to find a long-term sustainable solution for the road cleanup, more volunteers to perform fundraising and administrative tasks and more contributions.

Like Jill Whitebook and Vicky Dehnert, David Singer started his own junk removal and trash cleanup company due to the high demand for a cleaner environment in his city of Oakland. Through hard work and persistence, Fast Haul has expanded to serve various cities including Mill Valley and all of the Marin County.


By: Ethan Malone

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.


By: Ethan Malone

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