Eco Blog: dedication to Green Hauling

What Happens to a Mattress When Junked

December 28th, 2017

With an ever-increasing importance being placed on environmental issues, more and more people are taking a second look at how much waste they produce and how they can better dispose of it. Although responsibly disposing of smaller, common household items like cans, boxes, leftover food, and containers is relatively straight forward, it gets a bit more complicated once we arrive at bigger and more sophisticated items like furniture and electronics.

One such item that always throws eco-friendly folks for a curve is mattress removal. Mattresses are an item that tends to find its way into the dump rather than a recycling center. Today we are going to look at the process of breaking down and recycling an old mattress responsibly.

Old Mattresses for sale? I think not!

 Of all the different items you will find in a second hand store, you will almost never find a used mattress. In fact, most stores that deal with furniture re-sales will have a strict “no mattress” policy, and for good reason too. A study conducted by Ohio State University found that used mattresses typically have between 100,000 and 10 million mites living inside.  These mites, who thrive in a warm, moist environment, feed on the dead skin cells that humans tend to shed at night. Additionally, ridding a mattress of all mites on a regular basis is an incredibly tough job even with all of the proper tools. That being said, you most likely wont see a ton of people lining up to buy mattresses second hand.

What’s recyclable

 While mattresses do contain components of a wide range of materials, most of them can be reused or recycled. Mattress frames and their springs are almost always made of wood and steel, organic materials that have been recycled for years. The stuffing of a mattress, whether it is cotton or foam, can be reused in a number of ways (for example, carpet padding, or furniture reupholstering).

A step-by-step process

If all the materials that comprise a mattress can be reused or recycled than you might be asking yourself, what makes them so hard to recycle? It’s the fact that all those materials need to be separated and treated differently, which results in a painstaking process:

Below we will outline the general process undergone when a mattress is responsibly disposed of:

  • All mattresses are stored so that they are properly dried out and sorted.
  • After they are sorted, all of the fabric is removed and bundled based on the type of material (i.e., cotton, fabric, wool, foam, etc.) For there, the bundles are sent elsewhere so that the material can be reused.
  • From here, the steel springs are removed from the wooden frames. This process can be long and arduous to do by hand, so in most cases recyclers use a specialized machine that strips and bundles the springs for them.
  • Once the springs are removed, the wooden frames are broken down and recycled.

While it is obviously easier to just dump an old mattress in a landfill, properly recycling mattress has a significant environmental impact. Properly recycling or 10,000 mattresses can save 239 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That equates to planting 273 trees or taking 40 cars off the streets! That reason alone should be more than enough reason to research options in your area.

Tips for Winter Clean-Up of Your Home and Yard

November 13th, 2017

While spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition, the transition from autumn to winter is also a good time to organize the house both inside and outside. Although the climate here doesn’t require as much Winter clean-up and preparation as places with snow and freezing temperatures, all homeowners can benefit from completing some seasonal chores. That way, everyone will feel cozy and relaxed when the winter nesting instinct hits.

Rotate Food and Seasonal Clothing

Many people store extra food in their pantries and then forget to use it or it becomes hidden by newer stock. The calendar turning to the winter season is a great time to go through the food pantry and toss anything remaining there past its expiration date. It’s also an opportunity to donate non-perishable and non-expired food to a local food shelf. Everyone wins in that situation. The homeowner gets a clean pantry and people who might otherwise miss a meal will get the nourishment they need.

The change in seasons here means wearing slightly warmer clothing, so going through drawers and closets is also a good idea. A good rule of thumb is to remove and store clothing that no one will wear for at least the next few months to make room for more seasonally appropriate items.

Give the Yard a Once-Over

The normal activities of autumn can make even the nicest yard look unkempt. However, most people are extremely busy once the holiday season hits. There’s still a few weeks for homeowners to complete yard clean-up so they can focus their time and energy on the holidays ahead. Some ideas for seasonal chores include:

  • Clean the rain gutters. Leaves, branches, and other debris that falls into gutters can attract insects, moisture, and mold if left sitting for too long. Removing the debris at least once a year ensures that rain water can flow uninterrupted through the gutter.
  • Clean up flower beds. Weeds, leaves, and twigs that fall into a garden can attract pests that could end up killing some of the plants. Cleaning flower beds annually is a good idea. Roses need special attention because the foliage they produce invites disease in cooler weather more than other types of plants.
  • Aerate and fertilize the lawn. Aeration breaks up deep layers of soil so grass can receive proper nutrients through water, fertilizer, and direct sunlight. Homeowners with larger yards can rent a walk-behind aerator for this job. It’s also a good time to fertilize the lawn with a professional-grade fertilizer containing a large amount of phosphorus.

Clean the Windows and Floors

Streaked windows are not only unattractive, they can prevent sunlight from reaching the home. Vinegar mixed with water tends to work better than commercial cleaners at getting windows sparkling clean.

Since people tend to spend more time indoors in the winter, carpets and hardwood floors get dirty faster. Steam clean the carpet or manually scrub tiled floors. This ensures that both are prepared for the increase in foot traffic in the months ahead.

To dispose of household junk, yard clippings, unwanted furniture, or anything else you need to address in a Winter clean-up, call Fast Haul today or schedule a free estimate online.

Bay Area Cities Score Well on WalletHub “Green” Analysis

October 16th, 2017

In a recent analysis, the website WalletHub analyzed the United States’ largest cities to rank the greenest metropolitan regions in the country. In the analysis, cities were scored based on four factors: environment, transportation, energy sources, and lifestyles & policy.

Perhaps not surprisingly, cities in the Bay Area and Northern California as a region scored very well in the survey. Of the the 100 cities included in the study, 5 Bay Area/Northern California cities appeared in the Top Ten:

  • San Francisco (#1)
  • Fremont (#3)
  • San Jose (#5)
  • Sacramento (#7)
  • Oakland (#10)

Here is a map of the results. The smaller dots represent the best-performing cities:

Source: WalletHub

Fast Haul supports the green aspirations of the cities of the Bay Area. Our organization strives to recycle or donate as large of a percentage of the goods we haul as possible.

Home Clean-Up Tips to Get Holiday Ready

October 6th, 2017

Whether your home is the regular meeting spot for the holidays or you’ve drawn the short straw this year, having guests into your home during an already stressful season can send you over the edge. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to lessen this strain and make your home the perfect place to celebrate any holiday. Here are seven home cleanup tips to get your home holiday ready.

modern white mop cleaning wooden floor in house

1. De-clutter Your Home

Who doesn’t accumulate at least some clutter in their living space? Most of us have plenty! Before you can even think about cleaning your home for guests, you’ll need to go through every room and either get rid of or store those stacks of papers, old magazines, and children’s toys.

2. Clean Windows and Drapes

One of the highest impact items in your home is its windows because they bring in natural light. Thoroughly clean the windows in your main living space and then freshen your drapes. You don’t need to pull down drapes or hire a professional to give them new life. While still hanging, shake them gently and then spray them (from a distance) with a good fabric spray.

3. Get Rid of Stains and Dust Bunnies

Now that you’ve released some dust into the room by shaking your drapes, it’s time to clean your surfaces. Dust all of your room’s surfaces and clean your floors, making sure to get the dust bunnies under and behind your furniture. Finally, grab a Magic Eraser to instantly remove stains from walls and cabinets.

4. Wash Throw Pillows

One item that is often ignored is your furniture’s throw pillows. You can revitalize your pillows with a quick wash. Toss the pillows in the wash on gentle cycle with a scented detergent. Depending on their material, some throw pillow covers can also be washed at home while others may need to be dry-cleaned.

5. Deep Clean Kitchen and Bath

Now that your living space is clean, it’s time to scrub down your kitchen and bathroom. Remove unnecessary items from these rooms as well prior to cleaning. Remember, houseguests and holiday visitors tend to congregate in the kitchen, so you will need to spend some time here. Not only will a clean kitchen make this time more enjoyable, but it will also make holiday cooking and cleanup easier.

6. Stock Up the Kitchen

Now that you’ve cleaned and decluttered your kitchen, it’s time to restock it for your incoming guests. Have fresh coffee ready to make, snacks on hand, and plenty of napkins, utensils, and plates handy. If you’re worried about the constant turnover of dirty dishes, this may be the one time of year to invest in some festive paper plates.

7. Guest-Ready Your Extra Bedroom and Bath

Your houseguests should feel at home and as comfortable as possible when they come to visit. Granted, you don’t need to do a turndown service or offer breakfast in bed, but a welcoming space is a nice gesture. Put fresh sheets on the bed and make some space in the closet for their clothes with extra hangers. Clear space for them in the bathroom and provide fresh towels for their use.

Hosting family and friends during the holiday can be a delight as opposed to a chore. With some careful planning, you can not only make your home holiday ready, but you will also provide a space that is sure to deliver lasting memories for you and your loved ones.

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!

 
 
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