Archive for May, 2010

May 31, 2010 pretty average day! :)

I have an iPod touch, and not an iPhone, and so it’s easier for me to take photos and come back to the office to post them in a blog, rather than tweet them as they happen.

First job today was out near UBC for a new construction management firm. They’re tearing down the house and they needed to get the garbage out.

And there was garbage!!! Here’s some evidence. White, wiggly bugs! Also known as maggots. They like hanging out in the trash. Pablo, who’s usually a pretty tough, strong guy (works as a bouncer, picks up the heavy stuff – you know the type) was soooo freaked out by them he kept sweeping them out of the garage and kept saying “Reeeaallly???” every time I said, “They need to be put in the truck. They’re garbage!” He couldn’t do it. It was really funny. Well, it’s really funny if you’re me. Pablo didn’t see the humour. Most customers would immediately squeal “Eeeeeek!” and rush inside to call the jovial gang at Fresh Start 😉

Reason 714 to hire Fresh Start? White, wiggly bugs!

It wasn’t all gross though. Sure some of it was – old bags of garbage can be like that but we were able to rescue 10+ bags of clothes for donation that were pretty nice (I was too busy donating to remember I’m supposed to be a photojournalist at the same time).  We phoned my good friends over at Homestart ( to come and get the furniture items for donation. The customer really liked that because it meant they didn’t have to pay us for removal and it meant it all went to charity. We also liked it because we sometimes encounter charities that are too full. We tragically end up with items that we’re unable to donate because there’s no room for them inside. The trick to increasing the amount you can donate is to “donation only” runs early in the morning. With this lot of buggy bags, I knew the charity would take one look at us and tell us to “amscray” so we did the wise thing and phoned Homestart to come out and cherry pick the great stuff we left behind. Thanks for coming out Homestart!

We were also able to get a whole bunch of bottles and cans out to give to a person who collects bottles and cans on a professional level.

Me, rummaging for bags of bottles and cans

Me: "Hi, would you guys like some bottles and cans?" Them: "Yes please!" Me: "Do you mind if we take a pic for the blog?" Them, "Not at all".

Him: "Thanks! What's the website?" Me: "" Him: "not .ca?" Me: "Nope. .com"

That’s a direct quotation of the entire conversation – then we went to recycle the paper we pulled out of that house.

Pablo recycling

So that was our first call of the day – Pretty successful if you ask me.

The 2nd call was some drywall for SFU.

By FAR the easiest drywall job I've done in my 6 years at Fresh Start.

And the third was some wood recycling – less exciting so no pictures this time. One day I’ll grab some because It’s pretty neat how they run the wood through the chipper to recycle it for pulp or paper, hawg fuel, or to be turned into beams for new construction.

So there you have it folks. An average day at Fresh Start Recycling. Call 604-637-6400 to book a call and leave a voice mail – I’ll call you back asap!!!  (If I’m in the truck working and snapping pics and writing in a blog, how can I ALSO answer the phone?)


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“Urgent” U-r-g-e-n-t

Australian comedy duo Clark and Dawe explain “global warming” and “climate change”.  How do you spell, “Urgent?” It’s “urgent”!

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Little DIY action

So, years ago you used to park the car in your garage. Then you needed somewhere for the chest freezer, and the lawn mower, and the old paint from when you spruced up the bathroom, and eventually your car gets moved out side. Well, “Look at all this room for storage I have!!!” you remark in gleeful anticipation…

Years go buy, things get “stored”. And then stored on top of other things, so on and so forth. Eventually, you call Fresh Start. Fresh Start shows up, hauls things away, donates things to charity, researches the recycling options for you, helps you out when it comes to you taking back your own paint, etc.

(as an aside, store a properly labeled paint chip (not the can of paint),  in a photo album) (paint is difficult to dispose of responsibly in higher quantities and, from experience, you’ll almost NEVER do that touch up you’re saving it for)

But what to do now after all the items you had “stored” are gone? Especially now that you’ve rediscovered that oil stain? Here’s a little DIY video I found on YouTube that may not work with ancient stains, but works pretty well with fresh ones. Check it out!

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Big Brothers = Big Talent!

I volunteer with Big Brother’s 1 day a week for an hour and go to my “little brother’s” school to hang out. We play Lego, soccer and whatever else he wants to do. Usually we just talk about random stuff and tease each other about things. All in all, fairly rewarding and it should get me out of a couple of weeks of purgatory when my time comes.

Sometime’s it doesn’t work though. Sometimes I come and there’s a Pro D day, or school gets out early or he was sick or whatever, and I went there just to go back to work again. Not very often at all does that happen, but it happens.

Today I got there and thought that there was a Pro D day. The school was silent. Elementary schools aren’t known for their museum like qualities.

But, I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out it was the kid’s talent show. It was AWESOME!

When I sat down it had already started so my first treat was 3 girls skipping rope. They were pretty cute. They’d obviously practiced but they had 200 people or so watching them and they were in grade 4 so they were naturally a little nervous.  There was one little boy who couldn’t have been older than grade 2 who’d composed his own piece on violin; that was pretty special. One girl played “Girl” by the Beatles. Two other different girls sung “Thank-you” by Dido which I personally thought had rather grown up lyrics for an elementary school kid and same with Apologize by Timbaland sung by another little girl.

I wonder if kids understand the lyrics. I can’t remember if I did back then but I’m certain I listened to similar music and thought I was all grown up. It sure sounds odd to hear little kids singing about this stuff regardless of the degree of comprehension.

There was one super cute little girl who did a hoola hoop which I really liked. She sang a song I’ll call, “Clap your hands, Stomp your feet” which I couldn’t keep a straight face for. I tried to find it on YouTube, but all I found was a VERY surprising dance (and impressively offensive by today’s standards),  by John Lennon of Beatles fame.

And then Unwritten done quite brilliantly a capella. It was performed a LOT better than I could have EVER done.

I would have loved to have taken pictures or posted a video, but I don’t think it’s my place to take pictures of the kids at their talent show. I’m not sure if it’s officially against privacy laws or not, but it was against my own personal ones.  I was just a guest after all. But if you have kids; I’m jealous. That was a tonne of fun!

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UBC Doctor retires, papers come to Fresh Start

This past week we were called out to help a retired doctor from UBC take care of his recycling before moving this month.

He used to teach Indian studies at UBC and has been collecting the Times of India since 1969. He had the papers mailed here to his office so that he’d have research material for his students.  Back in 1969 in the days before the internet, Google, Google News, and iPhone/iPod apps that do all the work for you, it wasn’t so easy to see how current events were seen by other countries .  If you wanted to see what India thought of a particular battle in Vietnam, you needed to get your hands on the actual newspaper and read it. For people like myself, it’s hard to imagine what life would have been like back then. I personally didn’t have internet until I was in high school, but it’s so ubiquitous now that imagining a time before you could look something with a search bar isn’t easy.

Specifically he maintained this collection of newspapers so students would be able to come to his house, go out to the garage and look up the Indian perspective on a topic before they wrote their Masters or Doctoral thesis.

Our connection with the Times goes beyond the newspapers in John’s garage as well.  The Times of India would send a boat all the way from India to Victoria, where it would buy all the off cuts from the rolls of paper once per year when the paper was cheap and ship the paper back to India for printing.

You can see from the photos we had a lot of paper to recycle and the kind people at Recycling Alternative were able to give us hand with that – we wish we could have donated them in some way, but in this era of Kindles and and iPhone/iPod apps, it wasn’t to be.

It was a great job to do, and really fun to work with a great client.

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Copy Machines are a GOLDMINE for private info!!

Apparently, there’s a hard disk inside each photocopier made since 2002.  This makes sense if you think about it; how else would the info go from a laser passing over the paper to the paper as a copy? It has to be stored somewhere.

What have you been photocopying? Your birth certificate? SIN number? Passport?

Here’s a documentary video from CBS:

Sounds pretty scary to me. They bought 4 random copiers and found lists of police records, results of drug raids, sexual assaults etc. They also found items from a New York insurance company including blood test results and other private medical records.

I tried to post this via Twitter, but didn’t like the look of CBS’s “privacy” policy. I found it to be a LOT more like a “Publicity” policy.

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