Archive for September, 2014

Good-bye Summer . . . Now What?

Summer is on its way out, and with it the dreaded garage sale! Good news is you cleared out some clutter and made a little cash. The bad news is, you still have some junk sitting around taking up prime garage space or maybe tucked out of site in the backyard. It’s the dusty old kiddie pool or outgrown skis that you couldn’t sell and can’t throw into the trash. They haunt you as you try to skirt past them and squeeze into your car, they bring down your property value and mostly they are a reminder of how much time you spent trying to sell them!

There are a couple of options for people finding themselves sharing needed space with unwanted clutter:

  • Try to cram your outdated treasures into the back of, or strap to the roof of your compact car, drive to the city waste facility, wait in line, pay through the nose and drive home cursing the day you ever decided to try skiing/bought that kiddie pool etc.
  • Try to sell items online. A pretty simple solution once you get past the account creation, verification, emailing total strangers, giving out your home address, dealing with “no shows” and worrying about correct change.
  • Call Fresh Start. We show up on time, recycle, donate or trash as needed.

Let Fresh Start help you get a head start on preparing for fall.

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Does your community have a Share Shed?

Recently I was visiting a small Central BC town and helping a friend haul their recycling and garbage to the local dump. As we pulled up to the recycling area, I saw a couple of large shed structures, filled with useable donated items, with a big sign over that read Share Shed.

I asked my buddy what the Share Shed was and how it worked. He explained that some people come and drop off various items, from old mattresses, clothes, and toys to used lighting fixtures and garden decorations, and other people come and pick up what they might need.

A Share Shed – a simple idea that keeps tonnes of useable stuff out of the landfill and benefits other people. The added bonus being that it is located AT the dump, a one-stop-shop for donations, recycling and trash.

I did a little research to see if these Share Sheds were common in other cities and so far I don’t see a lot of them around. Does anyone have one in their town or know why they aren’t more common?

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Campers, Avid BBQers, Outdoorsmen, Blowtorch-wielders, lend me your ears!

For all of those who have these 1lb propane tanks rolling around the garage from last years camping or some summertime weed-torching, this Fresh Tip is for you!

For this tip you will need:

A propane adapter: available from various retailers

A 20lb propane tank w/ propane

Any number of 1lb empty propane tanks

Simply fit the adapter onto the 20lb tank, turn the tank upside down and attach the 1lb tank to the open end of the adapter. (see images below)

Not only are you reducing, reusing and recycling, but you are also saving money! 1lb tanks at Canadian Tire are $5.29 tax not included. 20lb tank refills are $20 – $25. Essentially you can refill your 1 lb tank over and over – 20 times for half the cost of buying them prefilled!

The three Rs covered and cash in your pocket, another Fresh Tip brought to you by Fresh Start Recycling and Disposal Ltd! Have a blast.

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Garburator – to have or not to have

There was a time that I was envious of my friends or family that had a garburator in their kitchen sink. Imagine; just peel those carrots – right INTO the sink – no muss, no fuss. It seemed easy, clean, and best of all, environmentally friendly! I imagined my chopped up food being returned to the earth to feed future plants and animals – the circle of life.

The day came when I moved into a place with a garburator of my very own! The boxes were barely unpacked before I was frantically peeling an orange and tossing the peel right in the sink! With excited anticipation and some dread I turned on the tap and flipped the switch. As I watched and heard my peel being mulched it occurred to me that I was running a lot of drinkable water down the drain… On one hand I would be keeping food waste out of the landfill, but could wasting so much water really be environmentally friendly?

The short answer is no, no the garburator is NOT environmentally friendly. In fact, many cities are banning them in new buildings. My instincts, when watching all that water wash down the drain, were correct, it is wasteful, but not only that. Garburators use electricity, the mulched food over-burdens our wastewater treatment facilities and increase the nitrate levels in the surrounding soil and water. On top of all that, the food residuals I had imagined feeding my future seafood and plants is chemically treated.

There are some people who argue that the banning of garburators is a missed opportunity, who say that with improved wastewater treatment facilities and methods, garburators could be an untapped environmental resource. From what I’ve seen so far, the days of green friendly garburators are not even in their infancy.

All that said, as with all things in life, it is important for you to discover what you can and decide for yourself.

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