Someone asked me once, “you call yourself green, why do you drive big dirty diesel trucks that pollute?” I’ve answered that a few times, the justification of that comes with the reality, that- nothing is really green. By that, I mean, staying home and doing nothing, and buying nothing, is really the green thing to do. Obviously, in today’s society, that’s not going to happen, and it wouldn’t be very fun! So, when it comes to being green, our business is built and is evolving to be, as green as we possibly can with the acknowledgment that nothing is perfect.
Bigger Trucks = Less Trips = Less Fuel Burnt
So, our trucks, as an example, are 20% bigger than most other junk removal companies. The advantage of this is that if you call us, we can get it done with fewer trips; or get more jobs done with one trip. Less trips, equals less fuel burnt. So, while it’s not perfect, we do our best. Our franchise covers the area from Pepperell to Gloucester, to Somerville, MA. It’s a pretty big area, and it can be challenging to cover sometimes. Especially with traffic!
Our main headquarters is in Chelmsford, MA, and if we had to drive down to Medford, for example, and we did four jobs down in that area but had to drive back to Chelmsford to unload before doing the 5th, we’d be burning a lot more gas. By having the larger trucks, we are often able to fit that last job in without making that extra trip. The coming generation of electric vehicles is exciting but does not have one suited to our purposes quite yet. But it won’t be long!
How We Go Out of Our Way to Be Green
Another thing we do to make our big red trucks as green as possible is that we actually recycle. Recycling has many advantages when it comes to climate change. A lot of it is kind of glossed over, as just the right thing to do. When you recycle an item, you have the base material that you can just reform into something new. To make a new steel can for soup, for example, you need to dig large mines in the ground, and find the ore, which then needs to be formed into steel, usually in a foreign country, and then shipped overseas to become a can. One ton of recycled steel saves 642 Kwh of energy plus 4 cubic yards of landfill space. The carbon footprint of one vs the other is a no-brainer.
In addition to this carbon footprint that we’re preventing- what do you think happens with a steel can that you throw into the trash? It is shipped hundreds of miles away to a landfill. Here in Massachusetts, we don’t have many landfills left. Our trash is being shipped by rail car or truck to upstate New Hampshire, or to Ohio, or New York. All of these have carbon emissions attached. So, while nothing is perfect, we certainly do our best!
Currently, when a truck comes back to our yard, we pull out all of the mainstream recyclables that we can. Paper, plastic, glass, cardboard, scrap metals, and we dispose of them properly. If it’s an appliance like a refrigerator or an air conditioner, we have a licensed technician come once a month to purge the refrigerant before we recycle them.
How We Help Our Community by Donating & Repurposing Unwanted Junk
We also give away a large amount of items. From donations, through our Junk King Middlesex Free Giveaways Facebook group, we have given away, literally tons of items like furniture to keep them out of the landfill. Feel free to join!
But When it comes down to it, the best thing you can do is buy fewer items. You can do this by buying items that will last longer, or items with less waste impact. There are many newer green items with less packaging, for example, that minimizes the waste stream. I recently bought a hand soap dispenser, with little disks of soap concentrate, that dissolve in water to make hand soap. (regular hand soap probably contains 90% water).
There are also shampoo bars, that come in a little paper package, instead of a big plastic bottle. You just use them like a bar of soap, and they lather right up to make shampoo. Shampoo is another item that is 90% water. So, on both sides, the shipping to you, and the shipping away to the dump or recycling center, the amount of bulk that needs to be transported can be lessened. By using less material, we can have less in our waste stream filling our landfills. This has a major impact on municipal budgets that will only rise with time. By cutting our amount of waste, we can help keep the town’s budgets healthy.
And on the environmental front, why would we pay to ship water in soaps and shampoos across the country? Instead, we could just ship a small disk or bar of shampoo across the country which uses less fuel. From things like CDs and DVDs, which are all now instant downloads without any carbon footprint, to bars of soap, there’s so much we can do as consumers to help keep America green!
I may have gotten a little off-topic here. But what I’m getting at is that we as consumers have the chance at buying more sustainable products to reduce our waste stream. After that, when those products are at the end of their useful life, we will do everything we can with our Big Red Trucks to get them to the best possible outcome for that item! Also, those trucks have something called a Diesel Particulate filter, that actually makes their emissions far cleaner than they used to be. I’ll talk about that in another blog post!