#5 Moving Tips 

By John Pulliam posted October 30, 2018

Moving is an excellent time to let go of old possessions which is why junk removal companies are frequently asked to assist with moves.  Here are five tips to consider when moving:

1. Create both a junk and donation pile early on to improve organization and space management. Keeping separate piles also reduces the risk that items you want to keep end up at the dump. 

2.  Ask local retailers for lightly used boxes to save money on box purchases.

3. Label all boxes to save substantial amounts of searching time once you arrive. Also, labels reduce the risk that you accidentally keep or throw items away. 

4. Book out junk removal service at least 3-5 days in advance. Leave at least a 1-2 day cushion in case something comes up. 

5. Measure your furniture. If it won't fit in your new location, add it to the donation or trash pile. 

Workplace Safety Trends

By John Pulliam posted October 22, 2018

Workplace safety has improved substantially over the past 50-100 years due to improved teachnology and increased focus on safety. In recent years a few trends have emerged:

1) Employee stress in the workplace posses a growing long-term risk to safety. Prolonged periods of increased stress increases an individuals risk for heart disease, cancer and other diseases. 

2) Employers now have access to big data which is being used to improve workplace safety. Past trends can often help highlight less than obvious risks.

3) Increased hiring of safety management specialists: more large companies have dedicated teams that focus on improve workplace safety. 

At Rescue Junk Removal we manage safety by following L&I rules and by providing financial incentives to employees who receive their OSHA-10 certification. Just this month, one of our employees, Stephen Fuller, received his OSHA-10 certification. 

Surprising Trash Stats

By John Pulliam posted October 15, 2018

Junk isn't generally an interesting topic but here is an attempt:

- The U.S. has the highest amount of waste generated per person at an average of 4.6 pounds per day. 

- The United States throws out the amount of office paper it would take to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York City (2,794 miles).

- If 1/10 of all discarded American newspapers were recycled annually, approximately 25 million trees would be saved.

- Americans receive 4 million tons of junk mail every year.

- Each year, Americans use 100.2 billion plastic bags.

- In the Pacific Ocean, there is a "plastic island" twice the size of Texas that was creating by dumping waste into the ocean.

- After recycling, an aluminum can is usually repurposed within 60 days. 

- Glass bottles take 4,000 years to decompose. 

#3 Construction Debris Removal Tips 

By John Pulliam posted October 8, 2018

Construction debris removal is very expensive. Cost drivers include high dump fees, significant loading time and safety risks (nails, sharp objects, etc.).

There are three major ways to reduce the cost of construction debris disposal.

First, if you can, keep piles of recyclable materials separate from non-recyclable materials. At roughly $75 per 1 thousand pounds costs add up quickly. A pickup truck load of dense construction debris might cost up to $200-250 to dump.

Second, you can rent a dumpster. Dumpsters can reduce job times by a significant amount but make sure you have at least 30-40 yards of debris to ensure that you are fully offsetting your dumpster fee.

Third, you can hire an efficient junk removal company like Rescue Junk Removal. Construction debris removal may or may not be a do it yourself project based on the significant safety risks. Additionally, Rescue Junk Removal's markup on cost is relatively low compared to national competitors.

If you do manage your own project make sure you have proper safety equipment: A) Wear safety toe boots. Safety toe boots project both the bottom and the top of your feet; B) Wear proper gloves; C) Always wear a hardhat if it is an active construction site.

Zero Waste To Landfill Initiatives

By John Pulliam posted October 2, 2018

Zero waste to landfill is an environmental benchmark for landfill diversion to recycling facilities. A wide range of large companies have achieved this designation including Subaru, Google, Honda, Microsoft, Toyota and Procter & Gamble.

The ability to earn this designation depends heavily on one's industry. Junk removal companies, for example, will not make this list as some items can only be disposed of in a landfill. 

The significant push to avoid filling landfills is due largely to the fact that landfills reduce both air and water quality for a region

Junk Removal Economics

John Pulliam posted September 26, 2018

Many people assume that junk removal companies can pick items up for free and offset the cost by selling the items. This could not be further from the truth. 

First, with personal, online selling tools like Offer Up and Craigslist, the supply of used goods has never been higher. A rising supply lowers prices. As a result, you can buy nice furniture online for <$50 and in some cases pick things up for free.

Second, junk removal companies have naturally high cost structures. Here is a list of major costs junk removal companies face:

- Labor: $12 minimum wage implies ~$15 total hourly cost (workers comp plus payroll taxes)

- Skilled labor (truck leader): $18+ per hour plus benefits implies $25-30 per hour. 

- Dump fees: typically dump fees are 25-30% of most junk removal jobs.

- Insurance, license fees and other taxes: $200-300 per month

- Advertising costs: lead generation costs can run as high as 10-15% of revenue. Depending on conversion ratios on pay per click Google Ads, jobs can cost up to $40 to acquire. 

Back office support/dispatching: $3-4k per month.

There are other costs but hopefully this gives you an idea of what drives junk removal prices.  

How To Choose A Junk Removal Company Part 2

Choosing a junk removal company is often something done fairly quickly. 

Because of the potential cost ($1,000 or more in some cases), we wanted to highlight the important factors in the decision making process. In part 1 last week, we highlighted the need to find a safe and legal service provider. 

In this post we will discuss price because while it is important to choose a safe and legal provider, not overpaying by a significant amount should remain a priority as well. 

There are two categories of "legal" junk removal service providers. First, franchise-based companies like 1-800-Got-Junk often charge a significant premium (30-40%) because of their clean look and feel. Additionally, the radio and TV commercials help increase their pool of potential customers. 

Second, there are local non-franchised operations. Many of these companies provide the best value (safe/legal at a reasonable price) To evaluate these companies, online reviews are important. A few sources for online reviews include:

1. Angie's List

2. Home Advisor

3. Google

4. Yelp

To quickly brag about our company, we are a locally owned provider with very reasonable prices and outstanding online reviews. For example, we are #1 on Yelp as of the writing of this blog! If you need service, please give us a call at 253-238-3088.

How To Choose A Junk Removal Company Part 1

By John Pulliam posted September 14, 2018

Choosing a junk removal company may not seem like a hard thing to do but a number of factors need to be considered. In this "part 1" blog post I will focus on the importance of hiring a legally registered business. 

Many junk removal companies are not legal businesses and effectively operate under the table. As a result:

- They don't pay sales or payroll taxes (stealing from everyone)

- They don't pay workers compensation taxes (stealing from your state)

- They don't have general liability insurance (pushing the risk to the customer)

- They don't pay government registration fees (stealing from everyone)

- They don't validate their employees legal right to work (national security risk)

Without these costs they can charge less than a legitimate businesses normally would. In theory, that saves you money. BUT, here is what you lose when you work with an under the table company:

- Your integrity and resulting peace of mind

- Your safety (potentially): If a company is willing to break state and federal laws why not break other laws? 

- Your money: what if an employee of an under the table company drops a dresser on your wood floor? Who is going to pay to fix the floor? 

Check back next week for part 2: how to know you are getting a reasonable price from a junk removal company. 

Junk Removal Trend: China's New Import Restrictions

By John Pulliam posted August 27, 2018

Recycling is both a great way to reduce the cost of junk removal and a help to the environment which is why we focus on anything that impacts the world of recycling. 

In 2017, China announced that it would no longer be the world's "garbage dump." Since then, the recycling industry has been scrambling to figure out where to send material. 

Before the change, China received roughly half of the globe's plastic and paper products. A Science Advances study predicts that roughly 111 million tons of plastic would be displaced by 2030.  

The result of this change is likely  to be recycling material ending up in the landfill as it is unlikely other countries will be able to replace China's lost capacity. 

One way you can help with this excess recycling inventory is to make sure that you only recycle things on your local center can recycle. Currently, experts are worried about "wishful recycling." If you aren't sure about an item, throw it in the trash. 

Top Donation Spots In Pierce County

By John Pulliam posted August 20, 2018

Before you call a junk removal company, try to determine which items can be donated. Here are four donation center locations in the Pierce County area to consider: 

- Habitat For Humanity: Building supplies, furniture.

- Tacoma Rescue Mission: Clothing and food.

- Goodwill: Most items, although they must be in sellable condition. 

- NW Furniture Bank: Furniture. 

Rescue Junk Removal can take items to donations centers for a fee. If you have larger items to donate that don't fit in your vehicle give us a call! 

Endurance: 50 Triathlons, 50 Days In 50 States 

By John Pulliam posted July 30, 2018

Junk removal is hard work and requires a lot of endurance. Naturally that makes us interested in endurance related jobs or sports. One incredible example of endurance is James Lawrence, an athlete who completed 50 triathlons in 50 days in 50 states. You can learn more about his adventure in this documentary

Cost of Space Junk Removal

By John Pulliam posted August 1, 2018

As mentioned in a previous post, there is a substantial amount of space junk surrounding the earth. For space tourism to safely grow long-term, a lot of this junk will need to be either collected or re-directed toward other parts of the solar system. 

What would it cost the world to clear room for space tourism? Here is a breakdown:

- The space shuttle Endeavour's cost was ~$1.7 billion. I will assume it would cost another $300 million to convert the Endeavour into a giant space dump truck ($2 billion up front cost or $42 million per month assuming 48 months of useful life). 

- What about the cost of fuel, astronauts and other expenses? According to NASA, the average space mission costs $450 million. Assuming an average trip length of 6 months implies $75 million in monthly trip costs. 

These estimates imply a monthly space junk removal cost of about $117 million per "space dump truck."  

Landfill Occupation Profiles

By John Pulliam posted July 20, 2018

Landfill workers, on average, make $66k per year, higher than the U.S. median household income level of $59k. On the low end, front end associates make $19k while commercial drivers make $78k. 

The number of jobs in the landfill industry is fairly small. Currently, there are 4,295 jobs posted on Indeed for landfill rated occupations versus 206,489 for construction. The ratio implies that there are only 30,000 people employed in the landfill industry versus 1.44 million in the construction industry.

Largest Landfills in the World

By John Pulliam posted July 6, 2018

The Bordo Poniente Landfill in Mexico City is the largest landfill in the world. It is city managed and covers 927 acres. The landfill processes 12,000 tons of waste per day and 4.4 million per year. 

The fastest growing large landfill is in Incheon, South Korea, processing 19,000 tons of junk per day or 6.9 million tons per year. 

Junk removal that can't be sold or donated ends up in a landfill which is why Rescue Junk Removal is committed to eco-friendly waste hauling. 

Book Recommendation: The Complete Book of Home Organization

By John Pulliam posted June 29, 2018

As a junk removal blog author, I tend to focus on a range of topics related to the hauling business. One major reason we get calls for service is the need to improve organization around the home. Earlier this year I profiled another home organization book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The current book I want to recommend is The Complete Book of Home Organization. 

The book highlights a 15-week home organization challenge that covers a wide range of organization topics. It highlights 30 main spaces in a standard home and discusses many ways to keep each space organized. One advantage of this book is the detailed step-by-step instructions and convenient checklists.

Say goodbye to waste, junk and other debris by reading this book!

Compulsive Hoarding Impacts 19 Million Americans

By John Pulliam posted June 4th, 2018

According to studies cited by the Washington Post, compulsive hoarding of junk impacts 19 million Americans or 6% of the American population. The rate is twice that of obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

The first signs of hoarding can develop in adolescence and typically worsens with age. Brain-imaging studies of hoarders have revealed abnormally low anterior cingulate cortex activity, the part of the brain that governs thinking and emotions. 

Triggers include pictures of objects being shredded or thrown away. 

Compulsive hoarding is correlated with household falls, obesity and respiratory problems.


No Junk Removal Payment Until Closing

By John Pulliam posted May 28, 2018

Rescue Junk Removal offers customers the opportunity to pay junk removal bills out of escrow accounts. The primary advantage of this payment strategy is that it allows you to defer payment until after you receive cash from selling your home. 

Please contact us at 253-238-3088 to learn more about our "pay at close" opportunity. 

3 Home Organization Tips

By John Pulliam posted May 21, 2018

As a junk removal business, we are frequently called in to help when homeowners are organizing. As mentioned in previous posts, organization lowers stress and heightens mental clarity. Here are 3 organization tips from HGTV

- Store seasonal shoes in storage boxes to reduce clutter;

- Keep a "donation box" in a location that is easy to access. Donations helps those in need, reduce junk removal bills and help you stay organized;

- Utilize door storage. Door storage creates more storage space in places that tend to be easy to acess. 

Donations Trends

By John Smith posted May 14, 2018

Junk removal involves a lot of physical donations as donations both reduce the cost of a project and benefits someone in need. Make sure your junk removal company knows where they can donate your usuable items before hiring them. Here are some general facts about donations in the United States: 

- 72% of all giving in the U.S. comes from individuals;

- Charitable giving accounts for about 2% of GDP;

- "Giving Tuesday" generated $274 billion in donations, up from only $10 million in 2012; 

- Online continues to grow by ~10% year-over-year; 

Facts About Garbage Dumps

By John Pulliam - May 8th, 2018

Much of junk removal waste tends to end up at the dump. Here are some facts about garbage dumps:

1. About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material.

2. The average American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic waste that could have been composted.

3. Thanks largely to the United States, 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste. 

4. Thrown out each year: 1.6 billion pens, 2 billion razor blades and 152 million phones

China Refusing Trash Shipments In Effort To Protect Environment

By John Pulliam - April 23, 2018

For years, China was the largest importer of waste. However, in 2018, China decided to stop receiving 24 types of junk from around the world. The move was driven by China's need to deal with its severe problems with air pollution. For decades, rapid economic growth in China has come at the expense of its air quality. 

The move is forcing waste companies around the world to re-think how they price their services. Environmentalists hope that China's move to stop receiving so much waste will motivate positive changes around conservation.

When it comes to junk hauling, one major way to avoid growing the landfill is to donate as much as you can to local non-profits. See our April 9th post for more details.  

Facts About The Largest Garbage Dump In the World  

By John Pulliam - April 17th, 2018

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the world's largest garbage dump. Here are some facts about this massive ocean patch of debris:

- The dump is likely to double in size in the next 10 years.

- Discarded fishing gear such as buoys, lines and nets account for more than 60% of the mass.

- The precise size of this dump is unknown because much of the debris is not visible from the water's surface. However, scientists believe that the size is likely to be between the size of Texas and the size of Russia. Some scientists maintain that these estimates are greatly exaggerated.  

- A substantial amount of "ocean junk removal" is needed to address this growing problem in the Pacific Ocean. One creative solution to this challenge involves using surface currents to let debris drift to specifically designed arms and collection platforms. 

Our Impact On Garbage Dumps: Rescue Junk Removal recycles, sells and donates as much as possible to both keep costs down and protect the environment. All that furniture, yard waste and miscellaneous junk is expensive to dump and over time contributes to a range of environmental problems. 

Donations Impact and Facts 

By John Pulliam - April 9th, 2018

Donations of physical items (furniture, clothing, household goods, etc.) help those in need, lower the cost of junk removal and protect the environment. Here are 3 facts about donations in the United States

- Total giving as a percentage of GDP has consistently been near 2% since the 1970s.

- Individuals accounted for 72% of all giving in 2016. 

- Religious groups received the largest share of charitable donations (32%). Education represents the second largest giving category (15% of total) followed by human services (12%) and foundations (10%).

More on this topic in future posts. 

Space Junk Removal Needed

By John Pulliam - April 2nd 2018

As of July 2016, the United States Strategic Command tracked 17,852 artificial objects in orbit above the earth. According to NASA, 65% of space debris results from the more than 250 explosions and collisions in the last six decades. The Chinese missile that exploded in 2007, for example, generated 2,000 pierces of debris in just one event.

As the amount of space junk continues to grow, humans could be effectively trapped on earth in a matter of centuries. 

Solving this problem will require a lot of very expensive space junk removal. Ideas for solving this problem range from shooting the debris with lasers to using giant nets to capture the junk.

More on space junk in future posts! 

Book Review: "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up"

By John Pulliam - March 30 2018

As a junk removal specialist, I believe a core benefit of our service is organization. According to Isaac Eliaz, MD the benefits of being organized include but are not limited to: 1) Lower stress; 2) Heightened mental clarity and insight; 3) Greater compassion toward ourselves and others. 

Given the benefits it is worth asking, "how do I become more organized?" One New York Times Best Selling author Mari Kondo answers this in her book the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. 

In summary, Kondo recommends that you first take an inventory of everything  you own and ask, "does this spark joy?" If it doesn't, junk it.

Next, put everything that remains in a visible location. Gradually, put everything back. 

There is a lot more to Kondo's method but much of its power is in its simplicity. Step 1: toss everything you don't need. Step 2: organization what's left. 

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