Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.

  • Don’t Toss It – Repair It

    Oak Park’s volunteer-run Fix-It Café keeps all sorts of goods, from the sentimental to the pragmatic, out of landfills

    Once a month, volunteers in a tight-knit Sacramento community get together to hang out, chat with their neighbors, and help repair everything from clothing to toasters to bicycles.

    The Oak Park Fix-It Cafe is a grassroots effort to keep worldly possessions out of landfills—and it has been one of the most immediately rewarding ways that I spend my spare time. As a CalRecycle employee who believes in the goals of our department, the Oak Park Fix-It Cafe is yet another way I get to “walk the walk.”  

    On our opening day last May, the small appliances section fixed nine lamps! A vintage 20-inch fan had its bearings pulled out and the worn-out electrical cord replaced. Volunteers in our bicycle corner offered tune-ups and tire patches. You can even patch the tire to your wheelbarrow—we’ll show you how. 


    I’ve been volunteering in the sewing corner for most of these repair cafes. I sewed a sleeve back onto the shoulder of a Hawaiian shirt, and I taught a teenager to use a sewing machine to repair her mother’s ripped jeans. I started sewing three years ago, and I love using this skill to bring together my community and help the environment. Unlike the generations before me who learned to sew starting in junior high “home economics” classes for their future homemaker lifestyles, I have learned what I know about sewing from my mother, grandmother, and Pinterest.

    When I learned that the clothing manufacturing industry is the second most polluting industry after oil refineries, it blew my mind. When we buy the latest low-quality fashions for less than a workweek lunch, we are contributing to pollution. I want to teach people how to sew that cardigan button back on, turn those outdated bell-bottoms into hip skinny jeans, and make vintage prints and thrift store finds into wearable outfits. It’s fun, and in a small way we are helping the environment. 

    If we do not immediately know how to fix something, we can learn! At our second meeting, the small appliances group watched a YouTube video to learn how to fix the timing mechanism on a sewing machine. The inside of a sewing machine is not for the faint of heart. With some tinkering and tenacity, as a team we saved the machine for its owner to continue crafting.


    If we ultimately can’t fix it, we want people to try a professional. Repair cafes are not likely to compete with professional repair.  People who can afford to buy higher-quality items and have them repaired usually do.  Manufacturing of many items has become so inexpensive that buying a lower-quality item new is often cheaper than paying for professional repair.  Part of Oak Park Fix-It Cafe’s mission is to open people’s eyes about how much is discarded and what can be repaired instead of replaced. In this increasingly consumer-driven world, it is refreshing to see people coming together to take better care of their items and increase the health of their neighborhood. 

    The Oak Park Fix-It Cafe is held the third Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next cafe is April 21. See the group’s Facebook page for details.

    Additional Links and Resources

    Posted on In the Loop by Victoria Ngo on Apr 9, 2018

  • California Counties Find New Use for Old Tires

    CalRecycle Funds Local Projects that Utilize 666,000 Recycled Waste Tires

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) recently awarded $410,364 in grants for civil engineering projects in four counties that will use recycled California waste tires in place of conventional construction materials. California generates an estimated 42 million waste tires each year. CalRecycle’s Tire-Derived Aggregate Grant Program promotes the recycling and reuse of California-generated waste tires to keep them out of landfills or illegal dumpsites.

    “The use of TDA in civil engineering projects is a win for California’s environment and its economy,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “Rather than landfill these tires or create stockpiles that can lead to fires and other public health threats, California is making use of a recycled material that has proven to perform well for these types of projects.”

    Tire-derived aggregate is a low-cost, lightweight, and fast-draining product suitable for use in civil engineering applications such as retaining wall backfill, landslide stabilization, and various beneficial uses at landfills (video). The following projects received funding for the third and final TDA grant solicitation of fiscal year 2017-18.

    • Sacramento County: $77,220. Use 3,960 tons of tire-derived aggregate to construct roadways and trenches at the county’s Kiefer Landfill. Project will use approximately 396,000 waste tires. 
    • Santa Barbara County: $158,241. Use 935 tons of tire-derived aggregate for retaining wall repair of  the Ortega Ridge roadway in Summerland. Project will use approximately 93,500 waste tires.
    • Tuolumne County: $120,082. Use 811 tons of tire-derived aggregate for landslide repair project on Italian Bar and Buchanan roads. Project will use approximately 81,100 waste tires. 
    • Riverside County: $54,821. Use 2,735 tons of tire-derived aggregate to construct trenches at 32 sites within the Badlands Landfill in Moreno Valley and Lamb Canyon Landfill in Beaumont. Project will use approximately 95,400 waste tires. 
    • Total: $410,364. Projects will use approximately 666,000waste tires.

    The following projects are recommend for awards should additional funds become available.

    • Riverside County: $102,384. Funding to complete landfill projects described above. Project will use another 178,100 waste tires, approximately.
    • Merced Coounty Regional Waste Management Authority. $106,982. Use 1,463 tons of tire-derived aggregate to construct trenches at the  Highway 59 Landfill. Project will use approximately 146,300 waste tires.
    • Total: $209,366. Projects will use approximately 324,400 waste tires.

    Eligible projects must be located in California and use at least 500 tons (equivalent of 50,000 passenger tires) of California-generated waste tires. Subscribe to CalRecycle’s TDA Grant Program listservfor notifications about funding availability, applicant and project eligibility, and application due dates.

    CalRecycle’s Tire-Derived Aggregate Grant Program is funded through a fee on new tires sold in California

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Apr 5, 2018

  • CalRecycle Climate Investments Featured in Annual Report

    The numbers are in! California’s world-leading Cap-and-Trade program to combat climate change is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening local economies, and improving public health and the environment across the state, especially in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

    The California Air Resources Board and the California Department of Finance just released the latest annual report tracking the progress of California Climate Investments. Among the report’s highlights:

    • More than $720 million in new funding for 2017 went to projects across all of California’s 58 counties.
    • Since 2014, $6.1 billion has been appropriated to 17 state agencies for projects to reduce GHG emissions.
    • Projects funded to date are expected to reduce GHG emissions by more than 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), roughly the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road for a year.

    In 2017, CalRecycle awarded a total of $38 million in California Climate Investments through its Organics GrantFood Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant, and Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass Grant Programs.

    CalRecycle’s California Climate Investments in the waste and recycling sector continue to be among the most cost-effective of all climate reduction strategies, with grants ranging from $9 to $15 per metric ton of CO2e reduced.

    The report features profiles of two CalRecycle grant recipients that highlight the impact these investments are having on individuals and communities. 



    Command Packaging Recycled Plastic Manufacturing Upgrade Project, LA County

    Move over Farm-to-Fork! There is a new sustainability movement emerging in California that is reducing waste, cutting GHG emissions, and providing access to new green jobs in communities across the State. You can see it on display at Command Packaging’s manufacturing facility south of downtown Los Angeles in Vernon. Think of it as “Ag-to-Bag.”



    CR&R, Inc. Anaerobic Digestion Expansion Project, Riverside County

    The second phase of a massive $100 million organic waste recycling infrastructure project is now online in Riverside County. Southern California waste management and recycling company CR&R just doubled capacity to transform the region’s food and green waste into biofuel.

    These success stories and others, as well as information on other climate investments and the program’s goals and targets, can be read online in the California Climate Investments 2018 Annual Report.

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Mar 26, 2018