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

  • Reflections on 2016

    Here we are, at the start of another bright year full of hope and promise. As we look forward to an even greener future, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the great recycling accomplishments of 2016.

    California Plastic Bag Ban

    Californians voted to uphold the law banning single-use carryout plastic bags from grocery and other stores. And little wonder: they pollute our oceans and kill marine wildlife, compound our litter problem by as many as 20 billion plastic bags each year, and undermine sustainability by disrupting and damaging machinery designed to sort recyclables. Already, people are adjusting to shopping with reusable bags. Check out our blog on finding the perfect set of reusable shopping bags.

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    Organics, Organics, Organics

    You might be aware that methane gas emissions are a significant cause of climate change, with about 25 times the heat-trapping effect of carbon dioxide.  But did you know the number one stationary cause of methane is organic material in landfills? That’s right—it happens as our food waste and yard clippings break down and decompose.

    We’ve now been given a tremendous asset to help reverse this dangerous trend. Following on a law passed in 2014 to require businesses to recycle their organic waste, in 2016 Governor Brown signed legislation to reduce short-lived climate pollutants including methane. Among targets established in the new law are a 50 percent reduction in disposed organic waste by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025.

    The greatest component of California’s organic waste—indeed, our number one disposed material overall—is food waste.  Included in the new law is a goal to recover at least 20 percent of edible food from the waste stream by 2025.  This will not only help reduce methane-generating waste, but help put more focus on how much edible food we discard—by some estimates as much as 40 percent of what we buy.

    Catching Recycling Fraudsters!

    Californians pay a fee when they buy bottles and cans that they can recover when they recycle the container. The California Refund Value (CRV) is 5 cents for each container under 24 ounces and 10 cents for each container 24 ounces or greater. Beverage containers from outside the state are not eligible for a refund since the purchase of those containers did not pay into the CRV fund. Recycling fraud occurs when people import bottles and cans from other states and attempt to redeem a CRV fee at a recycling center.

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    Several recycling fraud cases were prosecuted in 2016. The biggest case that was resolved last year involved David Scott Anderson, the former owner of Mission Fiber Group, who was sentenced to five years in state prison for his role in a complex scheme to defraud California’s Beverage Container Recycling program. CalRecycle takes recycling fraud very seriously, and we work relentlessly on such cases to protect CRV funds for California consumers.

    Thanks to strong leadership at the state and local levels, a resilient environmental ethic, and the commitment of our state’s citizens, we’re forging a more sustainable California. In 2017, we look forward to making even more progress through our collective efforts.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jan 5, 2017

  • Reduce Holiday Waste with Party Portion Planning

    During the holidays, some estimate Americans increase overall waste by 25  data-sf-ec-immutable="">Given that food waste is the number one component of our waste stream, it can be daunting to determine how much food to prepare for a holiday party or special meal.

    To help reduce food waste and save on their budget, caterers and restaurants use simple portion formulas to calculate how much food to prepare and serve at events. A good rule of thumb is to expect to serve 10 to 20 percent more people than the number of RSVPs. This helps account not only for last-minute drop-ins but also for the variations of appetites of your guests.  Here are some quick tips for planning your holiday parties.

    Tips

    • Guests tend to eat and drink more in the evening than during the day.
    • You can serve a lighter menu in between meals (mornings and afternoons).
    • Napkins encourage snacking while plates encourage a small meal.
    • If you serve a buffet, people are likely to fill their plate, no matter their appetite. Salad plates allow guests to return for seconds while gently guiding people away from taking more than they can consume.

    To reduce food waste, include items that you can easily use for a future meal if they are not used, like rolls, nuts, or a veggie tray. It’s much easier to repurpose dinner rolls for lunch sandwiches or add chopped veggies into a stir-fry than to eat barbecue-sauced mini sausages for days on end.

    Drinks

    Guests will likely consume two drinks the first hour and one drink per hour after that. If you host a four-hour party, plan for four drinks per person to help reduce waste.

    Type of Beverage and Number of Services in Each  

    • Soda: 1-Liter Bottle = 11 glasses (6 oz.)
    • Punch: 1 Gallon = 32 servings (4 oz.)
    • Wine: 1 750 ml bottle = 6 glasses (4 oz.)
    • Liquor: 1 750 ml bottle = 15-18 pours (1 oz.)
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    Hors D’ouevres and Appetizers

    • Cocktail or Finger Food Party – no main meal following but not near meal time: 4-6 bites/hour
    • Cocktail or Finger Food Party – main meal following: 6 bites total
    • Cocktail or Finger Food Party – in lieu of main meal: 8-10 bites/hour

    Lunch Entrees

    • Protein: 4-6 oz. 
    • Chilled Salad: 4 oz.               
    • Pasta as Side: 3 oz.                  
    • Pasta as Main: 6 oz.     
    • Bread: 1 roll

    Dinner Entrees

    • Protein: 6-8 oz.                 
    • Starter Salad: 1 Lg. Handful                    
    • Pasta as Main: 6-8 oz.                    
    • Hot Side Dishes: 3-4 oz.               
    • Bread: 2 Rolls 

    We hope these tips help you better plan your menu and grocery list so you don’t have a lot of food left over after a grand event. If you do have leftover food, send it home with your guests. They will love the extra gesture of generosity!

    Happy Holidays!

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Dec 15, 2016

  • Reusable Holiday Wrapping

    The holidays are a season of generosity. Most of us find ourselves giving gifts to our co-workers, to friends, and to family members. Much of the fun is wrapping the gifts in special packaging and watching someone’s eyes light up as they open their gift—in fact, sometimes the wrapping is just as special as the gift itself. Think of all the ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle your gift packaging without compromising on style or quality.

    Reusable Gift Tags

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    Using special name tags is a wonderful way to add flair to your gift. In my family, we save our name tags and reuse them each year. Rather than using sticker tags or throwing away cheap tie-on tags, we selected a special set of vintage tags. Check out these free printable tags!

    Ribbon, Twine, and Bows

    Adorning gifts with bows adds an extra little touch to your gifts. Choose bows made with satin ribbon or wired ribbon so you can pluck them off the discarded gift packaging and tuck them away for next year.

    Try adding a sprig of pine, fir, or mistletoe to your gift. Clip a small branch from your live Christmas tree, or snip a small twig of rosemary from your garden.  Take a walk in your neighborhood and look for greenery, pinecones, and berry branches.

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    Wrapping Gifts

    This holiday season, consider wrapping your gifts in cloth in the Japanese tradition of Furoshiki. Use a scarf, an old sweater, a scrap of material leftover from a project, an old sheet, or a small throw blanket as gift packaging. There’s a wrapping technique for almost every shape you would need to cover.

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    When All Else Fails, Use Gift Bags

    Using store-bought gift bags is a great alternative to using wrapping paper, which inevitably gets ripped and is difficult to fold and reuse year after year. Gift bags are often stuffed with tissue paper, which you can always repurpose for wrapping delicate ornaments after its gift-packaging days are over.

    There are many ways to be mindful of the environment this season, and wrapping your gifts in reusable holiday packaging is just one of them. Explore your creativity and wrap your gifts—and the earth—in a little extra love for the holidays.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Dec 1, 2016