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

  • Fall Into Composting

    Dry leaves, twigs, paper, and branches are powerful sources of carbon for compost piles.


    Autumn is finally here, and the leaves are beginning to change colors. Pretty soon, people will be raking bright orange and yellow leaves from their lawns. It’s the perfect time of year to start composting – if you start now, you’ll have finished compost in time for your spring garden and flower beds.

    Compost is an organic material made from recycled green and brown materials (like landscape trimmings and branches). Pile these up in a mound or toss them into a compost drum barrel, and pretty soon you will have a robust soil amendment for your garden. You can find more information on our website about home composting.

    Compost has many benefits for homeowners. It retains soil moisture, which is especially helpful during the summer. It keeps weed growth down, which makes gardening much easier. Compost also provides nutrients to the soil, reducing the need for fertilizers. It even adds carbon to the soil, which directly combats climate change.

    Check out our Compost: Getting Started video for more information.

    YouTube video. Compost: Getting Started
    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 17, 2019

  • New Law Bans Hotels from Providing Personal Care Products in Small Plastic Bottles

    We’ve all seen and sometimes used them: those tiny plastic bottles of personal care products that hotels provide to guests. Although many of us have forsaken the novelty of these tiny bottles by bringing along our favorite care products when we travel, they have persisted on hotel bathroom sinks throughout the world. Thanks to a recently signed law, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals in California will be prohibited from providing these to their guests starting in 2023.

    California has a big problem with plastic and packaging. Packaging alone accounts for about 25 percent of the trash we generate throughout the state. And it’s hard to forget the garbage patches in our oceans. In 2011, California set a goal to recycle 75 percent of our waste, which requires that we look at ways to make recycling more convenient for consumers and ways to reduce the amount of plastic and packaging that is available in the marketplace by replacing them with reusable or eco-friendly options. 

    In support of this large waste reduction goal, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1162 (Kalra, Chapter 687, Statutes of 2019) into law, which prohibits hotels and other lodging establishments from providing personal care products like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion in small plastic bottles. The law defines “small bottles” as those containing less than 6 ounces of liquid that are not intended to be reusable. 

    AB 1162, like many waste management and recycling laws, establishes a phased-in approach. The law requires large establishments with more than 50 rooms to remove these products in 2023. The following year, smaller establishments with fewer rooms will have to follow suit. 

    Laws like this may seem trivial, but they make a significant difference in waste reduction. Before California’s plastic bag ban went into effect in 2017, plastic bags comprised 8 to 10 percent of litter collected along California’s coastal areas. After the ban was implemented, the percentage dropped to 3.87 percent. Every little bit helps in protecting the health of Californians and the environment. 


    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 11, 2019

  • New Pharmaceutical and Home-Generated Sharps Waste Rulemaking to Begin this Fall

    picture of needles and medications being properly disposed in containers.

    Every year, Californians use hundreds of millions of medical sharps such as syringes and lancets, and they obtain hundreds of millions of medical prescriptions. Improperly disposed medications can threaten the environment, wildlife, waste handlers, and the public through water contamination, inadvertent needle sticks, and drug abuse. State  lawmakers have offered a solution by passing Senate Bill 212 (Jackson, Chapter 1004, Statutes of 2018), the Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship Act. 

     Under SB 212, sharps and pharmaceutical waste will be regulated through a product stewardship program under which producers bear the physical and financial responsibility for proper end-of-life management of these products. The law requires the creation of a mail-back program for needles and the establishment of convenient collection receptacles for covered drugs. Covered drugs include brand name or generic drugs that are sold, offered for sale, or dispensed in California in any form, including prescription and nonprescription drugs approved by the FDA.

     This fall, CalRecycle will begin the formal rulemaking process for the new law, which involves developing regulations for the safe and convenient collection and disposal options for home-generated pharmaceutical drugs and sharps. The department will set public comment periods and schedule public hearings for stakeholder input as part of the rulemaking process.

     CalRecycle’s regulations must be in place by Jan. 1, 2021, and consumers can expect to see take-back programs in place in late 2022 or early 2023. Producers have until July 2021 to submit stewardship plans, first to the Board of Pharmacy and then to CalRecycle, that describe how their programs will work and meet the requirements of the law. The length of the approval process will depend on whether the submitted plans sufficiently meet all statutory and regulatory requirements. 

     Current state law (H&SC §118286) makes it illegal to dispose of home-generated sharps waste (hypodermic needles, pen needles, intravenous needles, lancets, and other devices that are used to penetrate the skin for the delivery of medications) in the trash or recycling containers, and requires that all sharps waste be transported to a collection center in a sharps container approved by the local enforcement agency. However, medical waste is still improperly disposed throughout the state. SB 212 aims to make proper disposal more convenient for Californians.

     Stay informed by visiting CalRecycle’s SB 212 rulemaking webpage and subscribing to CalRecycle’s Pharmaceutical and Sharps Waste Stewardship Listserv.


    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 3, 2019