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

  • Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

    How you can speak your mind and protect the environment at the same time


    Originally posted by gameraboy

    Demonstration signs—made of poster board, a handle, paint, and a bold or funny statement—seem to be everywhere lately. But, what do you do with your sign when the event is over? We’re not going to tell you what your sign should say, but we do have some tips for making a sign that can be reused or recycled.    


    Originally posted by batesmotel

    Start by researching any restrictions or guidelines on signs for the event. Check the FAQ section of your event website. For example, flags and signs may be acceptable, but metal posts might be forbidden. There may also be size restrictions. If you can’t find any rules online, contact the organization in advance. You wouldn’t want to show up only to have to forfeit your hand-crafted sign because you didn’t follow the rules. 


    As you begin to create your sign, consider its design. Will it be made of poster board, cardboard, or vinyl? By choosing your materials first, you’ll be better prepared to reuse your sign or recycle it when you’re done. Cardboard is a good option because it’s probably something you have lying around the house from your last online order, and there are a lot of size options. And, as long as you keep it simple, the cardboard will be recyclable after you’re done.


    Originally posted by pitchfork

    When it comes to spelling out your message, understand that stickers or any shiny embellishments, while attractive and attention-grabbing, are not easy to recycle, and can actually make it more difficult to recycle the poster material itself. If you’re only planning on using your sign once, use colored markers and forgo the glitter glue, foam letters, and plastic decorations. Poster boards with a glossy, plastic, or foil finish are off limits for recycling, much like gift wrap with bling. 


    Are you planning to attend more than one event? A reusable signmay be your best bet. Consider a sign that can be appropriate for separate events or one made from more durable material. If you want to continuously modify one sign, consider using a dry erase or chalkboard setup. 

    Whatever type of event or demonstration you join, you’ll be ready to help the environment while you speak your mind. Just make sure to check with your local city or county to learn about specific recycling rules if you choose to dispose of your sign. 

    Now get out there an express yourself the less-waste way!

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Apr 17, 2017

  • California Teachers Integrate Environmental Literacy into Classrooms with CalRecycle Curriculum

    Kyle McDaniel is an Earth Science teacher at Grant Union High School in Sacramento. He is integrating environmental literacy into his classroom instruction by using the Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum as a foundation for his science classes.


    CalRecycle’s EEI curriculum teaches K-12 science and history-social science through an environmental lens. The EEI curriculum is a model for upcoming science and history-social science textbook adoptions, which are required to integrate environmental principles and concepts.  

    McDaniel appreciates the flexibility of the curriculum. “If I’m looking for a two-week curriculum that is self-contained and student-driven, I look at the available units on the subject I’m teaching,” says McDaniel. EEI curriculum spans kindergarten through 12th grade and includes 6 biology units, 6 earth science units, and 45 history-social science units that incorporate environmental literacy into topics like world history, economics, and American democracy.

    McDaniel looks for ways to teach earth science concepts in light of current events. He is currently teaching an EEI curriculum unit on California’s water, titled Liquid Gold: California’s Water. “Water is an important topic in California right now. Students can learn about the political debate around emergency drought water restrictions staying in place. The California drought is so current and so important in their lives.”

    McDaniel loves the flexibility of the EEI curriculum. “I print the student reader material and instruct students to take notes on the pages.” McDaniel encourages students to keep their student workbook and take it home with them at the end of the unit.  He allows students to use the reader booklets during tests, too, but he requires that students properly cite their sources. “I wanted a closer alignment between finding information, extracting it, and citing it. Students need to be able to learn how to cite their evidence.”

    McDaniel uses the EEI curriculum to take students outside to study their campus environment. Students toured their campus and noted on a map the areas of their school property that had surfaces permeable to water. “I wanted students to analyze how water moves around our campus. After a rainstorm, where does the water flow? Where does pollution end up?” McDaniel also incorporates geometry to help students calculate the surface area of the campus. “There are a lot of topics you can cover with an EEI unit,” says McDaniel. In the coming weeks, students will be using water quality probes to gather water samples from different places in the community to analyze the pH, salinity, and turbidity of water.


    McDaniel first heard about the Education and Environment Initiative at the California Education Seminar in Sacramento. “I attended a workshop and met another teacher using it. I learned about the different units and how to use it in my classroom. Since then I’ve taught biology and earth science using EEI,” recalls McDaniel.

    If you’d like to learn more about the EEI curriculum please visit Teachers interested in using the curriculum can choose to attend an in-person training or watch a pre-recorded webinar.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Mar 16, 2017

  • What is Climate Change?

    Climate change is a hot topic for our country right now. While the vast majority of the scientific community agrees that humans are having an impact on our planet, there are still some who remain skeptical that it exists and is a problem worth solving. Those paying close attention are convinced we need to reduce our impact on the planet because we can already see drastic changes to the landscape of our continents. CNN reported recently that Antarctica’s melting ice will likely lead to changes in winter storms for North America and Europe. Winter storms may be warmer and less frequent. More compelling evidence of climate change seems to unfold on a weekly basis.

    Climate Change Defined

    Climate change is simple to understand. It is a long-term change in global or regional climate patterns due to increased atmospheric temperatures. Our world is getting warmer because greenhouse gases are trapping the sun’s heat in our atmosphere for longer periods of time, intensified by anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change fueled by various forms of industrialization that have far-reaching impacts. Snowcaps in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are melting, which causes sea levels to rise, and consequently our winter and summer storm cycles are changing.

    Climate Change in California: Cause and Effect

    California, like any society or economy, contributes to climate change by producing greenhouse gases. California cattle ranches produce manure, which emits methane gas. California’s automobiles produce carbon dioxide gas. Landfilled organic waste also emits methane gas.  We have many stationary and mobile sources of greenhouse gasses.

    Global climate change has affected California’s environment in several ways. First, irregular weather patterns have contributed to our most recent drought. Less snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and less rainfall in the valleys strain agricultural farming resources and residential water supplies. Farmlands are thirsty for water. Californians are encouraged to let their green lawns fade to gold and to take shorter showers. Additionally, drought seasons often result in higher-risk fire seasons. Dry trees are perfect tinderboxes for forest fires.

    What Are Greenhouse Gases?

    A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs infrared radiation and radiates heat in all directions, which causes the earth’s temperature to rise. It essentially traps heat within our atmosphere.  Common greenhouse gases include methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, and it stays in the atmosphere for a long time. We produce carbon dioxide when we drive cars, use electricity, or use industrial manufacturing methods. Carbon naturally moves through the earth via the carbon cycle, but we are currently producing carbon faster than we are able to remove or sequester it. Methane doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere, but is much more powerful than CO2 – about 70 times more potent. A significant source of methane are the state’s landfills  where, due to lack of sufficient oxygen, green waste is unable to compost and generates methane as it decomposes.



    How We Create Greenhouse Emissions

    Greenhouse gases are the result of an industrialized world that relies upon fossil fuels to make products and transport us from here to there. We know that using public transportation and driving hybrid cars help reduce greenhouse gas We can reduce our impact on the planet by reducing the amount of trash we produce.

    Californians dispose an average of 4.7 pounds of trash per person per day. California has set a goal of recycling 75 percent of trash by 2020. A significant portion of this will be organic materials responsible for accelerating climate change when landfilled. We can divert 75 percent of our current waste, and slow the harmful effects of greenhouse gases, by reducing the amount of trash we produce, reusing the materials and products we consume, and diverting the majority of our waste into recycling or composting activities instead of dumping it in the ground.

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    • If you had to reduce your daily waste by 75 percent, what could you do differently?
    • Do you use a lot of plastic bags for packed lunches? Consider changing to reusable containers or recyclable materials like parchment paper.
    • Consider diverting your food waste into a green waste bin or into a personal composting bin. Compost will enrich your garden’s soil and is good for the environment.
    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Mar 2, 2017