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

  • How to Win at Videogaming? Recycle E-Waste!

     

    Mario Brothers: How to win at videogaming? Recycle Electronic Waste!

     

    Today is National Video Game Day. Did you know 57 percent of Americans play video games?

    Maybe you used to play video games, or maybe you still do. Chances are you have games and consoles laying around that you haven’t played in some time. The nostalgic return of World of Warcraft Classic has some gamers realizing just how long they have had some games. Is it time to Marie-Kondo the collection? What should you do with games you’re not going to play anymore? Let’s take a look at the trash from one of our favorite pastimes.

    What kind of waste is a video game console? E-waste! An easy way to think of e-waste is an item (or an accessory to the item) that has a battery or a power cord. Don’t forget to use the waste hierarchy: reduce, then reuse, then recycle. First, reduce the number of physical video games you purchase—more on that later. Second, reuse by selling functioning video games and consoles through used game retail shops like GameStop or social media platforms like Facebook, or you could go retro with eBay. Also consider giving away games to friends or family. Third, only if a console is not functioning should you consider recycling it or disposing of it by taking it to an e-waste drop-off location or scheduling an e-waste pickup. Check with your local city or county government for specific guidelines regarding the proper recycling or disposal of old video games and consoles.

    What about the cartridge (or CD-ROM)? Cartridges used to store console video games, like those used with the original Nintendo and Sega Genesis, and have circuit boards made of plastic and metal components. Many of us fondly remember blowing the dust off the contacts if the console couldn’t read the game. The combination of crevices and different materials makes cartridges hard to recycle. Luckily, there are companies like TerraCycle with special collections for games and toys, including cartridges and CD-ROMs.

    With the video game industry shifting new games toward digital downloads and online streaming, gamers are faced with fewer challenges to responsibly managing game cartridges at the end of their useful life.  Buying games online results in no packaging waste and no physical media or cartridge—which is a form of source reduction. And for those looking for a quick nostalgia fix, many older games have been made available on the Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox digital stores. The cloud for the (eco) win! 

    Posted on In the Loop by Victoria Ngo on Sep 12, 2019

  • California Resource Recovery Association: A Culture of Zero Waste

    CalRecycle staff speaking at podiums, speaking to conference members, and an outdoor group photo.

    Since 1974, the nonprofit organization California Resource Recovery Association has been working toward a more sustainable California through promoting product stewardship, waste prevention, and recycling. The group’s annual conference for which we are a sponsor, brings together cities, counties, councilmembers, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and industry professionals to network and discuss environmental issues. Every year, CalRecycle staff and guest speakers offer a cornucopia of information about policies, practices, and studies at comprehensive educational and plenary sessions.

    At this year’s conference, we participated in four panels on topics ranging from e-waste and grants to statewide recycling to educate attendees about upcoming regulations, funding programs, and waste management practices. We even got to meet Ryan Hickman, the 10-year-old mini-mogul who has taken the recycling world by storm by starting his own business at the age of 3! Other speakers included Timothy Bouldry of the International Solid Waste Association, which runs a scholarship program for children living in dumpsites across the world; and Froilan Grate, who is the executive director of GAIA Philippines, which educates and promotes community-based waste management and construction of material recovery facilities.

    Posted on In the Loop by - TC Clark on Aug 22, 2019

  • The Dark Side of Fluorescent Lights

    We all have summer projects. Mine is to change out the old fluorescent bulbs and tubes in my laundry room and kitchen and retrofit the lighting fixtures to LED. 

    This conversion to LED means I’m done with the 48-inch tubes and possibly the ballast as well.  So, what am I supposed to do with those items? 

    First of all, never throw them in the trash. (Confession here: Several years ago, following another light fixture project, I did throw the bulbs and ballast into the trash can. I didn’t know any better. I was young and naïve, which is my lame excuse for any stupid thing I did in the past.)  

    Many of the larger hardware stores don’t accept the 48-inch lights for recycling, but they will take compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. Those bulbs can be hazardous if they aren’t disposed of correctly. If broken, the bulbs can release mercury. 

    Basically, you need to find out how your local jurisdiction handles the materials. Do an online search and figure out if you need to drop the tubes off at a local collection site or if your area has a household hazardous waste pickup service.

    As for the ballast, some older products are considered potentially hazardous since they could contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). Those ballasts should be disposed at a hazardous waste facility.  Check with your local jurisdiction to find out where to take these items in your area. Recent electrical ballasts can be recycled at some light bulb specialty stores, or you can send them back via a mail-in program. Besides your county, Earth911.com is another good resource to find out where you can properly dispose of the ballasts. 

    So, if you’re planning to change out those pesky fluorescent bulbs, these simple tips will have you more prepared. Good luck with your project!

    Fluorescent light tube
    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Jul 18, 2019