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

  • Thanksgiving Tips for a Big Meal With Little Waste

    Thanksgiving dinner can be a major production, but that doesn’t mean there has to be a lot of waste involved. We’ve compiled a few tips to keep you from ending up sending excess food and other potential waste to landfills after the big meal.

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Nov 16, 2017

  • Preserving Food and Protecting Good Samaritans

    California is one of the largest food-producing states in the nation, yet 1 in 8 Californians faces food insecurity. This is all the more frustrating given we throw away more than 5.5 million tons of food every year and much of it is still edible, wholesome, and safe for consumption. Food labels often confuse consumers, which either leads them to toss food into the trash prematurely or discourages them from donating it.

    But help is on the way! Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law AB 1219 (Eggman, Chapter 619, Statutes of 2017), the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. This law helps clarify protections for food donors, who sometimes hesitate to donate food for fear of civil and criminal liability.

    What many don’t know is that food with an expired “sell by” date can still be safe to eat and safe to donate. This date is primarily intended for retailers to help them track when a product should be sold or removed from a shelf. It is not a “don’t use after” date. AB 1219 aims to increase food donations by clarifying and increasing liability protections for donors.

    The law will provide liability protection for:

    • food donations that have exceeded the sell-by date,
    • food donations that are made directly to end-users (rather than through a nonprofit food recovery intermediary), and
    • “gleaners” who harvest directly from an agricultural crop that has been donated by the owner.

    The bill aims to reduce the amount of food we throw away and divert it to those in our state who need it most. AB 1219 clarifies the scope and provisions outlined in existing California laws and the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act, a federal law signed into effect by President Bill Clinton in 1996.


    Diverting food waste from landfills has environmental benefits as well. Food waste comprises about 18 percent of the material disposed in California landfills, the highest amount of any material. When food waste is landfilled, it decomposes and emits methane gas, a super pollutant that intensifies climate change. Climate change impacts California’s air quality, threatens our economy including food production, and contributes to an increase in health afflictions like asthma.

    Simply put, diverting food waste from landfills helps protect public health by combatting food insecurity and fighting climate change. Every ton of food diverted from a landfill prevents 2.08 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the atmosphere.

    CalRecycle is providing $5 million in grants this year through its Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Programs. These efforts are part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that uses cap-and-trade funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment. To learn more about food rescue efforts and food banks, visit CalRecycle’s website

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 30, 2017

  • California Chefs Share ‘Seed to Stalk’ Recipes to Cut Food Waste

    When your business is food, every bite counts. So when California’s top chefs see potential profits literally tossed in the trash can—well—it bites.

    “We make our money by getting all we can out of the resources we have,” explained Sacramento restauranteur Patrick Mulvaney during CalRecycle’s recent SB 1383 workshop focused on developing regulations to reduce food and other organic waste disposal in California. Later in the workshop, Mulvaney went on to share an enlightening anecdote about his restaurants’ past struggle with rainbow chard. 

    “We used the leaves for all sorts of things like ravioli, fillings and mixes … but we’d be left with buckets and buckets of stems.” 


    All too often in restaurants and homes across California, those stems wind up in the garbage and among the roughly 6 million tons of produce scraps and other food waste landfilled in the state each year. Much of these produce odds and ends are perfectly edible and packed with flavor, making them valuable ingredients for chefs who know how to use them. In Mulvaney’s kitchens, more sustainable food management came by way of what he discovered in a decades-old cookbook.

    “(Cookbook author) Marcella Hazan had this recipe for chard stem gratin with parmesan and cream and all of the bad things that taste really good,” he said. That same recipe urged cooks not to throw out the chard leaves, because those are good too.

    “It was a reminder that, sometimes, what we really need to do is just change our perspective,” Mulvaney added.

    For years, ethical chefs have prided themselves on “using everything but the oink” when preparing animal protein, a principle that reinforces respect for ingredients and disdain for waste. Now, more chefs are applying that same ethic to produce through seed-to-stalk cooking. The latest trend in the sustainable food movement not only helps restaurants boost their bottom line by creating dishes out of potential discards, it also brings California closer to its ambitious 75 percent recycling goal while supporting the state’s strategy to combat climate change. When sent to landfills, food scraps and other organic waste decompose and emit methane, a super pollutant with 70 times more potent that carbon dioxide.

    Here’s what some of Northern California’s hottest restaurants tell us they’re doing to create delicious dishes with their produce odds and ends.

    The Riddler (San Francisco) – “Picked herbs that don’t look as lively a day or so after get chopped up and added in to our herby creme fraiche, as well as day-old lemon juice. Once the pickling program begins, we’ll be using herb stems to season the brine. We also love to use butts, ends, and stems in pickles to maximize flavor.”

    Mother (Sacramento) – “We often use carrot greens to make carrot top pesto. It’s quite good.”

    Kru (Sacramento) – “Most of our vegetable ends or scraps go into our different soups and stocks, such as our mushroom broth or ramen broth. We also have a vichyssoise that incorporates the bulb of the leek into the soup, and then we use the end as a garnish by dehydrating the thick, green leaf so it’s almost crunchy and then stand it up in the soup to add height, color, and texture. We get to use the entirety of the plant.”

    Humboldt Provisions (Eureka) – “We serve our oysters raw and broiled in the shell and reuse the shells as ground cover for our sister business, Humboldt Bay Social Club.  We also have donated shells to the City of Eureka to use as decorative ground cover in the plantings in Old Town Eureka.”


    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Jul 24, 2017