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

  • Seeing the Big Picture in the CalEPA Headquarters Courtyard

    Every weekday morning, I walk up a stone pathway to the entrance of the CalEPA headquarters building. Like many CalEPA employees and visitors, I appreciate the natural landscape of the front courtyard space and occasionally sit outside on a stone bench under the redwood trees to eat my lunch. The courtyard is an area where tenants and visitors of the building can relax and enjoy California’s beautiful outdoors. Although I sensed the courtyard has an intentional design, I never gave it much thought until recently. I met with Property Manager Heidi Silveira and learned the landscape and artwork gracing the entrance to the building have significant meaning. The courtyard in front of the building reminds us of California’s many regions and our mission to protect public health and the environment. Take a tour with me.

    As you face the front entrance, you will notice to the right a winding wall of tall dark gray stones that wrap around the daycare facility’s outdoor playground. Miners originally quarried these serpentine slabs in 1800 for use in the construction of the San Francisco Ferry Building. The Ferry Building architects found fault with the stones, rejected them from the project, and left them in a field where they aged until CalEPA’s architect, David Martin, discovered them and repurposed them here. Today, they symbolize California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

    Directly in front of the rock pillar mountains are medium-sized, round boulders that represent the foothills of California that rise up between the valleys and mountains.

    A large, cream-colored walkway stretches down the middle of the courtyard from the I Street sidewalk to the building’s front doors. This walkway represents California’s fertile Central Valley. If you are standing on the second floor mezzanine and look out over the walkway, you’ll see the stones are laid in a pattern reminiscent of a bird’s eye view of California’s patchwork farmlands.

    CalEPA landscape photos

     

    Just to the left of the valley are beds dotted with plants native to California. Currently, you will see several species of wild grasses growing in large tufts. The landscape changes over time as droughts come and go and plants spread seeds and sprout volunteers in new places. This beautiful courtyard landscape requires ongoing maintenance to keep it healthy and beautiful. This spring, landscapers are adding new plants along the edge of the redwood grove to reduce the amount of redwood needles that blow into the building’s lobby. The landscapers will also better define the pathways to the stone seats to protect the plant beds.

    The grove of redwood trees remind us of California’s coastal range. A well-worn path guides you to small stone slabs nestled under the tree canopy. You may have noticed that the redwoods have a robust skirt of needles on the ground. Redwood needles are an ideal mulch for these majestic trees, and they help reduce water loss, regulate soil temperature, and prevent soil erosion.

    Perhaps the most well-known feature of the CalEPA building’s courtyard is the large sculpture installation by artist Beverly Pepper. Pepper believed that protecting the environment is a sacred responsibility and built this “monolithic sculpture and configuration of the sculpture [to] invoke the figure of a sentinel as a monument to the sacred duty of protecting nature.”

    Now when I walk to work, I look across the courtyard and remind myself that I am a small part of a big effort to safeguard California from pollution. I look up to the sentinels and remind myself I am an advocate for our natural resources and for environmental justice. From the mountains to the valleys to the coast and everywhere in between, the work we do is important.

    You can read more about Pepper’s work and other art in our building on CalEPA’s Public Art webpage.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jun 6, 2019

  • Five CalRecycle Webpages You Should Know About

    CalRecycle’s website has more than 3,000 webpages to educate consumers, government entities, and business owners about responsible waste management and recycling. Chances are you come to our website looking for something specific, like where to recycle certain items or information about a newly implemented recycling law. Here is a list of other useful CalRecycle webpages.

    Recycling Starter Kits

    Did you know CalRecycle will send you a free starter kit? Whether you’re a schoolteacher or a private business owner, we will send you a complimentary black bin to collect California Refund Value (CRV) beverage containers.

    Green Building

    CalRecycle features an entire section of webpages dedicated to educating visitors about green building principles. Browse through case studies that describe how businesses have incorporated these into their building management plans. You can search the case studies by category, making it easy for homeowners, retail business owners, school facility managers, and large venue managers to find helpful information about sustainable buildings.

    Wastes Banned from the Trash

    Certain things just shouldn’t be tossed out carelessly. In fact, it is illegal to dispose of household hazardous waste in the garbage, down storm drains, or onto the ground? Chemicals in hazardous waste can be released into the environment and contaminate our air and water, and possibly the food we eat. Learn how to manage light bulbs, batteries, electronic devices, paint, and used oil in a responsible way.

    Backyard Composting DIY

    The best way to recycle your food waste is to compost it. If you have a curbside organics collection service that allows food waste, you can toss in those onion peels and apple cores. If not, you can start your own backyard composting bin. Compost adds nutrients to soil that benefit plants, and it increases soil’s water retention capacity, which is especially helpful during drought seasons. This webpage includes a recipe for compost, troubleshooting tips, and a guide to building your own composting bin.

    Waste Reduction

    Recycling is great, but preventing waste from being generated is even better. Scroll to the bottom of the page to learn how to reduce waste at home, at work, at school, and at special events. You can even find case studies that feature efforts to reduce and divert waste at events and sites throughout the state.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Nov 1, 2018

  • Climate Pollutants Fall Below 1990 Levels for First Time

    “In a major win for California’s fight against global warming, the state appears to have hit its first target for cutting greenhouse gases — and it reached the goal four years early.“

    Here’s the full news release from the California Air Resources Board. Congratulations, California!

    Posted on In the Loop on Jul 12, 2018