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

  • Eco Holiday Habits to Get on Santa's Nice List

    During the holidays many of us gather to share special meals, exchange gifts, and enjoy ourselves. As you prepare to host gatherings for your loved ones, consider how your celebrations create waste that contributes to climate change and adds to the growing amount of plastic in landfills. Are you being naughty or nice to the planet?

    Here are three ways to get on the planet’s Nice List this holiday season

    Naughty food waste; nice compost

    Naughty: Throwing Food in the Trash
    Nice: Lowering Food Waste with Meal Plans and Composting

    Meal Plan for Zero Food Waste

    Many of us consider lavish spreads of favorite holiday dishes the hallmark of a caring host. But excess food gives off high amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane once it’s dumped in a landfill. This is a major cause of climate change.

    Rethink your hosting ideals, brand your gathering eco-friendly, then don’t overbuy or overcook.

    Use the food GUEST-IMATOR tool to plan how much to prepare. If there are leftovers you know you won’t finish, send food home with your guests in reusable containers.

    Clean your plate or compost the rest.

    Try composting your food waste. If your curbside organics collection doesn’t accept food, ask local community gardens if you can contribute to their compost bin.

    Consider setting up your own home compost. It can help grow healthier, heartier plants. Winter is the ideal time to start compost that will be ready to add to your garden in the spring.

    Easy tips for starting to compost

    naughty: single use disposable plastic. Nice: reusable dishes.

    Naughty: Single-Use Plastic
    Nice: Reusable Dishes and Utensils

    “Disposable” Plastic Lasts Forever

    Many hosts choose the ease of disposable plates, cutlery, and cups for holiday gatherings. But that plastic your guests use for just a few minutes will never biodegrade. It stays on the planet, slowly breaking down into toxic microplastics.

    About 10 percent of all trash is plastic. Forty million Californians create more than 3.2 million tons of plastic waste every year.

    Reusable plates and cutlery give the gift of a cleaner planet. Less trash in landfills is worth a few extra minutes of cleanup.

    Naughty: dirty recyclables; nice: clean recyclables

    Naughty: Dirty Recyclables
    Nice: Clean Recyclables 

    Rinse Containers Before Recycling

    Recyclables tainted with food or water can leak onto surrounding paper and cardboard, and create a contaminated, unrecyclable mess. In 2018 China stopped accepting certain US mixed recyclable shipments because many arrived full of mold and had to be thrown away in landfills.

    Clean your containers to keep recycling from becoming garbage. 

    Not sure about that greasy pizza box? Tear off the oily parts and toss those in the trash. The remaining clean cardboard can go in your blue bin.

    Check out this quick video on recycling contamination.

    With a few small changes, you can make a difference for the planet even as you enjoy this festive season. Get more eco-friendly holiday hints to use this year.

     

    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Dec 23, 2019

  • Smashing Pumpkins

    How to recycle Jack-o-Lanterns

    Now that Halloween is over and the trick-or-treating is all done, you probably have a jack-o’-lantern still sitting on your front porch. Seriously, what are you going to do with that pumpkin?

    Well, a lot of people simply put it in the trash can, and that’s not the best place to put it.

    If tossed into the trash, a rotting pumpkin will decompose like any other food waste and emit methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.

    American’s likely spent $377.23 million on pumpkins for carving into jack-o-lanterns in 2019. Across the nation, more than 650,000 tons (1.3 billion pounds) of pumpkin flesh could be headed to landfills because many consumers will carve the pumpkin but not consume it.

    So, what’s a possible solution? Well, how about composting old pumpkins?

    If you have a green waste curbside collection bin, chances are you can put your pumpkin in there where it will be taken to a compost or anaerobic digestion facility and turned into biofuel. If you would like to compost the pumpkin in your own compost pile, you can find a compost recipe and tips on our website. But here’s the basic gist of how to get it done.

    • Remove candles, artificial lighting, or any other decorations that are in or attached to the pumpkin. Pumpkins that have been decorated with paint or glitter should not be composted.
      • Remove the seeds so you don’t risk starting a pumpkin patch in your compost pile. (It’s OK if you do—just turn those pumpkins back into more compost.)
      • A clean pumpkin can be added to an existing compost pile and mixed in with other ingredients.
      • Another bonus to composting pumpkins—you can smash the orange head into smithereens and compost all of the tiny pieces. (Such a good way to let out your aggression after someone egged your house. Darn kids!)

      Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Nov 4, 2019

    • Don't Scare the Planet with Your Halloween Costume


      Pumpkins with plastic ghosts. Don't scare the planet with your halloween costume

      Many costumes are made with the intention to scare folks during Halloween. But one of the scariest statistics about this spooky day is that people spend about $8.8 billion, or $75 per person, on Halloween-related items, including costumes that get thrown away.

      According to a CalRecycle waste characterization report, more than 1.24 million tons of textiles were disposed in California landfills in 2014. Every year, Californians spend more than $70 million to dispose of used textiles in landfills, and 95 percent of this material is actually reusable or recyclable

      So, why not save money and the environment by being a little creative when deciding what to wear for Halloween? Here are some simple tips to consider:

      • Check out Pinterest for DIY costume ideas, and then peruse your own closet or local thrift store to create your next costume.
      • Instead of purchasing a plastic or rubber Halloween mask, use makeup or non-toxic face paint that you already have to create your look. 
      • Look in your recycling bin for anything that can be used for Halloween costumes and decorations. How about using a cardboard box to create a robot costume?
      • Save your kiddo’s costumes and host a Halloween costume swap party before next Halloween.
      • If you can’t hang on to the costumes for that long, consider donating them to organizations like a local theater company, day care provider, or thrift store.

      Along with alternative plans for Halloween costumes, maybe consider a different way for kids to carry their trick-or-treat candies. Instead of using those plastic pumpkins, consider creating your own reusable bag. In this video, our CalRecycle team shows how easy it is to make one with an old shirt.


      Posted on In the Loop by Tracey Harper and Syd Fong on Oct 31, 2019