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

  • Your Essential Earth Day Playlist

    Earth Day 2017 is approaching fast! To get you motivated to rock that rally, festival or other Earth Day event near you, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has put together your essential Earth Day playlist.

    Now more than ever, it’s important to show your support for the environmental protections our parents and grandparents fought so hard to achieve. It’s equally important we remain vigilant in the fight of our time: combatting climate change to ensure a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.

    This eclectic mix of music is guaranteed to keep you pumped up while marching on that path to progress.

    “Too Much” – Dave Mathews Band

    “Big Yellow Taxi” – Joni Mitchell

    “The Earth Song” – Michael Jackson

    “Mercy Mercy Me” (The Ecology) – Marvin Gaye

    “Emergency on Planet Earth” – Jamiroquai

    “Waiting on the World to Change” – John Mayer

    “Fake Plastic Trees” – Radiohead

    “Convenient Parking” – Modest Mouse

    “Excuse Me Mr.” – Ben Harper

    “If a Tree Falls” – Bruce Cockburn

    “The 3 R’s” (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) – Jack Johnson

    “Blackened” – Metallica

    “What I’ve Done” – Linkin Park

    “Vampire Blues” – Neil Young

    “Don’t Go Near the Water” – Johnny Cash

    “Make a Wave” – Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato

    “Don’t Give Up the Fight” – Public Enemy

    “This Land Is Your Land” – Woody Guthrie

    “What a Wonderful World” – Louis Armstrong

    “Earth Day Every Day (Celebrate)” – John Denver

    “Wind in Our Sail” – Weezer

    “Tree Hugger” – Kimya Dawson & Antsy Pants

    “No Sunlight” – Death Cab for Cutie

    “Cool Water” – Marty Robbins


    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Apr 13, 2017

  • La La Land’s Latest Trend: Community Composting

    Local man transforming Los Angeles one neighborhood at a time

    To outsiders, Los Angeles can seem a bit intimidating. It’s the second largest city in America, the most populous county in the country, and a traffic congestion juggernaut that has commuters seeing red on the daily. It’s where stars are made and trends are born.

    Michael Martinez is not intimidated.

    It’s the only way to explain what this West Covina native has accomplished in just four years, transforming a bold idea from a grade school garden into one of the most high-profile community composting programs in California. “LA Compost started as a pilot project in 2013 with a goal to keep organic material in the community, so neighbors could start seeing it as a resource and not waste,” the nonprofit’s founder and executive director recalls. Now, with eight community composting hubs throughout Los Angeles County, plans to add 10 more in 2017, and a waiting list of about 40 potential locations, LA Compost is on track to become the first county-wide community-based composting program in the state. Just as profound, the nonprofit provides a localized model for how individuals and neighborhoods can get involved in California’s fight against climate change.


    Michael Martinez (right) with volunteers at LA Compost

    You could say Martinez was born for this moment. He was raised to appreciate the source of his meals: “My father always valued the importance of food and ensured my siblings and I understood its story.” And he was acutely aware of what too often came next: “Growing up in Los Angeles, I was very familiar with the landfills in West Covina and Puente Hills.” Perhaps that’s why he was so disturbed by the disconnect he witnessed from his fifth-grade students. “Not a lot of kids could trace a carrot beyond the supermarket or saw anything grow from the ground before,” he recalls.

    From there, an idea was born—an ambitious new program to build soil health and community health using compost as a vehicle. Martinez started a school garden and composting site with his fellow teachers in West Covina. A high school soon followed, and Martinez’s phone started ringing. “Friends and families and people I knew throughout the city started asking if they could get involved.” Within a few years, a local church funded the construction of a community garden and compost center at the high school where the church congregates. Martinez credits home-field advantage with giving LA Compost its strong foundation. “I had a lot of connections from schools, churches, and businesses,” Martinez continues. “I knew I could really get a good start and some flexibility if I messed up a thing or two.”

    Expanding his neighborhood composting concept beyond the familiar borders of West Covina took courage and a leap of faith, but Martinez says he had confidence in the communities that make up Los Angeles. “For me, it’s about tapping into that potential and diversity from ZIP code to ZIP code to create a decentralized model that collectively has a bigger impact.” Along the way, Martinez says he’s been able to navigate his way through state and local regulations without a problem, paying special attention to hauling agreements and various state and local permitting requirements. “What we offer is smaller, individual operations with a lot of on-site local solutions that don’t require a lot of movement of materials,” he adds.

    LA Compost and similar community composting groups throughout the state are crucial partners in California’s effort to reduce short-lived climate pollutants that contribute to global warming. When sent to landfills, organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a heat-trapping effect at least 70 times greater than carbon dioxide. Compost use provides a simple, proven way to build carbon content and hold more water in soils, which is essential for building climate resilience.

    “California’s diversion goal and the effort to get three-quarters of all organics out of landfills by 2025 cannot be attained without a variety of programs and community efforts of all sizes,” notes Robert Horowitz, environmental scientist with the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. “So long as your community composting program stays under 100 cubic yards of materials on site at any time and 750 square feet, you should not need a solid waste permit.” He says most community garden compost sites don’t come close to that volume. “My advice is keep it small, and even if you intend to stay way under 100 cubic yards and 750 square feet, I recommend getting to know the inspectors at your local environmental health department.  They will let you know if there are local regulations or other concerns.”

    By the start of 2017, LA Compost’s eight hubs were diverting more than 8,000 pounds of organic material from landfills each month. Looking toward future expansions, Martinez says maintaining standards is top priority. “I want the bins to be clean. I want best practices taking place. I want every hub to be owned by the community in which it’s located.” Over the past few years, Martinez says he’s noticed a growing interest in composting and more excitement among citizens who want to get involved. “I would say do what works for you and your schedule,” whether it’s participating in a community composting operation or starting a compost pile in your own backyard. “Do what works for you. Composting happens. Nature is very forgiving. Just have fun with it.”

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Apr 3, 2017

  • Workshop: Today’s Hot Gadgets, Tomorrow’s E-Waste

    Chances are, you’re reading this from a computer. Maybe a tablet? OK, a smart phone? A smart TV? Google Glass? Maybe Alexa is reading you this blog from your new Amazon Echo device.

    Either way, it’s clear that today’s technology is advancing rapidly.

    Gone are the days of families sitting around the radio or tweaking the rabbit ears for a signal on giant console televisions; you know, the cathode ray tube devices made from leaded glass (to prevent X-ray radiation) and encased in wood or plastic (to match the living room paneling). For the past dozen years, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has worked alongside the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to successfully manage the safe recovery, processing, and disposition of this legacy technology and a limited number of other electronic devices.

    The Covered Electronic Waste Program, established with the passage of the California Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, set up a state-administered funding system comprised of authorized collectors/recyclers and financed by a consumer fee. Since the program launched in 2005, participating operators have claimed approximately $886 million to offset the recycling and ultimately disposition costs for nearly 2.1 billion pounds of electronic waste.

    With an eye on the future, CalRecycle is beginning to consider how advances in technology—including lighter TVs made of more complex but less valuable and reusable material—could potentially impact California’s electronic waste management efforts in the years to come. In the summer of 2016, the Department began reaching out to more than 3,300 stakeholders to get their perspectives on the future of electronic waste management in California.

    On Wednesday, CalRecycle will hold the second in a series of workshops to discuss the future of e-waste collection and management in California.

    Future of Electronic Waste Management in California—Part 2
    10 a.m. Wednesday, March 15
    Coastal Hearing Room, CalEPA Building
    1001 I St., Sacramento, CA

    If you can’t make it in person, join us by webcast. (The link will go live shortly before the meeting begins). The meeting agenda and related documents are located here.

    For additional information, including documents related to the initial workshop on September 14, 2016, please visit our The Future of Electronic Waste Management in California webpage.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Mar 13, 2017