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

  • Save or Splurge on Holiday Experience Gifts: Collect Memories, Not Excess Stuff

    The holidays are upon us, and many of us are scrambling to find the perfect gift for the important people in our lives. Consider Mother Nature this year and give experience gifts instead. Packaging makes up about 25 percent of California’s trash, and swapping out just a few items on your list in favor of an experience gift can make a difference. Most experience gifts can be given digitally, which means little to no trash created in celebration of the holidays. Here are a few experience gift ideas that are budget-friendly and splurge-worthy. 

     

    Save $30 on Movie tickets; Splurge $90 on theater tickets.


    With many streaming options available for in-home entertainment, it’s easy to stay in to catch the latest show. Opt for an evening out and consider taking a friend or loved one to see a classic movie on the big screen or a Broadway show.

    Movie tickets will set you back about $10-15 per person, while theater tickets will likely start at $45 and go up from there. Take a bus or train and save on parking, gas, and greenhouse gas emissions.

     

    Save $50 on museum tickets; splurge $100 on online art classes.

     

    Do you have an artist in your life? Plan a day at a local museum or art gallery for inspiration. Admission prices are usually $15 per ticket, but special exhibits may cost a few bucks more. If you’re feeling generous, buy an online painting or drawing class from a popular artist.

    Skillshare.com has some great options.

     

    Save $75 on restaurant dinner; splurge $150 on cooking classes.

     

    Nothing brings people together like a nice meal. For a budget-friendly option, opt for dinner at a restaurant for $45-75. For the foodies in your life, splurge on a cooking class. Most grocery co-ops have cooking classes, and some popular restaurants offer them as well.

    Classes usually start around $75 per person.

     

    Save $100 on fancy pedicure; splurge $200 on spa day.

     

    Pamper that special someone in your life with a fancy pedicure at a local salon. An upgraded pedicure may include aromatherapy, special scrubs and lotions, and a longer foot massage. If you want to go all out, consider a gift certificate for a spa day.

    A luxurious level pedicure can range at between $45-100.

    A massage, facial, and pedicure package will start around $200.

    No matter your budget, you can usually find an eco-friendly way to show you care. If you do have gifts to wrap, consider sustainable gift wrapping like reusable gift bags or Furoshiki, the Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts in fabric. Check out our Reusable Holiday Wrapping blog for more tips!

    —Christina Files

     

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Dec 13, 2019

  • What Is Recyclable?

    Wait, aren’t all products with the recycling chasing arrows symbol recyclable? Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. First, there is currently no universal definition for recyclable. Second, individual materials in a product may be recyclable, but they may be fused together in such a way that it’s difficult to separate them into individual recyclable materials. Plastic-coated coffee cups, electronics, and padded envelopes are good examples of this. Third, even though a product may technically be recyclable, there must be a market for that material. In other words, a product’s recyclability has as much to do with the economy as the technology of recycling. Let’s break down the recycling economy for insight. 

    Collection

    The first step in the recycling process is to collect the material. Californians can sort their recyclables into a curbside recycling bin, or they may opt to take some materials to a recycling center. Dirty or broken material may not be eligible to be processed into feedstock, so be sure to add only clean items to your recycling bin. And check with your local hauler to see what materials they are collecting to recycle before putting items in your curbside recycling bin. 

    Sorting and Processing into Feedstock for Manufacturers

    Next, a recycling center sells the material to a recycling processor who transforms the material into feedstock for a new product. In the case of plastic water bottles, the plastic is shredded into plastic flakes. 

    California has historically relied on a “collect, sort, export” model of recycling. Fluctuations in the global commodities market often impact California’s ability to export these materials for recycling. Despite these fluctuations, California exported more recyclables last year than in previous years. Even so, it’s pretty clear that California must continue investing in a robust domestic recycling infrastructure so we are not so reliant on foreign markets to process recyclables and remanufacture products.

    Recycling Feedstock into New Products

    Recycling processors then sell feedstock to manufacturers who use the material to manufacture new products. These products are called “recycled-content products.” It is difficult for recycled feedstock to compete in the marketplace if the price of virgin materials is cheaper. Although low oil prices mean low gas prices, they also mean it’s cheaper to make a plastic bottle from virgin materials than recycled plastic water bottle flakes. 

    CalRecycle is about to start developing regulations for SB 1335 (Allen, Chapter 610, Statutes of 2018), which requires food service facilities located in state-owned buildings to use reusable, recyclable, or compostable food service packaging. Laws like SB 1335 will not only help define what is actually recyclable, but will also create a market demand for reusable, recyclable, and compostable products.

    Marketing and Selling Recycled Content Products

    In the final step of the recycling economy, manufacturers sell recycled-content products to distributors and retailers who then sell these products to the public. One of the ways CalRecycle helps this effort is by overseeing the state’s Buy-Recycled Campaign, which requires all state agencies to purchased recycled-content products. In addition to creating a market demand for recycled-content products, the program also creates new jobs; reduces waste, pollution, and energy consumption; and diverts waste from landfills.

    Ways to Support the Recycling Economy

    • All Californians can support the recycling economy in a few simple ways. 
    • Consider ways to reduce the amount of trash you throw away every week. Can you make changes in how you shop or consume goods that would reduce your personal waste? That may look like using a reusable coffee cup or opting for products with less packaging.
    • Check with your waste hauler to learn about what recyclable materials are allowed in your recycling bin.  Haulers will let you know what they are collecting that can be sold to recycling processors.
    • Add clean recyclables to your curbside bin to reduce contamination. Rinsing out spaghetti sauce and peanut butter jars before adding them to the recycling bin can go a long way in reducing contamination.
    • Buy recycled-content products. Look for products that use recycled-content in them. CalRecycle’s website has a search tool to look for recycled-content manufacturers. 


     
    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 10, 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