Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
When I was in college, there were no iPhones, Netflix didn’t have an online streaming option, and I’m pretty sure Facebook was still called The Facebook. Many things have changed since then, but at least one thing remains the same—it’s grad season and it’s time to celebrate that special student in your life! Here are the perfect presents for the practical (past) pupil—oh, and they’re environmentally friendly.
What do all college students lack? Cash money! Sure, it’s not the most thoughtful gift, but cash is something every recent graduate needs, and they can use it to buy whatever they want—or even stuff they don’t want (like their first student loan payment). Plus, cash doesn’t come with unnecessary frills or packaging. Put it in a recyclable envelope, direct deposit it, or just make it rain.
Later, Lunch Lady
Luckily, I had a grandma to cook my meals during my four years of college, but not everyone is that fortunate. College meals for your graduate most likely included Top Ramen, microwaveable mac and cheese, and cafeteria food. So, while they were feeding their minds, learning how to cook was probably on the back burner. Buy them some cooking lessons because while they may not need trigonometry in real life, they sure will need to eat at some point! And when you understand cooking, you understand the importance of avoiding food waste.
Most colleges offer free gym services so students can burn off stress and calories, but once out of school, regular gyms can be incredibly expensive. Help them stay fit, strong, and healthy by getting them a gym membership. And while you’re at it, get them a reusable water bottle—they’re going to need to stay hydrated while getting swole.
AV Members Only
Once they’re out of school, your graduate can take a breather—and maybe binge on some shows they missed out on while they were studying. Get them a Hulu, Netflix, or HBO Go subscription so they can chill out in front of the TV for a day (or week). Alternatively, if you want them to stay woke and keep up with current events, order them an online subscription to a newspaper like the New York Times or Los Angeles Times—no newspapers to recycle, just important breaking news.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
But, if it is broken, do fix it instead of throwing it in the trash. It may have been a while since they took a shop class, but it’s vital that your grad have a tool kit—and not the kind of tools that came with your assembly-required IKEA desk for your college apartment. (I guarantee you’re not going to be able to fix anything with two Allen wrenches and a leftover wooden peg.) Get them a real tool kit with all the essentials because (1) it’s expensive to buy new things every time they break and (2) there’s no reason to throw items in the trash just because they have a loose screw or a wobbly leg.
Did we miss any gifts that are perfect for the eco-friendly college or high school graduate? Let us know!Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on May 23, 2018
Plastics, metals, food, clothes—what items go in which bins? What can be recycled? Is recycling really worth the effort? There are many misconceptions about being green and reducing waste, but we’re here to clear up some of the most common myths about recycling and waste.
Donating Food Is Illegal
One in eight Californians is food-insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s a staggering statistic when you realize 6 million tons of food—much of it edible—is thrown away in California each year. You may have heard that donating food is illegal and that there are many liabilities when it comes to giving food away, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are two laws that state as long as food is donated in good faith, you should have no legal issues. That goes for both individuals and businesses. So, if someone tells you donating food is illegal, you can point them to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act or the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.
Donating Really Old Stuff Is Helpful
You may think no one wants your old socks or pillows—they’re very personal items. But the fact is many donation centers end up selling “unusable” textiles to places that recycle them into building insulation and shop rags. So while you think no one wants your stained T-shirt, it turns out they can be recycled, which makes sense when you consider about 95 percent of disposed textiles can be recycled or reused.
Recycling Is Worth the Effort
While National Sword (China’s current policy to limit or fully prohibit recyclable material imports) has changed the recycling scene, that does not mean it’s better to throw items in the trash. In fact, recycling challenges have provided new opportunities for success in the waste industry: Many startups have found ways to reuse and recycle common and uncommon items with a little innovation and imagination. While China’s restrictions are having a negative impact on California exports, they also highlight the importance of reducing waste and reusing what we can. Recycling remains the critical element in keeping valued materials out of landfills and putting them to good use – or should I say reuse.
Going Zero Waste Is Expensive
It might seem that way upon first glance. You’re thinking of the items you need to replace in order to create less waste in the long run. You might have to invest in some higher-quality things around your home, and that costs money. And sure, you might come across a zero-waste guru or two out there who tries to guilt you into buying $30 shampoo because it comes in a refillable metal bottle or purchasing a $200 shirt that will last until the end of time. But when it comes to going zero waste or less-waste, you may already have items around the house that you can use. Don’t feel pressured into spending money when you don’t need to—you’ll just end up resenting your zero-waste goal. Instead, gradually switch items in your home that have reached the end of their useful life with something of higher quality that has a longer lifespan. This will help you reach your goal without emptying your wallet, and you’ll be able to sustain your lifestyle change.
Are there any recycling myths you’d like debunked? Just let us know, and we’ll do our best to get to the truth.Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on May 17, 2018
Oak Park’s volunteer-run Fix-It Café keeps all sorts of goods, from the sentimental to the pragmatic, out of landfills
Once a month, volunteers in a tight-knit Sacramento community get together to hang out, chat with their neighbors, and help repair everything from clothing to toasters to bicycles.
The Oak Park Fix-It Cafe is a grassroots effort to keep worldly possessions out of landfills—and it has been one of the most immediately rewarding ways that I spend my spare time. As a CalRecycle employee who believes in the goals of our department, the Oak Park Fix-It Cafe is yet another way I get to “walk the walk.”
On our opening day last May, the small appliances section fixed nine lamps! A vintage 20-inch fan had its bearings pulled out and the worn-out electrical cord replaced. Volunteers in our bicycle corner offered tune-ups and tire patches. You can even patch the tire to your wheelbarrow—we’ll show you how.
I’ve been volunteering in the sewing corner for most of these repair cafes. I sewed a sleeve back onto the shoulder of a Hawaiian shirt, and I taught a teenager to use a sewing machine to repair her mother’s ripped jeans. I started sewing three years ago, and I love using this skill to bring together my community and help the environment. Unlike the generations before me who learned to sew starting in junior high “home economics” classes for their future homemaker lifestyles, I have learned what I know about sewing from my mother, grandmother, and Pinterest.
When I learned that the clothing manufacturing industry is the second most polluting industry after oil refineries, it blew my mind. When we buy the latest low-quality fashions for less than a workweek lunch, we are contributing to pollution. I want to teach people how to sew that cardigan button back on, turn those outdated bell-bottoms into hip skinny jeans, and make vintage prints and thrift store finds into wearable outfits. It’s fun, and in a small way we are helping the environment.
If we do not immediately know how to fix something, we can learn! At our second meeting, the small appliances group watched a YouTube video to learn how to fix the timing mechanism on a sewing machine. The inside of a sewing machine is not for the faint of heart. With some tinkering and tenacity, as a team we saved the machine for its owner to continue crafting.
If we ultimately can’t fix it, we want people to try a professional. Repair cafes are not likely to compete with professional repair. People who can afford to buy higher-quality items and have them repaired usually do. Manufacturing of many items has become so inexpensive that buying a lower-quality item new is often cheaper than paying for professional repair. Part of Oak Park Fix-It Cafe’s mission is to open people’s eyes about how much is discarded and what can be repaired instead of replaced. In this increasingly consumer-driven world, it is refreshing to see people coming together to take better care of their items and increase the health of their neighborhood.
The Oak Park Fix-It Cafe is held the third Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next cafe is April 21. See the group’s Facebook page for details.
Additional Links and ResourcesPosted on In the Loop by Victoria Ngo on Apr 9, 2018