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

  • Youth and Teacher Engagement in Pomona

    In 2013, the California Environmental Protection Agency created the Environmental Justice Compliance and Enforcement Working Group to focus on communities that contain multiple sources of pollution and are disproportionately vulnerable to its effects. The group is now known as the Environmental Justice Task Force. 

    One of the primary goals of the group is to provide community members opportunities for input on potential environmental justice concerns and the implementation of remedies. The task force also conducts initiatives to increase local compliance with environmental laws in targeted areas. CalRecycle has played a role in initiatives in Fresno, Los Angeles and Oakland.

    The latest initiative, in Pomona, was led by staff from CalRecycle and the Department of Toxic Substances Control. The project began last summer and concluded in March, and included a concerted effort to engage youth and teachers.

    Leadership Workshop

    Staff from CalRecycle and DTSC facilitated a weekly leadership workshop with high school students through an after-school organization, Pomona Hope. Pomona Hope is a community-driven, faith-based nonprofit that works to empower people of all backgrounds, particularly at-risk youth and their families, to work together toward personal and community transformation.

    Students learned about environmental justice, explored local issues related to pollution and equity, and were provided opportunities to engage civically. Students also participated in activities to gain insight into the role of local and state government and learned about different ways to participate. The CalEnviroScreen mapping tool was used to identify local sources of pollution and explore what factors make Pomona especially vulnerable to its effects.

    ‘Toxic Tour’

    In December, staff from CalRecycle and DTSC partnered with community organization United Voices of Pomona for Environmental Justice to host a “toxic tour” for students and teachers in Pomona. A toxic tour is a tour of an area where people live adjacent to multiple sources of pollution. The goal is to increase awareness of the potential health risks those pollution sources pose to certain groups of people.


    Pomona students and teachers, led by United Voices of Pomona for Environmental Justice, on a community toxic tour.

    After the tour, staff from CalRecycle and the California Air Resources Board gave a presentation on environmental justice and how pollution relates to both equity and the economy. Garey High School teacher Ion Puschila then tasked his AP Macroeconomics students with a project exploring the economic costs of pollution.

    EEI Materials

    To encourage broader environmental literacy during the Pomona project, Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) curriculum materials were distributed to teachers and community organizations in the area. CalRecycle’s EEI is a free, K-12 curriculum designed to increase environmental literacy through lessons and activities that teach science and history through an environmental lens.

    In an effort to support the current work of students and teachers in Pomona, CalRecycle staff connected with Vanessa Villagran’s and Jacquelynn Fischer’s third-grade classes from Kingsley Elementary School. The students will showcase their work on plastic pollution at the annual meeting of the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials later this month.

    In the near future, the youth of today will represent their communities and have a voice in civic life. Preparing the youth of today can translate into an engaged citizenry tomorrow. And together, we can strengthen environmental justice in communities across California – and in doing so enrich and protect the very lives of those youth whose environmental awareness and activism we nurture.

    Posted on In the Loop by Angela Vincent on Apr 3, 2018

  • CalRecycle Climate Investments Featured in Annual Report

    The numbers are in! California’s world-leading Cap-and-Trade program to combat climate change is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening local economies, and improving public health and the environment across the state, especially in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

    The California Air Resources Board and the California Department of Finance just released the latest annual report tracking the progress of California Climate Investments. Among the report’s highlights:

    • More than $720 million in new funding for 2017 went to projects across all of California’s 58 counties.
    • Since 2014, $6.1 billion has been appropriated to 17 state agencies for projects to reduce GHG emissions.
    • Projects funded to date are expected to reduce GHG emissions by more than 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), roughly the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road for a year.

    In 2017, CalRecycle awarded a total of $38 million in California Climate Investments through its Organics GrantFood Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant, and Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass Grant Programs.

    CalRecycle’s California Climate Investments in the waste and recycling sector continue to be among the most cost-effective of all climate reduction strategies, with grants ranging from $9 to $15 per metric ton of CO2e reduced.

    The report features profiles of two CalRecycle grant recipients that highlight the impact these investments are having on individuals and communities. 



    Command Packaging Recycled Plastic Manufacturing Upgrade Project, LA County

    Move over Farm-to-Fork! There is a new sustainability movement emerging in California that is reducing waste, cutting GHG emissions, and providing access to new green jobs in communities across the State. You can see it on display at Command Packaging’s manufacturing facility south of downtown Los Angeles in Vernon. Think of it as “Ag-to-Bag.”



    CR&R, Inc. Anaerobic Digestion Expansion Project, Riverside County

    The second phase of a massive $100 million organic waste recycling infrastructure project is now online in Riverside County. Southern California waste management and recycling company CR&R just doubled capacity to transform the region’s food and green waste into biofuel.

    These success stories and others, as well as information on other climate investments and the program’s goals and targets, can be read online in the California Climate Investments 2018 Annual Report.

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Mar 26, 2018

  • Celebrating California's First Food Waste Prevention Week

    CalRecycle has partnered with the Public Health Alliance of Southern California and other state organizations to celebrate March 5-9, 2018, as California’s first Food Waste Prevention Week. As CalRecycle’s Executive Fellow, I have been working on projects related to edible food waste reduction. As a trained restaurant cook, I utilize many techniques and strategies to reduce food waste at home. Incorporating a few simple food waste prevention actions—such as freezing food, meal prepping and using leftovers—can immediately reduce food waste.

    Though I am new to the world of waste management policy, I have a lifelong dedication to environmental conservation and sustainable practices. In my prior career, before attending college, I worked in restaurants as a line cook for almost a decade. My background in professional kitchens instilled a passion for food waste prevention and reduction. 


    Californians throw away nearly 12 billion pounds of food each year, which comprises about 18 percent of all the material in landfills. On average, a family of four pays about $1,500 toward 1,000 pounds of food ultimately thrown in the trash every year. Besides the environmental and fiscal consequences of food waste, Californians frequently dispose of food while others in our state go without. According to 2014 data, 5.4 million Californians are food-insecure, meaning they are uncertain of where their next meal will come from. Additionally, 1 in 4 children in California don’t have enough food to eat.

    Food Waste Prevention week aims to raise awareness about the impacts of food waste in our homes, workplaces, and communities. During Food Waste Prevention Week, I plan to share simple ways to reduce food waste at home. 


    Stay tuned next week for resources, tips, and ideas. To learn more, please visit Save The Food, a national campaign led by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Ad Council to raise awareness about food waste and inspire more people to reduce it. Interested in other ways to reduce food waste? Check out the Public Health Alliance of Southern California’s Resource Library and CalRecycle’s Resource Directory.

    Posted on In the Loop by Allegra Curiel on Mar 1, 2018