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

  • How to Win at Videogaming? Recycle E-Waste!

     

    Mario Brothers: How to win at videogaming? Recycle Electronic Waste!

     

    Today is National Video Game Day. Did you know 57 percent of Americans play video games?

    Maybe you used to play video games, or maybe you still do. Chances are you have games and consoles laying around that you haven’t played in some time. The nostalgic return of World of Warcraft Classic has some gamers realizing just how long they have had some games. Is it time to Marie-Kondo the collection? What should you do with games you’re not going to play anymore? Let’s take a look at the trash from one of our favorite pastimes.

    What kind of waste is a video game console? E-waste! An easy way to think of e-waste is an item (or an accessory to the item) that has a battery or a power cord. Don’t forget to use the waste hierarchy: reduce, then reuse, then recycle. First, reduce the number of physical video games you purchase—more on that later. Second, reuse by selling functioning video games and consoles through used game retail shops like GameStop or social media platforms like Facebook, or you could go retro with eBay. Also consider giving away games to friends or family. Third, only if a console is not functioning should you consider recycling it or disposing of it by taking it to an e-waste drop-off location or scheduling an e-waste pickup. Check with your local city or county government for specific guidelines regarding the proper recycling or disposal of old video games and consoles.

    What about the cartridge (or CD-ROM)? Cartridges used to store console video games, like those used with the original Nintendo and Sega Genesis, and have circuit boards made of plastic and metal components. Many of us fondly remember blowing the dust off the contacts if the console couldn’t read the game. The combination of crevices and different materials makes cartridges hard to recycle. Luckily, there are companies like TerraCycle with special collections for games and toys, including cartridges and CD-ROMs.

    With the video game industry shifting new games toward digital downloads and online streaming, gamers are faced with fewer challenges to responsibly managing game cartridges at the end of their useful life.  Buying games online results in no packaging waste and no physical media or cartridge—which is a form of source reduction. And for those looking for a quick nostalgia fix, many older games have been made available on the Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox digital stores. The cloud for the (eco) win! 

    Posted on In the Loop by Victoria Ngo on Sep 12, 2019

  • Landfills: An Un-bear-able End for Stuffed Animals

    Landfills: An UnBEARable End for Stuffed Animals

    Like any full-grown adult woman, I love stuffed animals! OK, maybe not like any full-grown adult, but over the years I amassed a collection that would put a toy store to shame. And because I’ve watched Toy Story a few too many times, I believe our toys come to life when we’re not looking—I couldn’t possibly just throw them away!

    Several years ago, I finally faced the music and realized I needed to pare down my stuffed animal collection. Luckily, I live near a children’s hospital. I put all my new and gently used stuffed animals in a bag and brought them to the hospital—I was kind of a female version of Santa, but I didn’t wear a red suit. The hospital staff was very grateful! And, just like I gave toys to the children’s hospital that day, I’m going to give you some tips on how to donate or responsibly get rid of your old toys, or your children’s old toys.

    Make It a Game

    Get your kids involved in the paring-down process. If you explain that donating gently used toys to charity helps other children feel happiness and comfort, they will be happy to jump on board. Help your kids set a goal for how many toys they are willing to part with. It can be a great opportunity for children to learn compassion, how to waste less, and how to keep a tidy toy box. 

    When to Mend, When to Send (to the Trash)

    It’s best to figure out which toys are in good enough condition to pass along to someone else. If you have a broken or dirty toy, try to fix it and clean it. Your kids might realize they still want to play with it, but if it’s totally broken or beyond cleaning, it’s likely no one else wants it either. Sadly, it might be time to throw that toy away for good.

    Decisions, Decisions

    Decide which organization you’d like to donate your toys, stuffed animals, or games to. Check with places like the Goodwill, your local thrift shop, local shelters, preschools, churches, or hospitals. Always check with the organization first to find out what they do and do not accept before you drive up with a truck bed full of toys. Hospitals, in particular, often want brand-new toys for health/sanitary reasons. 

    Swap that Stuff

    Toys can also be recycled through special programs like the ones listed on Earth911.com, which is one of our favorite go-to environmental resources. Another idea is to set up a toy swap with kids at school, in your neighborhood, or with family members. It can be a fun way to get kids to share and trade for toys they want without you having to hit the store and spend money. 

    Final Thoughts

    Finally, remember why you’re donating toys in the first place: To help less fortunate children, prevent waste, and reduce clutter in your home. The purpose is not to just get rid of them, but rather thoughtfully pass them on.

    Resources:

    Stuffed Animals for Emergencies 

    Toys for Tots 

    Donation Town

     

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Sep 9, 2019

  • Back to School Tips: Eco-Friendly Lunch Ideas

    Eco-Friendly Lunch Ideas

    It’s that time of year when parents are helping kids gear up to go back to school. It’s also a good time to hit the sustainability “reset” button because you’re already in planning mode, reorganizing your life, and buying new supplies. Here are some eco-friendly ways to pack sustainable lunches for school!

    Upgrading the Lunch Box

    Hopefully, you’re already packing lunches in reusable boxes or bags, but if not, it’s a good time to make the switch. Using an insulated lunch cooler or small ice packs can mean the difference between kids eating food or tossing it out. No one wants to bite into a lukewarm sandwich with mayo, right? There are many lunch totes to choose from, and there are even brown canvas bags that look like brown paper bags, if you’re waxing nostalgic.

    Reusable Food Containers

    When it comes to lunchtime convenience, it’s easy to grab the single-serving packages of cookies, chips, and other shacks, but all that packaging leads to a lot of waste. Reduce your waste by purchasing large bags of food and dividing individual portions into reusable containers. There are many options out there, including bento boxes for kids, silicone storage bags, and reusable beeswax food wrap.

    Reduce Food Waste

    Californians throw away 6 million tons of food waste every year. Reduce your children’s food waste by asking them what they actually eat and what they give or throw away and then adjust what you pack accordingly. Find out if their school participates in “share tables,” where kids can put unopened food they don’t want for others to take. Consider getting involved with your parent teacher association and raising awareness on ways to reduce food waste at school.

    The USDA offers some insights on how to reduce food waste in schools. Learn more on CalRecycle’s Back to School Waste Prevention webpage.

     

    —Christina Files

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Aug 12, 2019