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

  • Reusables--It's Our Bag, Baby!

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: At CalRecycle, we really do practice what we preach. From food waste bins in our break rooms to zero-waste social events and produce crop swaps, we’re no strangers to living sustainably at work and at home! So it should come as no surprise that our social committee, with the help of our zero waste team, recently hosted a reusable bag DIY during the lunch hour for everyone in our headquarters building, not just CalRecyclers. (Inclusivity is super-important, especially when it comes to saving the planet!)

    Participants were encouraged to bring an old T-shirt, scrap fabric, or a pillowcase to redesign into a reusable bag that can be taken to the weekly farmers market across the street from our headquarters building, or anywhere else. Those who weren’t able to bring their own supplies were able to choose from a selection of fabric scraps and extra T-shirts provided at the workshop. That’s a good thing, because about 95 percent of textiles like fabric and clothing that are landfilled could have easily been recycled or repurposed.

    This project is perfect for those who consider themselves “challenged” in the crafts department because it doesn’t require any sewing (unless you want to). In fact, it’s so simple we recommend trying it with the kiddos this summer—it’s a great way to get them involved in reducing, reusing, and recycling. 

    For no-sew DIY T-shirt bag instructions, check out this tutorial on our Pinterest page. And to see the workshop in action, check out this quick video

    Reusable Creations video
    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark and Syd Fong on Jul 29, 2019

  • What's Even Better Than Recycling? Refurbishing

    We all know the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but we sometimes forget those three Rs are listed by priority. Used electronics are problematic and costly to manage and recycle, so it’s critical to consider more sustainable options. Here are a few.

    Donate

    Donate your old electronics to sources that will refurbish them or use them for parts. More and more E-waste recyclers are now taking part in the reuse movement and will accept items that can be refurbished or used for parts. ReUseIt Drop Box accepts re-useable laptops: Call (877) 738-7348, or visit www.earth911.org and search by county name to see regional choices. Also check out the CalRecycle search engine to find local e-waste recyclers.

    Buy Refurbished

    Help minimize the environmental impact of e-waste by purchasing refurbished computers.

    Refurbished products include electronics that were returned to a manufacturer or vendor for various reasons. Refurbished products are tested for functionality and defects before they are sold, and many come with warranties. Electronics in this group are often brand-new and were simply store returns that the customer decided they just didn’t want. Since the package was opened it has to be sold as “refurbished.” So in effect, you are purchasing a new product.

    Other refurbished electronics may be older and rebuilt. Searching online provides valuable customer reviews of products and vendors and help determine how well the vendor stands behind their products through money-back guarantees and warranties.  More electronics recyclers and some companies are expanding into the refurbished electronics market. Refurbished electronics can be purchased through any number of sources, both online and in some electronics stores, or even from the manufacturers directly.

    I purchased a refurbished laptop six years ago that came with a 90-day warranty. I installed larger memory chips, also available online. It still works great, and I saved a lot of money!

    Fix Them Yourself

    There is a growing movement to fix electronics yourself. Many communities hold fix-it clinics. They are a lot of fun, and they provide an opportunity for tech-minded folks to volunteer time and support the community and learn along the way. A leader in the self-repair arena is IFIXIT, “the free repair guide for everything, written by everyone.” It contains instructions, tools, tips, and much more on how to fix almost any electronic device.

    Any of these choices will help save valuable resources and prevent the landfilling of used electronics that can be refurbished instead. Buying refurbished also makes use of the existing products and prevents the negative environmental impacts created by the manufacture of new components and devices. Even if a device can’t be fully refurbished, some of the components could be harvested for reuse in other devices.

    Remember: refurbish over recycle—it’s the higher use of the planet’s resources!

    Posted on In the Loop by Jim Madden, CalRecycle on May 13, 2019

  • Planet Protecting-Prom: Dance the Night Away Eco-Guilt-Free

    Sandy and Danny dancing in the movie Grease

    Corsages and cummerbunds mark prom season just before the end of the school year. Soon students will be shopping for dresses, tuxes, and limos, but at what cost to the environment? If you’re a freshman to the world of sustainability, take note of these tips for a planet-protecting prom.

    Various prom dresses

    Give Fast Fashion the Slip

    It can be difficult to avoid those inexpensive clothing items when you or your teenager are fashion-forward on a budget. But, armed with the knowledge that the fashion industry (especially fast fashion) is one of the main contributors to landfill waste, pollution, and unfair labor practices, it might be a little easier to give up those bargain garments. Instead, try purchasing something secondhand. Just because it was previously owned, that does not mean it is cheap, tacky, or unsophisticated. In fact, most prom dresses are only worn once, so it’s likely any “used” dress will be in excellent condition—not to mention less expensive. You can also get creative and refashion a secondhand item that has potential. Don’t have enough room in your closet or not as creative as you’d like to be? Find a dress rental company in your area—tuxes are rented, so why can’t a dress be? Another option can be a formal clothing exchange between friends, an exchange program, or even your library—yes, your library! There are also plenty of places to donate your dress when you’re done with it.

    Olive Oyl applying makeup

    Makeover Your Cosmetic Bag

    Looking your best doesn’t stop at your outfit, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of the planet. Whether you or your teen wears makeup or simple moisturizer, applies lots of hair product or just needs a razor to get rid of unwanted stubble, there is an earth-friendly option for everyone. Start by asking what cosmetics and beauty accessories are made of—plastic or natural ingredients? Biodegradable or single-use? What about excess packaging? Look for zero-waste companies, or DIY your cosmetics.

    Limo driving to dance

    Limopool

    If you or your teen can afford to rent a limo, make sure to get as many passengers as possible. This will help offset the carbon emissions created by driving multiple cars, and it can also help bring down the cost of the rental. If a limo isn’t in the cards, try regular carpooling or even a pedicab if the venue is nearby. No one expects anyone to ride their bike in their formals, but a pedicab or even a horse-drawn carriage can be a fun and eco-friendly option if the dance is nearby.

    Peter Parker handing a corsage to his date

    Corsage Compost

    After the night is over, the formal footwear is kicked off and it’s time to hit the hay, don’t toss your boutoniere or corsage in the trash. If you don’t plan on hanging on to your flowers as a keepsake, compost it or throw it in your yard waste bin minus the ribbons, pins, and other decorations—you can always reuse those, but they don’t belong in the pile with other organic waste.

    Now get out there and promenade that planet-protecting way, knowing you did the right thing for future prom-goers!

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Apr 8, 2019