Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
Did you know composting your food waste helps the environment? When landfilled, organic material emits methane gas, which directly contributes to climate change. If you have outdoor space, consider composting to prevent methane emissions and to create a rich soil amendment for your own use. Find basic directions on our compost webpage, and check out these tools that can make it easier to compost at home.
Using a pail or crock to collect coffee grounds, onion peels, potato peels, and table scraps in your kitchen will reduce the number of trips you make to the green bin or your own compost bin.
Kitchen pails and crocks are available in a variety of materials like stainless steel, ceramic, bamboo, and plastic. Look for a container with a lid, which prevents odors from permeating your kitchen. Or consider lining your pail with a compostable bag, which cuts down on odors and makes it easier to transport green waste to your curbside bin. (Note: Check with your local hauler to see if they accept compostable bags. Some haulers consider compostable bags to be contaminants.) Some pails and crocks work with charcoal filters, which also reduce odors.
Some Californians have a large backyard and can manage a compost pile on the ground, while others may have limited space or have concerns about attracting rodents with food scraps. If you want to contain your compost, you have several options. Wire cages, plastic bins, and wooden crates expose the outer edges of your compost pile to the air, but they require a manual turn with a pitchfork to aerate the center of the pile.
Want to speed up the process? Consider composting with worms. Vermicomposting is an efficient way to compost in a small space, and worm compost is considered by many in horticulture to be the very best soil amendment available.
Another option is a composting tumbler, which does not require heavy lifting to aerate the pile. Spin or turn your tumbler to aerate your compost more efficiently, which can reduce the amount of time it takes to convert organic waste into compost. Tumblers range in size from 25 gallons to 170 gallons, which makes them versatile options for every household.
If you use a traditional compost pile or bin, a manual aerator tool can help you mix your compost pile without heavy lifting. If your pile isn’t transforming organic material into compost efficiently, consider troubleshooting with a compost thermometer to measure the internal temperature.
Home composting creates a valuable soil amendment that contributes to healthier and more abundant produce in your backyard garden. We can each do our part to protect the environment and human health by reducing food waste and composting our kitchen scraps.Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Dec 20, 2018
Creative solutions key to success for state’s landmark new climate law
CalRecycle has long had a cooperative relationship with BioCycle, which focuses on organics recycling and publishes a magazine, hosts a website, and sponsors industry conferences. This year’s BioCycle West Coast 18 Conference was held last week, and CalRecycle Chief Deputy Director Ken DaRosa was the keynote speaker. CalRecycle provided the lead article for the magazine edition that focuses on the conference. The following is an abridged version of the full article.
The effects of global climate change are now upon us. It’s threatening lives, impacting our economy, and jeopardizing future generations. The question is now, what are we doing about it?
In California, slowing and eventually reversing the effects of climate change demands a collaborative effort to transform the state’s waste and recycling sector. It demands nothing short of an organics revolution.
Fortunately, that revolution is underway.
In 2016, Governor Edmund G. Brown signed legislation (Senate Bill 1383, Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016) that targets reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane. The law directs CalRecycle to adopt regulations and requirements to achieve a 50 percent reduction in organic waste disposal by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025. The law further requires that 20 percent of the amount of edible food currently disposed be recovered for human consumption by 2025. By calling for a significant reduction in the current levels of organics disposal, this law signals a definitive shift in California’s approach to organic waste management.
Right now, California recycles roughly 10 million tons of organic waste each year through composting, chip and grind, biomass energy, and anaerobic digestion facilities. California’s existing organics recycling infrastructure consists of 179 composting facilities (of which 50 handle nearly all of the green waste and food waste sent to composting), 162 chip-and-grind operations, approximately 20 biomass conversion facilities, and 15 anaerobic digestion facilities. At full capacity, these facilities could process perhaps an additional 1 million tons of organic material per year.
To achieve the targets outlined in SB 1383, California must recycle at least 20 million tons of organic waste. Depending on facility size, CalRecycle estimates the state will need 50 to 100 new or expanded composting and anaerobic digestion facilities. The roughly $2 billion capital infrastructure investment required to meet SB 1383 goals is significant, but California is uniquely positioned to meet this challenge. Our businesses innovate, our industries adapt, and our local communities find solutions.
Community Support, Local Siting, and Permitting
It’s important to remember compost operations and anaerobic digestion facilities are located in real communities, where people live. While smart regulations will be instrumental to achieving California’s organic waste and methane emissions reduction targets, the success of SB 1383 also hinges on support from our local communities. There’s no question these organics recycling infrastructure projects help diversify our local economies and create durable green jobs that can’t be outsourced.
At the same time, communities have legitimate concerns about having such facilities as neighbors, among them increased traffic and road wear and potential odor issues. To that end, SB 1383 regulations must require that cities, counties, project proponents, and local enforcement agencies conduct community outreach when new projects are proposed, particularly in disadvantaged communities, to hear local concerns and discuss mitigation of potentially negative effects.
Food Waste Prevention and Food Rescue
Achieving the edible food waste reduction targets outlined in SB 1383 will not only help reduce methane emissions from organic waste disposal, but food rescue has the added benefit of feeding Californians in need. Food waste alone accounts for roughly 18 percent of total landfill disposal (5 to 6 million tons) each year.
CalRecycle must work with local leaders and organizations to identify points in the food distribution chain where edible food is disposed and figure out ways to recover that food for the roughly 1 in 8 Californians who are food insecure.
In 2018, CalRecycle awarded $9.4 million in Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grants to 31 projects throughout the state that:
- Decrease the estimated 6 million tons of food waste landfilled in California each year, and
- Increase the state’s capacity to collect, transport, store, and distribute more food to Californians in need.
The organic waste reduction and edible food recovery targets California has established in SB 1383 are bold and historic next steps. Like most achievements, we know progress in this effort must be built locally and from the ground up. Through a shared commitment from the public, the waste and recycling industry, local governments, and the state, we can show the world—once again—how California’s core values of environmental protection, public health and safety, and economic vitality can not only coexist, but collectively bolster California’s next revolution in sustainable waste management.Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Apr 2, 2018