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

  • Sustainability Study Session: How to Have an Eco-Friendly School Year

    Another school year is quickly approaching (or may have already approached in some school districts) and it’s time to do some back-to-school shopping! But, how do you earn an A+ when it comes to the environment? Take notes, parents. We’re about to school you on how to get a gold star in saving time, money, and the environment.  Toy pig writing on notepaper

    Bye, Bye, Buy

    Ugh, those shiny new binders, markers, and backpacks are calling your name! And it’s so tempting to take part in those back-to-school blowout sales, but the best thing to do is hold off until you know exactly what you need. Resist the hypnotic grasp of those two-for-one notebook sales and take inventory of what you have left over from last year. If you still have blank paper, sharp scissors, and a perfectly good backpack, do your wallet a favor and save the cash you would have spent on new supplies.

    Back To School Supplies

    What Goes Around, Comes Around

    When you do have to buy, because you will inevitably have to get some new supplies, look for recycled content items. Lots of stores have unique notebooks, pens, pencilslunch boxesbackpacks, and school sets that are made from recycled content. They tend to be a little pricier so you could just purchase one or two items to stay within budget. Also, keep in mind you’re doing the right thing – and who can really put a price tag on that? If you’re on a super tight budget (we’ve all been there) peruse our  Back-to-School or  Recycling for Teachers Pinterest board for upcycle and reuse ideas instead.

    Book ’em!

    Social media is very useful for tracking people whose yearbooks you wrote in decades ago, breaking news, and getting the word out to a mass audience. Use it to find out if anyone you know has books you can trade. Chances are if your Madison is a year younger than her soccer buddy, Aiden or Jaiden or Haiden or Caiden (who can even keep track anyway), they might have a book she can use for her upcoming class. And don’t forget to offer up your used books to others as well. Trading and/or renting is much nicer to the environment and your budget. And since paper makes up about 17 percent of what we send to landfills in California, we think it’s worth it to trade or buy used. Once you’ve passed them along, those books won’t take up room at your house or the dump. 

    Girl looking at book saying It's like TV in your head

    Throwback Threads

    Same goes for clothing! About 98 percent of textiles that end up in the landfill could have been recycled. So, see if you can organize a clothing swap via social media. Kids often outgrow things before they get a chance to break them in so they still look like new. While you’re at it, see if other parents want to participate. It’s an easy way to swap your wardrobe for a new one and not feel guilty about spending money or just tossing your “old” clothes out to keep your closet neat. You can even get creative and upcycle some old items. And by the way, 90s fashion is coming back (for some reason) so if you have some throwback threads, include them too! 

    Girl Trying On Clothes

    Kiddie Caravan

    Now that you’ve got those throwback threads, books, and a recycled content backpack, show them off by treating the sidewalk like a catwalk. If you live within walking distance of your kids’ school, organize a kiddie caravan. Have parents take turns walking or biking smaller students to school instead of driving. It’s a nice way to get those steps in and prevent unnecessary air pollution. You do want your kids to grow up with clean air, don’t you? 

    Duck And Ducklings

    Share and Share Alike

    Check with your kids’ school to see if they have a recycling and compost program. While schools are required to have both a recycling and an  organics recycling program in place, it’s a good idea to follow up with them and even help them come up with new ideas. One trend that is catching on are “share tables” for food that is unwanted, but still perfectly edible and delicious. Kids put food they aren’t going to eat on the table and other kids can have it.  It’s an excellent way to teach them a valuable lesson about sharing, prevent food waste, and get those calories in growing children’s bellies. 

    Man looking at platter of food'

    Pack it Up, Pack it In

    Also, keep in mind what you pack in your children’s lunches. An easy way to keep food and trash out of the landfill is to learn how much your kids are going to eat and only  pack reusable items instead of single-use items like juice pouches, plastic zipper bags, yogurt tubes, and plastic utensils. Replace those items (this doesn’t have to be done all at once, but gradually) with a reusable water/juice bottle, lunch containersreusable fabric zipper bags, cloth napkins, and reusable utensils. 

    Food Containers

    A for Effort

    Finally, be flexible. Learning how to be green in a single school year is tough! But it’s not impossible. If you’re aiming to be more eco-friendly, it’s a lot easier to digest if you don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start small and reward yourself and your kids for doing the right thing. And for more environmentally-related school information, check out  California EEI, a free CalRecycle program that is bringing environmental literacy to California classrooms. 

    Wood paneling
    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Aug 20, 2018

  • California Eyes Upgrade to Aging E-Waste Program

    Expansion Could Include Nearly All Devices with Cords or Batteries

    SACRAMENTO – In an effort to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is out with a new set of recommendations to redesign California’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act (SB 20, Sher, Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003).

    Right now, the state’s Covered Electronic Waste (CEW) payment program includes just a fraction of the estimated 120 million electronic devices purchased in California each year. Without a change, millions of these devices—which often contain hazardous materials such as lead and mercury—could be illegally disposed or improperly managed. 

    “California’s CEW program created the infrastructure needed to safely manage the state’s e-waste while providing convenience for consumers and cost relief for local governments, but technology is changing and our program must change, too,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “As electronics get more complex, California must innovate e-waste management to maximize resource conservation and minimize public and environmental harm.”

    Following two years of workshops, surveys, and discussions with tech leaders and other stakeholders, CalRecycle developed a summary and recommendations for the Future of Electronic Waste Management in California.  Among the top recommendations are the expansion of the number and type of products covered under the CEW program. 

    Devices Currently Covered in the CEW Program

    (Screens greater than 4” diagonally) 

    • Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Televisions, Monitors, Devices
    • Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Televisions and Monitors
    • Laptops with LCD screens, including most tablets
    • Plasma Televisions
    • Portable DVD Players with LCD Screens 

    Proposed  Covered Electronic Devices

    • Most Devices Requiring Batteries or Power Cords

    Other CalRecycle recommendations to redesign California’s e-waste management efforts include:

    • Incentivizing greater repair and reuse of electronic devices
    • Increasing manufacturer responsibilities, including labeling and greater attention to durability/recyclability
    • Exploring a transition from the current consumer fee to a manufacturer funded program to cover the costs of proper end-of-life product management
    • Annually adjusting recycling and recovery payments to authorized CEW collectors and recyclers
    • Encouraging industry take-back programs for emerging technologies like electric car batteries and solar panels

    CalRecycle formally adopted the above policy recommendations at its May 2018 public meeting. Moving forward, the department will continue to engage stakeholders on these recommendations.

    Stay informed of new developments with CalRecycle’s Future of E-waste webpage or subscribe to our E-waste listserv.

    Fast Facts: Electronic Waste in California

    • California’s CEW program has successfully managed more than 2.2 billion pounds of e-waste since 2005
    • Electronics are considered hazardous waste and are illegal to dispose in household trash
    • 273,878 tons of (mostly non-CEW) electronics make their way to California landfills each year
    • Batteries hidden inside e-waste cause explosions and fires when shredded at recycling and recovery facilities
    • Newer electronics are smaller and more costly to dismantle, and they have less scrap material value
    • Covered Electronic Waste program payments are weight-based
    • 46 percent of household hazardous waste collected by local governments is e-waste
    • Roughly $55 billion is lost globally each year as a result of e-waste being trashed instead of recycled
    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Jun 7, 2018

  • Become a Lean, Green Workout Machine


    Spring has sprung and the days are getting warmer, but if you’re still wearing your 5- or 10-pound “winter coat”—you know, the one you put on during the holidays—don’t lose hope! Your summer bod is just around the corner, and you can get it without creating any waste or spending money. All you need are items around the house that might have been headed for the trash or recycling bin.


    Paper Plates, Not Weight Plates

    Almost everyone has leftover paper plates from a party. But, if you recently decided to ditch the single-use plates and go less-waste at your next shindig, what do you do with those remaining paper plates? Turn them into glider discs, obviously! Using glider discs can add a degree of difficulty to your lunges and pushups. Placing your foot on the glider disc—or in this case paper plate—and doing a reverse lunge requires more stability from your torso and works your abs in addition to your legs. You can also add a level of difficulty to your pushups by placing your hand on a paper plate glider disk and sliding it to the side or front of you as you go down and toward you as you go back up. Just make sure you’re gliding on a smooth or carpeted surface. 


    Tickets for the Water Gun Show

    Bulk up your biceps and triceps with water bottles and laundry detergent jugs. Instead of tossing them in the recycling bin, fill them up with water—a gallon weighs approximately 8 pounds, and the easy-to-grip handles are perfect for grasping. Curl, press, or swing your jug for seriously sculpted arms. You can also use small water bottles as light weights and substitute them for any regular dumbbell workouts. One of the best parts about using water or detergent jugs is the fact that they’re adjustable. You can add or remove water as necessary to achieve a weight that works for you. When you’re done with your workout, you can use the water for your house plants. 


    Abs-olutely Fabulous

    Not sure why you’re still receiving the Yellow Pages on your doorstep? While you can opt out from ever receiving them again, you can use the ones you already have for almost any exercise that requires a weight plate or medicine ball. Holding a heavy book while doing exercises like sit-ups, oblique twists, or weighted planks are a great way to get abs as firm as a big book. 


    Instability Can Be a Good Thing

    Balance is a major part of a good workout routine. It works your core and it keeps you from falling during those extra-strenuous exercises. One way to develop strong balance is to work on something unstable like a Bosu ball, but this is all about using something that would normally go in the trash, right? You can achieve the same instability by using some old pillows you were planning to throw in the garbage. While they might seem too personal to donate to a secondhand store, they are definitely something you wouldn’t mind putting your workout shoes on. You can do a number of exercises on your cushions, like bodyweight squats, step-overs, and pushups. Try a few reps until you achieve perfect balance.


    Throw in the Towel

    A very important part of every workout is the cool-down and stretch period. If you have a ripped towel, instead of throwing it away or adding it to the pile of dusting rags, use it in place of a yoga mat. Or, cut it into long strips and turn it into stretching straps. Straps are a great way to help with hamstring stretches, which improve mobility. You can do this stretch by placing the towel strip on the arch of your foot and holding on to both ends of the strap. This can be done sitting up or lying on your back.

    As with any exercise routine, make sure you consult your physician to make sure you’re healthy enough to work out. Give yourself plenty of rest and recovery time between workouts. And always stay hydrated with your reusable water bottle! 

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jun 4, 2018