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

  • Putting Cap-and-Trade Dollars to Work for California

    CalRecycle’s greenhouse gas reduction grant and loan programs put Cap-and-Trade dollars to work for California by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening our economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

    Since 2014, CalRecycle has received $105 million from Cap-and-Trade funding. So far, funds have been funneled into three grant categories:

    • Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program—$9.38 million
    • Organics Grant Program—$72 million
    • Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass Grant Program—$14 million

    You can read more about specific grant recipients and their efforts to help expand California’s recycling infrastructure in the “Putting Cap-and-Trade Dollars to Work for California” booklet.

    CalRecycle receives Cap-and-Trade funds to help California meet two statewide objectives: 

    • Reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfills by 75 percent by 2020 (AB 341)
    • Reduce the amount of organic material going to landfills by 75 percent by 2025 and recover at least 20 percent of disposed edible food by 2025 (SB 1383)

    California will need to move about 20 million tons a year out of the disposal stream to meet these goals. Regarding 75 percent organics recycling – a statewide mandate – CalRecycle estimates that roughly 50 to 100 new and expanded organics recycling facilities, at a cost of approximately $2 billion to $3 billion in capital investment, are needed to handle this amount of material.

    CalRecycle-funded organics recycling and digestion projects expand existing capacity or establish new facilities to reduce the amount of California-generated green materials and/or alternative daily cover sent to landfills. Landfilling of organics generates methane, a GHG about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year horizon.

    Food Waste Prevention and Rescue projects (often run by food banks and food pantries) keep edible food out of landfills by reducing the amount of food waste that is generated or rescuing edible food from the waste stream.

    Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass projects build or expand infrastructure for manufacturing products with recycled fiber (paper, textiles, carpet, or wood), plastic, or glass.

    Together, these programs are expanding the necessary infrastructure for California to manage our waste responsibly. As an added bonus, they also happen to be among the most cost-effective GHG grant programs in the state!

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 8, 2018

  • Autumn: Prime time for backyard composting

    Summer has given way to autumn, and we’re pulling on our boots and clomping off to the coffee shop for pumpkin-spice lattes. And soon, my backyard tree will be dropping enough leaves to ramp up my suburban compost bin again.

    My city provides me with a “brown bin” that I can use for organic waste, so even when I’m not composting with my bin, my organic waste is not decomposing in a landfill somewhere and generating methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.

    But I enjoy playing weekend farmer in my little backyard, and my compost bin is magic: I toss in banana peels and coffee grounds, and I pull out a rich, nutritious soil amendment. And there are benefits to making my own compost rather than buying it at a garden supply store: I know exactly what’s in it, I don’t have to pay for it, and I don’t need to haul it home.

    At CalRecycle, we get pretty excited about composting, so we’ve got all sorts of resources for people who want to start composting, increase or improve their compost yield, or troubleshoot potential problems. The trick, I think, is to not get bogged down trying to figure out the perfect system. Just pick a bin that works for the space you have, and get started. You can fine-tune later. For all my worries, I have never seen a rodent around my bin, and I’ve never had a smelly bin. (Since my neighbors are very close by, I tend to keep my pile a little drier than optimal just to be on the safe side as far as odor goes. I pay for that caution with a slower composting process.)

    Be sure to check out CalRecycle’s backyard composting primer, complete with directions, explanations, and links to additional resources. Here’s a quick look at the process, which should reduce the intimidation factor and get you started:

    First, get a bin. (I love my stackable bin, but my city gives away a hoop bin to residents. Check with your city or local jurisdiction.) You can also build a bin. An optimal bin is about 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and 3 feet tall. Then, follow these steps:

    • Start with a layer of “brown” material such as dried leaves and twigs. This material provides carbon for the pile.
    • Add a layer of “green” material like coffee grounds, tea bags, and produce scraps. This provides nitrogen.
    • Mix it up with a shovel or pitchfork. (Or, “turn it,” as compost folks like to say.)
    • Add water until it’s the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
    • Top the pile with just enough “brown” material so no “green” material is exposed.
    • Give it another light watering.
    • Wait as long as you like. Days, weeks, whatever works for you.

    Then repeat. That’s all!

    Once the magic starts to happen and you discover your kitchen scraps have actually turned into a rich, moist soil amendment, you can decide how much effort and precision you’d like to put into your compost project. If you go for “gourmet” composting, you’ll get much more (and higher quality) material. If, like me, you stick with “casual” composting, you’ll still get enough to energize your spring veggies and ornamentals, plus more for mulching.

    If you don’t have the space for a composting bin, consider community-scale composting and get to know your neighbors. Whether you turn your own bin or work in a group plot, you’ll all have good “dirt” to share over your coffee drinks.

    Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones on Sep 25, 2018

  • The Garbage Bin: It’s Not for Just Any Old Thing

    It might seem like you should be able to throw anything in your garbage bin, close the lid, roll it to the curb, and be done with it. That’s the service you’re paying the “hauler” for, right? To haul away all the stuff you don’t want anymore?

    Actually, no.

    Many household items are potentially hazardous for sanitation workers to handle and transport. They can also pose environmental hazards if they end up in a landfill. While it would be nice to be able to toss your dead batteries, used motor oil, and half-empty paint cans into the bin, your local hauler is not equipped to handle those items, known as household hazardous waste. You can’t put them in your recycling bin, either, for many of the same reasons.

    Here is a quick list of waste that’s banned from the trash bin and the recycling bin.

    • Batteries, including alkaline and lithium-ion, rechargeable and single-use, car batteries, and any other batteries.
    • Fluorescent lamps and tubes, including fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps, and sodium vapor lamps.
    • Electronic devices, including computers, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios, and microwave ovens.
    • Sharps and medical waste
    • Pesticides and herbicides
    • Paints and solvents, including latex paint, oil-based paint, and paint thinner
    • Treated wood
    • Motor oil and filters

    Check Earth911’s search page to find out where to take these materials, and use our Where to Recycle map to find a used oil recycling center near you. You can also check our Local Government Household Hazardous Waste Websites directory. Some local governments offer HHW pickup, so check with yours about available services.

    Sure, doing a little research and then perhaps carting your own trash around is not as convenient as simply rolling it to the curb, but each of us has a responsibility to recycle right. You’ll be doing your part to protect the environment and the workers who handle your waste.

    For more detailed information, see our Wastes Banned from the Trash webpage.

    Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones on Sep 12, 2018