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

  • Keeping Track: CalRecycle's Top-Read Reports

    CalRecycle publishes more than a dozen reports every year in its publications database to provide updates on the status of our programs and detail how much our state is recycling and landfilling. If reading an entire report seems daunting, check out the executive summary, which provides the big-picture context, key statistics, and basic conclusions. Here’s a quick list of CalRecycle’s most-read reports.

    2017 State of Disposal and Recycling in California

    The 2017 report outlines the primary laws that govern waste management and recycling and evaluates the state’s progress in meeting statewide waste diversion goals. This report also outlines new tools and approaches to increase recycling in the state, like improving the quality and marketability of recyclable materials that continue to be generated. Fun fact from this report: In 2017, California generated 77.2 million tons of waste and recycled 42 percent of it.

    2017 California Exports of Recyclable Materials

    California’s recycling infrastructure has heavily relied upon the export of recyclable materials from California ports, and this report outlines the materials we export and the countries that accept these materials. California recyclable materials exports have been steadily declining since 2011, dropping more than 33 percent in weight since then, which resulted in a corresponding drop in the vessel value of exports by nearly $5 billion.

    2018 California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Program Fact Sheet

    This report provides a snapshot of the Beverage Container Recycling Program, including the recycling rate per material type, the total number of sales and redemptions, estimated revenues and expenditures, and the number of containers per pound by material type.

    2014 Disposal-Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California

    While the State of Disposal and Recycling report offers a big-picture look at how much waste is generated in California, this report reflects the results of an in-the-field study that examined the composition of our waste.  With up-to-date information on the types and amounts of materials disposed in the state’s waste stream, CalRecycle can better determine where changes are needed to achieve California’s 75 percent recycling goal. CalRecycle is currently conducting another waste characterization study that will likely be published in late 2019.

    SB 270: Report to the Legislature: Implementation Update and Policy Considerations for Management of Reusable Grocery Bags in California

    Curious about the success of the statewide plastic bag ban? This report provides an update to the California Legislature about how the plastic bag ban has decreased usage of single-use plastic bags and positively affected the waste stream.

    The Future of Electronic Waste Management in California

    Although not technically a report, this policy recommendation paper is an interesting read. It details how California’s current program needs to be expanded to include all the new types of electronics in the marketplace.

    SB 1383: Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment (SRIA)

    Curious about how the new organics law will affect California? This report details impacts on residents, businesses, and local governments, including benefits (like jobs created), direct costs (like rate increases), and an analysis of alternatives considered (like eliminating enforcement mechanism).

     

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Apr 4, 2019

  • CalRecycle Awards $25 Million for Organics Recycling Projects

    Communities Get Environmental and Economic Boost from California Climate Investments

    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 341-6293 | Lance.Klug@calrecycle.ca.gov

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has awarded more than $25 million in California Climate Investments to bolster organics recycling infrastructure in the state and rescue edible food for Californians in need. The projects in 10 California communities are set to transform nearly a half-million tons of discarded food, green waste, and other organic materials into value-added products like biofuel, compost, fertilizers, and soil amendments.

    “California has the opportunity to close the loop with organics by transforming the single largest part of our waste stream into a supply stream for local businesses,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “These California Climate Investments not only recycle California-generated waste into new and valuable products, they also create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”

    When sent to landfills, organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a short-lived climate pollutant 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program helps fund construction, renovation, or expansion of facilities in California that recycle organic material into products like compost and renewable energy.

    CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving human health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. CalRecycle used Fiscal Year 2017–18 grant funds to award the following projects:

    • Arakelian Enterprises Inc. (Doing business as Athens Services), San Bernardino County. Upgrade Victorville windrow composting facility to an aerated static  pile composting system to increase capacity, reduce air emissions, and help  protect water quality. $3,000,000
    • Best Way Disposal Company, Inc. (Doing business as Advance Disposal Co.),  San Bernardino County. Equipment upgrades at material recovery facility in Hesperia to remove contaminants from organic waste to divert the clean material for composting. $2,481,250
    • Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc., Riverside County. Construction of new covered composting system at Robert A. Nelson material recovery facility and transfer station near Riverside. $3,000,000
    • Contra Costa Waste Services (Partnering with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano), Contra Costa County. Purchase of new equipment and infrastructure upgrades at Mount Diablo Resource Recovery Park to utilize existing anaerobic digesters for increased organic waste landfill diversion and biogas production. Includes a food rescue partnership with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. $4,000,000
    • CR&R Incorporated, Riverside County. Third of a three-phase project at a current anaerobic digestion  facility in Perris. Expansion increases organic waste landfill diversion and  increases biofuel used to fuel CR&R vehicle fleet. $4,000,000
    • Recology Yuba-Sutter, Yuba County. First of a three-phase project to construct a new compost facility at Ostrom Road Landfill. This project received $2.8 million in a previous grant cycle.  $216,865
    • Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara County. Develop an anaerobic digestion facility at the Tajiguas Landfill to process currently landfilled organics into biogas and compost. $4,000,000
    • Upper Valley Disposal Service (Partnering with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services), Napa County. Construction of new “organics blending barn” to mix food, green, and  wood waste for composting. Includes a food rescue partnership with Sacramento  Food Bank and Family Services. $1,250,000
    • Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. (Partnering with Alameda County Community Food Bank), Alameda County. Purchase of pre-processing equipment for a new organic material recovery facility in San Leandro. Separated materials will be composted at a new facility co-located at the Davis Street complex. Includes food rescue partnerships with Alameda County Community Food Bank. $3,000,000
    • West Coast Waste, Madera County. Construction of a new aerated static pile composting facility to divert currently landfilled green material. This project received $1.2 million in a previous grant cycle.  $161,326

          Total: $25,109,441

    CalRecycle awards Organics Grants based on criteria of greenhouse gas reductions, the amount of organic material diverted from landfills, benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities, and project readiness. Eligible applicants include cities, counties, and other local agencies; businesses; California universities and colleges; nonprofit organizations; and qualifying Indian Tribes. Maximum Organics Grant awards are $4 million for anaerobic digestion projects and $3 million for compost projects.

    Learn more about CalRecycle’s new Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, California’s push to recover edible food for hungry people before it becomes waste, and the state’s latest investments to turn food and other organic waste into renewable energy or increase compost capacity and demand in California.

    Posted on In the Loop on Jul 5, 2018

  • California Launches its Organics Revolution

    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.

    The Scope

    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.

    Looking Forward

    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