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

  • Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco

    CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline to Speak on Food Waste at Affiliate Event

    This week marks the first Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. The event commences on Wednesday, September 12, and concludes on Friday, September 14. You can follow along via live stream on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter

    The event will bring together leaders and citizens from around the world to “Take Ambition to the Next Level.” Speakers include world leaders, scientists, CEOs, city mayors, musicians, and celebrities. Representing California, you’ll hear from:

    • California State Controller Betty Yee
    • California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra
    • Chair of the California Air Resources Board Mary Nichols
    • San Francisco Mayor London Breed
    • Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti
    • Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf

    CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline will be speaking at an affiliate event on Wednesday called “More Feast, Less Footprint: New Goals and Progress Towards Wasting Less Food.” Director Smithline will discuss “Financing the Change.”  You can livestream the event on Twitter via Periscope from the @PCCleads Twitter account, and a link will remain on the PCC Twitter feed for viewing after the broadcast concludes. The event starts at 1 p.m. on Sept.12, 2018, and Scott presents at 3:15 p.m. 

    Here are some additional details about the topics to be discussed, from the event website:

    “The impacts of wasted food are truly jaw dropping—approximately one third of food around the world goes uneaten, giving wasted food a collectively larger carbon footprint than any single country other than the US and China.

    “In fact, wasting less food is ranked the #3 solution for carbon impact by Project Drawdown—higher than building solar farms or planting trees.  Addressing wasted food also reduces pressure on land and water resources and creates opportunities to relieve food insecurity. It is a global problem that touches everyone.  Through collaborative actions across government and the private sector, we have an opportunity to address environmental, hunger, and climate change challenges.

    “Actions to reduce wasted food are garnering rapid uptake both nationally and internationally. Learn about new goals and the latest progress in both government and the private sector.”

    Food waste reduction is also part of a climate strategy to prevent waste disposal in landfills. Methane emissions resulting from the decomposition of food and yard waste (collectively known as organic waste) in landfills are a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contributing to global climate change. When landfilled, organic waste emits methane gas, a short-lived climate pollutant 70 times more powerful than CO2. California recently enacted SB 1383, which mandates the diversion of 50 percent of currently landfilled food and yard waste by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025, using a 2014 baseline. The law also establishes a  target that not less than 20 percent of currently disposed edible food is recovered for human consumption by 2025.

    Food waste alone accounts for approximately 18 percent of total landfill disposal. Increasing food waste prevention and edible food rescue will benefit Californians who are unable to secure adequate, healthy food by diverting edible food to food banks and pantries, and help reduce methane emissions from organic waste disposed in California’s landfills.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Sep 10, 2018

  • Package-Free Hummus

    Since coming to CalRecycle as an Executive Fellow and learning more about waste management in California, I have been more thoughtful about the waste I create in my own life. Packaging represents about one quarter of California’s waste stream, and   China’s current policy to limit or prohibit recyclable material imports is changing how recycling works in California. Recyclable materials that once had robust market demand are increasingly difficult to manage in the state.

    In fact, the City of Sacramento, where I live and where CalRecycle headquarters are located, recently announced it is no longer accepting #4-7 plastic in its curbside recycling program. As a result, I am rethinking my consumer choices.

    I am a big fan of hummus, a creamy dip made from chickpeas, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and tahini. Hummus is delicious just with these simple five ingredients, but it is also versatile and tastes fantastic with the addition of spices like cumin or paprika. I’ve even heard of folks blending steamed beets into their hummus for amazing flavor and color. I eat my hummus with carrots, with delicious farmers market cucumbers, spread on toast, and with crackers.

    Prior to becoming a CalRecycler, I would generally purchase hummus weekly at the grocery store in a plastic tub without thinking much about what would happen to that plastic tub once I was done with it.  Luckily for me (and for you!), I recently discovered it’s super easy to make from scratch.

    Here is my easy, versatile, delicious, and plastic-packaging-free hummus recipe. I skip the packaging altogether, purchase my chickpeas in bulk, and cook them in my pressure cooker, but if you’re strapped for time, canned chickpeas work great too. I also make my own tahini, which is a toasted sesame seed condiment and is crucial for making hummus. Tahini is available premade if you don’t want to take the extra step.

    Package-Free Hummus


    • 2 cup chickpeas, cooked and drained (or 1 15-ounce can)
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons tahini
    • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon), plus more as needed
    • 1 garlic clove
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    • Food processor or blender
    • Rubber spatula
    • Strainer or colander
    • Measuring cups and spoons


    1. Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Make sure to reserve some of the bean liquid for thinning out the hummus later, if necessary.
    2. Combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper in the food processor or blender.
    3. Blend the ingredients and slowly add in the olive oil while the food processor or blender is running.
    4. Blend up to five minutes, stopping to scrape down the side of the food processor or blender with a rubber spatula if necessary.
    5. Taste and adjust seasonings. You can also add your reserved chickpea water and blend again if you feel like the hummus is too thick.
    6. Transfer to bowl and serve! You can add any additional seasonings you would like. I enjoy some smoked paprika, cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
    7. Enjoy!
    Posted on In the Loop by Allegra Curiel on Aug 27, 2018

  • Sun-sational Tips for a Sustainable Summer Vacation

    Greetings from Summer Vacation

    If you already live a sustainable lifestyle, why would you take a vacation from it when you’re actually on vacation? If you’re ready to add some R & R to your reduce, reuse, recycle routine, here’s how to get away without breaking away from your green lifestyle.

    Cave with sunlight shining from entrance

    Destination Conservation

    When choosing a vacation spot, look for a destination that focuses on conservation, like a state or national park. California alone has 280 state parks (with 15,000 campsites) with forest, desert, lake, and beach landscapes. Vacationing in nature provides the perfect way to unplug and serves as a bold reminder that when you’re living a green lifestyle, you’re protecting our beautiful planet.

    For those who’d prefer a getaway with more amenities, consider booking a room at an eco-friendly hotel or resort.  National Geographic has a catalog of unique hotels around the world that specialize in one-of-a-kind sustainable experiences. A simple Internet search can also be helpful—features to look for might include electric vehicle charging stations, bike rentals, biodegradable hotel key cards, water and energy conservation measures, soap and shampoo dispensers, farm-to-fork menus, and/or a less-waste spa. Choosing a location that is centrally located and easy to navigate on foot, by bike, or by public transportation is a great way to keep your vacation air clean.

    Open baggage with items in it

    Claiming Your Baggage

    What you pack for your trip is key—the lighter your bag, the less energy you use to get it to your destination. Packing clothing you can wear multiple times in different ways will make getting ready a whole lot easier, save space, save money since you don’t have to pay extra baggage fees, and allow you to keep tabs on your luggage at all times. See if you can stay away from packing items in plastic bags, and try separating clean clothes and shoes using a fabric pouch instead. 

    Woman shampooing her hair

    Clean, Green, and Pristine  

    It’s important to pack eco-friendly toiletries. Sure, most hotels have those adorably convenient mini shampoos, soaps, and lotions, but if you’re not keen on the plastic waste or you’re not staying in a traditional hotel, bringing your own toiletries is important. Start with a shampoo bar! Similar to bars of soap, a shampoo bar is meant for your hair and is a great, and often package-free, way to keep your locks squeaky clean while reducing waste. Don’t stop at a shampoo bar—bring your own bar of soap (or use your shampoo bar for your body), reusable razor, and  bamboo toothbrush (a more sustainable and biodegradable option). Try storing your items in environmentally friendly carriers like a soap tin, small jar, or fabric pouch. 

    Shoppers clamoring for souvenirs at a a shop

    Skip the Souvenirs

    It’s so fun to bring home a little trinket of your fun-filled trip, whether it’s for yourself or for a loved one, but consider how many items you’ll bring home and where they’ll end up. An alternative would be to send an email or post photos on social media to let people know about your amazing trip. If you just can’t avoid purchasing a souvenir for your best friend or grandma, find something that is high-quality (it won’t wear out easily and end up in the landfill), locally made (less energy for travel), and meaningful (so they won’t just let it collect dust or toss it in the trash). 

    Hikers on a foggy mountain trail

    Keeping Yourself Busy

    If you’re an active type of vacationer, find out if there are things you can do that align with your green lifestyle. A popular trend among travelers is  do-good activities like a lake cleanup boat ride, saving sea turtles, or taking care of your favorite hiking trail. It’s the perfect way to show your love to the planet, see the local scenery, absorb local color, and feel good about what you’re doing. And keep in mind, the activity doesn’t have to take up your whole holiday—you can still take time to rest and relax. 

    Meat skewers being barbequed on a dining table

    Local Cuisine

    Half the fun of getting out of town is sampling the  local cuisine! Finding a restaurant that serves locally sourced food is a great way to support surrounding farms and businesses. It’s also an excellent way to cut down on fuel and emissions that come from shipping non-local foods. Try the coffee in Seattle, the gumbo in New Orleans, the barbecue in Texas, the lobster in Maine, or the sourdough in San Francisco! 

    Nest digital thermostat

    Before You Go

    Before you pack up and hit the road, make sure to prepare your home for your absence. Aside from securing your home, turn your thermostat to “away” temperatures so you won’t be wasting energy on heating and air conditioning that you won’t be around to enjoy. Some recommend turning your thermostat to 85 degrees when you’re gone in the summer and 60 degrees when you’re gone in the winter. Ultimately, you need to decide what you’re comfortable with, especially if you have pets or plants that could be affected by the temperature changes. A  smart thermostat with an app linked to your phone might be a good option, and many utility companies provide discounts and rebates. Also, don’t forget to unplug any unnecessary appliances that could suck up a bunch of energy. Finally, have the post office hold any of your mail, or better yet, put a stop to unwanted junk mail and paper bills by  opting out.

    Now, have a wonderful, fun, safe, rewarding, and eco-friendly vacation wherever you end up on the globe!

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Aug 9, 2018