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

  • Eco-Summer Checklist

    The summer is speeding to a close, but you still have time to check some eco-friendly activities off your to-do list. Need some help? We’ve got you covered!

    The word Summer with animation

    Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot

    Are you feeling the heat? You’re not alone! There are many ways you can combat it, but the quickest way is to  weatherize your home by sealing windows and doors and by using heat- and light-blocking curtains. Program your thermostats to conserve energy while you’re away. You’ll save money and energy.

    Heat Wave Continues Animation

    California Grown

    Want to save more energy? Plant some native trees around your home, if possible, to provide shade and clean the air. While you’re at it, plant more native, drought-tolerant flora and fauna to keep those pesky summer mosquitoes away. If you feel so inclined and want to prevent food waste, try starting a compost pile. Your new, eco-friendly native plants will thank you for refreshed, nutrient-rich soil! 

    People Planting a Tree

    Three Sheets to the Wind

    While we’re on the topic of saving energy, why fire up that dryer when you’re done with your washer? If you can,  set up a clothesline outside and let the summer heat do the drying for you. You can burn a few extra calories hanging and taking down your clothes and also eliminate the use of disposable dryer sheets—they increase landfill dependency and contain fragrances that set off allergies in people sensitive to chemicals. The sun also helps to whiten those whites, but be careful not to leave dark clothing out too long.

    Woman Peeping Through Bloomers On Clothes Line

    That’s How We Roll

    Summer tends to have a “let’s get off the couch and do something fun” effect on people, and it’s the perfect time to dust off your bike, skateboard, or  roller skates! If you live in an area that is easy to navigate without a vehicle, act like a kid again by biking or skating to your destination (or at least to public transportation or your carpool buddy’s place). It’s just plain fun, it’s good exercise, and it reduces carbon emissions that you would normally produce driving your car.

    Roller Skater

    Splish, Splash

    While you’re being a kid again, don’t stop at skating and biking. Think about what made summers so fun when you were younger—no school and water balloon fights probably made the top of your list. But, balloons can be kind of an eco-nightmare, and it’s kind of hard to justify wasting so much water. So, why not meet in the middle?  DIY sponge water bombs are a fun and reusable alternative. Soak them in water and bombs away (preferably on an area that needs watering anyway)! Once summer is over, pack them up for next year or reuse them to wash your dishes!

    Stuff Your Face

    After working up an appetite, eat locally. Eating food that was grown and cooked nearby ensures freshness. We also know local food did not travel as far to get to us and is therefore less pollute-y. California is rich with delicious farm-to-fork restaurants, but if you can’t find one you like, there’s always the option of growing your own food and cooking it yourself. 

    Sandwich Makings

    The Great Outdoors

    What’s summer without camping? It’s the quintessential summer activity. Put an eco-friendly spin on it with a “ leave no trace” trip. Always take out what you brought in so you don’t litter even the tiniest amount. The best way to do that is to pack reusables that you wouldn’t want to leave behind and leave those disposables at home (or at the store). Also, leave what you find. That includes any cool rocks or that perfect walking stick—it might seem like a good idea to take home, but remember it’s probably pretty happy right where it is.

    Campfire And Tent At Dusk

    Have you checked any of these off your summer to-do list yet? Do you have any more that you think need to be added to the list?

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

  • Green Goodbyes

    Forever in Your Heart, Not on Earth

    Couple watching Earthrise from bench

    It can be a difficult subject to broach: what to do when your time comes to an end here on earth. Before my grandma died several years ago, I tried to delicately learn what her end-of-life wishes were, but she refused to talk about death. This made it incredibly difficult to plan her funeral or carry out her last wishes. When the time came, I arranged her funeral and did the best I could to make the decisions I thought she would make if she had planned ahead. Everything turned out beautifully, but I couldn’t help but think how much more smoothly things would have gone if we had a plan. I began to do my own research so hopefully my loved ones could carry out my last wishes with minimal stress—and if possible, minimal impact on the environment. Here are several eco-friendly options if you would like the treatment of your physical remains to reflect your green lifestyle.

    Simple Casket

    Simple Burial

    Still practiced today, simple burials in wooden coffins are a relatively eco-friendly option. Lumber can be sustainably grown and harvested, and the live trees sequester CO2 from the air. Plain pine caskets do not have chemical finishes, but they can be customized with biodegradable finishes and compostable fabrics. Some companies will even plant more trees if you pledge to use a plain pine casket. Simple wooden caskets are also less expensive than traditional ones, which is often helpful during times of financial strain brought on by funeral planning.

    Wicker Casket

    Woven Casket

    Similar in size and shape to a traditional casket, the woven casket is both beautiful and biodegradable. Woven like a basket, the caskets are handcrafted with sustainable materials to leave a smaller environmental footprint. They are comparable in price to a traditional commercial casket and come in many different sizes and styles to fit your needs.

    Legs standing in ocean waves

    Aquamation

    Only legal in 15 states, California included,  aquamation is starting to gain acceptance in America. The process is this: Remains are submerged in a solution of mostly water and a small amount of alkali. The solution is heated, allowing the body to shed everything but bone and metal. The liquid is then treated like any other waste water or can be used as fertilizer. There are no emissions, less electricity is used, no land plot is necessary, and it costs approximately the same as cremation. While some have argued this is akin to “flushing” a loved one, this process merely accelerates the natural decomposition process.

    Mushroom Burial Suit

    Mushroom Burial Suit

    As the saying goes, we are dust and to dust we shall return. This is particularly true with the  mushroom burial suit. With this nontraditional approach, a “suit” is made with organic cotton and has mushroom spores woven into the fabric that will detoxify and consume remains (human or pet). It costs approximately the same as a commercial casket, but it offers a more environmentally friendly way to return to the earth—and it even provides nutrients to grow more life.

    Burial Pods

    Burial Pods

    Proof that life never truly ends is especially evident with the  burial pod. Designed in Italy but available and legal in the United States, burial pods are similar to mushroom suits in that they fuel more life, but in this case they feed trees instead of mushrooms. Currently only available for ashes (though plans to encapsulate a full body are in the works), the pods are buried and a tree is planted on top of it to gain nutrients from the remains. Additionally, the tree can serve as a memorial of your loved one while also cleaning the air. Burial pods are significantly less expensive than a traditional commercial casket. (As an aside, traditional cremation is not considered eco-friendly at this point due to the energy used and the harmful chemical emissions generated in the process.


    If your goal is to reunite with the earth naturally and live as a beautiful memory in the hearts of your loved ones, an eco-friendly option might be for you. While nontraditional, green funerals are still a great way to celebrate your life or the life of a cherished friend or family member. There are a number of difficult, important decisions to make when laying a loved one to rest, but if it can be done with less impact on the environment, that’s certainly a good thing.

     

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Aug 2, 2018

  • What Does CalRecycle Do?

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jul 30, 2018