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

  • CalRecycle Climate Investments Featured in Annual Report

    The numbers are in! California’s world-leading Cap-and-Trade program to combat climate change is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening local economies, and improving public health and the environment across the state, especially in disadvantaged and low-income communities.

    The California Air Resources Board and the California Department of Finance just released the latest annual report tracking the progress of California Climate Investments. Among the report’s highlights:

    • More than $720 million in new funding for 2017 went to projects across all of California’s 58 counties.
    • Since 2014, $6.1 billion has been appropriated to 17 state agencies for projects to reduce GHG emissions.
    • Projects funded to date are expected to reduce GHG emissions by more than 23 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), roughly the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road for a year.

    In 2017, CalRecycle awarded a total of $38 million in California Climate Investments through its Organics GrantFood Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant, and Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass Grant Programs.

    CalRecycle’s California Climate Investments in the waste and recycling sector continue to be among the most cost-effective of all climate reduction strategies, with grants ranging from $9 to $15 per metric ton of CO2e reduced.

    The report features profiles of two CalRecycle grant recipients that highlight the impact these investments are having on individuals and communities. 

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    Command Packaging Recycled Plastic Manufacturing Upgrade Project, LA County

    Move over Farm-to-Fork! There is a new sustainability movement emerging in California that is reducing waste, cutting GHG emissions, and providing access to new green jobs in communities across the State. You can see it on display at Command Packaging’s manufacturing facility south of downtown Los Angeles in Vernon. Think of it as “Ag-to-Bag.”

     

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    CR&R, Inc. Anaerobic Digestion Expansion Project, Riverside County

    The second phase of a massive $100 million organic waste recycling infrastructure project is now online in Riverside County. Southern California waste management and recycling company CR&R just doubled capacity to transform the region’s food and green waste into biofuel.

    These success stories and others, as well as information on other climate investments and the program’s goals and targets, can be read online in the California Climate Investments 2018 Annual Report.

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    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Mar 26, 2018

  • Survey Says: Californians Support State’s Climate Fight

    Californians overwhelmingly believe global warming is a serious threat and support the state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the Public Policy Institute of California. The report survey shows widespread agreement when it comes to acknowledging the threat of climate change and support for state actions to fight the global temperature rise.

    “There is broad consensus for the state’s efforts to address climate change, and many support the cap-and-trade system,” PPIC President and CEO Mark Baldassare said in a news release.

    According to the report, for which 1,708 California adults were surveyed by phone, 81 percent of Californians believe global warming is a serious threat to the state’s future economy and quality of life. Lower-income residents are more concerned about the climate threat, as are younger Californians.

    • 70 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 describe climate change as a “very serious threat to the state’s future.”
    • 56 percent of respondents ages 35 to 54 describe climate change as a “very serious threat to the state’s future.”
    • 48 percent of respondents age 55 and older describe climate change as a “very serious threat to the state’s future.”

    The survey shows, 66 percent of California residents believe the effects of global warming have already begun. The same percentage—66 percent—supports the state making its own policies to address global warming. Support for California acting alone to fight climate change is higher among the state’s largest cities.

    • 73 percent of San Francisco Bay area residents support California taking unilateral climate action
    • 70 percent of Los Angeles residents support such unilateral action
    • 63 percent support the policy in the San Diego area
    • 55 percent support California’s “go it alone” climate policies in the Inland Empire
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    The PPIC survey also found broader support among younger Californians for the state to act alone on climate:

    • 75 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 support unilateral action by California.
    • 65 percent of those ages 35 to 54 support unilateral action by California.
    • 57 percent of respondents age 55 and older support unilateral action by California.

    Seventy-two percent of California adults surveyed favor current legislative targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent of 1990 levels by the year 2030. About half of likely voters believe California’s climate policies will result in new jobs.

    As an integral part of California’s far-reaching efforts to slow and reverse the effects of climate change, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is implementing programs and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To date, California Climate Investments has allocated $72 million in Cap-and-Trade proceeds to California’s waste sector, primarily through grants to build or expand conventional compost and in-vessel digestion operations. Grants have included $5 million for food waste recovery projects that divert landfill-destined, edible food to Californians in need.

    CalRecycle is also tasked with overseeing programs to reduce organic waste disposal in California. When sent to landfills, this material decomposes and emits methane—a greenhouse gas 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Organic waste accounts for more than one-third of the state’s waste stream.

    In September 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), establishing targets for reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane. The law calls for a 50 percent reduction of organics in landfills by 2020 and 75 percent reduction by 2025. It grants CalRecycle the regulatory authority necessary to reach these targets, which also includes 20 percent of currently disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption by 2025.

    Right now, CalRecycle is engaging waste and recycling businesses, trade associations, and other stakeholders to gather input on the development of regulations to implement SB 1383. Stay up to date on developments and future workshops by joining the SLCP Listserv.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Aug 24, 2017

  • What’s That in Your Curbside Bin?

    It’s no secret that we need to divert as much material from our state’s landfills as we possibly can. However, your curbside recycling bin is not a catchall for everything in your household that’s potentially recyclable.

    In fact, if you’re not sure if something belongs in that bin and you toss it in there anyway, thinking you’re erring on the side of caution and keeping more material out of landfills (this is referred to as “wish-cycling”), you might actually be doing more harm than good.

    It comes down to what the waste management facility that serves your particular area can handle.

    Many local facilities, or your city or county, occasionally mail out flyers or refrigerator magnets with information about what is recyclable, but you can also call or check online. What’s acceptable varies widely across jurisdictions. For example, many jurisdictions do not accept plastic film or Styrofoam in their recycling bins. On the other hand, Fremont and the city of Fresno accept plastic film but not Styrofoam, and Placerville accepts both material types. 

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    Anything you put in your recycling bin that your local recycling facility is not equipped to process is considered “residual.” (Here’s what that can look like.) Legally, any recycling facility with 10 percent or more “residual” material is out of compliance with state law and is classified as an uncertified landfill. After too many violations, the facility may have to stop operating, which puts people out of work and puts a strain on the state’s recycling infrastructure.

    It’s always illegal to put some things, like batteries and electronic waste, in your curbside bin, no matter where in California you live. Batteries can contain cobalt, nickel, cadmium, and other toxic heavy metals. Electronic waste, like your old laptop, printer, and cell phone, also often contain hazardous materials like lead and mercury. These types of items are a health hazard and injury risk for recycling facility workers. They are also relatively heavy and can quickly put a recycling facility over the 10 percent “residual” limit, since the percentage is measured by weight. 

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    Check CalRecycle’s Where to Recycle map to help you find homes for items like these, as well as other tricky household items like paint and used oil. 

    One last problem to watch out for in your curbside recycling bin is food contamination. Too much leftover tomato paste in that little can and too much peanut butter in that plastic jar can dramatically lower the quality of all the recyclable material in your bin—and other bins. Food waste can contaminate great volumes of potentially recyclable material, making it useless as feedstock and, ironically, possibly relegating it all to the landfill. Sure, it takes an extra moment to swish some water in those containers and rinse out the excess food before tossing them in the bin, but if you think of the things you put in your bin as feedstock for new materials, it all makes perfect sense.

    California’s recycling infrastructure is a complex system—and it has to be, in order to take products made from so many different materials and components and process them to be reused and avoid the need to use more natural resources to meet our daily needs. Your curbside recycling bin is one critical part of that system, which makes you a deeply important part of California’s campaign to be more sustainable.  Curbside contamination is a serious problem that diminishes our recycling efforts, and only you can prevent it from happening. If we can clean up the recycling stream and get materials to the facilities that are equipped to process them, we can keep that material out of landfills, use it to make new products, and avoid having to spend money, energy, and raw material to make those products from scratch.

    Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones on Feb 23, 2017