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

  • Food Rescue Group Receives Second CalRecycle Grant

    CalRecycle has awarded $266,795 to the Kern County Public Health Services Department to expand its Waste Hunger Not Food program, which collects unserved food from local schools and restaurants and distributes it in local neighborhoods.

    The funds will be used for a refrigerated box truck and walk-in refrigeration to store food safely. The box trucks will allow Kern County to partner with food donors that donate food in large quantities. Since Waste Hunger Not Food launched in September 2018, the group has rescued more than 304,600 pounds of food.

    CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program aims to reduce methane emissions by keeping edible food out of California landfills and redistributing it to the 1 in 8 Californians (including 1 in 5 children) who are food-insecure. Many of these families live in disadvantaged communities, which means they have a disproportionate exposure to pollution and less access to healthy food.

    Kern County partners with City Serve, a local nonprofit that brings churches together to serve the community. Waste Hunger Not Food uses refrigerated trucks to collect food from restaurants and schools and quickly deliver it to churches that have been trained in food safety best practices.

    Churches are often located within residential neighborhoods, making it easy and convenient for volunteers to distribute the food. Some church volunteers simply carry signs through the neighborhoods that say “Free Food,” and word of mouth travels quickly. City Serve churches distribute food with no restrictions on how much food people can take.     

    This is the second grant CalRecycle has awarded to Kern County for the Waste Hunger Not Food program. The first grant for $191,963 was awarded in fiscal year 2016-17 and enabled the county to buy several refrigerated trucks to collect and transport donated food to distribute to the needy.

    The Waste Hunger Not Food mission aligns with the goals outlined in SB 1383, which requires California to reduce the disposal of organic waste (like food and yard waste) and divert at least 20 percent of edible food to food rescue organizations. Although SB 1383 regulations don’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022, the program is giving schools and businesses a head start on compliance by donating edible food they would otherwise send to a landfill.

    Women loading refrigerated truck with donated food

    See the "Waste Hunger Not Food Overview Video"

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jul 11, 2019

  • Community Gardens–Providing More Than Food

    Research studies and personal experiences attest that community gardens provide environmental and social benefits in the face of environmental injustices. From mitigating climate change to increasing food access, community gardens positively impact lives.

    From reduced air quality to displacement after natural disasters, climate change disproportionately impacts low-income communities of color. However, community gardens can process organic waste through onsite compost operations. Composting organic waste reduces emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, by preventing organic waste decomposition in landfills.

    Community gardens make use of local organic waste, which helps reduce transportation emissions from diesel trucks taking organic waste to a large commercial facility. Reduced trucking not only mitigates climate change but also reduces local air pollution that contributes to higher levels of asthma and other serious health problems in environmental justice communities. 

    Composting also returns organic matter to the soil and supports the microorganisms that keep soils healthy. Since soils are a major carbon reservoir, maintaining healthy soils through compost and other methods is an important part of the multifaceted climate change mitigation strategy.

    Community gardens also increase access to fresh, healthy foods. Many environmental justice communities live in food deserts, where there is limited access to affordable and nutritious food. These gardens are a source of in-season, nourishing produce. They also provide educational opportunities for adults and children to understand how their food is grown and create a working space for community members to get out in nature, which promotes mental and emotional well-being. 

    Community garden in Pomona

    A community garden in Pomona, CA. Photo from Elinor Crescenzi

    Boston-based researchers who partner with the environmental justice nonprofit The Food Project published a research paper (Sharp and Brabander, 2017) that discusses the social benefits of community gardens in urban spaces. Not only does urban agriculture address food deserts and access to fresh, healthy food but it also empowers youth, creates an avenue for political organizing, and provides cultural preservation through growing culturally appropriate food in immigrant communities. 

    CalRecycle recognizes the important role of community gardens in environmental justice communities. That is why CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline announced the department’s new “Community Composting” grant program in March. The program will fund composting and related activities in community gardens that divert organic waste from landfills in environmental justice communities.

    The Environmental Justice Program at CalRecycle is also hosting a brown bag speaker series to elevate the ways in which environmental justice communities are impacted by and interact with the waste sector. The next brown bag event will feature Elinor Crescenzi, a community gardener, doctoral student, and social justice activist from Pomona. Elinor will describe the scientific research supporting the social, environmental, and health benefits of community gardens. She will also discuss the success and challenges of community gardens in Pomona, including organic waste processing capacity with on-site composting. Please join us this week in the Coastal Hearing Room on July 10 from noon to 1 p.m., or join us by webcast
    Posted on In the Loop by Ciaran Gallagher on Jul 8, 2019

  • CalRecycle March Monthly Public Meeting

    small CalRecycle logo

    Show up or tune in to CalRecycle’s monthly public meeting and find out what we’re up to!

    Hear about our upcoming education campaign to increase recycling and reduce contamination in curbside collections, so that material you’re tossing in your bins can actually be recycled into great new things.

    We’ll also discuss some recent grant awards, including a few to support our Beverage Container Recycling (CRV) Program, and a few more to clean up sites under our Solid Waste Disposal and Codisposal Site Cleanup Program.

    Another grant, to Yolo County, will support a project that will use 1.1 million passenger tires to offset the amount of wood chips and soil that would otherwise need to be used as ground cover at its new 20-acre waste-processing facility. That’s quite a few tires that will be put to good use rather than landfilled or illegally stockpiled. Remember that huge pile of tires that burned for years? We do—in fact, that fire was the impetus for our waste tire management program.

    CalRecycle March 2019 Public Meeting
    10 a.m. Tuesday, March 19
    Byron Sher Auditorium, CalEPA Building
    1001 I St., Sacramento, CA

    You can find the full agenda for CalRecycle’s March public meeting here. If you can’t make it in person, join us by webcast (the link will go live shortly before the meeting begins).

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle staff on Mar 18, 2019