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

  • 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

  • New California Climate Investment Serves Up Benefits for Butte County

    There is an unmistakable buzz on the streets of Butte County. The Northern California agricultural region, already well known for its orchards and farms, its tight-knit communities, and its commitment to sustainability just added a new attraction to its community profile.

    Welcome to California’s newest hub in the state’s battle against climate change.

    “You can see the enthusiasm around town. People are stunned and excited about this opportunity,” Laura Cootsona says before sharing her own reaction to news of a half-million dollar California Climate Investment. “I actually jumped up and down for days.”

    Cootsona is a Butte County resident and executive director of the Jesus Center in downtown Chico. For more than 30 years, the humanitarian nonprofit has offered meals, resources and other services to those struggling in and around Butte County. Now, with the help of a $499,789 California Climate Investment, the center is launching one of its boldest efforts yet to combat hunger—and climate change—by rescuing food for the hungry before it becomes waste.

    Californians throw away an estimated 6 million tons of food each year. When it decomposes in landfills, food and other organic material emits methane, a super pollutant responsible for roughly 20 percent of current global warming and 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

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    The Jesus Center operates a farm in Butte County and plans to begin a second farm soon to help provide fresh produce to neighbors in need.

    In partnership with the Community Action Agency of Butte County, which includes the North State Food Bank, the Jesus Center will use the nearly half-million dollar Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grant to increase its ability to collect, transport, store, and distribute more food in and around Butte County.

    “What I love about this project is it allows us to do a ton of social good and environmental good at the same time,” Cootsona says. “This is going to change our community in a lot of serious ways.”

    CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grant program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

    “The physical body gets so broken down when you’re confronting the daily realities of poverty,” Cootsona says, noting food insecurity impacts roughly 1 in every 5 Butte County residents. Statewide, about 1 in 8 Californians are considered food-insecure. She adds, “Hunger should not be this prevalent in a state and in a region that produces so much of our nation’s food.”

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    The fruits and vegetables grown at the Jesus Center farm are used in meals at the Center’s kitchen in Chico. The farm also provides vocational opportunities related to food waste prevention and rescue work.

    In 2017, the Jesus Center prepared and plated more than 101,000 meals through its kitchen, shelter, and six transitional houses in and around Chico. Cootsona expects that number to keep rising as grant funding enables the Center to hire new staff, purchase new equipment—including a refrigerated truck and a new commercial kitchen—and upgrade its logistics software to better track food inventory and coordinate donations and deliveries.

    “With this new software, farmers, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and other community partners can go online and notify us about new donations,” Cootsona says. “Depending on the food type, we’ll be able to immediately determine whether it should come to our kitchen in Chico or whether it can be better utilized by one of our 50 partner agencies within the North State Food Bank or in the Wildcat Food Pantry at Chico State.”

    Food that can’t be diverted to meals or distributed through the food banks will be composted at the Jesus Center farm or other partnering locations to make sure the organic material doesn’t wind up emitting greenhouse gases at area landfills.

    “Let’s get food that is designed to be consumed, eaten. Not into landfills.” Cootsona continues, “Composting is a great alternative to landfills, but we want the food in bellies first.”

    The center’s new project also includes money dedicated to vocational training in food waste prevention and recovery, further increasing the long-term benefits that will remain long after the grant funds run out.

    “We’re integrating this new technology and these new systems into our regular operations so these benefits will remain sustainable long-term,” Cootsona says, ensuring the Center can build on its decades-long history of preventing food waste, protecting the planet, and saving lives for decades to come.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on May 21, 2018

  • A Primer on Plastic Pollution

    A group of Pomona third-graders that has been studying plastic pollution presented their work at a national waste and materials management meeting last month. For their efforts, they were honored with a standing ovation—and a check for $400 for reusable water bottles. 

    The students presented to about 250 people at the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) 2018 Mid-Year Meeting last month in Anaheim. They described how fish and other animals mistake plastic litter for food and how plastic debris creates dead zones and garbage patches in ocean waters.

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    As part of their Kingsley Elementary School project, they read articles about plastic and researched the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as well as dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico. They

    also collected trash around the campus and weighed and sorted it. After finding that plastic water bottles were ending up in the trash at their school, they made videos and posters to encourage fellow students to use reusable water bottles.

    “I thought the experience was fun and nice to do to tell other people what is going on on the planet,” said Darian, a third-grader who was involved in the project. His classmates agreed.

    “I was surprised that everybody liked our ideas that we did and we won the $400!” Reyna added.

    Their teachers, Vanessa Villagran and Jacquelynn Fischer, said the presentation was a valuable experience for the students, and that developing environmental awareness at a young age is key to working for change in the future. 

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    CalRecycle was introduced to the students’ work through the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (CalEPA) Environmental Justice Task Force. The task force was created in 2013 to coordinate compliance and enforcement across all of CalEPA’s boards and departments (air, water, pesticides, waste and recycling, toxic substances, and environmental assessment) in communities that contain multiple sources of pollution and that are disproportionately vulnerable to its effects.

    Pomona was selected by CalEPA as an area of focus for an Environmental Justice Enforcement Initiative in part using a mapping tool called CalEnviroScreen, which was developed to help identify California communities who face environmental justice issues. Through the Pomona initiative, an effort was made to specifically engage youth and teachers.

    CalRecycle’s Deputy Director of the Waste Permitting, Compliance and Mitigation Division, Mark de Bie, is the past president of ASTSWMO and helped facilitate California’s involvement in the meeting. CalRecycle will continue to work with ASTSWMO to engage youth to restore, protect, and enhance the environment and public health in California and help showcase the great work by teachers throughout the state.

    —Angela Vincent

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    Posted on In the Loop by Angela Vincent on May 10, 2018