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

  • Reducing is the New Recycling

    Simple Changes I’ve Made Since Coming to Work at CalRecycle

    Sometime in the last year, I had an epiphany: It’s not enough to simply recycle. I must figure out a way to reduce the amount of waste I generate. It can be hard, but I decided to take it one step at a time. Here are a couple of things I have learned along my way to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. 

    Separating Out My Recyclables Influences How I Shop

    Truth be told, before working at CalRecycle I only separated out CRV items and cardboard to recycle. I honestly didn’t think about folding down cereal and pasta boxes or crumpling paper shipping packaging into a recycling bin before working here. Now that I do it, I realize just how many resources I have thrown away over my lifetime. 

    I have found that I have unintentionally generated more waste in the pursuit of other goals. For example, conveniently packaged individual-size snacks may help with calorie-counting or meal prep, but there’s no doubt it creates more waste. I came to terms with the fact that generating less waste is going to cost me some time and effort, but I can manage to juggle two goals at once by doing things a little differently. For example, rather than buy a bunch of small, single-serving yogurts for a quick breakfast on the go, I buy one large container of yogurt and transfer it into small mason jars.  

    Using Reusable Items over Single-Use Items

    Have you ever wondered how much trash you have thrown away over a lifetime? It’s a little shocking when you think about it. Let’s say I bought one cup of coffee from a cafe per week for the last 20 years. I have thrown away at least 1,040 disposable cups of varying sizes. Because those cups are often lined with a thin plastic coating, they’re not easily recyclable. I still use disposable cups when I forget my tumbler at home, but I’m aiming to bring it with me and reduce my personal waste. 

    I have also started declining anything I won’t actually use when I order takeout food, like individually wrapped toppings I don’t like, extra napkins, straws, and cutlery. I have found that only some beverages require a straw (like milkshakes), and I don’t need single-use plastic cutlery when I’m bringing food home to eat. I am not a fan of nuts, so I started declining a small plastic pouch of nuts for my favorite drive-thru ice cream. My baby steps are adding up.

    Buying Groceries Mindfully to Prevent Food Waste

    Food waste causes climate change. Until I worked at CalRecycle, I had no idea that my spoiled leftovers had an impact on anything more than my personal finances. You can read more on our Climate Methane Emissions Reductions webpage about how food waste creates methane when it’s buried in a landfill, but the gist is that every plate of food we scrape into the trash contributes to climate change. I decided I could be a little bit better about eating what I buy. I move “eat now” items toward the front of my refrigerator and write a more detailed grocery list so I don’t buy items I won’t likely cook and eat. 

    Everyone can head toward a more sustainable lifestyle by assessing how they personally generate waste and looking for ways to reduce that amount. Every step counts, and we all play a part in conserving our natural resources, recycling everything we can, and combating climate change. 

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Sep 23, 2019

  • Back to School Tips: Eco-Friendly Lunch Ideas

    Eco-Friendly Lunch Ideas

    It’s that time of year when parents are helping kids gear up to go back to school. It’s also a good time to hit the sustainability “reset” button because you’re already in planning mode, reorganizing your life, and buying new supplies. Here are some eco-friendly ways to pack sustainable lunches for school!

    Upgrading the Lunch Box

    Hopefully, you’re already packing lunches in reusable boxes or bags, but if not, it’s a good time to make the switch. Using an insulated lunch cooler or small ice packs can mean the difference between kids eating food or tossing it out. No one wants to bite into a lukewarm sandwich with mayo, right? There are many lunch totes to choose from, and there are even brown canvas bags that look like brown paper bags, if you’re waxing nostalgic.

    Reusable Food Containers

    When it comes to lunchtime convenience, it’s easy to grab the single-serving packages of cookies, chips, and other shacks, but all that packaging leads to a lot of waste. Reduce your waste by purchasing large bags of food and dividing individual portions into reusable containers. There are many options out there, including bento boxes for kids, silicone storage bags, and reusable beeswax food wrap.

    Reduce Food Waste

    Californians throw away 6 million tons of food waste every year. Reduce your children’s food waste by asking them what they actually eat and what they give or throw away and then adjust what you pack accordingly. Find out if their school participates in “share tables,” where kids can put unopened food they don’t want for others to take. Consider getting involved with your parent teacher association and raising awareness on ways to reduce food waste at school.

    The USDA offers some insights on how to reduce food waste in schools. Learn more on CalRecycle’s Back to School Waste Prevention webpage.

     

    —Christina Files

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Aug 12, 2019

  • CalRecycle Releases Draft EIR for SB 1383 Regulations

    CalRecycle has released its Draft Program Environmental Impact Report for the statewide adoption of regulations for Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Organic Waste Methane Emission Reduction (SB 1383, Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016). Not quite sure what an EIR is? That’s OK. We’ve got you covered!

    What is an Environmental Impact Report?

    An EIR is a document that provides public agencies and the general public with detailed information about the effect a proposed project is likely to have on the environment. The document also lists the ways in which these effects might be minimized and whether there are any alternatives to such a project. (Public Resources Code §2106114 California Code of Regulations §15121)

    The SB 1383 draft Program EIR specifically addresses potential impacts to California’s scenery, light pollution, air quality emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, changes to traffic and transportation patterns, conversion of agricultural lands to other uses, and potential for land contamination by pathogens in compostable materials. The report also clarifies scope of CalRecycle’s authority to mitigate these environmental impacts.  

    The Big Picture

    California passed the California Environmental Quality Act in 1970 to institute a statewide policy of environmental protection. CEQA aims to inform decision makers and the public about the potential significant environmental impacts of new laws, identify ways that potential significant environmental impacts can be avoided or reduced, and prevent significant avoidable damage to the environment by requiring changes in the implementation of a project. The agency that will regulate the new law takes the lead and determines if an EIR is necessary.

    The public review and comment period for the SB 1383 draft EIR will be July 30, 2019, through September 13, 2019. CalRecycle will hold a public meeting on August 20 at 1 p.m. to discuss the draft EIR and receive comments.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Aug 5, 2019