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

  • Combating Climate Change in California

    California has made combatting climate change a top priority for our state, and for good reason. Our communities are already battling the negative effects of climate change that endanger public health and the environment. Fortunately, CalRecycle and other state departments are taking steps to reduce its effects.

    Recycling for Climate

    Recycling combats climate change in several ways. First, it reduces the need to extract raw materials to manufacture new products, which reduces energy use and the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. For example, every 10 pounds of aluminum you recycle prevents 37 pounds of carbon emissions.

    SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016) establishes a target to achieve a 75 percent reduction of currently landfilled organic waste by 2025 and diverting this material into recovery activities. It also requires that cities and counties provide organics recycling services to residents and businesses, implement an edible food recovery program, and purchase recycled organics products like compost and renewable natural gas. SB 1383 will also generate thousands of new, locally based recycling jobs.

    Recycling organic materials like yard and food waste prevents methane gas emissions. When landfilled, organic waste decomposes and releases methane into the atmosphere. This is a big deal, because methane is a super pollutant at least 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, organic materials are easily recycled into beneficial products like compost, which enriches the nutrients and water-holding capacity of soils, and renewable natural gas, which can power vehicles without using fossil fuels.

    California Climate Investments: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grants and Loans

    CalRecycle established the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant and Loan Programs to provide financial incentives for capital investments in infrastructure designed to address climate change and other environmental goals. This includes aerobic composting, anaerobic digestion, and recycling and manufacturing facilities that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One priority is to realize environmental and economic benefits in disadvantaged and low-income communities. “Putting Cap-and-Trade Dollars to Work for California” highlights past projects and benefits to local communities.

    California is experiencing the effects of climate change with cycling droughts, reduced Sierra Nevada snowpack (which provides 60 percent of the state’s water), longer and more extreme fire seasons, and rising sea levels. CalRecycle is directing many efforts to reduce and reverse these dramatic changes to our climate. From regulating the management of materials to their highest and best use, to investing in the necessary infrastructure California needs to have a closed-loop recycling system, CalRecycle is making a significant difference with tangible actions to address climate change. But perhaps more than anything, we value our partnership with the people of California who play a vital role in recycling for climate by adopting the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Learn more about CalRecycle’s efforts to combat climate change at our Climate Change webpage.

    —Christina Files

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jan 21, 2019

  • CalRecycle Grant Funds Yolo County Slough Cleanup

    A rural area in Yolo County that has proven to be both a haven for songbirds and a target for illegal dumping is getting cleaned up with funding from CalRecycle.

    Landowners worked with the Yolo County Resource Conservation District to apply for a grant to clean up illegally dumped material, including garbage, appliances, and an estimated 250 to 500 waste tires, along a 15-acre section of Babel Slough. CalRecycle awarded the conservation district a $50,000 Farm and Ranch Cleanup and Abatement Grant for the project.

    Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps workers pull a large bag of garbage up an embankment at Babel Slough.

    Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps workers pull a large bag of garbage up an embankment at Babel Slough.

    The farm and ranch grant program plays a vital role in protecting human health and the environment. This portion of Babel Slough winds through active farmland, and farmers use the water to irrigate adjacent fields. Local farmers and ranchers pick up waste along the banks and roadways on a weekly basis and dispose of it legally, but they sought help for the material that required special equipment and a more concerted effort, including tires and appliances partially sunken in mud at the bottom of steep embankments. The resource conservation district joined forces with the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps, which has conducted similar cleanups, for the project.

    After several hours, conservation corps workers had pulled piles of trash, including tires and appliances, from the water, and put them in piles along Babel Slough Road for removal. The piles lined the road for more than half a mile.

    In 2018, another stretch of the slough was cleaned up with a previous grant from CalRecycle. The conservation district intends to apply for a third grant for the final stretch in an upcoming grant cycle. Grants are limited to $50,000 per cleanup or abatement project, with a limit of $200,000 per year.

    While the project will result in cleaner irrigation water for the nearby agricultural fields, it will also provide a healthier habitat for the plants and animals that live there, including tree swallows, bay-breasted warblers, black-chinned sparrows, and American redstarts.

    Left: Workers bag illegally dumped material at the bottom of the slough. Right: Debris is piled at the side of Babel Slough Road for removal.

    Left: Workers bag illegally dumped material at the bottom of the slough. Right: Debris is piled at the side of Babel Slough Road for removal. 

    For more information, including how to apply for a grant, see our Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program webpage.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jan 17, 2019

  • Tools for the Home Composter

    food scraps

    Did you know composting your food waste helps the environment? When landfilled, organic material emits methane gas, which directly contributes to climate change. If you have outdoor space, consider composting to prevent methane emissions and to create a rich soil amendment for your own use. Find basic directions on our compost webpage, and check out these tools that can make it easier to compost at home.

    Kitchen Pails & Crocks

    Using a pail or crock to collect coffee grounds, onion peels, potato peels, and table scraps in your kitchen will reduce the number of trips you make to the green bin or your own compost bin.

    Kitchen pails and crocks are available in a variety of materials like stainless steel, ceramic, bamboo, and plastic. Look for a container with a lid, which prevents odors from permeating your kitchen. Or consider lining your pail with a compostable bag, which cuts down on odors and makes it easier to transport green waste to your curbside bin. (Note: Check with your local hauler to see if they accept compostable bags. Some haulers consider compostable bags to be contaminants.) Some pails and crocks work with charcoal filters, which also reduce odors.

    Composting Bins and Tumblers

    bins and tumblers

    Some Californians have a large backyard and can manage a compost pile on the ground, while others may have limited space or have concerns about attracting rodents with food scraps. If you want to contain your compost, you have several options. Wire cages, plastic bins, and wooden crates expose the outer edges of your compost pile to the air, but they require a manual turn with a pitchfork to aerate the center of the pile.

    Want to speed up the process? Consider composting with worms. Vermicomposting is an efficient way to compost in a small space, and worm compost is considered by many in horticulture to be the very best soil amendment available.

    Another option is a composting tumbler, which does not require heavy lifting to aerate the pile. Spin or turn your tumbler to aerate your compost more efficiently, which can reduce the amount of time it takes to convert organic waste into compost. Tumblers range in size from 25 gallons to 170 gallons, which makes them versatile options for every household.

    compost tools

    If you use a traditional compost pile or bin, a manual aerator tool can help you mix your compost pile without heavy lifting. If your pile isn’t transforming organic material into compost efficiently, consider troubleshooting with a compost thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

    Home composting creates a valuable soil amendment that contributes to healthier and more abundant produce in your backyard garden. We can each do our part to protect the environment and human health by reducing food waste and composting our kitchen scraps. 

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Dec 20, 2018