Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
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
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
This is California Healthy Soils Week, and today is Food Waste and Compost Day. The thin layer of carbon, minerals and microorganisms known as soil provides the basis for life on this planet as we know it, so it is worth celebrating.
Worldwide, cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 80 percent of their soil carbon. Carbon is the stuff that makes soil look rich and black. In California, we have agricultural soils with critically low soil carbon. Tilling exposes soil carbon to the air, allowing it to vaporize as carbon dioxide. Millions of tons of previously soil-based carbon have moved to the atmosphere, contributing to our global climate problem. Carbon in the soil feeds underground microbial life, a critical component of soil health. High-carbon, high-microbe soils grow healthy, resilient crops that need less water and fertilizer.
Soil can absorb millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air worldwide. Building soil carbon is possibly the most effective way to slow and even reverse a changing climate.
How do we build soil carbon? The fastest and easiest way is by using compost and mulch. The California compost community takes millions of tons of lawn trimmings and food waste annually and transforms these discards into valuable mulches and soil amendments. You can help by putting only clean, biodegradable organics in your “green” bin (if your waste management service provides one), and by purchasing compost and mulch for your yard. You can also compost at home.
Compost contains about 22 percent carbon, and it also provides a diverse community of micro-organisms. Plants that grow in soil with a diverse and robust microbial life will be bigger and stronger, and will pull more carbon out of the air for photosynthesis. But plants do not use all of the carbon they sequester from the air. They pump some of it into the ground through their roots, attracting friendly soil organisms and growing the carbon pool again.
Once we understand the environmental power of soil, it makes sense to have a week to celebrate it. In 2015, we celebrated the International Year of the Soil … and 2016 was the International Year of the Pulses.
A pulse is a legume that produces a dry grain, not a green vegetable. If you are experiencing dwindling yields in your backyard garden, consider using compost and planting a cover crop that includes pulses. A cover crop helps keep roots in the soil at all time, which feeds soil microorganisms. It also protects the soil surface from sun and erosion. When cover crops are cut down, the roots become part of the soil carbon pool. Legumes also take nitrogen out of the air (our atmosphere is about 78 percent nitrogen) and “fix” it into the soil. Some cover crops can fix as much as 200 pounds per acre of nitrogen into soil, helping to fuel next year’s crops.
It’s time to give the soil the respect and protection it deserves. Compost, mulch, and cover crops are sustainable ways to build healthy soils and help prepare for whatever Mother Nature throws at us next.Posted on In the Loop by Robert Horowitz on Dec 6, 2017
CalRecycle oversees the state’s recycling and waste management programs to achieve a society that uses less, recycles more, and takes resource conservation to higher and higher levels. More than 30 percent of California’s waste stream is organics like yard trimmings and food waste—materials perfectly suited for value-added products such as compost, fertilizer, and biofuels. Doing so cuts pollution, combats climate change, and creates jobs.
One of the lesser-known challenges we face in managing organic waste to better and higher uses is something all too familiar to our agriculture industry: invasive pests. Such insects and the diseases they carry can threaten our crops and trees—and when they do, it increases the amount of organic waste we must responsibly manage.
Palm weevils—a particularly invasive species wreaking havoc on Southern California’s palm trees—are one example. Palm weevils are beetles with large snouts that burrow into the trunk of the palms, eventually causing the crown of the tree to collapse and the tree to die.
Under laws enforced locally and by agencies such as the California Department of Food and Agriculture, infested organic materials are quarantined and fully composted before leaving the quarantine zone. With a mission to reduce how much organic waste goes to landfills, where it produces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, CalRecycle partners with CDFA to educate Californians on how to prevent the spread of invasive pests in organic materials.
The transportation of yard waste and woody debris can transfer pests and diseases from one location to another. To prevent or slow the spread of pests, agriculture officials conduct trapping, eradicate pests when found, and enforce quarantines. If not managed correctly, these invasive species can destroy food crops and undermine our economy.
Every county within California faces unique challenges to prevent the spread of deadly pests and disease. CalRecycle and CDFA recently presented specialized training at CDFA’s annual Pest Prevention University, providing local officials with information on how to safeguard California ecosystems and promote stronger collaboration.
When clearing organic material from your yard, keep an eye out for unhealthy foliage or pest insects. If you find infested material, cover it immediately with a tarp and contact the CDFA Pest Hotline (800-491-1899).Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Nov 9, 2017