Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
Autumn is finally here, and the leaves are beginning to change colors. Pretty soon, people will be raking bright orange and yellow leaves from their lawns. It’s the perfect time of year to start composting – if you start now, you’ll have finished compost in time for your spring garden and flower beds.
Compost is an organic material made from recycled green and brown materials (like landscape trimmings and branches). Pile these up in a mound or toss them into a compost drum barrel, and pretty soon you will have a robust soil amendment for your garden. You can find more information on our website about home composting.
Compost has many benefits for homeowners. It retains soil moisture, which is especially helpful during the summer. It keeps weed growth down, which makes gardening much easier. Compost also provides nutrients to the soil, reducing the need for fertilizers. It even adds carbon to the soil, which directly combats climate change.
Check out our Compost: Getting Started video for more information.Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 17, 2019
On the UC Davis campus, a group of researchers is breeding lots of bugs. I mean, a lot.
“At any given time, we could have a million flies,” said Trevor Fowles, a graduate student in the Department of Entomology and Nematology.
The university researchers are exploring how to use black soldier fly larvae to break down organic waste—like almonds, wine waste, and tomatoes—and convert it into useful products.
“Fats from the soldier fly can be converted into machine lubricant and oils that you can put into animal feeds,” Fowles said. “Their frass (powdery white refuse) is rich in nutrients and can be added to composting operations.”
With SB 1383 requiring 50 percent reduction in the level of organice waste by next year and a 75 percent reduction by 2025, these little flies might end up playing a key role in greenhouse gas reduction.
“We need to keep these foods out of the landfills and reduce our carbon footprint,” Fowles said. “The black soldier flies are just one way we can eliminate this type of waste.”
In July, Fowles and a group of partners started their own business called Biomilitus, hoping to take the black soldier fly concept to businesses throughout the state.
“It (fly larvae) would be interesting to commodities groups who are trying to deal with their waste and trying to make an eco-friendly product,” Fowles said. “So, the almond board and tomato growers, they would be more interested if we had an insect that’s specifically bred to handle their waste products.”
See the video below for a closer look at these bugs doing what they do.Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Sep 30, 2019
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