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

  • Getting Organics out of California Landfills: Here’s the Plan

    The average Californian may be shocked to hear this, but that apple core you just tossed in the trash is causing global temperatures to rise. Sure, not by much—but add that apple core to the 6 million tons of food waste and 5 to 6 million tons of additional green material, untreated lumber, and other organic waste landfilled in California each year, and it adds up to a big climate-altering problem. 

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    When sent to landfills, food and other organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a short-lived climate pollutant with a heat-trapping effect at least 70 times greater than carbon dioxide.

    This is a big problem because organics (food, green waste, lumber, and other organic materials) is the single largest disposal stream in California, accounting for about 41 percent of the 31 million tons of material going to California landfills each year. The state’s ambitious 75 percent recycling goal, as well as its strategy to combat climate change, hinge upon reducing the amount of organic material sent to landfills. The good news is we know how to do that.

    The California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32, Núñez, Chapter 488, Statutes of 2006) paved the way for bold action on organic waste diversion by establishing the world’s first comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to combat climate change. This enabled California to invest in organics recycling infrastructure like food waste recovery networks, cutting-edge compost facilities, and in-vessel digestion operations that transform food and other organics into compost and carbon-neutral, renewable energy. To date, California Climate Investments has allocated $72 million to California’s waste sector, primarily to build or expand conventional compost and in-vessel digestion operations. Grants have included $5 million for food waste recovery projects that divert landfill-destined, edible food to Californians in need.

    AB 341 (Chesbro, Chapter 476, Statutes of 2011) established a 75 percent recycling, reuse, and waste prevention goal for the state. Since organic waste accounts for more than one-third of the state’s waste stream, CalRecycle staff identified “Moving Organics Out of the Landfill” as the top priority strategy to achieve 75 percent. The Legislature later passed the Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling law (AB 1826, Statutes of 2014), which requires the largest generators of organic waste to recycle the material rather than landfill it.

    In September 2016, Governor Brown signed SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), establishing targets for reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane. The law calls for a 50 percent reduction of organics in landfills by 2020 and 75 percent reduction by 2025. It grants CalRecycle the regulatory authority necessary to reach these targets, which also include 20 percent of currently disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption by 2025.

    Right now, CalRecycle is engaging waste and recycling businesses, trade associations, and other stakeholders to gather input on the development of regulations to implement SB 1383. Stay up to date on developments and future workshops by joining the SLCP Listerv.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Jun 26, 2017

  • Life’s What You Bake It: How I Started Sieving My Dreams

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    Originally posted by tsixiraki

    As many people do at the turn of the calendar, I started evaluating my life. Job? Check! Education? Check! House with a cool artificial drought-friendly lawn? Check! I was left with a big, “Now what?” hanging over me. The only logical answer was cake … and not just one cake, but 52—one every week for the entire year.

    If you’ve ever gone on a baking spree, you’re probably familiar with leftover ingredients and scraps. In fact, when you’re learning, there can be even more waste. I felt my eco-guilt wagging its green finger at me every time I accidentally mixed the wrong ingredients and had to throw everything away. I also got tired of seeing all these leftover cake domes (the round part on top of the cake) and excess frosting. Throwing them away is a crime against cake and the planet if you ask me! So I did some research, which resulted in two ways to cut down cake waste.

    One option was to eliminate the cake dome altogether using baking strips, which are soaked in water and wrapped around the cake pan. The strips can be made from kitchen towels or purchased if you’re not the DIY type. The end result is more even baking and a level top perfect for layering without a need to cut off a dome.

    If you don’t want to go this route, there’s another solution: the cake truffle!

    Also known as a cake ball or stickless cake pop, the cake truffle is a tastier solution to the baking waste problem in my kitchen. To make a cake truffle, all you need is leftover cake, frosting, and melted candy coating (melted chocolate chips will work just fine).

    Here’s how to make these delightfully waste-free morsels: 

    1. Crumble your leftover cake with your fingers or a food processor.
    2. Mix in a little bit of the leftover frosting until the crumbs are coated enough to hold a ball shape. It’s better to mix in a little at a time—too much frosting will make the truffle squishy, and it won’t hold its shape.
    3. Use a spoon to measure out an even amount of the cake and frosting mix and roll into a ball with your hands. Repeat until you’re out of mix.
    4. To set the balls, put them in the refrigerator while you’re melting the candy coating.
    5. I recommend using almond bark, because it’s a little more user-friendly than melting baking chocolate. The instructions are self-explanatory: Put the bark in a pot, and melt the bark on a stove. Once the candy coating is melted, place one cake ball on top of a fork (don’t stab it; gently place it). Dip it in the melted bark and coat the truffle. Gently place the coated truffle on parchment paper (or a silicone mat if you’re being extra eco-friendly). If you want, sprinkle a garnish on top before the candy coating dries. Repeat until all your truffles are coated.
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    That’s it! You’ve got yourself a waste-free dessert. I recommend bringing them to work to share—it’s a great way to make friends! And if you want to up your zero-waste baking game, do what I do: Instead of plastic pastry decorating bags, try reusable ones. They’re canvas and easy to clean, and if you bake as much as I do, you’ll be reducing plastic waste. I also use silicone cupcake liners instead of paper ones. 

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    I’ll leave you with this: Make cake, not waste.

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jun 12, 2017

  • $5 Million Available to Fight Climate Change, Feed Hungry

    Cap-and-Trade dollars fund food waste prevention and rescue projects throughout California

    Media Contact: Heather Jones
    (916) 319-9936 | Heather.Jones@calrecycle.ca.gov
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    As part of the state’s effort to combat climate change, divert organic materials from landfills and alleviate food insecurity in California, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is providing $5 million in grant funds for food waste prevention and food rescue.

    Grant awards range from $25,000 to $500,000 to accommodate small and large projects. The deadline to submit grant applications is July 18. 

    “Strengthening California’s food recovery infrastructure will help feed communities in need and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the same time,” said CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline. “Preventing food waste and recovering edible food is not only a way to battle hunger in our state, but to protect Californians and our natural resources from the ravaging effects of climate change.”

    Food waste comprises about 18 percent of the material disposed in California landfills, the highest amount of any material. As it decomposes, it emits methane, a short-lived climate pollutant that contributes to climate change. Much of the food waste and methane at landfills is preventable through smarter consumer planning and purchasing. Edible food can also be safely recovered and distributed to disadvantaged communities and elsewhere around the state.

    CalRecycle is currently accepting applications for the grants. Eligible entities include local governments; nonprofit organizations; private entities; state agencies; solid waste facilities; UC, CSU, and community college campuses; public school districts; and qualifying Indian Tribes. Eligible projects include those that prevent food waste from being generated and becoming waste normally destined for landfills and projects that result in rescued food being distributed to people in need.

    Food waste prevention and food rescue programs support the methane emissions reduction targets outlined in Senate Bill 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016):

    • SB 1383 establishes targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the level of the statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025.
    • It also requires that not less than 20 percent of currently disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption by 2025.

    The Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that uses cap-and-trade funds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment.  Related CalRecycle grant programs include organics grants for the development of composting and anaerobic digestion facilities throughout the state. Additional information is available on the CalRecycle Grants webpage.

    Connect With Us                
    CalRecycle is the state’s authority on recycling, waste reduction, and product reuse. CalRecycle plays an important role in the stewardship of California’s natural resources and promotes innovation and education to encourage economic and environmental sustainability.  For more information, visit www.calrecycle.ca.gov.

    Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones on Jun 8, 2017