Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
A Beginner’s Guide to a Plant-Based Diet
If you’ve been following any of my previous blogs, you already know I’ve been a lifelong environmentalist. From my stance on single-use straws and my drought-resistant landscape to my career at CalRecycle, I am a die-hard tree hugger!
One subject I have not touched on yet is the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet. Although for me, it really had nothing to do with the environment (since there was little information about that back in the early '90s). It mostly had to do with my love of animals. If you read my straw blog, you’ll remember my dad taking me to fast food joints and refusing single-use plastic straws. It was in that same drive-through I learned that chicken nuggets came from chickens and burgers came from cows. Since then I have been conscious about the use of animal products, and the environmental advantages of not consuming meat were just a bonus.
Reducing animal husbandry for food production can decrease carbon emissions, reduce meat and seafood waste byproducts, and significantly lower global fresh water use. Plus, eating more fruit and veggies is beneficial for your health! Here’s a primer on different types of less-meat diets. It’s a good idea to speak to a doctor or nutritionist before making a drastic change.
As the name implies, flexitarians are flexible with the number of meat-free meals they choose to eat per week. It can be challenging to about-face your diet, so a flexitarian diet is a great way to slowly reduce your meat intake and replace it with plant-based proteins like legumes. When I became a vegetarian, it was a bit of an adjustment for my family members—the flexitarian diet allows you and your family to adjust without feeling like you’re being deprived of your favorite foods. It’s a great compromise for you and the planet.
I’d classify this as the intermediate diet—not too stringent, but not super-easy, either. This is where I’ve been for the past 23 years, and it works just fine for me. I eat mostly fruit, veggies, breads, dairy, and some meat substitutes like vegan “sausage” made from potatoes, apples, and spices. And because I live in California, it’s very easy to find multiple dishes at restaurants if I choose to eat out. If you are new to vegetarianism and are planning to eat at a new restaurant, always check the menu ahead of time to make sure you’re not caught off guard by a meat-filled menu. Additionally, if I ever get an order that includes meat by accident, I pick it off and give it to a friend or family member. There’s no use in sending it back or throwing it away—that’s just more waste!
Personally, I find this diet too strict, but if it works, more power to you! Vegans exclude all animal products from their life—that means no animal byproduct foods or animal products like leather. It’s been hailed as the most eco-friendly and natural diet because no animals are raised, slaughtered, or eaten. However, other vegan products could be considered harmful to the planet, such as pleather clothing and accessories made from petroleum-based materials. And often “fake” animal product fashion doesn’t last as long as real leather, creating more waste. It may be worth considering using animal products when the alternative would be more harmful to the planet. (We never said the eco-warrior life was easy!)
Not quite ready to give up your favorite burger joint? Ease into it with Meatless Mondays or find a method that works best for you. Protecting the environment is not a perfectly straight line—it’s a journey of finding what works for your lifestyle and the planet alike. As the saying goes, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” That works for other eco-friendly acts, too!Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jun 13, 2019
Corsages and cummerbunds mark prom season just before the end of the school year. Soon students will be shopping for dresses, tuxes, and limos, but at what cost to the environment? If you’re a freshman to the world of sustainability, take note of these tips for a planet-protecting prom.
Give Fast Fashion the Slip
It can be difficult to avoid those inexpensive clothing items when you or your teenager are fashion-forward on a budget. But, armed with the knowledge that the fashion industry (especially fast fashion) is one of the main contributors to landfill waste, pollution, and unfair labor practices, it might be a little easier to give up those bargain garments. Instead, try purchasing something secondhand. Just because it was previously owned, that does not mean it is cheap, tacky, or unsophisticated. In fact, most prom dresses are only worn once, so it’s likely any “used” dress will be in excellent condition—not to mention less expensive. You can also get creative and refashion a secondhand item that has potential. Don’t have enough room in your closet or not as creative as you’d like to be? Find a dress rental company in your area—tuxes are rented, so why can’t a dress be? Another option can be a formal clothing exchange between friends, an exchange program, or even your library—yes, your library! There are also plenty of places to donate your dress when you’re done with it.
Makeover Your Cosmetic Bag
Looking your best doesn’t stop at your outfit, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of the planet. Whether you or your teen wears makeup or simple moisturizer, applies lots of hair product or just needs a razor to get rid of unwanted stubble, there is an earth-friendly option for everyone. Start by asking what cosmetics and beauty accessories are made of—plastic or natural ingredients? Biodegradable or single-use? What about excess packaging? Look for zero-waste companies, or DIY your cosmetics.
If you or your teen can afford to rent a limo, make sure to get as many passengers as possible. This will help offset the carbon emissions created by driving multiple cars, and it can also help bring down the cost of the rental. If a limo isn’t in the cards, try regular carpooling or even a pedicab if the venue is nearby. No one expects anyone to ride their bike in their formals, but a pedicab or even a horse-drawn carriage can be a fun and eco-friendly option if the dance is nearby.
After the night is over, the formal footwear is kicked off and it’s time to hit the hay, don’t toss your boutoniere or corsage in the trash. If you don’t plan on hanging on to your flowers as a keepsake, compost it or throw it in your yard waste bin minus the ribbons, pins, and other decorations—you can always reuse those, but they don’t belong in the pile with other organic waste.
Now get out there and promenade that planet-protecting way, knowing you did the right thing for future prom-goers!Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Apr 8, 2019
Household waste generally increases during the holidays. Here's how you can prevent that!Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Nov 15, 2018