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

  • CalRecycle Director Talks Food Waste Prevention

    San Francisco hosted California’s first Global Climate Action Summit earlier this month, drawing governors, mayors, business executives, and leaders from around the world. In addition to new climate-focused pledges from governments and promises from companies, participants stood united to show how bold actions to combat climate change can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen economies, and provide models of success for others to follow.

    “A key premise of the conference was that if a handful of leading-edge states, cities and businesses can demonstrate that it’s feasible—and even lucrative—to go green in their own backyards, they might inspire others to follow suit. That, in turn, could make it easier for national leaders to act more forcefully.” —New York Times

    At an affiliate event titled “More Feast, Less Footprint: New Goals and Progress Towards Wasting Less Food,” panel discussions focused on efforts to reduce the estimated 1.4 billion tons of food wasted across the world every year. That’s roughly one-third of the global food supply.

    Left to right: Scott Smithline, CalReycle; John Dannan, Generate Capital;  Geeta Sethi, World Bank; Chris Cochran, ReFED.

    Left to right: Scott Smithline, CalReycle; John Dannan, Generate Capital;  Geeta Sethi, World Bank; Chris Cochran, ReFED.

    CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline joined representatives from ReFED, Generate Capital, and the World Bank for a discussion called “Financing the Change.” Smithline spoke about CalRecycle’s new Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, which awarded $9.4 million to 31 projects earlier this year.

    The goals of the grant program include:

    • Decreasing the estimated 6 million tons of food waste landfilled in California each year, and
    • Increasing the state’s capacity to collect, transport, store, and distribute more food for the roughly 1 in 8 Californians who are food-insecure.

    When sent to landfills, food and other organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a heat-trapping effect at least 86 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span.

    “Bolstering California’s food recovery infrastructure will help feed communities in need, create new jobs, and result in significant greenhouse gas reductions,” Director Smithline said when the grant awards were announced. “Our hope is that these programs will inspire similar efforts throughout California.”

    CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

    During the “Financing the Change” discussion, Director Smithline also spoke of the importance of food waste prevention and rescue in achieving success in SB 1383, California’s new law to combat climate change by getting organic waste out of landfills. At 23 million tons, organics is by far the largest material type landfilled in California each year. SB 1383 mandates a 50 percent reduction in organic waste disposal by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025, as well as actions to redirect 20 percent of currently disposed, edible food to Californians in need.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Sep 21, 2018

  • CalRecycle Prepares New Round of Food Waste Prevention/Rescue Climate Investments

    The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is set to move forward with eligibility and scoring criteria changes to enhance the department’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program. Proposed changes would expand the potential pool of applicants and stress the importance of job creation, training, and public outreach and education within California’s disadvantaged communities.

    The requested adjustments to eligibility, scoring criteria, and evaluation for the Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program come ahead of a new FY 2018-19 grant cycle in which $5.7 million has been allocated to the California Climate Investments program. Earlier this year, CalRecycle announced the first award recipients for its new Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program. As part of California’s comprehensive strategy to combat climate change, CalRecycle awarded $9.4 million to 31 projects throughout the state that:

    • Decrease the estimated 6 million tons of food waste landfilled in California each year, and
    • Increase the state’s capacity to collect, transport, store, and distribute more food for the roughly 1 in 8 Californians who are food-insecure.

    When sent to landfills, food and other organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a heat-trapping effect at least 86 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year span.

    CalRecycle’s upcoming public meeting will also feature new information about payment rates in California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program and important updates about the state’s mattress and paint stewardship programs.

    CalRecycle September 2018 Public Meeting
    10 a.m. Tuesday, September 18
    Coastal Hearing Room, CalEPA Building
    1001 I St., Sacramento, CA

    You can find the full agenda for CalRecycle’s September public meeting here. If you can’t make it in person, join us by webcast (the link will go live shortly before the meeting begins).

    Posted on In the Loop on Sep 14, 2018

  • Package-Free Salad Dressing

    As CalRecycle’s Executive Fellow, I have learned the intimate details of waste management in California and have seen firsthand what our discarded waste looks like at material recovery facilities (MRFs) across the state. I know that Californians produced 76.5 million tons of waste in 2016. But standing on the floor of a MRF and seeing the trucks unload tons of material was honestly alarming to witness.  I have made it my mission to reduce my consumption of packaging, which accounts for a quarter of the waste generated in California. As a former chef, food packaging is an easy place for me to start cutting back on my own waste generation.

    Salad dressing is commonly sold in packaging at the grocery store, but here’s the secret: it is shockingly easy to make at home, and so much cheaper than purchasing it in the store. Making your own salad dressing eliminates the purchasing of packaging, plus, when you make it at home you have complete control over the ingredients.

    As a former restaurant cook, I know that cooking is all about ratios, and the best example of that is a vinaigrette salad dressing recipe. The basic ratio formula for a vinaigrette dressing is 1 part vinegar or acid to 3 or 4 parts oil.

    Choosing your oil

    While you could use any cooking oil you like, a neutral tasting oil is your best bet for a vinaigrette dressing. You do not want to overwhelm the other flavors in your salad. I usually opt for half extra virgin olive oil (a stronger-tasting oil) with half regular olive oil, canola, or vegetable oil (neutral-tasting oils).

    Choosing your vinegar or acid

    Pick any tasty vinegar you like. My favorites to use in salad dressings are rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. I would advise not using distilled plain white vinegar as the flavor is too harsh for dressing. I also substitute lemon or lime for acid in place of vinegar in a pinch.

    Choosing your seasonings

    Salt and pepper are essential, but I also like adding fresh herbs: cilantro, parsley, and basil are my favorites. Dry herbs work beautifully as well. Mustard is a great addition for a little tang, and I also enjoy some maple syrup or agave for a little sweetness. Garlic or shallot are nice if you mince them into small enough pieces or make your vinaigrette in a blender or food processor.

    Making your vinaigrette dressing

    Oil and vinegar must be emulsified together in order to evenly coat your salad, and there are a number of ways to accomplish this.

    My favorite is simply pouring all my ingredients in a jar, covering the jar with a lid, and shaking vigorously until they are combined.

    If you’re serving a crowd, you could simply combine all your vinaigrette dressing ingredients in a bowl, whisk together, and then add all your salad right on top of it, toss, and serve.

    You could also use a blender or food processor to make your dressing. Simply combine your ingredients except the oil, turn the blender on, and slowly add the oil as the machine is running.

    Homemade vinaigrette dressing is easy and versatile, and when you get the hang of it and discover your preferences, you barely need a recipe.

    Here is one of my favorite vinaigrette dressings:

    Red Wine Vinaigrette (Makes ¾ Cup of Dressing) 

    Ingredients

    • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup canola or other neutral oil
    • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • ½ of a small shallot, finely minced
    • 1-2 teaspoons fresh oregano, basil, or parsley (dried Italian seasoning or oregano works great too)
    • 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Optional: honey or agave to sweeten, to taste

    Directions

    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar. If using a food processor or blender, add all ingredients except the oils
    2. Mix or stir vigorously. If using a food processor or blender, turn on the machine and slowly add the oil while the machine is running to emulsify the dressing.
    3. Taste and adjust your seasonings, adding salt and pepper.
    4. Serve and enjoy immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
    Posted on In the Loop by Allegra Curiel on Aug 30, 2018