Putting Cap-and-Trade Dollars to Work for California

CalRecycle’s greenhouse gas reduction grant and loan programs put Cap-and-Trade dollars to work for California by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening our economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Since 2014, CalRecycle has received $105 million from Cap-and-Trade funding. So far, funds have been funneled into three grant categories:

  • Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program—$9.38 million
  • Organics Grant Program—$72 million
  • Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass Grant Program—$14 million

You can read more about specific grant recipients and their efforts to help expand California’s recycling infrastructure in the “Putting Cap-and-Trade Dollars to Work for California” booklet.

CalRecycle receives Cap-and-Trade funds to help California meet two statewide objectives: 

  • Reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfills by 75 percent by 2020 (AB 341)
  • Reduce the amount of organic material going to landfills by 75 percent by 2025 and recover at least 20 percent of disposed edible food by 2025 (SB 1383)

California will need to move about 20 million tons a year out of the disposal stream to meet these goals. Regarding 75 percent organics recycling – a statewide mandate – CalRecycle estimates that roughly 50 to 100 new and expanded organics recycling facilities, at a cost of approximately $2 billion to $3 billion in capital investment, are needed to handle this amount of material.

CalRecycle-funded organics recycling and digestion projects expand existing capacity or establish new facilities to reduce the amount of California-generated green materials and/or alternative daily cover sent to landfills. Landfilling of organics generates methane, a GHG about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year horizon.

Food Waste Prevention and Rescue projects (often run by food banks and food pantries) keep edible food out of landfills by reducing the amount of food waste that is generated or rescuing edible food from the waste stream.

Recycled Fiber, Plastic, and Glass projects build or expand infrastructure for manufacturing products with recycled fiber (paper, textiles, carpet, or wood), plastic, or glass.

Together, these programs are expanding the necessary infrastructure for California to manage our waste responsibly. As an added bonus, they also happen to be among the most cost-effective GHG grant programs in the state!

— Christina Files
Posted on Oct 8, 2018

Summary: CalRecycle’s greenhouse gas reduction grant and loan programs put Cap-and-Trade dollars to work for California by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening our economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.