Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
Summer has given way to autumn, and we’re pulling on our boots and clomping off to the coffee shop for pumpkin-spice lattes. And soon, my backyard tree will be dropping enough leaves to ramp up my suburban compost bin again.
My city provides me with a “brown bin” that I can use for organic waste, so even when I’m not composting with my bin, my organic waste is not decomposing in a landfill somewhere and generating methane, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.
But I enjoy playing weekend farmer in my little backyard, and my compost bin is magic: I toss in banana peels and coffee grounds, and I pull out a rich, nutritious soil amendment. And there are benefits to making my own compost rather than buying it at a garden supply store: I know exactly what’s in it, I don’t have to pay for it, and I don’t need to haul it home.
At CalRecycle, we get pretty excited about composting, so we’ve got all sorts of resources for people who want to start composting, increase or improve their compost yield, or troubleshoot potential problems. The trick, I think, is to not get bogged down trying to figure out the perfect system. Just pick a bin that works for the space you have, and get started. You can fine-tune later. For all my worries, I have never seen a rodent around my bin, and I’ve never had a smelly bin. (Since my neighbors are very close by, I tend to keep my pile a little drier than optimal just to be on the safe side as far as odor goes. I pay for that caution with a slower composting process.)
Be sure to check out CalRecycle’s backyard composting primer, complete with directions, explanations, and links to additional resources. Here’s a quick look at the process, which should reduce the intimidation factor and get you started:
First, get a bin. (I love my stackable bin, but my city gives away a hoop bin to residents. Check with your city or local jurisdiction.) You can also build a bin. An optimal bin is about 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and 3 feet tall. Then, follow these steps:
- Start with a layer of “brown” material such as dried leaves and twigs. This material provides carbon for the pile.
- Add a layer of “green” material like coffee grounds, tea bags, and produce scraps. This provides nitrogen.
- Mix it up with a shovel or pitchfork. (Or, “turn it,” as compost folks like to say.)
- Add water until it’s the consistency of a wrung-out sponge.
- Top the pile with just enough “brown” material so no “green” material is exposed.
- Give it another light watering.
- Wait as long as you like. Days, weeks, whatever works for you.
Then repeat. That’s all!
Once the magic starts to happen and you discover your kitchen scraps have actually turned into a rich, moist soil amendment, you can decide how much effort and precision you’d like to put into your compost project. If you go for “gourmet” composting, you’ll get much more (and higher quality) material. If, like me, you stick with “casual” composting, you’ll still get enough to energize your spring veggies and ornamentals, plus more for mulching.
If you don’t have the space for a composting bin, consider community-scale composting and get to know your neighbors. Whether you turn your own bin or work in a group plot, you’ll all have good “dirt” to share over your coffee drinks.Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones on Sep 25, 2018
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.
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
Communities Get Environmental and Economic Boost from California Climate Investments
Media Contact: Lance Klug
(916) 341-6293 | Lance.Klug@calrecycle.ca.gov
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has awarded more than $25 million in California Climate Investments to bolster organics recycling infrastructure in the state and rescue edible food for Californians in need. The projects in 10 California communities are set to transform nearly a half-million tons of discarded food, green waste, and other organic materials into value-added products like biofuel, compost, fertilizers, and soil amendments.
“California has the opportunity to close the loop with organics by transforming the single largest part of our waste stream into a supply stream for local businesses,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “These California Climate Investments not only recycle California-generated waste into new and valuable products, they also create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”
When sent to landfills, organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a short-lived climate pollutant 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program helps fund construction, renovation, or expansion of facilities in California that recycle organic material into products like compost and renewable energy.
CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving human health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. CalRecycle used Fiscal Year 2017–18 grant funds to award the following projects:
- Arakelian Enterprises Inc. (Doing business as Athens Services), San Bernardino County. Upgrade Victorville windrow composting facility to an aerated static pile composting system to increase capacity, reduce air emissions, and help protect water quality. $3,000,000
- Best Way Disposal Company, Inc. (Doing business as Advance Disposal Co.), San Bernardino County. Equipment upgrades at material recovery facility in Hesperia to remove contaminants from organic waste to divert the clean material for composting. $2,481,250
- Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc., Riverside County. Construction of new covered composting system at Robert A. Nelson material recovery facility and transfer station near Riverside. $3,000,000
- Contra Costa Waste Services (Partnering with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano), Contra Costa County. Purchase of new equipment and infrastructure upgrades at Mount Diablo Resource Recovery Park to utilize existing anaerobic digesters for increased organic waste landfill diversion and biogas production. Includes a food rescue partnership with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. $4,000,000
- CR&R Incorporated, Riverside County. Third of a three-phase project at a current anaerobic digestion facility in Perris. Expansion increases organic waste landfill diversion and increases biofuel used to fuel CR&R vehicle fleet. $4,000,000
- Recology Yuba-Sutter, Yuba County. First of a three-phase project to construct a new compost facility at Ostrom Road Landfill. This project received $2.8 million in a previous grant cycle. $216,865
- Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara County. Develop an anaerobic digestion facility at the Tajiguas Landfill to process currently landfilled organics into biogas and compost. $4,000,000
- Upper Valley Disposal Service (Partnering with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services), Napa County. Construction of new “organics blending barn” to mix food, green, and wood waste for composting. Includes a food rescue partnership with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. $1,250,000
- Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. (Partnering with Alameda County Community Food Bank), Alameda County. Purchase of pre-processing equipment for a new organic material recovery facility in San Leandro. Separated materials will be composted at a new facility co-located at the Davis Street complex. Includes food rescue partnerships with Alameda County Community Food Bank. $3,000,000
- West Coast Waste, Madera County. Construction of a new aerated static pile composting facility to divert currently landfilled green material. This project received $1.2 million in a previous grant cycle. $161,326
CalRecycle awards Organics Grants based on criteria of greenhouse gas reductions, the amount of organic material diverted from landfills, benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities, and project readiness. Eligible applicants include cities, counties, and other local agencies; businesses; California universities and colleges; nonprofit organizations; and qualifying Indian Tribes. Maximum Organics Grant awards are $4 million for anaerobic digestion projects and $3 million for compost projects.
Learn more about CalRecycle’s new Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, California’s push to recover edible food for hungry people before it becomes waste, and the state’s latest investments to turn food and other organic waste into renewable energy or increase compost capacity and demand in California.Posted on In the Loop on Jul 5, 2018