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

  • How to Host a Clothing Swap

    Reduce Your Waste and Look Chic Doing It


    Have you made a New Year’s resolution to clean out your closet or to change up your wardrobe? Maybe you received new clothes for the holidays and you’re trying to pare down. There are a number of reasons to reduce the amount of shirts, pants, accessories, and shoes in your possession – and you don’t want to just throw them out. After all, an estimated 1.2 million tons of textiles ended up in California landfills in 2014, and you don’t want to add to that. What’s the solution? A wardrobe swapping party! Follow these tips and you’ll turn heads, even without a runway.

    Send Invites

    A group of 10 to 15 people is reasonable to ensure you have enough garments and accessories but without risking chaos. Try to be conscious of people’s styles and sizes, but don’t exclude anyone because they might be preppy and plus-size or a punky petite – they might still find something that suits them. 


    Set Ground Rules

    Make it a point to list the rules in your invitation so everyone knows before they arrive, and make sure you give a friendly reminder once everyone is there. The point of the clothing swap is to have fun, save money, and reduce waste. Here are some rules to start:

    • Everyone takes a turn.
    • No fighting over items.
    • Everyone brings a certain amount of items and leaves with that amount.

    Be Clear

    Make sure everyone knows what is considered swappable. Everything must be washed, dried, and ironed, and nothing should be stained or torn. Don’t bring low-quality items just to get rid of them. 


    Get Organized

    Before everyone comes over, make sure you have plenty of room to display the items. Tables and racks would be ideal so everyone can see what’s up for grabs. If you don’t want to dig through a pile of what looks like dirty laundry, your friends probably don’t either. As people walk in, have them organize their items on the tables and/or racks. 


    A Perfect Fit

    Have a designated space as a fitting room so everyone can try on items if they choose. This can be a restroom, bedroom, or even a corner of the room with a partition for privacy. Don’t forget to include mirrors!


    Make It a Party

    You’re not just there to swap clothing—you’re there to have a good time with your friends. Encourage guests to bring snacks and drinks (but be careful not to spill on the clothes!). Play music and games after you trade items. For bonus eco-points, buy snacks in bulk and skip the disposable dishware. 


    Donate Leftovers

    Once everyone has taken a turn and their reusable shopping bags are full of new fashions, donate any of the leftovers to the Goodwill, Salvation Army, WEAVE, Dress for Success, or thrift shops. That way, whatever you and your fellow swappers don’t use will certainly be used by someone else.

    One last tip for the runway: Take fashion risks when you trade. You’re not spending any money, so this is the perfect time to try something you might not normally purchase in the store. 

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jan 19, 2017

  • The Impact of the Plastic Bag Ban

    With the ban on single-use plastic bags now firmly on the books in California, you might be wondering what kind of impact this will have. To answer that question, it’s worth exploring what kind of impact these bags have had on our environment and economy in the past. Let’s take a brief look at the history of plastic bags in America.

    Single-use plastic grocery bags were introduced as an alternative to paper bags in 1977. As of 2016, 90 percent of all grocery bags were plastic. Until the plastic bag ban was passed, Californians were using 13 billion to 20 billion plastic bags every year, and only 3 percent of them were recycled.

    Plastic Bags Contribute to Oil Dependence

    Thin, single-use plastic bags are a petroleum-based product, so they contribute to U.S. oil dependence and accelerate climate change. An estimated 12 million barrels of petroleum oil are used to produce 100 billion plastic bags.

    Plastic Bags Cause Marine Pollution


    After 40 years of escalating plastic bag use in America, we have learned a lot about their impact on our environment. They make their way into our waterways and ultimately contribute to marine pollution. Plastic bags do not biodegrade, but instead break down into smaller pieces, which is devastating for marine life. Turtles mistake floating plastic bags for jellyfish and eat them.

    Birds are drawn to them because the bacteria that clings to their natural food source also clings to the plastic. The result is that many marine animals are consuming so much indigestible plastic that they feel full but are actually starving because what they consume has no nutritional value. 


    Additionally, animals get trapped in plastic and cannot get free, resulting in impaired movement or death.

    The Ocean Conservancy estimates that plastic bags kill 1 million seabirds and 100,000 other animals worldwide each year. We spend roughly $428 million each year to protect our waters from litter, and up to 25 percent of that is attributable to plastic bags alone.

    Plastic Bags Are Difficult and Expensive to Recycle

    Thin plastic bags are rarely recycled and are difficult to manage in the waste stream. They easily float out of garbage trucks and blow across transfer stations and landfills. Processing plastic bags is difficult as well, with waste sorting machines often jammed or gummed up with plastic bags, causing damage and facility downtime.



    Sacramento has reported shutting down sorting equipment 6 times a day to remove plastic bags at its recycling facility. San Joseestimated an annual loss of $1 million each year due to plastic bag repairs in its facilities.  This is important because achieving the benefits of recycling—such as resource conservation, clean alternative energy and the slowing of climate change—relies in part on maintaining the financial viability of recycling-based enterprises.  

    A Future Without Single-Use Carryout Bags

    People are quickly adjusting to the plastic bag ban and bringing reusable bags with them to the grocery store. It’s a small step that will make a big impact for this generation and those to come.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jan 9, 2017

  • Holiday waste-reduction roundup: 7 tips for low-waste festivities

    Here’s a roundup of ways to reduce your holiday footprint! See the links for more details.

    1. Utilize reusable plates, utensils, and napkins

    Whether they’re posing as fine china or cheap dinnerware, there is no place for disposable plates, plastic utensils, and paper napkins this holiday season. Yes, using the real thing does mean extra time in the kitchen cleaning up. But, by choosing kitchenware, you can lead by example and choose a short-term inconvenience for long-term (and often indirect) gains. You can also use this opportunity to solidify a work ethic in your little ones by inviting them to help with the cleanup! 


    2. Give experiences rather than stuff

    Instead of spending money on cheap novelties with little value, think about giving the gift of experience. Movie tickets, sports games, comedy specials, and concerts make great gifts that allow you and your loved ones to make memories that will last longer than that ugly sweater or flimsy trinket. 
    Save or Splurge on Holiday Experience Gifts: Create Memories, Not Trash

    3. Nix the wrapping paper

    Skip the wrapping paper and opt for reusable bags. Repurpose some you already have or buy new ones that can be reused year after year. If nixing wrapping paper makes you say “Bah Humbug!” then think about using old cereal and shoe boxes to take the first step in going completely reusable. Reusable Holiday Wrapping

    4. Just say no to the frosted Christmas tree

    Many cities and counties offer Christmas tree recycling. However, if you opt for a flocked tree, most often these cannot be recycled because of the chemical content used to give the tree that frosted look. Go au natural or opt for an artificial tree that be reused year after year.

    5. Bundle up instead of cranking up the heat

    Bring out the blankets and throw on the sweaters to decrease your energy use this holiday season. Instead of blasting the heat, bundle up to save energy and money too!


    6. Let no food go uneaten

    When planning your holiday feasts, try your best to not overbuy or overcook. Make sure you have containers on hand to offer leftovers to guests. If there is still excess food, donate the leftovers to a local food pantry or homeless shelter to ensure nothing is wasted and to help out those less fortunate in your community. 
    Reduce Holiday Waste with Party Portion Planning

     7. Recycle

    Make sure to have separate bins to capture all recyclable and compostable items. Signage will help reduce contamination. If you are using reusable plates, napkins, and cutlery, recycling all beverage containers, and composting leftover food scraps, you are well on your way here having a zero waste holiday season!



    Posted on In the Loop by Angela Vincent on Dec 22, 2016