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

  • Introducing CalRecycle’s Zero Waste Webpages

    CalRecycle’s zero waste team has added content to our Zero Waste webpage just as the announcement of the rebranding of the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council’s certification to the new TRUE Zero Waste Certification occurs. TRUE stands for “Total Resource Use and Efficiency” and the rating system is now administered by Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) and housed under the U.S. Green Business Council (USGBC).

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    Businesses participating in the Zero Waste Certification program strive to divert 90 percent of their overall waste from landfill and incineration.

    CalRecycle’s Zero Waste Businesses webpage has new content designed for businesses striving for zero waste, including case studies and information about various certification programs.

    The Grass Roots Recycling Network (GRRN) describes zero waste as “a goal, a process, a way of thinking that profoundly changes the approach to resources and production. Not only is zero waste about recycling and diversion from landfills, it also restructures production and distribution systems to prevent waste from being manufactured in the first place.”

    “A zero waste system enables communities to not only protect the environment, but uncover economic opportunities,” says Stephanie Barger, director of market development for Zero Waste Programs with TRUE. “It reduces costs and improves efficiency, and by championing a zero waste economy, we’re helping transform the way we do business.”

    In 2013, CalRecycle showed its support for the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (now TRUE) by becoming a founding member. CalRecycle recognized that the Zero Waste Certification for businesses supports the goals of AB 341 to increase the state’s rate of recycling, composting and source reduction to 75 percent. Through this partnership, CalRecycle employees have had access to zero waste workshops, webinars, and conferences and have had opportunities to engage with like-minded individuals and organizations. CalRecycle has compiled a resources webpagehighlighting other zero waste organizations and educational programs.

    Are you wondering if your city or county has a zero waste policy or program? Visit the Zero Waste Communities webpage for a list and find other tools for local governments as well.

    To read more about the new partnership that administers the TRUE Zero Waste Certification system, please see the U.S. Green Business Council’s TRUE announcement.

    —Angela Vincent

    Posted on In the Loop by Angela Vincent on Nov 2, 2017

  • “Trash” to Cash

    The perks of a community yard sale

    While some people are sleeping in on weekends, others are scouring yard sales. And while treasure hunting for that soon-to-be upcycled item might be fun, organizing a yard sale is another story.

    For a higher degree of difficulty and even better environmental returns, try a neighborhood yard sale! Sure, it sounds like a logistics nightmare, but real estate agent KC Schuft, who lives in the southeast Sacramento neighborhood of Colonial Heights, has it down to a science. You can use her system, too!

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    Though the annual Colonial Heights sale has been going on for years, KC picked up the responsibility of organizing just a few years ago. She starts two months in advance by posting a “save the date” on social media platforms like Nextdoor. Then she follows up by hand-delivering flyers to the 700 homes in the area, inviting households to participate. An RSVP gets participants on the yard sale map and their special items promoted on Facebook and Craigslist. On the first day of the weekend event, KC sets up a table at the neighborhood main entrance with signs and maps for shoppers. 

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    When I attended the sale, I immediately got the neighborly vibe. Friends of mine who bought a house in this neighborhood a year ago are the new kids on the block, and they are already well loved. Multiple friends who did not live in the community came out to see them, hang out, eat doughnuts, and of course, buy items and check out the other yard sales. I think friends coming to visit and eat doughnuts was my favorite part. 

    While it’s tough to say how much was spared from the landfill since items weren’t inventoried, I know at least two purses, a backpack, a skein of purple yarn, and a honey jar were saved from the weekly trash pickup, because they went home with me. All those items are being put to good use (or should I say, reuse!) for only a fraction of the price I would have paid in a store. My uncle is enjoying the ’90s R&B records and ceramic Christmas items he bought for $10.

    My friend suggested unsold items be donated to a local charity. She offered her home as a collection point at the end of the sale, and neighbors brought unsold items to her house where the charity picked them up the next day—undoubtedly preventing more things from ending up at the dump while also raising money for those in need.

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    While keeping material out of landfills might not have been on most residents’ minds, their annual neighborhood yard sale helps build their community while protecting the environment, suburbia-style.

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Oct 26, 2017

  • California’s Covered Electronic Waste Program, Explained

    While the pace of technology routinely brings new electronic wonders, it also creates a stream of outdated, unwanted devices. California has taken a comprehensive approach to ensure discarded electronics are environmentally managed, and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is leading the way with the state’s Covered Electronic Waste (CEW) Program.

    The CEW Program was established through the Electronic Waste Recycling Act (SB 20, Sher, Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003) and took effect in 2005. The legislation set up a state-administered funding system comprised of authorized collectors and recyclers and financed by a consumer fee. To date, participating operators have helped ensure the recycling and detailed management of more than 2.2 billion pounds of California’s covered electronic waste.

    The CEW Program, similar to others under the purview of CalRecycle, centers on serving the needs of both the environment and human health. In California, all electronic waste is considered to be hazardous, and many e-waste components are difficult to recycle. The purpose of the CEW Program is to promote resource conservation and job growth through the recovery and recycling of as much e-waste as possible, and to protect the public health and safety by mandating safe, responsible end-of-life management of e-waste materials that are not recyclable or for which there are no reuse markets. 

    Under California’s CEW Program, “covered electronic devices”—on which consumer recycling fees are assessed—are defined as video display devices with screens greater than 4 inches (diagonally). These include cathode ray tube (CRT) devices, TV and computer monitors containing CRTs, TV and computer monitors containing Liquid Crystal Displays, laptops and tablets with LCD screens, plasma TVs, and personal portable DVD players with LCD screens. The consumer fee on purchases of new covered devices in California is currently set at $5, $6 or $7 (based on screen size).

    More broadly, the term “e-waste” is often applied to all consumer and business electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its useful life. More than half of all electronic waste discarded in California is not “covered electronic waste”—things like computer central processing units, stereos, printers, telephones, etc.—but still are materials regulated under California law and require proper handling.

    While the federal government and other states have different regulations, CEW handlers and processors are generally regulated more stringently in California. Materials recovered in the CEW Program, both CRT and non-CRT devices, are dismantled in-state, providing jobs and ensuring that what value exists—metals, plastics, components—is diverted from disposal and re-enters the secondary markets.

    Certain residual materials, such as CRT glass, continue to be regulated once a device is dismantled. Bare CRT tubes, as well as processed CRT glass, make up about 50-60 percent of the original CRT device by weight. Regulated residuals that do not have viable or environmentally sound markets, such as certain CRT glass, must be disposed of in hazardous waste and other regulated facilities.

    The future of electronics is only getting more complex. While CRT devices still make up a large percentage of recovered devices, more flat-panel technology with little to no recycling value is fast emerging within California’s electronic waste stream.  data-sf-ec-immutable="">  continues to be fully transparent about these challenges in monthly public meetings and public workshops with stakeholders. The department has instituted regulatory reforms to address these challenges and supports continued implementation of a new law designed to help deal with the ultimate disposition of certain CRT glass.

    CalRecycle encourages consumers to remain engaged and play a role in the policies that affect California and the world. The CEW Program has been a successful endeavor due to the participating public, the actions of industry, and regulatory oversight. CalRecycle looks forward to its leadership role and the continued evolution of electronic waste management.

    —Lance Klug

     
     

    Remember to take your old electronics to an e-waste recycling center when you upgrade.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Sep 28, 2017