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

  • Package-Free Hummus

    Since coming to CalRecycle as an Executive Fellow and learning more about waste management in California, I have been more thoughtful about the waste I create in my own life. Packaging represents about one quarter of California’s waste stream, and   China’s current policy to limit or prohibit recyclable material imports is changing how recycling works in California. Recyclable materials that once had robust market demand are increasingly difficult to manage in the state.

    In fact, the City of Sacramento, where I live and where CalRecycle headquarters are located, recently announced it is no longer accepting #4-7 plastic in its curbside recycling program. As a result, I am rethinking my consumer choices.

    I am a big fan of hummus, a creamy dip made from chickpeas, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and tahini. Hummus is delicious just with these simple five ingredients, but it is also versatile and tastes fantastic with the addition of spices like cumin or paprika. I’ve even heard of folks blending steamed beets into their hummus for amazing flavor and color. I eat my hummus with carrots, with delicious farmers market cucumbers, spread on toast, and with crackers.

    Prior to becoming a CalRecycler, I would generally purchase hummus weekly at the grocery store in a plastic tub without thinking much about what would happen to that plastic tub once I was done with it.  Luckily for me (and for you!), I recently discovered it’s super easy to make from scratch.

    Here is my easy, versatile, delicious, and plastic-packaging-free hummus recipe. I skip the packaging altogether, purchase my chickpeas in bulk, and cook them in my pressure cooker, but if you’re strapped for time, canned chickpeas work great too. I also make my own tahini, which is a toasted sesame seed condiment and is crucial for making hummus. Tahini is available premade if you don’t want to take the extra step.

    Package-Free Hummus


    • 2 cup chickpeas, cooked and drained (or 1 15-ounce can)
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons tahini
    • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon), plus more as needed
    • 1 garlic clove
    • Salt and pepper to taste


    • Food processor or blender
    • Rubber spatula
    • Strainer or colander
    • Measuring cups and spoons


    1. Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Make sure to reserve some of the bean liquid for thinning out the hummus later, if necessary.
    2. Combine the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper in the food processor or blender.
    3. Blend the ingredients and slowly add in the olive oil while the food processor or blender is running.
    4. Blend up to five minutes, stopping to scrape down the side of the food processor or blender with a rubber spatula if necessary.
    5. Taste and adjust seasonings. You can also add your reserved chickpea water and blend again if you feel like the hummus is too thick.
    6. Transfer to bowl and serve! You can add any additional seasonings you would like. I enjoy some smoked paprika, cumin, and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
    7. Enjoy!
    Posted on In the Loop by Allegra Curiel on Aug 27, 2018

  • The Real Price of That Shirt

    You’re standing in a retail store and holding up a cotton shirt, thinking that it looks like it’s made from two yards of material, and that’s it.

    Not so. What it’s really made from is more than 700 gallons of water to grow the cotton for that material, plus fertilizers, and chemical dyes. You can also factor in about 4.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions—the equivalent of driving a car for about 10 miles—expended in the manufacturing process. (The emissions from manufacturing a synthetic shirt are even higher.) No matter how much money you spend on the shirt, there’s also the environmental price.

    To make things worse, if that shirt isn’t made well or you just grow tired of it, you might dispose of it fairly quickly and buy a replacement, starting the process all over again. And, unfortunately, you’re not the only one. A  CalRecycle study determined that 1.24 million tons of textiles (defined as items made of thread, yarn, fabric, or cloth) were disposed in California landfills in 2014, making textiles one of the most prevalent material types in the state’s disposed waste stream.

    What can be done to stop this cycle?

    Shop carefully. Check to ensure the article is made to last, and think twice about buying something that will likely be out of style next year. Consider clothing made by manufacturers who offer warranties. Some will even take their clothing back when it’s worn out!

    CalRecycle has recently updated its  textiles recycling webpage with information on what to do with clothes you don’t want anymore and how to change your purchasing habits. Take a look—for the sake of your pocketbook and our environment!

    shirts on hangars
    Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones on Aug 13, 2018

  • Eco-Friendly Habits to Form Today

    Eco-friendly habits checklist

    • Bring a reuseable water bottle
    • Say no to single-use plastic straws
    • Bring reuseable grocery bags
    • Bring a reuseable coffee cup to cafes
    • Ride you bike to work, school, or the store
    • Declutter & donate on a regular basis
    • Make meals at home to avoid packaging & food waste
    Posted on In the Loop on Aug 6, 2018