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

  • California Eyes Upgrade to Aging E-Waste Program

    Expansion Could Include Nearly All Devices with Cords or Batteries

    SACRAMENTO – In an effort to keep pace with rapidly evolving technology, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is out with a new set of recommendations to redesign California’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act (SB 20, Sher, Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003).

    Right now, the state’s Covered Electronic Waste (CEW) payment program includes just a fraction of the estimated 120 million electronic devices purchased in California each year. Without a change, millions of these devices—which often contain hazardous materials such as lead and mercury—could be illegally disposed or improperly managed. 

    “California’s CEW program created the infrastructure needed to safely manage the state’s e-waste while providing convenience for consumers and cost relief for local governments, but technology is changing and our program must change, too,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “As electronics get more complex, California must innovate e-waste management to maximize resource conservation and minimize public and environmental harm.”

    Following two years of workshops, surveys, and discussions with tech leaders and other stakeholders, CalRecycle developed a summary and recommendations for the Future of Electronic Waste Management in California.  Among the top recommendations are the expansion of the number and type of products covered under the CEW program. 

    Devices Currently Covered in the CEW Program

    (Screens greater than 4” diagonally) 

    • Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Televisions, Monitors, Devices
    • Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) Televisions and Monitors
    • Laptops with LCD screens, including most tablets
    • Plasma Televisions
    • Portable DVD Players with LCD Screens 

    Proposed  Covered Electronic Devices

    • Most Devices Requiring Batteries or Power Cords

    Other CalRecycle recommendations to redesign California’s e-waste management efforts include:

    • Incentivizing greater repair and reuse of electronic devices
    • Increasing manufacturer responsibilities, including labeling and greater attention to durability/recyclability
    • Exploring a transition from the current consumer fee to a manufacturer funded program to cover the costs of proper end-of-life product management
    • Annually adjusting recycling and recovery payments to authorized CEW collectors and recyclers
    • Encouraging industry take-back programs for emerging technologies like electric car batteries and solar panels

    CalRecycle formally adopted the above policy recommendations at its May 2018 public meeting. Moving forward, the department will continue to engage stakeholders on these recommendations.

    Stay informed of new developments with CalRecycle’s Future of E-waste webpage or subscribe to our E-waste listserv.

    Fast Facts: Electronic Waste in California

    • California’s CEW program has successfully managed more than 2.2 billion pounds of e-waste since 2005
    • Electronics are considered hazardous waste and are illegal to dispose in household trash
    • 273,878 tons of (mostly non-CEW) electronics make their way to California landfills each year
    • Batteries hidden inside e-waste cause explosions and fires when shredded at recycling and recovery facilities
    • Newer electronics are smaller and more costly to dismantle, and they have less scrap material value
    • Covered Electronic Waste program payments are weight-based
    • 46 percent of household hazardous waste collected by local governments is e-waste
    • Roughly $55 billion is lost globally each year as a result of e-waste being trashed instead of recycled
    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Jun 7, 2018

  • Food Waste – the Movie

    Food Waste Prevention Week has come and gone, but we want Californians to keep up their efforts to reduce food waste and protect the environment! Here is a video we created to raise awareness about the problem. Follow our tips to reduce food waste and save money!

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Apr 12, 2018

  • Maximizing the Holidays and Minimizing Waste

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    Every year, we talk about the impact the holiday season has on our waste stream. From Halloween through the New Year, Americans ramp up their spending—on decorations, food celebrations, gift exchanges, and gift-wrapping supplies.

    We all get to choose the way we embrace an environmentally conscious lifestyle. Some of us choose to bike to work, while others choose to ride public transportation. Some abandon plastic saran wrap, while others switch to reusable containers with lids. For me, the holiday season is all about striking a fine balance between celebrating abundantly and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. If you’re following my blog posts here, you’ll know I favor handmade holiday decorations and gifts, but I’m still trying to find my stride with the approaching holidays.

    I’ve wondered if there is a “keystone habit” that would set me up for sustainable success. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, coined this phrase to describe an activity that is correlated with other good habits—in other words, making one good choice can have a domino effect on the rest of your life. For example, those who exercise tend to eat better. Those who eat family dinners tend to benefit from lower food costs, better nutrition and health, healthier marriages, and academically successful children.  

    With the holidays approaching, I’ve developed a list of keystone habits to guide me through the season. 

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    Cook Smaller Meals at Home (Skip the Leftovers!)

    Most of the time, I cook a larger dinner meal that results in leftovers that I take to work for lunch or stretch out on nights I don’t want to cook. During the holiday season, I eat out more frequently and attend multiple parties, so these leftovers are harder to consume before they turn. Food waste constitutes about 20 percent of our waste stream, and I’m doing my part in December by making my grocery trips smaller and focusing on cooking food that can be eaten in two meals instead of four. I also shop for special meals (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day dinners) separately from my everyday shopping, because it helps me keep track of what I anticipate being eaten. Otherwise, I end up tossing things in my cart and thinking, if we don’t eat it on Thanksgiving, we’ll eat it later in the weekend, which inevitably results in over shopping and food waste.  

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    Give Fewer and More Meaningful Gifts

    This year, my family members collectively fessed up and admitted we have too much stuff and don’t need anything. Our Santa lists are shorter and include a handful of things that we would really appreciate. Some of us are pooling resources to buy larger gifts, while others are choosing to buy experience gifts like cooking lessons and tickets to a Broadway show. I’ve also decided to focus on buying high-quality jewelry for the women in my life rather than costume jewelry. I may give fewer pieces, but nice jewelry is usually more timeless than this season’s trends and much less likely to end up in a landfill in a few years. I’m also compiling photos into a special picture book, which has a lot of sentimental value and will be cherished for years to come. And don’t forget to check out my blog entry on Reusable Holiday Wrapping.

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    Decorate with Compostable Decorations

    This year I’m channeling my inner Colonial Williamsburg, Little Women craftswoman and heading to the orchard rather than the craft store for inspiration. Early American Christmas decorations consisted of fresh greenery, fruit, nuts, pinecones, and spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise pods. This year, I’m aiming to dry orange, grapefruit, and apple slices for wreathes, garlands, and ornaments. At the end of the season, I can toss these decorations into the compost pile.

    As the holidays unfold and my schedule gets busier, it takes a little more effort to keep sustainability in mind. But I’m armed with a plan and keystone habits to guide me through the New Year. What kind of keystone habits will you put in place?

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Dec 11, 2017