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

  • California Hunger Doubles During COVID-19 As a New Climate Law Directs Surplus Food to Families

    Lines of cars snaked around The Forum arena and all the way around the block in Los Angeles, California, Friday, April 10, to pick up groceries being handed out by a food bank. By Voice of America/KABC

    Lines of cars snaked around The Forum arena and all the way around the block in Los Angeles, California, Friday, April 10, to pick up groceries being handed out by a food bank. By Voice of America/KABC

    Hunger in California has doubled, and in some counties has tripled, since the state’s Stay-At-Home order went into effect, according to the California Association of Food Banks. A little-known climate law will soon direct supermarkets, food wholesalers, and other food businesses to send millions of meals to local food rescue organizations instead of dumping surplus food in landfills.

    The law’s new requirements come at a crisis moment for the state. “We’ve seen up to three times as many people showing up at our food banks since the coronavirus pandemic first began and overall hunger in the state has gone up 113 percent,” said Communications Director of the Association of Food Banks Lauren Lathan Reid. 
     
    Demand for Donated Food Has Recently Skyrocketed
     
    In communities across the state, the overwhelming demand translates to miles-long lines of cars of cars filled with thousands of people waiting to enter food banks or make their way through pop up, drive-through food distribution lines.
     
    Lathan Reid said the hardest-hit counties include Marin, Mono, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Sonoma, where food insecurity has tripled since the start of the pandemic. Hunger in Alameda, Los Angeles, and Santa Clara has increased more than 150 percent. 
     
    Cities and counties can help meet this historic surge in demand by proactively implementing local programs to meet the new statewide requirements, which include:
    • Requiring supermarkets, grocery stores, food service providers, food distributors, and food wholesaler vendors to donate their otherwise wasted food to neighbors in need starting January 1, 2022. 
    • Requiring restaurants of a certain size, hotels, health facilities, large venues and events, state agencies with cafeterias, and K-12 schools to donate otherwise wasted food to neighbors in need starting January 1, 2024.
     
    Food bank demand has skyrocketed in California. By Food Forward
    Food bank demand has skyrocketed as twice as many Californians go hungry. By Food Forward 
     
    Lowering Climate Pollutants by Feeding Californians in Need
     
    As the public demand for government to take on climate change grew, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), a law designed to lower climate super pollutants. The legislation aimed to curtail landfill methane emissions by reducing the amount of food, yard waste, and other organic waste landfilled in California each year. A component of the landmark legislation will redirect good food that is currently being thrown away to Californians who do not have enough to eat. 
     
    “Before COVID-19, one out of every eight Californians and one out of every five children didn’t have enough food to eat,” said Martine Boswell, a CalRecycle environmental scientist who advises communities and businesses on food waste prevention, edible food recovery, and overall food waste management. “That number has now gone up. At the same time that people are going hungry, hundreds of thousands of tons of edible food is annually thrown into the trash and ending up in landfills.”
     
    Methane from landfilled food is one of the top climate super pollutants in the state.  By Food Forward
    Methane from landfilled food is one of the top climate super pollutants in the state.  By Food Forward
     
    Organics Make Up Two-Thirds of Trash Dumped in Landfills
     
    In California, organic waste makes up about two-thirds of what we landfill each year. As these materials decompose without enough oxygen, they create methane, a heat-trapping gas more than 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and a major contributor to ground-level ozone and global climate change. 
     
    To reduce landfill methane emissions, SB 1383 requires a 75 percent reduction in organic waste disposal by 2025, as well as actions to ensure 20 percent of currently disposed edible food is redirected to Californians in need. 
     
    The term “edible food” means food intended for human consumption, but it must also meet the food safety requirements of the California Retail Code. 
     
    “This is one-of-a-kind legislation,” said CalRecycle Environmental Program Manager Kyle Pogue. “No other state or country has required this level of food rescue.” 
     
    California Needs Additional Space and Transportation to Rescue More Food
     
    Meeting the edible food rescue requirement of SB 1383 will require California to increase capacity with the state's food recovery network of food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and other food rescue organizations. Funding helps these groups save more food by growing their capacity to collect, transport, store, and distribute more meals to those in need.
     
    By Food Forward
    By Food Forward 
     
    60 Food Recovery Grants Will Bring Millions More Meals to Californians Statewide 
     
    In the last couple of years, CalRecycle has awarded money to more than 60 food recovery projects all over the state through a series of grants. 
     
    “Supporting food rescue programs in California helps provide jobs and nourish communities by giving them the food they need to survive and thrive,” said Boswell. 
     
    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
    • Improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. 
     
    The program helps organizations establish or expand food rescue and food waste prevention projects to reduce the amount of food being disposed in landfills.
     
    Click here to learn more about CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program recipients from across the state, including Food Forward, an innovative Southern California non-profit food rescue group that helps serve an additional 5 million meals a year thanks to their CalRecycle grant project.
     
     
    Posted on In the Loop by Linda Mumma on Jul 7, 2020

  • CalRecycle Funds Six New School Food Pantries to Feed Children in Need

    Since 2013, San Diego’s White Pony Express Food Bank has supplied 9 million pounds of food to Californians who don’t get enough to eat. During the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order they have more than doubled how much food they give out to the cars lining up for donations. This non-profit will add at least six new school pantries that feed children with grant funding from CalRecycle.

    The Department supports food bank programs that lower the food waste sent to landfills by sending edible, unused food to the one in eight Californians who don’t know where they will get their next meal. Organic waste makes up two-thirds of the trash that fills our landfills. It also releases methane, a greenhouse gas 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it breaks down in landfills. By lowering food waste, we can provide food for those going hungry, while fighting a primary super pollutant that contributes to the devastating effects of climate change like wildfires and droughts.

     

     

     

     

    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong and Maria West on May 19, 2020

  • Fighting Climate Change by Feeding Those in Need

    Team Edible Launches California's First Edible Food Recovery Public Meeting 

     Picture of Kyle Pogue, Martine Boswell, Cara Morgan at a podium presenting.

    CalRecycle "Team Edible" – Kyle Pogue, Martine Boswell, and Cara Morgan

    This past Thursday, February 27, CalRecycle partnered with Yolo Food Bank for California’s very first SB 1383 edible food recovery public kick-off meeting, giving 100 leaders from food recovery organizations, edible food generators, and jurisdictions an in-depth look at how new edible food recovery mandates provide an opportunity to redirect unsold, edible food to Californians who need it most.

    Julie Trueblood

    Julie Trueblood from CalRecycle's Local Assistance and Management (LAMD) team, presented at the event.

    “There is so much food waste that is disposed of on a daily basis in California,” pointed out Martine Boswell, a CalRecycle environmental scientist who advises on food waste prevention, edible food recovery, and overall food waste management. “Edible food that is disposed is unnecessary and, in most cases, completely preventable.”

    Martine explained that while SB 1383, a bill with a goal to reduce short-lived climate pollutants in the atmosphere, has two organic waste disposal reduction targets, it also includes a goal: that 20 percent of edible food currently sent to landfills must be recovered for human consumption by 2025.

    This target provides an opportunity to sustainably fund infrastructure and capacity to help bring millions of pounds of edible food, which retailers have historically sent to landfills, to the one in eight Californians who are food insecure, often not knowing where or when they will get their next meal.

    The term "edible food" means food intended for human consumption. But it must also meet the food safety requirements of the California Retail Food Code. “Food safety is absolutely critical,” Martine assured the gathered stakeholders from Yolo County. 

    Matt Henigan presenting at the Yolo County Food Bank event

    CalRecycle Deputy Director Matt Henigan discussed the issues of climate change and hunger that SB 1383 addresses.

    “SB 1383 is the most wide-ranging and impactful solid waste legislation of the last 30 years,” CalRecycle Deputy Director Matt Henigan told the audience. “It requires a reduction of organic waste by 75 percent by 2025. It also requires a 20 percent edible food recovery goal…This is unique and groundbreaking for California.”

    “We’re very proud at CalRecycle to be a part of feeding hungry people,” Matt Henigan went on, addressing how short-lived climate pollutant bill SB 1383 gives his staff a chance to both help the environment and make a tangible difference to California’s one in five food insecure children.

    Explaining the reason CalRecycle was tasked with reducing organic waste disposal, Matt added that “Two-thirds of the waste stream is organic waste and food waste is the largest component of the waste stream. Landfilling organic waste emits methane, and 21 percent of methane emissions come from landfills. Methane is 70 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas global warming contributor, which has led to climate change impacts: fires, coastal erosion, and impacts on agriculture. Every 2.5 tons of food that’s diverted is the equivalent of taking one car off the road for a year. Reducing these emissions is by far the best investment we can make.” 

    Yolo County Health & Human Services Branch Manager Nolan Sullivan

    “One in five children in Yolo County is going to go to bed hungry tonight. What are we going to do about it?” Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency Service Centers Branch Manager Nolan Sullivan (pictured above) pointed out the opportunity to solve this significant, problem while working to reach SB 1383’s 20 percent edible food recovery targets.

    CalRecycle Organics Staff

    CalRecycle staff who took part in the event, from left to right:  Matt Henigan (MMLA), Joe Rasmussen (LAMD), Julie Trueblood (LAMD), Ashlee Yee (LAMD), Maria West (Public Affairs), Cara Morgan (LAMD), Tom Steel (Executive Fellow), Pinar Kose (LAMD), Alex Byrne (FiRM), Martine Boswell (STAR), Kyle Pogue (STAR), Sheina Meiners (FiRM), Jeffory McDaniel (LAMD), Ken Yee (LAMD), and John Duke (LAMD). 

    CalRecycle organics staff came together for this exciting event that the department sees as a model for many more food recovery collaboration launches throughout our state in the next year. Forging these connections will help jurisdictions, edible food generators, and food recovery organizations improve existing food recovery networks to ensure that edible food is diverted from landfills and put to its highest and best use of helping feed people in need.  

    Posted on In the Loop by Maria West on Mar 2, 2020