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

  • The Dark Side of Fluorescent Lights

    We all have summer projects. Mine is to change out the old fluorescent bulbs and tubes in my laundry room and kitchen and retrofit the lighting fixtures to LED. 

    This conversion to LED means I’m done with the 48-inch tubes and possibly the ballast as well.  So, what am I supposed to do with those items? 

    First of all, never throw them in the trash. (Confession here: Several years ago, following another light fixture project, I did throw the bulbs and ballast into the trash can. I didn’t know any better. I was young and naïve, which is my lame excuse for any stupid thing I did in the past.)  

    Many of the larger hardware stores don’t accept the 48-inch lights for recycling, but they will take compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. Those bulbs can be hazardous if they aren’t disposed of correctly. If broken, the bulbs can release mercury. 

    Basically, you need to find out how your local jurisdiction handles the materials. Do an online search and figure out if you need to drop the tubes off at a local collection site or if your area has a household hazardous waste pickup service.

    As for the ballast, some older products are considered potentially hazardous since they could contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB). Those ballasts should be disposed at a hazardous waste facility.  Check with your local jurisdiction to find out where to take these items in your area. Recent electrical ballasts can be recycled at some light bulb specialty stores, or you can send them back via a mail-in program. Besides your county, is another good resource to find out where you can properly dispose of the ballasts. 

    So, if you’re planning to change out those pesky fluorescent bulbs, these simple tips will have you more prepared. Good luck with your project!

    Fluorescent light tube
    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Jul 18, 2019

  • Compost: Not Just for the Garden

    Compost is a soil amendment that is created from recycled organic materials like yard and food waste. Home gardeners and commercial farmers use it to add vital nutrients to the soil in their plant beds, resulting in larger and healthier plants, fruits, and vegetables. Compost has other uses, too. Here are a few ways compost is used in California outside a vegetable garden or farm.

    Erosion Control and Water Pollution Reduction

    Compost filter socks and blankets can help control erosion and retain sediment in disturbed areas. Compost socks consist of tubular netting filled with compost and are also effective at removing gasoline, diesel, and oil residues from runoff. CalTrans uses these compost applications frequently in their work along California’s highways. Check out these case studies on the use of compost socks for removing pollutants from rainwater runoff.

    Water Conservation

    Research has demonstrated that compost can allow soil to hold up to 30 percent more water, which can significantly help during periods of drought. Check out these resources and case studies on how to utilize compost for sustainable landscaping.

    Wildfire Remediation

    Wildfires destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of California forest every year, and they eliminate the soil’s protective vegetative layer, exposing it to wind and rain. Heavy rainfall on burned lands washes sediment into creeks and rivers and creates dangerous mudslides. Compost blankets improve soil structure, which helps rainfall absorb into the soil and provides an ideal environment for seeds to germinate and grow.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jun 24, 2019

  • 5 Environmental Social Media Accounts You Need to Follow Today

    They say if you’re not on social media, you don’t exist. We all know that isn’t true, but it wouldn’t hurt to at least check in on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram every once in a while to see what’s happening in the world of environmentalism. Here are a few of the many social media accounts that we at CalRecycle think are worth a follow if you want to keep up with sustainability, environmentalism, climate change, recycling, and nature.

    Recycle by City

    Recycle by City provides specific recycling information to eight cities (three in California) with easy-to-follow instructions and visuals that help clear up recycling confusion. Always on the pulse of what is going on in the world of waste and environmentalism, Recycle by City deserves a follow on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook—whichever you prefer.

    Podship Earth

    You’re missing out on all kinds of fascinating environmental topics if you’re not listening to Podship Earth, hosted by Jared Blumenfeld, CalEPA’s new secretary. While the Instagram and Facebook accounts both have relevant and interesting content, it’s best to subscribe to the podcast and/or follow on Twitter for the most up-to-date information.

    U.S. Interior

    The name doesn’t really do this Instagram account justice—while it sounds like it might be a photographic tour of America’s best interior designs, it’s actually more about the exterior. The U.S. Interior’s Instagram account will blow you away with breathtaking nature shots from federal lands—lands the department is charged with conserving. We love this particular account because it reminds us why we fight so hard to protect the planet.

    Save the Food

    In California, 1 in 8 people are food-insecure, including 1 in 5 children. Yet each year in our state alone, we waste approximately 5.6 million tons of food, which generates greenhouse gases when it decomposes in our landfills. Save the Food’s Facebook page is chock-full of statistics on food waste, how to prevent it, and tips on how to best store and repurpose food before it goes to waste. Plus, they’ve got quick videos that are fun and fascinating.

    The Story of Stuff Project

    Everyone’s stuff has a story! Whichever account you follow—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even YouTube—The Story of Stuff Project will have some content that you can relate to. Whether it’s climate change, waste, or eco-friendly tips, following any or all of their accounts will not disappoint. Their quirky videos will have you thinking twice about your stuff after it’s not your stuff anymore.

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Mar 28, 2019