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

  • Organics Recycling--It's the Law

    It’s no secret California has been working hard to reduce the amount of organic waste that goes to landfills, where it decomposes and generates greenhouse gas emissions.

    In 2014, Governor Brown signed AB 1826 Chesbro (Chapter 727, Statutes of 2014), requiring that businesses recycle their organic waste.

    Two years later, Brown signed SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), which requires, among other things, that the state reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfills by 75 percent by Jan. 1, 2025.

    Here is a quick video CalRecycle created a while back to help get the word out to businesses in California. Feel free to share it!

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Jun 28, 2018

  • Celebrating Soil

    This is California Healthy Soils Week, and today is Food Waste and Compost Day. The thin layer of carbon, minerals and microorganisms known as soil provides the basis for life on this planet as we know it, so it is worth celebrating.

    Worldwide, cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 80 percent of their soil carbon. Carbon is the stuff that makes soil look rich and black. In California, we have agricultural soils with critically low soil carbon. Tilling exposes soil carbon to the air, allowing it to vaporize as carbon dioxide. Millions of tons of previously soil-based carbon have moved to the atmosphere, contributing to our global climate problem. Carbon in the soil feeds underground microbial life, a critical component of soil health. High-carbon, high-microbe soils grow healthy, resilient crops that need less water and fertilizer.

    Soil can absorb millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air worldwide. Building soil carbon is possibly the most effective way to slow and even reverse a changing climate.

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    How do we build soil carbon? The fastest and easiest way is by using compost and mulch. The California compost community takes millions of tons of lawn trimmings and food waste annually and transforms these discards into valuable mulches and soil amendments. You can help by putting only clean, biodegradable organics in your “green” bin (if your waste management service provides one), and by purchasing compost and mulch for your yard. You can also compost at home.

    Compost contains about 22 percent carbon, and it also provides a diverse community of micro-organisms. Plants that grow in soil with a diverse and robust microbial life will be bigger and stronger, and will pull more carbon out of the air for photosynthesis. But plants do not use all of the carbon they sequester from the air. They pump some of it into the ground through their roots, attracting friendly soil organisms and growing the carbon pool again.

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    Once we understand the environmental power of soil, it makes sense to have a week to celebrate it. In 2015, we celebrated the International Year of the Soil … and 2016 was the International Year of the Pulses.

    A pulse is a legume that produces a dry grain, not a green vegetable. If you are experiencing dwindling yields in your backyard garden, consider using compost and planting a cover crop that includes pulses. A cover crop helps keep roots in the soil at all time, which feeds soil microorganisms. It also protects the soil surface from sun and erosion. When cover crops are cut down, the roots become part of the soil carbon pool. Legumes also take nitrogen out of the air (our atmosphere is about 78 percent nitrogen) and “fix” it into the soil. Some cover crops can fix as much as 200 pounds per acre of nitrogen into soil, helping to fuel next year’s crops.

    It’s time to give the soil the respect and protection it deserves. Compost, mulch, and cover crops are sustainable ways to build healthy soils and help prepare for whatever Mother Nature throws at us next.

    Posted on In the Loop by Robert Horowitz on Dec 6, 2017

  • More Jobs, Less Pollution: CalRecycle Awards $24 Million in Grants to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Cap-and-trade dollars boost local economies with 21st Century infrastructure projects

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    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 371-6293 |lance.klug@calrecycle.ca.gov                                                                              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    SACRAMENTO—As an integral part of the state’s far-reaching effort to slow and reverse the effects of climate change, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has awarded $24 million in grants to help convert more of the state’s organic waste (food, green waste, and wood) into renewable energy and compost.

    “These latest climate investments provide a much-needed boost to California’s organic waste recycling capacity, which the state must roughly double to meet its greenhouse gas reduction and 75 percent recycling goals,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “These infrastructure projects will diversify our local economies—creating durable green jobs that can’t be outsourced.”

    When sent to landfills, organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a short-lived climate pollutant 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. CalRecycle helps fund construction, renovation, or expansion of facilities in California that recycle organic material into value-added products like compost or renewable energy. 

    CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program  is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving human health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

    Of the $24 million allocated to CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program in 2016-17:

    • $12 million was dedicated to digestion projects, which turn organic waste into renewable energy and soil amendments. Maximum award: $4 million
    • $12 million was dedicated to compost operations—$3 million of which was allocated specifically for projects in rural areas. Maximum award: $3 million

    Demand in CalRecycle’s Organics Grant Program well exceeded the $24 million in available funds for 2016-17, with 35 eligible applicants requesting $88.6 million. CalRecycle granted funds to the 10 highest scoring applicants based on criteria of greenhouse gas reductions, the amount of organic material diverted from landfills, benefits to disadvantaged communities, and project readiness.

    Many infrastructure project proposals included funding for food rescue efforts to recover landfill-destined, edible food for Californians in need. Food waste prevention remains the most environmentally beneficial way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While food rescue was not among the scoring criteria for the organics grant, it was a consideration for evaluating benefits to disadvantaged communities.

    FY 2016-17 Organics Grant Program Recipients

    Anaerobic Digestion  Projects:

    County Sanitation Districts  of Los Angeles County

    Los Angeles County

    $4,000,000

    Equipment upgrades to  complete organic food waste pre-processing and anaerobic digestion system.  Grantee will convert regional food waste into renewable gas for  transportation fuel. Includes dedicated funds for partnership with a local  food rescue entity.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    HZIU Kompogas SLO, Inc.

    San Luis Obispo County

    $4,000,000 

    Design, build, and operate  a Kompogas anaerobic digestion facility. Grantee will convert regional  organic waste into renewable electricity and compost. Includes dedicated  funds for partnership with Valley Food Bank.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Rialto Bioenergy Facility,  LLC

    San Bernardino County

    $4,000,000 

    Equipment upgrades to in-vessel  digestion facility to process regional food waste into renewable electricity.  Includes dedicated funds for partnership with Helping Hands Pantry.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Compost Projects:

    City of San Diego

    San Diego County

    $3,000,000 

    Equipment upgrade of  current windrow composting facility to a covered aerated static pile system.  Will enable regional expansion of food waste composting program. Includes  dedicated funds for partnership with Kitchens for Good.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Mid Valley Recycling, LLC

    Fresno County

    Expansion of current  aerated static pile composting system to support new organic waste recycling  programs in the community.

    $1,875,000 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? No

    Salinas Valley Solid Waste  Authority

    Monterey County

    $1,341,865 

    Expansion of current  organic chip and grind facility to include a food waste composting operation.  Includes equipment upgrades and dedicated funds for partnership with Food  Bank for Monterey County.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Recology Yuba-Sutter

    Yuba County

    First of three -phase  project to design, build, and operate new covered aerated static pile compost  system to recycle regional green waste.

    $2,783,135 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? No

    Rural Compost Projects:

    Napa Recycling & Waste  Services, LLC

    Napa County

    Equipment upgrades to  recover more food waste for grantee’s existing compost operation. Includes  dedicated funds for partnership with Emergency Food Bank of Stockton.

    $541,700 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    South Lake Refuse Company,  LLC

    Lake County

    Equipment upgrades to  expand existing green waste composting site to include food waste composting.  Includes dedicated funds for partnership with Sacramento Food Bank and Family  Services.

    $1,218,026

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    West Coast Waste

    Madera County

    Design, build, and operate  new aerated static pile composting system to recycle regional organic waste.  An on-site learning center is also planned.

    $1,240,274 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? No

    Total: $24,000,000

    Eligible applicants for CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program include cities, counties, and other local agencies; businesses; California universities and colleges; nonprofit organizations; and qualifying Indian Tribes.

    Learn more about CalRecycle’s new Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, California’s new push to recover edible food for hungry people before it becomes waste, and the state’s latest investments to turn food and other organic waste into renewable energy or increase compost capacity and demand in California.

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    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Aug 17, 2017