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

  • Thanksgiving Tips for a Big Meal With Little Waste

    Thanksgiving dinner can be a major production, but that doesn’t mean there has to be a lot of waste involved. We’ve compiled a few tips to keep you from ending up sending excess food and other potential waste to landfills after the big meal.

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Nov 16, 2017

  • Sustainable Spookiness

    Don’t bury decorations in a landfill graveyard after Halloween

    The fall season is upon us. Bring on the pumpkin spice lattes and butternut squash soup! Every family has its own holiday traditions, but I think we can all agree that autumn is a season of transition from warm, outdoor gatherings to cozy, indoor celebrations, and it’s a great time to spruce up our homes with new decorations. As we gear up for special occasions, it is also a great opportunity—and surprisingly simple—to keep sustainability in mind.

    According to the National Retail Federation, last year more than 171 million Americans were estimated to celebrate Halloween and spent more than $8 billion on decorations, costumes, and candy. Starting in mid-August, retail store shelves are stocked with an abundance of cheap, plastic decorations that won’t last more than a season (or two, if you’re lucky). Curb your consumerism a little this year and consider alternatives for your Halloween party, and get a little crafty when decorating and assembling costumes. It’s a great way to refine your sustainability habits and to spread the message to your friends and neighbors as you brag about your art skills.

    I personally love handcrafted décor. I customize items to my personal taste and style, which increases their personal value. I rarely throw anything away that I spent hours making, and I’m often upcycling items from around the house that would otherwise end up in a bin by my curb. Here are a few items I have added to my personal Halloween décor.

    Dried Apple Head Dolls


    Found a bad apple in the bunch? That’s a perfect candidate for a handmade apple doll, an American folk art doll with a rich history. Apples are peeled and carved with a small knife, dipped into water with lemon juice and salt, and then dried slowly. The result is a wrinkly old face that can be transformed into an endearing old woman doll or a sinister-looking witch. Martha Stewart has a great written tutorial along with a short video, and the craft is appropriate for kids and adults. These apple dolls last for years, but if they live past their prime you can easily deconstruct them and toss the spent apples into a compost bin.

    Cheesecloth Liquid Starch Ghosts


    If you’re anything like me, my décor storage space is limited. I’m always looking for something that will minimize between uses, and these cheesecloth ghosts are just the ticket. Every year, I unravel a couple of yards of cheesecloth, soak them in liquid starch, and drape them dramatically into the shape of spooky spirits. The beauty of these spooks is that you can rinse the starch out and tuck the cheesecloth away for the next year. This definitely beats alternative crafts that use yards of plastic wrap to create a similar phantom ambiance. To learn how, check out this tutorial

    A Curio Cabinet of Potions


    Nothing says Halloween like an old hag’s spooky display of mysterious herbs, magic potions, and elixirs. Make your own set out of old vitamin bottles and spice tins. This is a popular item on Pinterest and Etsy, where an individual potion bottle could cost as little as $10 and an entire cabinet collection could set you back a few hundred dollars. Save up those glass and plastic jars and make a little magic of your own with a glue gun, moss, and twine. Your unique display will be the envy of your neighbors at your Halloween party. Check out this tutorial with step-by-step instructions.

    These Halloween decorations are easy to make and easy on your holiday shopping budget, and they’re a little kinder to the planet than single-use décor. If you repurpose items that would already be going into a trash bin instead of buying cheaply made décor, you’ll be joining the upcycle crafting revolution and further reducing your own waste and carbon footprint. It’s a small step, but we know every step counts.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 23, 2017

  • Young Frankenstein: The First Upcycler

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Oct 5, 2017