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

  • Keeping Track: CalRecycle's Top-Read Reports

    CalRecycle publishes more than a dozen reports every year in its publications database to provide updates on the status of our programs and detail how much our state is recycling and landfilling. If reading an entire report seems daunting, check out the executive summary, which provides the big-picture context, key statistics, and basic conclusions. Here’s a quick list of CalRecycle’s most-read reports.

    2017 State of Disposal and Recycling in California

    The 2017 report outlines the primary laws that govern waste management and recycling and evaluates the state’s progress in meeting statewide waste diversion goals. This report also outlines new tools and approaches to increase recycling in the state, like improving the quality and marketability of recyclable materials that continue to be generated. Fun fact from this report: In 2017, California generated 77.2 million tons of waste and recycled 42 percent of it.

    2017 California Exports of Recyclable Materials

    California’s recycling infrastructure has heavily relied upon the export of recyclable materials from California ports, and this report outlines the materials we export and the countries that accept these materials. California recyclable materials exports have been steadily declining since 2011, dropping more than 33 percent in weight since then, which resulted in a corresponding drop in the vessel value of exports by nearly $5 billion.

    2018 California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Program Fact Sheet

    This report provides a snapshot of the Beverage Container Recycling Program, including the recycling rate per material type, the total number of sales and redemptions, estimated revenues and expenditures, and the number of containers per pound by material type.

    2014 Disposal-Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California

    While the State of Disposal and Recycling report offers a big-picture look at how much waste is generated in California, this report reflects the results of an in-the-field study that examined the composition of our waste.  With up-to-date information on the types and amounts of materials disposed in the state’s waste stream, CalRecycle can better determine where changes are needed to achieve California’s 75 percent recycling goal. CalRecycle is currently conducting another waste characterization study that will likely be published in late 2019.

    SB 270: Report to the Legislature: Implementation Update and Policy Considerations for Management of Reusable Grocery Bags in California

    Curious about the success of the statewide plastic bag ban? This report provides an update to the California Legislature about how the plastic bag ban has decreased usage of single-use plastic bags and positively affected the waste stream.

    The Future of Electronic Waste Management in California

    Although not technically a report, this policy recommendation paper is an interesting read. It details how California’s current program needs to be expanded to include all the new types of electronics in the marketplace.

    SB 1383: Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment (SRIA)

    Curious about how the new organics law will affect California? This report details impacts on residents, businesses, and local governments, including benefits (like jobs created), direct costs (like rate increases), and an analysis of alternatives considered (like eliminating enforcement mechanism).


    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Apr 4, 2019

  • Recycling Roundup: Global Markets, California Materials, Local Solutions

    California is feeling the fallout from a global disruption in markets for recycled scrap materials. Recent import restrictions from China, coupled with a decline in the market value of recyclable commodities, have resulted in significant recycling challenges for the state’s recycling industries and confusion for the public. 

    Each year, California exports about a third of the recyclable material it collects—including about two-thirds of the recyclable material collected from curbside bins. Historically, more than 60 percent of that material—particularly mixed paper and low-grade plastics—went to China for remanufacturing. The loss of Chinese markets is resulting in more stockpiling of materials at California processing and recycling facilities, increased disposal at landfills, and renewed efforts by local jurisdictions to ensure less contamination in residential recycling bins.

    As part of CalRecycle’s commitment to keep Californians informed and to advance statewide discussions on this issue, the department developed this online resource to track market developments, share solutions from communities and businesses throughout the state, and to provide technical assistance and guidance to regulated entities. The website also highlights potential policy reforms to reduce waste in California and manage our own materials rather than exporting them. Check back often—the webpage is updated regularly with new information.


    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Jul 19, 2018

  • California Pursues Shared Effort to Confront New Recycling Challenges

    Recycling Industry, Experts Explore California Solutions to Global Market Disruption

    The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery joined California waste haulers, recyclers, manufacturers, local leaders, and advocacy groups in Sacramento to help advance statewide discussions on the future of waste reduction and recycling in California. Recent import restrictions from China, coupled with a decline in the global market value of recyclable commodities, have resulted in significant challenges for California businesses, local governments, and consumers.

    CalRecycle organized its “Recycling Globally: California’s Role in Adapting to a New Market Climate” workshop on June 4 to share information regarding changes in international recycling markets, examine how those changes are affecting recycling efforts in California, and discuss the shared responsibility of the state’s public and private sectors to:

    • Reduce the amount of waste generated in the state
    • Build and support recycling markets and infrastructure within California

    “CalRecycle is here to listen, learn, and provide an effective clearinghouse for information as we work together to navigate this rapidly changing situation,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “I’ve heard National Sword described as everything from a crisis to a temporary market condition. I don’t think it matters so much how we name it, but (the disruption) is real, and the impacts are unknown in scope, magnitude, and duration.”


    The dialogue featured three panel discussions, in addition to questions and comments from the public and various stakeholders who attended the workshop at CalEPA headquarters in Sacramento or who followed the discussion online. A recording of the full workshop is posted here.

    The first panel discussion was titled “Updates on the Current State of Recyclable Commodities.” The panelists were Adina Renee Adler from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries; Pete Keller from Republic Services; and William Winchester from Berg Mill Supply.

    “There is not enough capacity globally today to consume what’s been displaced by China,” Keller said. “Twenty-five million tons of fiber is looking for a home. That capacity may come online, but it’s not coming online next month or even probably next year.”

    “There are always potential surprises around the corner,” Adler said, “but I do think the new market dynamic (for recycled materials) is here to stay.”


    The second panel addressed “Short-Term Challenges and Opportunities.” Panelists included Tom Padia from StopWaste; Joseph Kalpakoff from Mid Valley Disposal; Michael Lee from City of Los Angeles/LA Sanitation; and Eric Oddo of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority.

    “Single-stream collection (sorting) technology, coupled with China’s historically strong appetite for recyclables and lax (contamination) specifications, created the false belief that everything is recyclable,” said Tom Padia of StopWaste. “Everything isn’t recyclable, and it never was.”

    The workshop concluded with a final discussion titled “Looking Down the Road.” Panelists were Chris Coady from Recycling Partnership; Greg Rodrigues from EcoLogic; Saskia van Gendt with Method Products, and Mark Murray from Californians Against Waste

    Coady urged continued efforts at public education about recycling.

    “The fact is, these programs need to be maintained and public education has to be ongoing,” he said. “It’s not just about educating residents. It’s also educating public officials and keeping everyone aware.”


    “It is individual products and individual materials that are creating this contamination problem,” Murray said. “In order for us to solve this problem, we’re going to have to make sure that each material manufacturer and each product manufacturer take responsibility for the environmental externalities of their products.”

    As part of CalRecycle’s ongoing commitment to move this dialogue forward, the department developed an online resource for stakeholders to track new international market developments and to share information about innovative local solutions employed by jurisdictions and businesses throughout the state.

    Users can also find guidance related to temporary storage of processed recyclable material, financial assistance programs for California recycling businesses, and CalRecycle’s latest policy reform efforts to reduce excessive packaging waste and combat contamination in our recycling streams.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Jun 14, 2018