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

  • Save Hundreds of Dollars a Year and Make Your Groceries Go Further!

     

    Family cooking dinner

     

    While we’re staying home to save lives, most of us eat almost all our food at home.

    You can avoid extra trips to the grocery store, and save money. Follow these easy tips to reduce your household food waste.

    Don’t throw out $1,500 a year!

    Food Scraps

     

    • Save an average of about $1,500 or 1,000 pounds of food a year
    • Save water and fuel used to produce the wasted food you throw in the trash.
    • Lower gases that cause climate change.

    Organic waste, including food waste, in landfills emits 20 percent of the state’s methane, a short-lived greenhouse super pollutant 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Reducing food waste and organic waste disposal is one of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Let’s get started!

    Follow the environmental mantra: Reduce, reuse, recycle.

    • Check your kitchen before you shop.

      Before heading to the grocery store, plan your meals for the week. See what you already have in your fridge and cupboards to avoid buying too much.

    • Shop your kitchen.

      Look up recipes for using what you have in your cupboard or fridge. Here’s a delicious recipe for “pesto sauce” from Serious Eats to liven up any box of pasta you forgot you had in the cupboard.

    • Make friends with your freezer.

      Cold storage can provide many life hacks! What do you freeze that might surprise some people? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter!

    • Substitute with what you have.

      If the recipe calls for sour cream, unsweetened Greek yogurt works in a pinch!

    • Understand food date labels.

      Many foods are still perfectly safe to eat after the “sell by” date, or even the “use by” date, has passed. Educate yourself and don’t toss food that’s safe.

    • Only buy products in bulk that have a long shelf life.

    These days of social isolation won’t last forever, but we can make our food and dollars stretch with some new Earth-friendly lifestyle habits now that we can keep up even after we resume our social lives.

    We’re all in this together!

    Join us on Facebook and Twitter and help us reduce household food waste to save money—and to save the planet.

    Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones on May 5, 2020

  • Earth Day - Americans Take Action to Protect Our Future

    Kids holding earth globe in park

    The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is April 22. As we stay home to save lives, we can use our unified spirit to help save the planet, as well.

    In the decades before Earth Day was founded, U.S. industry boomed with progress that included large, leaded fuel-guzzling cars and factories belching pollutants. The first Earth Day brought together everyday Americans, who called for a stop to the damage to water, air, plant life, and wildlife around them.

    20 Million Americans Demanded Control over Pollution

    After witnessing the aftermath of a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin organized the first Earth Day in 1970. It catalyzed the simmering environmental movement, launching it to the forefront of American consciousness.

    Smoggy LA skyline

    Photo of smoggy Los Angeles courtesy of U.S. EPA

    Earth Day harnessed the passion of separate groups fighting against power plants, toxic waste sites, oil spills, car emission pollution, and the loss of forests. It pushed conservation, pollution management, and environmental stewardship to national awareness. The first Earth Day celebration acted as a cultural tipping point as 20 million Americans gathered to demand real change.

    Smoke billowing from factory smoke stack

    Unregulated factories bellowing toxic smoke were common before the US EPA formed in 1970.

    It Didn’t Happen Overnight

    • Eight years earlier, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, a groundbreaking book that critically examined the impact of industrialization on our planet. Carson observed that the heavy use of pesticides was killing off birds, making the forests silent. Some credit her book with jump-starting the environmental movement.
    • When the heavily polluted Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire in 1969, it spurred demand for pollution control and a Federal Clean Water Act.
    Picture of earth from moon

    In 1968, NASA’s space program photos of the earth from the Apollo 8 mission communicated the smallness and fragility of our planet when seen from the distance and vastness of space.

    Congress Responds with the U.S. EPA

    Real change came less than eight months after the first Earth Day in December 1970 when Congress created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tackle environmental issues. By the U.S. EPA’s tenth anniversary, Congress had passed significant legislation that laid the foundation for environmental regulation, including:

    • Banning the toxic pesticide DDT
    • Setting new car emissions standards and national air quality standards
    • Improving water treatment facilities
    • Addressing the practice of dumping chemicals into rivers and lakes

    As a leader in environmental policy, California established its own laws to care for our state.

    Photo of 1987 garbage barge in New York Harbor with Statue of Liberty in the background.

    The Garbage Barge Made Us Think Seriously About Trash

    In 1987 New York, like much of the country, experienced a shortage of landfill space, and local officials decided to ship 3,168 tons of trash to a North Carolina facility pilot program that would convert the trash into methane. North Carolina officials unexpectedly declined the load and the Garbage Barge, followed closely in national news coverage, continued to sail down and back up the North American coast looking for a place to unload. Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mexico, and Belize also declined to accept it. After eight months at sea the barge returned to New York, which incinerated the trash and buried the ashes.

    Finding the Best, Highest Use for Our Trash

    This incident highlighted how poorly the country was managing its waste and helped usher into law California’s Integrated Waste Management Act, which established our 50 percent diversion jurisdictional requirement. The state has passed other significant legislation to recycle bottles, cans, tires, paint, motor oil, and mattresses. In 2016 a new recycling law passed to address organics waste, which makes up two-thirds of the trash sent to landfills. Reaching the law’s goals would reduce landfill methane emissions and divert 20 percent of currently disposed edible food to the one in eight Californians who don’t know where their next meal will come from.

    Saving Lives and Saving the Planet from Home

    Earth Day has always centered on everyday Americans taking action to create cleaner air, water, and land. We can speak out to support policy that protects the environment. But we now have awareness of steps we can take in our daily lives that will save energy, reduce pollution, support renewable resources, and allow us to continue our convenient lifestyles without destroying our future.

    Kids carrying recyclables

    You can even take action to help the environment from the safety of your own home.

    Do you:

    • Recycle
    • Use LED light bulbs
    • Have energy and water efficient appliances
    • Have a drought tolerant yard
    • Reuse water bottles
    • Compost
    • Take other action to help the Earth in your own way?

    Woman using water filter and reusable bottle. Earth Days 50th birthday. hash tag how I save the planet. hash tag Cal Earth Day 50

    Post a photo, story, or video with #HowISaveThePlanet on our social media showing how you make every day Earth Day in your home.

    Follow CalRecycle and CalEPA on social media for fun virtual Earth Day activities and see Californians come together to save the planet as we stay home to save lives.

    Facebook.     Twitter

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Public Affairs - Chris McSwain, Christina FIles, and Maria West on Apr 13, 2020

  • Eight Ways to Stretch Your Food While Quarantined

    The average family of four spends $150 on uneaten food each year

     

    Most of us are sheltering-in-place right now, having already stocked up on non-perishable canned and frozen food. Since every foray into society could bring exposure to COVID-19, consider ways to maximize the food you have to last as long as possible and save you trips to the grocery store.  It will also help you reduce food waste, a major contributor of greenhouse gases coming out of landfills.

    Here are eight ways to stretch the food you’ve saved:

    1. Make a double batch of sauces, stews, beans, and casseroles, and save the rest in the freezer for a future weeknight dinner with zero cooking.
    2. Create a scrap bag in your freezer to use to make stock for soups and sauces. I have a scrap bag in my freezer full of food scraps. Any time you peel a carrot, slice an onion, or cut the edges off a bell pepper, you can divert the leftovers from the garbage into the scrap bag kept in the freezer. Once the scrap bag is full, simmer the contents with water over low heat for about an hour, then save the liquid for a tasty stock to make soups and sauces. Cook rice, beans, or quinoa in it to add extra flavor. 
    3. Keep bread in the freezer and defrost a slice or two when you need them.
    4. Dried beans are cheap and freeze easily. You can cook a double batch in your crock pot and freeze half for an easy meal.
    5. Soups hold up well when they’re stored in containers in the freezer. You can even freeze individual servings for a quick meal on demand.
    6. Buy meat in bulk, divide it into single portions, and defrost as you need them. Meats can be cheaper in bulk and often have less packaging.
    7. Fruits like berries are simple to freeze. Place them on a cookie sheet, freeze them overnight, and transfer them to an empty container to store in the freezer. Frozen berries liven up morning smoothies.
    8. Butter freezes well and is easy to defrost when you get the baking itch. It’s also often cheaper to buy in bulk.

       

      I hope these tips are as useful to you. To learn more about preventing food waste, please visit Save The Food. Interested in other ways to reduce food waste? Check out the Public Health Alliance of Southern California’s Resource Library and CalRecycle’s Resource Directory.

    Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Mar 23, 2020