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

  • Still a Recycling Leader, California Recycles the Second-Highest Number of Bottles and Cans Ever

    kids recycling

    The U.S. EPA released new recycling statistics that illustrate that California remains a nationwide leader with a beverage container recycling rate year after year more than double the nation's average of 33%. Last year California recycled the second highest number of bottles and cans in the state's history.

    Despite the recent decline in aluminum scrap markets, Californians continued to show their commitment to recycling with: 

    • A 76 percent recycling rate, recycling 18.5 billion beverage containers in 2018. 
    • A slight increase in the recycling rate from a 75 percent beverage container recycling rate in 2017.
    • A continued high recycling rate in 2019, which is on track to recycle over 18 billion more CRV containers this year.

    The average beverage container recycling rate for all US states in 2017 was 33.1 percent.

    California’s 2017 beverage container recycling rate for all material types was 75 percent that year.  California recycles more bottles and cans than any other state.

    California is one of ten states with a beverage container deposit law (known as a Bottle Bill) to encourage beverage container recycling. The California Beverage Container Recycling and Littler Reduction Act was passed in 1986 to incentivize the recycling of plastic, glass, and aluminum bottles and cans. California recycles by far the largest number of beverage containers each year. We rank fourth in the nation in the percentage of beverage containers recycled, despite our unique challenges as the state with the highest population and the largest geographic area among the top ten states for beverage container recycling. We serve almost 40 million people with great geographic, cultural, and economic diversity.  

     

    State Population Recycling Rate (Beverage Containers) Recycling Volume
    (Beverage Containers)
    California 39.8 million 76% (2018) 18,588,304,236
    Connecticut 3.5 million 50% (2018) 725,034,130
    Hawaii 1.4 million 65% (2017) Not Publicly Listed
    Iowa 3.1 million 71% (2017) Not Publicly Listed
    Maine 1.3 million 84% (2017) Not Publicly Listed
    Massachusetts 6.9 million 57% (2017) Not Publicly Listed
    Michigan 9.9 million 91% (2017) Not Publicly Listed
    New York 19.5 million 66% (2016) 5,100,000,000
    Oregon 4.1 million 81% (2018) Not Publicly Listed
    Vermont 626,299 75% (2017) Not Publicly Listed
     

    Our department is working hard to ensure consumers have access to convenient recycling options and places to redeem their bottles and cans following the closing of rePlanet Recycling Centers, the largest recycling company in the state.

    CalRecycle has expedited certification for 66 new recycling centers. 

    California is on track to recycle more than 18 billion bottles and cans in 2019.

    More than 50 recycling centers have opened since August 2019.

    We will continue to work on multiple fronts to help more centers open in unserved areas, and to hold retailers accountable for their obligation to redeem CRV in areas not served by recycling centers.

    Learn more about California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program at calrecycle.ca.gov/BevContainer. In addition to finding recycling statistics, and detailed information on the California Beverage Container Recycling Fund, local funding opportunities for innovative new models of CRV redemption, you can also find the nearest CRV redemption opportunity in your area.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Dec 10, 2019

  • Yolo County Prepares for SB 1383 Implementation with Launch of New Anaerobic Composter

    organic food scraps and hands holding compost

    Yolo County began operating a new anaerobic composter on Oct.1 that can recycle 52,000 tons of organic waste each year into compost, biofuel, and electricity. 

     The facility will keep that organic material out of the county landfill. In landfills, organic waste decomposes and generates methane, which is a major contributor to climate change.

     Instead, food waste, grass clippings, and other organic material collected from local businesses and residents is delivered to the anaerobic composting facility, a 10-acre spot with seven “cells,” at the Yolo County Central Landfill site. 

     When the organic material is delivered to this site, it is ground up and deposited into cells. Each cell is sealed by spraying the surface with a mixture of cement, fibers, and polymer. Once the bacteria-rich liquid is pumped into the cell, the anaerobic digestion process takes place, and in less than six months, biogas is finally produced.

     “Moisture is removed from the biogas produced, and it’s injected into an internal combustion engine that burns the gas, which creates electricity,” said Ramin Yazdani, Director of Yolo County Integrated Waste Management.  “The electricity goes on the grid and is sold to SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District).”

     After methane production has dropped off, the is operated aerobically, utilizing the aeration piping system. Air is injected into the cells to aerate the digestate material for a two-week aerobic digestion phase. This creates compost. 

     The material is then excavated, cured, and screened of contamination. Once the process is complete, the county will sell the compost to residents and businesses. 

     Compost has many beneficial uses, including as a soil amendment and in erosion control. Learn more about compost on our website.

     In 2007, Yolo County received a $200,000 CalRecycle grant to run a pilot project that broke down 2,000 tons of organic waste in a smaller cell.

     “That created the basis of our current design,” Ramin said, “and it showed us operational challenges that we had to learn from in order to design and operate a better system.”

    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Nov 18, 2019

  • What Is Recyclable?

    Wait, aren’t all products with the recycling chasing arrows symbol recyclable? Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. First, there is currently no universal definition for recyclable. Second, individual materials in a product may be recyclable, but they may be fused together in such a way that it’s difficult to separate them into individual recyclable materials. Plastic-coated coffee cups, electronics, and padded envelopes are good examples of this. Third, even though a product may technically be recyclable, there must be a market for that material. In other words, a product’s recyclability has as much to do with the economy as the technology of recycling. Let’s break down the recycling economy for insight. 

    Collection

    The first step in the recycling process is to collect the material. Californians can sort their recyclables into a curbside recycling bin, or they may opt to take some materials to a recycling center. Dirty or broken material may not be eligible to be processed into feedstock, so be sure to add only clean items to your recycling bin. And check with your local hauler to see what materials they are collecting to recycle before putting items in your curbside recycling bin. 

    Sorting and Processing into Feedstock for Manufacturers

    Next, a recycling center sells the material to a recycling processor who transforms the material into feedstock for a new product. In the case of plastic water bottles, the plastic is shredded into plastic flakes. 

    California has historically relied on a “collect, sort, export” model of recycling. Fluctuations in the global commodities market often impact California’s ability to export these materials for recycling. Despite these fluctuations, California exported more recyclables last year than in previous years. Even so, it’s pretty clear that California must continue investing in a robust domestic recycling infrastructure so we are not so reliant on foreign markets to process recyclables and remanufacture products.

    Recycling Feedstock into New Products

    Recycling processors then sell feedstock to manufacturers who use the material to manufacture new products. These products are called “recycled-content products.” It is difficult for recycled feedstock to compete in the marketplace if the price of virgin materials is cheaper. Although low oil prices mean low gas prices, they also mean it’s cheaper to make a plastic bottle from virgin materials than recycled plastic water bottle flakes. 

    CalRecycle is about to start developing regulations for SB 1335 (Allen, Chapter 610, Statutes of 2018), which requires food service facilities located in state-owned buildings to use reusable, recyclable, or compostable food service packaging. Laws like SB 1335 will not only help define what is actually recyclable, but will also create a market demand for reusable, recyclable, and compostable products.

    Marketing and Selling Recycled Content Products

    In the final step of the recycling economy, manufacturers sell recycled-content products to distributors and retailers who then sell these products to the public. One of the ways CalRecycle helps this effort is by overseeing the state’s Buy-Recycled Campaign, which requires all state agencies to purchased recycled-content products. In addition to creating a market demand for recycled-content products, the program also creates new jobs; reduces waste, pollution, and energy consumption; and diverts waste from landfills.

    Ways to Support the Recycling Economy

    • All Californians can support the recycling economy in a few simple ways. 
    • Consider ways to reduce the amount of trash you throw away every week. Can you make changes in how you shop or consume goods that would reduce your personal waste? That may look like using a reusable coffee cup or opting for products with less packaging.
    • Check with your waste hauler to learn about what recyclable materials are allowed in your recycling bin.  Haulers will let you know what they are collecting that can be sold to recycling processors.
    • Add clean recyclables to your curbside bin to reduce contamination. Rinsing out spaghetti sauce and peanut butter jars before adding them to the recycling bin can go a long way in reducing contamination.
    • Buy recycled-content products. Look for products that use recycled-content in them. CalRecycle’s website has a search tool to look for recycled-content manufacturers. 


     
    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Oct 10, 2019