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

  • The Easiest Ways to Save the Planet from Home

    Using Less Means More Trees, More Money, and Less Toxic Microplastic.

    hands holding earth


    As we pause our constant busy pace in order to save lives, we see what a difference we can make when we all work together. Because we have disrupted many of our routines and habits, we may find it easier to change some habits permanently to help the planet still be livable by the end of this century and beyond. Using less helps the planet more.

    Los Angeles skyline with San Gabriel mountains behind, before picture shows smog obscuring mountains, while after picture shows mountains crystal clear.

    Smog around the Los Angeles skyline used to obscure the San Gabriel Mountains.

     

    Reducing Helps the Environment Even More than Recycling Does

    You may already help by recycling right—rinsing out and drying a container before throwing it in the blue bin. But “recycle” comes third in our “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra because reducing and reusing help the environment even more.

    drop of water on leaf shows reflection of entire earth

     

    Why Using Less Helps the Planet More

    Reducing has the biggest impact because you lessen the demand for more resources and use less energy manufacturing and transporting products. 

    Reducing:

    • Saves money
    • Saves energy
    • Prevents pollution from harvesting and transporting raw materials
    • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change
    • Helps the planet stay livable for our children and future grandchildren
    • Lowers how much we have to recycle or send to landfills and incinerators

      While recycling helps reduce trash, of the 8.4 percent of plastic that gets recycled in the US, most is only recycled one time because the quality degrades each time it is recycled. Then it joins the rest of the plastic polluting our planet as toxic microplastics in our air, water, and earth.

    Reducing Means More Trees to Clean Greenhouse Gases Out of the Air

     

    Pine tree grove

    Americans use 110 million trees just for paper towels every year.

    When we reduce our use of single-use paper products, we cut down fewer trees—trees that fight global warming by turning carbon in the air into oxygen.

    When we reduce our use of petroleum-based plastic water bottles, we won’t have as much plastic in our oceans and landfills that breaks down into toxic microplastics that will stay in our water and air for centuries.

    It’s Easy to Use Less Right Now

    Here are some easy ways to reduce that can save you hundreds of dollars a year, as well.

    empty shelves in a grocery store

    A shortage of single use paper products in stores is driving us to reusable options.

    It’s hard to find some paper products in stores right now, so it’s a perfect time to explore other options that will save you money and waste fewer resources in the long run.

    Save 80 Rolls of Paper Towels a Year

    Paper towels

    woman using real towels to clean

    Replace paper towels with kitchen towels, old towels, or rags you can wash and reuse.

    Americans throw away 3,000 tons of paper towels a year that come from 110 million trees. That breaks down to 80 rolls of paper towels a year per person. Think of the trees and the money you’ll save!

    Paper napkins

    Order dark, wrinkle- resistant cloth napkins that won’t show stains to use several times between washes.  

    About 243 million Americans use between one and six packages of paper napkins a month.

    Plastic water bottles

    person filling reusable water bottle at sink

    Buy a reusable bottle and water filter and drink cleaner water for less money with zero waste!

    Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles every year. That’s around 13 bottles per month for every person. By using a reusable water bottle, you can save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually, or more if you drink one or more bottles a day. Most bottled water is just tap water that leaches plastic into the water.

    Food waste

    The average family of four spends $1,500 on uneaten food each year

    Freeze food like bread and berries to use as you need them.

    Two-thirds of the trash we send to landfills is organic. Right now most of us don’t want to shop at groceries more often than necessary. The further we can make our food go, the fewer times we need to go out to the store or put in an order that can take up to a week for a local store to deliver. Do more with less. Get more food tips in our article “How to Stretch Your Food While Quarantined.”

    How are you reducing waste while you’re at home? Let us know and we’ll share on social media!

    Posted on In the Loop by Heather Jones and Maria West on Apr 20, 2020

  • Eco Holiday Habits to Get on Santa's Nice List

    During the holidays many of us gather to share special meals, exchange gifts, and enjoy ourselves. As you prepare to host gatherings for your loved ones, consider how your celebrations create waste that contributes to climate change and adds to the growing amount of plastic in landfills. Are you being naughty or nice to the planet?

    Here are three ways to get on the planet’s Nice List this holiday season

    Naughty food waste; nice compost

    Naughty: Throwing Food in the Trash
    Nice: Lowering Food Waste with Meal Plans and Composting

    Meal Plan for Zero Food Waste

    Many of us consider lavish spreads of favorite holiday dishes the hallmark of a caring host. But excess food gives off high amounts of the potent greenhouse gas methane once it’s dumped in a landfill. This is a major cause of climate change.

    Rethink your hosting ideals, brand your gathering eco-friendly, then don’t overbuy or overcook.

    Use the food GUEST-IMATOR tool to plan how much to prepare. If there are leftovers you know you won’t finish, send food home with your guests in reusable containers.

    Clean your plate or compost the rest.

    Try composting your food waste. If your curbside organics collection doesn’t accept food, ask local community gardens if you can contribute to their compost bin.

    Consider setting up your own home compost. It can help grow healthier, heartier plants. Winter is the ideal time to start compost that will be ready to add to your garden in the spring.

    Easy tips for starting to compost

    naughty: single use disposable plastic. Nice: reusable dishes.

    Naughty: Single-Use Plastic
    Nice: Reusable Dishes and Utensils

    “Disposable” Plastic Lasts Forever

    Many hosts choose the ease of disposable plates, cutlery, and cups for holiday gatherings. But that plastic your guests use for just a few minutes will never biodegrade. It stays on the planet, slowly breaking down into toxic microplastics.

    About 10 percent of all trash is plastic. Forty million Californians create more than 3.2 million tons of plastic waste every year.

    Reusable plates and cutlery give the gift of a cleaner planet. Less trash in landfills is worth a few extra minutes of cleanup.

    Naughty: dirty recyclables; nice: clean recyclables

    Naughty: Dirty Recyclables
    Nice: Clean Recyclables 

    Rinse Containers Before Recycling

    Recyclables tainted with food or water can leak onto surrounding paper and cardboard, and create a contaminated, unrecyclable mess. In 2018 China stopped accepting certain US mixed recyclable shipments because many arrived full of mold and had to be thrown away in landfills.

    Clean your containers to keep recycling from becoming garbage. 

    Not sure about that greasy pizza box? Tear off the oily parts and toss those in the trash. The remaining clean cardboard can go in your blue bin.

    Check out this quick video on recycling contamination.

    With a few small changes, you can make a difference for the planet even as you enjoy this festive season. Get more eco-friendly holiday hints to use this year.

     

    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Dec 23, 2019