Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
It's Wednesday, and in downtown Sacramento, that means it's farmers market day! Lucky for us at CalRecycle, the CalEPA building is catty-corner from Cesar Chavez Park, which hosts the market. We've been urging our colleagues to bring reusable bags to the market to carry their produce rather than accept single-use bags from vendors. See our Less-Waste Farmers Market video for the story.Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Jun 5, 2019
At CalRecycle we work hard and we play hard. Well, maybe not “hard,” but we do know how to have a good time on occasion. But, unlike most workplaces, we dedicate ourselves to making less waste when we celebrate. In fact, we have a Zero Waste team that ensures any and all CalRecycle get-togethers are set up for less-waste success. One method we use is to encourage CalRecyclers to bring their own reusable cups, plates, utensils, and cloth napkins. We also offer reusable “mess kits” for those times when life gets in the way and we forget to bring our own.
Since summer is ramping up and we know lots of workplaces will be having company picnics and potlucks, we’d love to share how we handle our mess kit “rental” system so you can join us in the fight against waste.
- Before any shindig, encourage everyone to BYO mess kits, which should include reusables like cups, cloth napkins, utensils, plates, and bowls.
- Assess how many kits you need. This involves taking a simple head count to find out how many employees you have. It doesn’t hurt to have extra kits laying around just in case you have unexpected friends or family members drop in as well! In CalRecycle’s inventory, we have 100 plates, 50 sets of utensils, and 50 cups. We have approximately 700 employees total.
- Gather your kit pieces. At CalRecycle, we organized a “mug drive” and asked staff members to donate their unused cups and mugs. If your office is anything like ours, you won’t have a problem collecting those extra mugs! We also received cutlery donations and purchased some from the Goodwill. We generally encourage donations and second-hand purchases, but if you are unable to acquire your whole set, purchasing new is also an option.
- At first, each kit was rented out for a $1 fee, but we have since dropped the fee and accept donations instead. The idea is to encourage less waste, not to ding someone for forgetting or not bringing their own kits. So, a small donation is effective and can help replenish any items that go missing in the process. (You could even establish a deposit system.)
- Create a sign out system to ensure all your kits are returned and if you use a deposit system a list of checkouts can be helpful.
- Keeping your kits clean can be one of the bigger challenges. At CalRecycle, we request that everyone bring back a clean kit—if it was checked out clean, it should come back that way! However, if you have a more germ-conscious team, you may want to run the kits through a dishwasher. A full dishwasher can be more water- and energy-efficient than washing by hand. And who wants dishpan hands from 100 mess kits anyway?
- Store your mess kits in a clean place where they can await your next function!
Our CalRecycle mess kit system was a collaboration between our Social Committee and our Zero Waste team. Since August 2018 we, along with our sister departments at CalEPA, have avoided trashing more than 1,500 single-use foodware items by using the mess kit system. We encourage you to do the same, share what works for you, and lead by example!Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on May 20, 2019
Corsages and cummerbunds mark prom season just before the end of the school year. Soon students will be shopping for dresses, tuxes, and limos, but at what cost to the environment? If you’re a freshman to the world of sustainability, take note of these tips for a planet-protecting prom.
Give Fast Fashion the Slip
It can be difficult to avoid those inexpensive clothing items when you or your teenager are fashion-forward on a budget. But, armed with the knowledge that the fashion industry (especially fast fashion) is one of the main contributors to landfill waste, pollution, and unfair labor practices, it might be a little easier to give up those bargain garments. Instead, try purchasing something secondhand. Just because it was previously owned, that does not mean it is cheap, tacky, or unsophisticated. In fact, most prom dresses are only worn once, so it’s likely any “used” dress will be in excellent condition—not to mention less expensive. You can also get creative and refashion a secondhand item that has potential. Don’t have enough room in your closet or not as creative as you’d like to be? Find a dress rental company in your area—tuxes are rented, so why can’t a dress be? Another option can be a formal clothing exchange between friends, an exchange program, or even your library—yes, your library! There are also plenty of places to donate your dress when you’re done with it.
Makeover Your Cosmetic Bag
Looking your best doesn’t stop at your outfit, and it shouldn’t come at the expense of the planet. Whether you or your teen wears makeup or simple moisturizer, applies lots of hair product or just needs a razor to get rid of unwanted stubble, there is an earth-friendly option for everyone. Start by asking what cosmetics and beauty accessories are made of—plastic or natural ingredients? Biodegradable or single-use? What about excess packaging? Look for zero-waste companies, or DIY your cosmetics.
If you or your teen can afford to rent a limo, make sure to get as many passengers as possible. This will help offset the carbon emissions created by driving multiple cars, and it can also help bring down the cost of the rental. If a limo isn’t in the cards, try regular carpooling or even a pedicab if the venue is nearby. No one expects anyone to ride their bike in their formals, but a pedicab or even a horse-drawn carriage can be a fun and eco-friendly option if the dance is nearby.
After the night is over, the formal footwear is kicked off and it’s time to hit the hay, don’t toss your boutoniere or corsage in the trash. If you don’t plan on hanging on to your flowers as a keepsake, compost it or throw it in your yard waste bin minus the ribbons, pins, and other decorations—you can always reuse those, but they don’t belong in the pile with other organic waste.
Now get out there and promenade that planet-protecting way, knowing you did the right thing for future prom-goers!Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Apr 8, 2019