Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
About 5 million pounds of fresh produce a year goes to Los Angeles agencies that feed people who don’t have enough to eat, thanks to funding from CalRecycle. Edible, unspoiled excess food that was previously thrown away in landfills now helps Californians in need. Food recovery organization Food Forward used a CalRecycle grant to build a 6,000 square foot warehouse that manages donated food sent to 1,800 food relief agencies in Southern California.
Reducing organic material sent to landfills also helps landfills in our state fill up less quickly and reduces the amount of climate-changing greenhouse gases this material emits when it breaks down. Giving food to Californians who need it most while helping our environment gives food recovery programs far ranging impacts.Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong and Maria West on Jun 15, 2020
Since 2013, San Diego’s White Pony Express Food Bank has supplied 9 million pounds of food to Californians who don’t get enough to eat. During the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order they have more than doubled how much food they give out to the cars lining up for donations. This non-profit will add at least six new school pantries that feed children with grant funding from CalRecycle.
The Department supports food bank programs that lower the food waste sent to landfills by sending edible, unused food to the one in eight Californians who don’t know where they will get their next meal. Organic waste makes up two-thirds of the trash that fills our landfills. It also releases methane, a greenhouse gas 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it breaks down in landfills. By lowering food waste, we can provide food for those going hungry, while fighting a primary super pollutant that contributes to the devastating effects of climate change like wildfires and droughts.Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong and Maria West on May 19, 2020
Tire fires of past decades could take months to extinguish, while emitting smoke thick containing cyanide, carbon monoxide, and other toxins.
Until 19 years ago, countless illegally dumped tires polluted our state. Large piles of old tires sometimes even caught fire in the hot California sun. These tire fires put off toxic smoke containing cyanide and carbon monoxide. Because a fire can continue to burn deep inside a pile of tires after the top layer appears extinguished, firefighters struggled to put out these smoldering blazes that emitted thick, black plumes of toxic smoke that sometimes burned for months.
California turned to recycling to solve the problem of tires:
- Catching fire
- Clogging waterways
- Filling with water that bred disease-causing mosquitoes
Where can we put 51 million tires a year?
California’s 35 million registered vehicles generate 51 million used tires every year. To manage this constant flow of vulcanized rubber into the waste stream, California passed the Tire Recycling Act in 1989, which created the Tire Recycling Program. After a series of devastating illegal tire pile fires in 1998 and 1999, the law was strengthened in 2000.
To prevent illegal stockpiles of tires, the state has:
- Permitted tire storage facilities
- Enforced used tire storage and management laws
- Developed recycled tire product options
To find new uses for more than 82 percent of 51 million worn-out tires a year, CalRecycle constantly innovates and evaluates safety studies. The department awards grants and loans to businesses and public entities to expand the safest markets for waste tires.
Different styles of playground cover are a common use of recycled tires.
Across California, companies are producing tire-derived products made from recycled tires, including:
- Playground surfaces
- Flooring, including rubber mats for gyms
- Path cover
- Accessibility ramps
Where the rubber becomes the road
For more than 30 years, ground-up, recycled tires mixed with asphalt have produced cost-effective, durable, and environmentally friendly binder in concrete road cover. Overall, about 2.7 million tires have gone to paving California’s roads.
Tire rubber makes up only about 1 percent of rubberized asphalt concrete. The asphalt binder absorbs the rubber into it, reducing its ability to break away as a microparticle. These streets last about 50 percent longer than roads made from asphalt alone.
Many local governments have used tire-derived aggregate in place of conventional construction material for civil engineering projects to:
- Backfill retaining walls
- Stabilize hills to keep them from slipping into landslides
- Absorb vibrations
- Fill in land for other reasons
This tire material helps solve a variety of civil engineering challenges because it drains better and costs less than other lightweight, mixed material building aggregate.
“Tire-derived aggregate requires minimum processing and reduces the need for mining (like other lightweight fills) in facilities that generate greenhouse gases,” said William Heung, CalRecycle Senior Waste Management Engineer for the Materials Management and Local Assistance Division.
Tires saved millions on California transportation
Local governments used this tire material to expand rail systems for both the Bay Area Rapid Transportation (BART) and the Metropolitan Transportation Agency in Southern California. The cushioning rubber from tires absorbs vibrations underneath the tracks.
Along with keeping about 500,000 tires from going into landfills, these two projects saved BART and MTA millions of dollars.
Tire material stabilizes a retaining wall on a hill that prevents mudslides in Santa Barbara.
A recent innovative road project in Santa Barbara used tire material to stabilize a retaining wall located on a hill. Because the tire material won’t degrade even when wet, engineers expect it to support the retaining wall more effectively and help prevent mudslides that can happen when water washes away soil on a hill. (View video.)
Keeping tires from trashing California
California’s population will continue to grow, so our efforts to expand tire recycling must keep pace.
Over the last few years, through its grants and loans, CalRecycle has funded rubberized road concrete and other tire material projects to prevent millions of waste tires from ending up illegally dumped or in landfills.
CalRecycle explores potential tire products as we work to reach the state's zero waste goals while preventing tire fires that pollute our air with poisonous smoke.Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Feb 18, 2020