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

  • Come and Get It: A Primer for a Less-Waste Summer Celebration

    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.

    1. Before any shindig, encourage everyone to BYO mess kits, which should include reusables like cups, cloth napkins, utensils, plates, and bowls.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.)
    5. 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.
    6. 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?
    7. 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!

    Mess Kit
    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on May 20, 2019

  • The Environment Is for Every Bunny

    Spring is baby animal season, and it can’t come soon enough! There’s nothing like a video of bunnies, chicks, and kittens to remind you to do your part to protect our environment. You’re welcome and thank you, from CalRecycle.


    Posted on In the Loop on Mar 14, 2019

  • Grant Supports Organics Recycling, Food Rescue

    $4 Million to Help Fund Anaerobic Digestion Facility, Purchase Refrigerated Delivery Truck 

    A new anaerobic digestion facility in San Luis Obispo County, partially funded through CalRecycle’s Organics Grant Program, will process 35,720 tons of organic material per year that would otherwise be landfilled.

    Kompogas SLO will convert organic yard and food waste into renewable energy and feedstock for local composting facilities.

    SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016) requires the state to divert 50 percent of organic material from landfills by 2020 and 75 percent by 2025 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated by organic material decomposing in landfills. In response to the new law, SLO Integrated Waste Management Authority coordinated with its local hauler, Waste Connections, to identify and forecast opportunities for organic waste diversion. Kompogas SLO will reduce greenhouse gas emissions not only by diverting organic materials from disposal but also by reducing vehicle miles involved with transporting organic waste.

    Construction on the new facility began in November 2017, and it is expected to be up and running in late spring 2019.

    Despite current organics collection efforts, a significant amount of organic waste still ends up in landfills because local organics recycling infrastructure is maxed out and it’s costly to transport the material out of the region. At full capacity, Kompogas SLO will digest 35,720 tons per year of organics that would otherwise be disposed at the Cold Canyon Landfill. The total GHG reductions over 10 years is equivalent to removing more than 1,600 cars from the road every year.

    Kompogas SLO and Valley Food Bank collaborated to apply for the CalRecycle grant and received a combined $4 million. The food bank will use $119,000 to purchase a new refrigerated truck to rescue edible food from the waste stream and redirect it to Californians in need. The rest will go toward the cost of the $7.77 million anaerobic digestion facility.

    Last year, Valley Food Bank provided $9.1 million worth of food to families living at or below the poverty line in the San Fernando Valley. With the new truck, the food bank will be able to respond to last-minute notifications to pick up meat and produce and expand its operations by 500 tons of fresh food per year.

    The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Organics Grant Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade Program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investment projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, and recycling. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Feb 21, 2019