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

  • Composting Recalled Lettuce from E. Coli Outbreak

     

    Lettuce growing in compost

     

    Following a nationwide E. coli outbreak, recalled lettuce grown throughout the Salinas Valley is making its way back into the ground as compost, thanks to a California Climate Investment from CalRecycle. A new composting facility in Salinas has already started accepting more than 50 tons of the of the potentially tainted produce, according to the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority (Salinas Authority).

    “It’s stretching our daily processing capacity,” Salinas Authority General Manager Patrick Mathews told United Press International. “It’s coming in by the truckloads.”

    E. coli Outbreak Linked to Lettuce

    In November, the Centers for Disease Control warned consumers not to eat romaine lettuce grown in California’s Salinas Valley after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly 70 people in 19 states. The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, and health authorities from various states continue to investigate the exact source of the strain while encouraging residents, restaurants, retailers, suppliers, and distributors to remove the product from their refrigerators, shelves, and distribution chains.

    When sent to landfills, lettuce and other organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a short-lived climate pollutant 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Methane is emitted when organic material is buried and decomposes anaerobically, or without oxygen. The U.S. Composting Coalition encourages consumers and businesses to compost the recalled produce instead. The aeration of material in the composting process results in a different chemical reaction, producing far less damaging emissions.

    “Industrial-scale composting … achieves the temperatures and holding times to eliminate human pathogens (like E. coli),” notes U.S. Composting Coalition Executive Director Frank Franciosi. “While you don't want to eat the romaine lettuce, there is no reason to put it in a landfill where it will generate methane, a significant greenhouse gas, and cause global climate change.”

    CalRecycle’s Climate Change Funds for Composting
    Reduce Greenhouse Gases in the Air

    Salinas Compost Facility

     

    With the help of a recent $1.3 million California Climate Investment grant awarded by CalRecycle, the Salinas Authority constructed an aerated static pile compost facility at the Johnson Canyon landfill in Monterey County. Formerly, wood and green materials were chipped at a landfill and shipped as mulch or to a biofuel facility, while food was disposed of in the landfill. The Salinas Authority built its new, fully permitted composting facility this summer. In the fall it began turning green materials and food into compost. The Salinas Authority estimated it would compost 132,000 tons of food and green waste by 2026.

    Compost increases soil carbon content and increases its moisture-holding capacity, enabling it to literally pull CO2 out of the air. California law mandates composting facilities process materials at temperatures high enough to kill E. coli and other pathogens.

    Funding Available for Organic Waste Recycling

     

    Salinas Compost Facility under construction

     

    CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving human health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities.

    Learn more about CalRecycle’s funding opportunities at calrecycle.ca.gov/funding. You can also subscribe to CalRecycle’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant and Loan Programs Listserv.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Dec 5, 2019

  • Camp Fire Survivor Thanks Cleanup Workers for Giving Her Closure

     

     

     

    Chris and Michelle Friedman spent this past Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara with their daughter and four grandkids. 

    “It’s good to be with family during the holidays,” reflected Michelle. 

    Last year, their Thanksgiving had no tradition or comfort. They spent the weekend lodged in Redding after losing their Paradise home to the Camp Fire.

    “Our hearts weren’t really into Thanksgiving,” explained Michelle. “We couldn’t enjoy it when we just lost so much.”

    Last November, their house in Paradise was destroyed due to the Camp Fire. Their 1,900 square foot retirement dream home and almost all of their belongings had turned to ashes.  

    “That place felt like a vacation home in the mountains,” reflected Michelle. “We really loved it.”

    Their house was one of nearly 11,000 homes in Butte County cleaned up by teams Cal OES and CalRecycle managed.  After CalEPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control removed the most hazardous waste from burned properties, CalRecycle oversaw Phase 2, clearing away debris and ash from properties and recycling all concrete and anything else salvageable. 

    CalRecycle crews recently cleared more than 3.66 million tons, or 7.3 billion pounds, of ash, debris, metal, concrete, and contaminated soil. 

    “Our role is really critical with the survivors,” said Wes Minderman, CalRecycle Engineering Support Branch Chief. “We have a displaced community, these people have lost everything, and so our role and responsibility are to make sure that we do the debris removal, but we’re also sensitive to that fact. This is for the survivors. This is to assist them to recover and begin with the next step of their lives.”

    Prior to the clean up of their property, the Friedmans were able to communicate with the project’s foreman, sharing floor plans and pictures of what the house used to look like.  

    “We knew they wouldn’t find much, but they took the time and had the concern to make sure that they were as thorough as they could be. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for. What they did was give us closure with the confidence that there wasn’t anything to be found, and that in itself is a gift to us,” said Michelle.

    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Dec 2, 2019