Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
This is an exciting time to work at CalRecycle. California is facing a climate crisis with extreme fire seasons, coastal erosion, and cyclical droughts and floods. CalRecycle is on the front lines of combating these changes with recycling programs that will make a tangible difference in our lifetime. Over the next few years, the department is implementing new recycling programs throughout the state that will revolutionize the way we manage materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of materials discarded into landfills. Join our team and make a difference in the lives of all Californians, enjoy a collaborative working culture, and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Our staff is working on implementing new laws like SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016), which tasks the department with overseeing new statewide mandatory yard and food waste curbside collection, new and expanding organics recycling facilities (like composters), and mandatory donation of edible food by businesses to food banks and pantries. Moving organic material out of landfills is one of the biggest changes to the waste and recycling industry since the ‘80s.
You don’t have to be an environmental scientist to make a difference. Our department has more than 800 staff members who work on administrative tasks (like accounting and auditing), legislative affairs (like policy and bill analysis), and program analysis (like recycling programs and grants and loans). CalRecycle is a unique state department that allows staff to rub shoulders with other state and federal agencies, private businesses, lobbyists, legislators and staff, and the governor’s office. It’s a great place to start a career in public service and learn about different career path options available to you.
Check out our CalRecycle Careers web pages for more information about the benefits of working for our department, the positions we offer, the current job openings we have, and for tips on applying for a state job.Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Nov 25, 2019
CalEPA Under Secretary Serena McIlwain, Ken DaRosa, and CalRecycle staff members and contractors stand in front of one of the homes being rebuilt in Paradise.
On the heels of the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire, state cleanup crews have removed the final loads of wildfire debris from almost 11,000 burned properties in Butte County.
Since Feb. 2, 2019, crews managed by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) have cleared more than 3.66 million tons—or 7.3 billion pounds—of ash, debris, metal, concrete, and contaminated soil from the 10,904 properties that took part in the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program. The program, implemented in coordination with local governments and in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, offered survivors a streamlined option to clear their properties at no out-of-pocket cost.
Cal OES Staff and Ceres Environmental debris removal crew pose as last debris is loaded in Concow, Butte County.
Twice as Much Debris as 9/11
World Trade Center Disaster
The largest cleanup project of its type in California history cleared twice the amount of debris removed from the World Trade Center site post-9/11.
“This is a story of resilience, and I am inspired by the people of Paradise’s grit and their resolve to move forward after last year’s devastating fire,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “Our state continues to stand with the communities and all families that were impacted.”
More than 98 percent of the properties have been cleared for redevelopment, with the remaining sites going through the last stages of soil testing, erosion control, and property inspections in the past week. After the final inspection, property owners receive certification from Butte County that their lot is eligible for a building permit.
“Debris removal is an important first step in the rebuilding of Butte County and the Town of Paradise,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “From our contractors to our state, local, and federal partners, we are proud of everyone who has worked to help this community rebuild while keeping public and environmental health at the forefront.”
The milestone was recognized on Tuesday, Nov. 19, with an announcement next to Paradise High School and overlooking one of dozens of homes now under construction on properties cleared by the CalRecycle/Cal OES project. The announcement, attended by members of the media, included representatives from the Town of Paradise, Butte County, Cal OES, and FEMA, as well as Assemblyman James Gallagher and Cal EPA Undersecretary Serena McIlwain.
Project Completed Three Months
Sooner Than Expected
“State, federal, and local government collaborated with private contractors to clear contaminated debris in just nine months because we shared one goal: to give almost 11,000 families back environmentally clean properties where they can rebuild their lives,” Undersecretary McIlwain noted. “Thank you to our staff at CalRecycle and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for your commitment to the safety of the Camp Fire survivors.”
Two CalEPA Departments Collaborated
After the fire, DTSC’s Emergency Response Unit ensured that hazardous waste crews quickly and carefully cleaned up toxic substances such as asbestos to protect emergency personnel, the public, the environment, and workers involved in restoration efforts.
CalRecycle then brought in teams of specialized contractors. Many of the workers lived in tents and trailers for long periods to prevent removing housing options for Camp Fire survivors. At homeowners’ requests, these de¬bris removal crews often sifted through ash looking for the remains of heirlooms like jewelry, collectibles, or clay that may have been hearty enough to survive the fire.
Over the nine-month project, crews drove 305,000 truckloads of debris a total of 28.2 million road miles—the equivalent of 59 round trips to the moon. The intensive effort brought unprecedented traffic and activity to the previously quiet community.
“We want to thank the community,” CalRecycle Chief Deputy Director Ken DaRosa said at Tuesday’s event, surrounded by the core fire debris removal team and industry partners. “We want to thank you for your patience, for your cooperation, for your support. This was not an easy operation: There were challenges; there were delays. But you stood by us. You believed in us. And you trusted us. We want to take today and thank you for that trust, that belief, and that support.”
CalRecycle will next take on the removal of Butte County’s 350,000 fire-damaged trees that threaten public roads. Crews are expected to start working early in 2020 and continue through the fall.Posted on In the Loop by CalRecycle Staff on Nov 21, 2019
Yolo County began operating a new anaerobic composter on Oct.1 that can recycle 52,000 tons of organic waste each year into compost, biofuel, and electricity.
The facility will keep that organic material out of the county landfill. In landfills, organic waste decomposes and generates methane, which is a major contributor to climate change.
Instead, food waste, grass clippings, and other organic material collected from local businesses and residents is delivered to the anaerobic composting facility, a 10-acre spot with seven “cells,” at the Yolo County Central Landfill site.
When the organic material is delivered to this site, it is ground up and deposited into cells. Each cell is sealed by spraying the surface with a mixture of cement, fibers, and polymer. Once the bacteria-rich liquid is pumped into the cell, the anaerobic digestion process takes place, and in less than six months, biogas is finally produced.
“Moisture is removed from the biogas produced, and it’s injected into an internal combustion engine that burns the gas, which creates electricity,” said Ramin Yazdani, Director of Yolo County Integrated Waste Management. “The electricity goes on the grid and is sold to SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District).”
After methane production has dropped off, the is operated aerobically, utilizing the aeration piping system. Air is injected into the cells to aerate the digestate material for a two-week aerobic digestion phase. This creates compost.
The material is then excavated, cured, and screened of contamination. Once the process is complete, the county will sell the compost to residents and businesses.
Compost has many beneficial uses, including as a soil amendment and in erosion control. Learn more about compost on our website.
In 2007, Yolo County received a $200,000 CalRecycle grant to run a pilot project that broke down 2,000 tons of organic waste in a smaller cell.
“That created the basis of our current design,” Ramin said, “and it showed us operational challenges that we had to learn from in order to design and operate a better system.”Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong on Nov 18, 2019