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

  • CalRecycle Awards $25 Million for Organics Recycling Projects

    Communities Get Environmental and Economic Boost from California Climate Investments

    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 341-6293 | Lance.Klug@calrecycle.ca.gov

    SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has awarded more than $25 million in California Climate Investments to bolster organics recycling infrastructure in the state and rescue edible food for Californians in need. The projects in 10 California communities are set to transform nearly a half-million tons of discarded food, green waste, and other organic materials into value-added products like biofuel, compost, fertilizers, and soil amendments.

    “California has the opportunity to close the loop with organics by transforming the single largest part of our waste stream into a supply stream for local businesses,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “These California Climate Investments not only recycle California-generated waste into new and valuable products, they also create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.”

    When sent to landfills, organic waste decomposes and generates methane, a short-lived climate pollutant 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program helps fund construction, renovation, or expansion of facilities in California that recycle organic material into products like compost and renewable energy.

    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. CalRecycle used Fiscal Year 2017–18 grant funds to award the following projects:

    • Arakelian Enterprises Inc. (Doing business as Athens Services), San Bernardino County. Upgrade Victorville windrow composting facility to an aerated static  pile composting system to increase capacity, reduce air emissions, and help  protect water quality. $3,000,000
    • Best Way Disposal Company, Inc. (Doing business as Advance Disposal Co.),  San Bernardino County. Equipment upgrades at material recovery facility in Hesperia to remove contaminants from organic waste to divert the clean material for composting. $2,481,250
    • Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc., Riverside County. Construction of new covered composting system at Robert A. Nelson material recovery facility and transfer station near Riverside. $3,000,000
    • Contra Costa Waste Services (Partnering with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano), Contra Costa County. Purchase of new equipment and infrastructure upgrades at Mount Diablo Resource Recovery Park to utilize existing anaerobic digesters for increased organic waste landfill diversion and biogas production. Includes a food rescue partnership with Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. $4,000,000
    • CR&R Incorporated, Riverside County. Third of a three-phase project at a current anaerobic digestion  facility in Perris. Expansion increases organic waste landfill diversion and  increases biofuel used to fuel CR&R vehicle fleet. $4,000,000
    • Recology Yuba-Sutter, Yuba County. First of a three-phase project to construct a new compost facility at Ostrom Road Landfill. This project received $2.8 million in a previous grant cycle.  $216,865
    • Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara County. Develop an anaerobic digestion facility at the Tajiguas Landfill to process currently landfilled organics into biogas and compost. $4,000,000
    • Upper Valley Disposal Service (Partnering with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services), Napa County. Construction of new “organics blending barn” to mix food, green, and  wood waste for composting. Includes a food rescue partnership with Sacramento  Food Bank and Family Services. $1,250,000
    • Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. (Partnering with Alameda County Community Food Bank), Alameda County. Purchase of pre-processing equipment for a new organic material recovery facility in San Leandro. Separated materials will be composted at a new facility co-located at the Davis Street complex. Includes food rescue partnerships with Alameda County Community Food Bank. $3,000,000
    • West Coast Waste, Madera County. Construction of a new aerated static pile composting facility to divert currently landfilled green material. This project received $1.2 million in a previous grant cycle.  $161,326

          Total: $25,109,441

    CalRecycle awards Organics Grants based on criteria of greenhouse gas reductions, the amount of organic material diverted from landfills, benefits to low-income and disadvantaged communities, and project readiness. Eligible applicants include cities, counties, and other local agencies; businesses; California universities and colleges; nonprofit organizations; and qualifying Indian Tribes. Maximum Organics Grant awards are $4 million for anaerobic digestion projects and $3 million for compost projects.

    Learn more about CalRecycle’s new Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, California’s push to recover edible food for hungry people before it becomes waste, and the state’s latest investments to turn food and other organic waste into renewable energy or increase compost capacity and demand in California.

    Posted on In the Loop on Jul 5, 2018

  • California Pursues Shared Effort to Confront New Recycling Challenges

    Recycling Industry, Experts Explore California Solutions to Global Market Disruption

    The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery joined California waste haulers, recyclers, manufacturers, local leaders, and advocacy groups in Sacramento to help advance statewide discussions on the future of waste reduction and recycling in California. Recent import restrictions from China, coupled with a decline in the global market value of recyclable commodities, have resulted in significant challenges for California businesses, local governments, and consumers.

    CalRecycle organized its “Recycling Globally: California’s Role in Adapting to a New Market Climate” workshop on June 4 to share information regarding changes in international recycling markets, examine how those changes are affecting recycling efforts in California, and discuss the shared responsibility of the state’s public and private sectors to:

    • Reduce the amount of waste generated in the state
    • Build and support recycling markets and infrastructure within California

    “CalRecycle is here to listen, learn, and provide an effective clearinghouse for information as we work together to navigate this rapidly changing situation,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “I’ve heard National Sword described as everything from a crisis to a temporary market condition. I don’t think it matters so much how we name it, but (the disruption) is real, and the impacts are unknown in scope, magnitude, and duration.”

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    The dialogue featured three panel discussions, in addition to questions and comments from the public and various stakeholders who attended the workshop at CalEPA headquarters in Sacramento or who followed the discussion online. A recording of the full workshop is posted here.

    The first panel discussion was titled “Updates on the Current State of Recyclable Commodities.” The panelists were Adina Renee Adler from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries; Pete Keller from Republic Services; and William Winchester from Berg Mill Supply.

    “There is not enough capacity globally today to consume what’s been displaced by China,” Keller said. “Twenty-five million tons of fiber is looking for a home. That capacity may come online, but it’s not coming online next month or even probably next year.”

    “There are always potential surprises around the corner,” Adler said, “but I do think the new market dynamic (for recycled materials) is here to stay.”

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    The second panel addressed “Short-Term Challenges and Opportunities.” Panelists included Tom Padia from StopWaste; Joseph Kalpakoff from Mid Valley Disposal; Michael Lee from City of Los Angeles/LA Sanitation; and Eric Oddo of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority.

    “Single-stream collection (sorting) technology, coupled with China’s historically strong appetite for recyclables and lax (contamination) specifications, created the false belief that everything is recyclable,” said Tom Padia of StopWaste. “Everything isn’t recyclable, and it never was.”

    The workshop concluded with a final discussion titled “Looking Down the Road.” Panelists were Chris Coady from Recycling Partnership; Greg Rodrigues from EcoLogic; Saskia van Gendt with Method Products, and Mark Murray from Californians Against Waste

    Coady urged continued efforts at public education about recycling.

    “The fact is, these programs need to be maintained and public education has to be ongoing,” he said. “It’s not just about educating residents. It’s also educating public officials and keeping everyone aware.”

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    “It is individual products and individual materials that are creating this contamination problem,” Murray said. “In order for us to solve this problem, we’re going to have to make sure that each material manufacturer and each product manufacturer take responsibility for the environmental externalities of their products.”

    As part of CalRecycle’s ongoing commitment to move this dialogue forward, the department developed an online resource for stakeholders to track new international market developments and to share information about innovative local solutions employed by jurisdictions and businesses throughout the state.

    Users can also find guidance related to temporary storage of processed recyclable material, financial assistance programs for California recycling businesses, and CalRecycle’s latest policy reform efforts to reduce excessive packaging waste and combat contamination in our recycling streams.


    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Jun 14, 2018

  • New California Climate Investment Serves Up Benefits for Butte County

    There is an unmistakable buzz on the streets of Butte County. The Northern California agricultural region, already well known for its orchards and farms, its tight-knit communities, and its commitment to sustainability just added a new attraction to its community profile.

    Welcome to California’s newest hub in the state’s battle against climate change.

    “You can see the enthusiasm around town. People are stunned and excited about this opportunity,” Laura Cootsona says before sharing her own reaction to news of a half-million dollar California Climate Investment. “I actually jumped up and down for days.”

    Cootsona is a Butte County resident and executive director of the Jesus Center in downtown Chico. For more than 30 years, the humanitarian nonprofit has offered meals, resources and other services to those struggling in and around Butte County. Now, with the help of a $499,789 California Climate Investment, the center is launching one of its boldest efforts yet to combat hunger—and climate change—by rescuing food for the hungry before it becomes waste.

    Californians throw away an estimated 6 million tons of food each year. When it decomposes in landfills, food and other organic material emits methane, a super pollutant responsible for roughly 20 percent of current global warming and 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

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    The Jesus Center operates a farm in Butte County and plans to begin a second farm soon to help provide fresh produce to neighbors in need.

    In partnership with the Community Action Agency of Butte County, which includes the North State Food Bank, the Jesus Center will use the nearly half-million dollar Food Waste Prevention and Rescue grant to increase its ability to collect, transport, store, and distribute more food in and around Butte County.

    “What I love about this project is it allows us to do a ton of social good and environmental good at the same time,” Cootsona says. “This is going to change our community in a lot of serious ways.”

    CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue 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 physical body gets so broken down when you’re confronting the daily realities of poverty,” Cootsona says, noting food insecurity impacts roughly 1 in every 5 Butte County residents. Statewide, about 1 in 8 Californians are considered food-insecure. She adds, “Hunger should not be this prevalent in a state and in a region that produces so much of our nation’s food.”

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    The fruits and vegetables grown at the Jesus Center farm are used in meals at the Center’s kitchen in Chico. The farm also provides vocational opportunities related to food waste prevention and rescue work.

    In 2017, the Jesus Center prepared and plated more than 101,000 meals through its kitchen, shelter, and six transitional houses in and around Chico. Cootsona expects that number to keep rising as grant funding enables the Center to hire new staff, purchase new equipment—including a refrigerated truck and a new commercial kitchen—and upgrade its logistics software to better track food inventory and coordinate donations and deliveries.

    “With this new software, farmers, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, and other community partners can go online and notify us about new donations,” Cootsona says. “Depending on the food type, we’ll be able to immediately determine whether it should come to our kitchen in Chico or whether it can be better utilized by one of our 50 partner agencies within the North State Food Bank or in the Wildcat Food Pantry at Chico State.”

    Food that can’t be diverted to meals or distributed through the food banks will be composted at the Jesus Center farm or other partnering locations to make sure the organic material doesn’t wind up emitting greenhouse gases at area landfills.

    “Let’s get food that is designed to be consumed, eaten. Not into landfills.” Cootsona continues, “Composting is a great alternative to landfills, but we want the food in bellies first.”

    The center’s new project also includes money dedicated to vocational training in food waste prevention and recovery, further increasing the long-term benefits that will remain long after the grant funds run out.

    “We’re integrating this new technology and these new systems into our regular operations so these benefits will remain sustainable long-term,” Cootsona says, ensuring the Center can build on its decades-long history of preventing food waste, protecting the planet, and saving lives for decades to come.

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on May 21, 2018