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

  • 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

  • CalRecycle’s Green Glossary

    Environmental Acronyms You May Not Know, but Should

    MRF, GHG, EPR, CRV, and HHW—while these acronyms read like an environmentalist’s alphabet soup, they have important meanings. Since environmental issues affect all of us, it’s important that we know what they mean. Here’s a list of acronyms and their meanings.

    CRV: California Redemption Value

    The 5- or 10-cent “deposit” made when purchasing an eligible beverage container. Once eligible containers are returned to a certified recycling center, the customer receives his or her “deposit” back. Make sure not to cross state lines with the intention of collecting CRV in California if you bought beverage containers in another state—it’s illegal!

    EJ: Environmental Justice

    Environmental Justice means the fair treatment and equitable protection from environmental harm and fair access to environmental benefits, regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, race, income, or location. Socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods are historically and disproportionately affected by environmental harm. CalRecycle reaches out to communities and has a number of programs that work to protect disadvantaged neighborhoods from poor environmental conditions.

    EPP: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

    Purchasing of goods and services while taking into consideration the environment and public health. These considerations may include distance traveled to distribute the product, energy used to create the product, amount of packaging considered to be excessive, and the product’s durability and recyclability, which could cut down on disposal.

    EPR:   Extended Producer Responsibility

    The concept that manufacturers should be responsible for their product, or its remains, after it reaches the end of its useful life. For example, with extended producer responsibility you might be able to return used batteries so their manufacturer can dispose of them properly, or the packaging material used to ship a product, so the company can reuse it. Rather than relying solely on efforts to recycle our discards, EPR places responsibility on manufacturers to find innovative ways to reduce their waste. Read about EPR programs for carpetpaint, and mattresses in California.

    GHG:  Greenhouse Gas

    Greenhouse gases are gases that absorb and emit energy from the sun and get trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane. Greenhouse gases can be produced as a result of human activities like driving, farming, and organic waste decomposition.

    HHW:  Household Hazardous Waste

    Some items we use in our everyday lives, such as paint and motor oil, contain potentially hazardous materials that require special care when disposed. They’re not necessarily dangerous, but if spilled, broken, and/or disposed of improperly, they can contaminate the soil, water, and/or air in the surrounding environment.

    MCR:  Mandatory Commercial Recycling

    In order to reduce GHG emissions (aren’t you glad you know what those are now?), businesses that make 4 cubic yards of waste or more per week (about the size of a standard dumpster) are required by law to recycle it by composting, reusing, or recycling.

    MORe: Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling

    Similar to MCR regulations, Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling refers to the requirements for businesses in California to recycle organic waste, or waste that is plant-or animal-based e.g. food, yard/garden waste, wood, paper, etc. Organic waste makes up more than a third of California’s waste stream, which decomposes in landfills creating GHG emissions that contribute to climate change. However, organics can be kept out of landfills and recycled into nutrient-rich compost instead.

    MRF: Materials Recovery Facility

    Pronounced “murf,” a materials recovery facility receives and sorts recyclable materials to sell to processors. MRFs can utilize a combination of manual and mechanical labor to sort materials. There are two types of MRFs: “dirty” and “clean.” Dirty MRFs sort through solid waste, e.g., your trash can, to recover any materials that might be recyclable. Clean MRFs sort through recyclables that have already been pre-separated from trash, usually by the consumer who has a curbside recycling bin.

    RAC: Rubberized Asphalt Concrete

    RAC is a road paving material made by blending ground-up recycled tires with asphalt to   produce a binder, which is then mixed with conventional aggregate materials. It’s cost-effective, durable, safe, and quiet, besides being an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional road paving materials.

    TDA: Tire-Derived Aggregate

    A form of shredded scrap tires used for civil engineering projects like retaining walls and drainage systems. Since California alone generates more than 40 million waste tires, TDA is a constructive way to recycle tires that would otherwise end up in landfills or become fire and health hazards if disposed of improperly.

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on May 7, 2018

  • More Jobs, Less Pollution: CalRecycle Awards $24 Million in Grants to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Cap-and-trade dollars boost local economies with 21st Century infrastructure projects

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    Media Contact: Lance Klug
    (916) 371-6293 |lance.klug@calrecycle.ca.gov                                                                              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    SACRAMENTO—As an integral part of the state’s far-reaching effort to slow and reverse the effects of climate change, the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has awarded $24 million in grants to help convert more of the state’s organic waste (food, green waste, and wood) into renewable energy and compost.

    “These latest climate investments provide a much-needed boost to California’s organic waste recycling capacity, which the state must roughly double to meet its greenhouse gas reduction and 75 percent recycling goals,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “These infrastructure projects will diversify our local economies—creating durable green jobs that can’t be outsourced.”

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

    Of the $24 million allocated to CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program in 2016-17:

    • $12 million was dedicated to digestion projects, which turn organic waste into renewable energy and soil amendments. Maximum award: $4 million
    • $12 million was dedicated to compost operations—$3 million of which was allocated specifically for projects in rural areas. Maximum award: $3 million

    Demand in CalRecycle’s Organics Grant Program well exceeded the $24 million in available funds for 2016-17, with 35 eligible applicants requesting $88.6 million. CalRecycle granted funds to the 10 highest scoring applicants based on criteria of greenhouse gas reductions, the amount of organic material diverted from landfills, benefits to disadvantaged communities, and project readiness.

    Many infrastructure project proposals included funding for food rescue efforts to recover landfill-destined, edible food for Californians in need. Food waste prevention remains the most environmentally beneficial way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While food rescue was not among the scoring criteria for the organics grant, it was a consideration for evaluating benefits to disadvantaged communities.

    FY 2016-17 Organics Grant Program Recipients

    Anaerobic Digestion  Projects:

    County Sanitation Districts  of Los Angeles County

    Los Angeles County

    $4,000,000

    Equipment upgrades to  complete organic food waste pre-processing and anaerobic digestion system.  Grantee will convert regional food waste into renewable gas for  transportation fuel. Includes dedicated funds for partnership with a local  food rescue entity.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    HZIU Kompogas SLO, Inc.

    San Luis Obispo County

    $4,000,000 

    Design, build, and operate  a Kompogas anaerobic digestion facility. Grantee will convert regional  organic waste into renewable electricity and compost. Includes dedicated  funds for partnership with Valley Food Bank.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Rialto Bioenergy Facility,  LLC

    San Bernardino County

    $4,000,000 

    Equipment upgrades to in-vessel  digestion facility to process regional food waste into renewable electricity.  Includes dedicated funds for partnership with Helping Hands Pantry.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Compost Projects:

    City of San Diego

    San Diego County

    $3,000,000 

    Equipment upgrade of  current windrow composting facility to a covered aerated static pile system.  Will enable regional expansion of food waste composting program. Includes  dedicated funds for partnership with Kitchens for Good.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Mid Valley Recycling, LLC

    Fresno County

    Expansion of current  aerated static pile composting system to support new organic waste recycling  programs in the community.

    $1,875,000 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? No

    Salinas Valley Solid Waste  Authority

    Monterey County

    $1,341,865 

    Expansion of current  organic chip and grind facility to include a food waste composting operation.  Includes equipment upgrades and dedicated funds for partnership with Food  Bank for Monterey County.

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    Recology Yuba-Sutter

    Yuba County

    First of three -phase  project to design, build, and operate new covered aerated static pile compost  system to recycle regional green waste.

    $2,783,135 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? No

    Rural Compost Projects:

    Napa Recycling & Waste  Services, LLC

    Napa County

    Equipment upgrades to  recover more food waste for grantee’s existing compost operation. Includes  dedicated funds for partnership with Emergency Food Bank of Stockton.

    $541,700 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    South Lake Refuse Company,  LLC

    Lake County

    Equipment upgrades to  expand existing green waste composting site to include food waste composting.  Includes dedicated funds for partnership with Sacramento Food Bank and Family  Services.

    $1,218,026

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? Yes

    West Coast Waste

    Madera County

    Design, build, and operate  new aerated static pile composting system to recycle regional organic waste.  An on-site learning center is also planned.

    $1,240,274 

    • New Jobs? Yes
    • New Organic Waste Diverted? Yes
    • Food Rescue Component? No

    Total: $24,000,000

    Eligible applicants for CalRecycle’s Organics Grant program include cities, counties, and other local agencies; businesses; California universities and colleges; nonprofit organizations; and qualifying Indian Tribes.

    Learn more about CalRecycle’s new Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, California’s new 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.

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    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Aug 17, 2017