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

  • Environmental Bucket List

    It’s inevitable—whenever the New Year comes around, we all start thinking about what we’d like to accomplish in the upcoming 12 months. This year I’m taking a different approach and rather than making resolutions I have to keep all year, I’m making a list of items I’d like to do (or have done very recently) that benefit me and the environment.

    Environmental Bucket List

    Plant a Tree

    I’m proud to be able to check this off my list—three times over, actually—as of a few months ago. Originally my home came with a beautiful old tree in the backyard, but it was unhealthy and eventually cracked in half and fell over. Taking advantage of the free shade tree program in my city (see if your town has one), I was able to “adopt” three small native trees that will eventually grow into medium-sized shade trees, which will clean the air and lower my energy bill!

    Vermicompost

    Composting your organic waste is one of the best things anyone can do for the environment because it has so many environmental and economic benefits. It can add nutrients to the soil, prevent harmful methane gases from entering the atmosphere, and suck CO2 from the air. What I like about vermicomposting is the worms do the work for you. There are several ways to do it, but I plan to create a worm tube in the yard since it’s simple and effective. You can make one for your yard and toss in your food scraps, and the worms will do the rest.

    Go Paperless

    If you still get junk mail in your box, you can understand the frustration. Since I do pretty much everything online, there is no real need for mailed coupons, bank statements, or bills. I’ll be making it a point to sort through my bank, loan, and membership paperwork as it comes in so it’s not a time-consuming task. And for that overall sweep, these junk mail resources on CalRecycle’s website will come in handy. I can’t wait to open the mailbox only to see a birthday card from my grandma!  

    Go Au Natural

    Adding more nature products in my home can offer many benefits, including less waste, fewer chemicals, and sometimes cost savings. I have already started using soap nuts, wool dryer balls, and essential oils, but have not switched over to chemical-free cleaning products like vinegar, lemon, salt, and baking soda—ingredients that are less expensive than traditional cleaning products, but often just as effective.

    While not on my bucket list (I’ve already checked some off), here are some examples of items you can add to your own list. Try alternative forms of transportation like biking, walking, skateboarding, roller skating, carpooling, or good old-fashioned public transit. Upcycle a garage sale or thrift shop find to add character to your home or wardrobe. Adopt some houseplants for better air quality in your home or office. And finally, my favorite since I have been a lifelong vegetarian, go meatless for a bit or altogether if it fits your dietary needs.

     

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jan 24, 2019

  • New State Laws Affecting CalRecycle--and You

    CalRecycle staff has been busy preparing to meet the department’s new statutory responsibilities. Here are the top new laws that CalRecycle will be helping to implement.

    Sharps and Pharmaceuticals EPR Program

    SB 212 (Jackson, Chapter 1004, Statutes of 2018) establishes the nation’s first extended producer responsibility program for sharps and pharmaceuticals. Much like CalRecycle’s current stewardship programs for paint, mattresses, and carpet, responsibility will be placed on manufacturers to participate through stewardship organizations (likely at least one for pharmaceuticals and one for sharps) to design, fund, and implement a take-back program for their products. CalRecycle will have oversight and enforcement responsibilities, which will require coordination with the Board of Pharmacy and possibly other state agencies. 

    Recyclable Food Service Packaging

    SB 1335 (Allen, Chapter 610, Statutes of 2018) requires vendors at all state agencies, facilities, and properties to use food service packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable. SB 1335 authorizes CalRecycle to define “reusability,” “recyclability,” and “compostability” in the regulations, which take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

    Increased Compost Use in California

    AB 2411 (McCarty, Chapter 238, Statutes of 2018) adds to the provisions of the 1989 Compost Market Program by requiring CalRecycle to develop a plan to increase compost use for slope stabilization and for establishing vegetation during its wildfire debris cleanup efforts. It also requires CalRecycle to work with Caltrans to identify and implement best practices for cost-effective compost use along California highways. CalRecycle must review these best practices every five years and update them as needed.

    Recycling Center Reverse Vending Machines

    AB 2493 (Bloom, Chapter 715, Statutes of 2018) extends more flexibility related to the operation of reverse vending machines in California’s Beverage Container Recycling Program. Key changes address requirements for hours of operation and staffing hours, among others.

    Environmental Education

    SB 720 (Allen, Chapter 374, Statutes of 2018) reaffirms the state’s commitment to environmental education. It also directs that climate change be incorporated into the Environmental Principles and Concepts, which are the foundation for CalRecycle’s Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum.

    Lithium-Ion Battery Advisory Group

    AB 2832 (Dahle, Chapter 822, Statutes of 2018) requires CalEPA to convene an advisory group to review and advise the Legislature on policies related to the recovery and recycling of lithium-ion batteries sold in electric cars in California. The advisory group, which includes CalRecycle, must submit policy recommendations to the Legislature that help ensure most lithium-ion batteries in California are reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.

    Food Recovery: California Climate Investments

    AB 1933 (Maienschein, Chapter 808, Statutes of 2018) makes clear that the recovery of food for human consumption is an acceptable form of organic waste diversion eligible for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund grants and loans. In addition to providing clear authority for CalRecycle’s Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant Program, the law also broadens the scope of projects eligible for CalRecycle climate investments. 

    Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Dec 31, 2018

  • Tools for the Home Composter

    food scraps

    Did you know composting your food waste helps the environment? When landfilled, organic material emits methane gas, which directly contributes to climate change. If you have outdoor space, consider composting to prevent methane emissions and to create a rich soil amendment for your own use. Find basic directions on our compost webpage, and check out these tools that can make it easier to compost at home.

    Kitchen Pails & Crocks

    Using a pail or crock to collect coffee grounds, onion peels, potato peels, and table scraps in your kitchen will reduce the number of trips you make to the green bin or your own compost bin.

    Kitchen pails and crocks are available in a variety of materials like stainless steel, ceramic, bamboo, and plastic. Look for a container with a lid, which prevents odors from permeating your kitchen. Or consider lining your pail with a compostable bag, which cuts down on odors and makes it easier to transport green waste to your curbside bin. (Note: Check with your local hauler to see if they accept compostable bags. Some haulers consider compostable bags to be contaminants.) Some pails and crocks work with charcoal filters, which also reduce odors.

    Composting Bins and Tumblers

    bins and tumblers

    Some Californians have a large backyard and can manage a compost pile on the ground, while others may have limited space or have concerns about attracting rodents with food scraps. If you want to contain your compost, you have several options. Wire cages, plastic bins, and wooden crates expose the outer edges of your compost pile to the air, but they require a manual turn with a pitchfork to aerate the center of the pile.

    Want to speed up the process? Consider composting with worms. Vermicomposting is an efficient way to compost in a small space, and worm compost is considered by many in horticulture to be the very best soil amendment available.

    Another option is a composting tumbler, which does not require heavy lifting to aerate the pile. Spin or turn your tumbler to aerate your compost more efficiently, which can reduce the amount of time it takes to convert organic waste into compost. Tumblers range in size from 25 gallons to 170 gallons, which makes them versatile options for every household.

    compost tools

    If you use a traditional compost pile or bin, a manual aerator tool can help you mix your compost pile without heavy lifting. If your pile isn’t transforming organic material into compost efficiently, consider troubleshooting with a compost thermometer to measure the internal temperature.

    Home composting creates a valuable soil amendment that contributes to healthier and more abundant produce in your backyard garden. We can each do our part to protect the environment and human health by reducing food waste and composting our kitchen scraps. 

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Dec 20, 2018