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

  • Environmental Justice: Inclusive Decision-Making

    On the drive from Sacramento to Lamont through the San Joaquin Valley on Highway 99, we passed rows upon rows of produce and concrete jungles amid the visible air pollution haze. Last month I traveled with Team Environmental Justice member Julia Dolloff and Maria Salinas, CalRecycle’s Environmental Justice Manager to Lamont, a community just outside of Bakersfield. We were there to present to community members about CalRecycle’s Environmental Justice Program, SB 1383 regulations and the estimated 50 to 100 new large-scale organic waste facilities that will be built in the state as a result, and how to participate in the formal rulemaking process. Visiting an underrepresented community always accentuates the importance of our work to protect all Californians from environmental harm.

    This underlying principle is why the SB 1383 regulations have incorporated community input. For example, the draft regulations allow for the use of community composting operations in jurisdictions to help manage organic waste. In addition, when jurisdictions plan for their organic waste capacity, they must conduct community outreach for new or expanded facilities, seek feedback on benefits and impacts, and consult with community composting operations.

    In light of the impact implementing SB 1383  (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016) will have on the state, staff recently created the Environmental Justice Compost Facilities Map, which overlays existing organics recycling facilities with CalEnviroScreen 3.0, a tool that identifies communities disproportionately burdened by multiple sources of pollution. Identifying facility locations increases transparency and empowers communities to participate in the decision-making process with full knowledge of facility permits, inspections, and enforcement actions.

    Lamont community meeting with CalRecycle staff, Kern County employees, and community members, and Enviroscreen map

    Left: CalRecycle staff members, Kern County employees, and Lamont community members met to discuss environmental justice issues. Right: On CalEnviroScreen 3.0, Lamont is in the top third most burdened percentile and surrounded on all sides by the 90th percentile. Three facilities are located in the nearby vicinity. 

    The Lamont community meeting incorporated environmental justice community engagement best practices by holding the event in their community in the evening after typical work hours and providing interpretation services. Not everyone spoke English but with interpretive services, we were able to discuss their personal experiences with pollution, food waste, and waste collection services. For example, one community member noted that many Lamont residents speak different Spanish dialects, which makes it difficult for residents to understand even Spanish translated materials, but that graphic bin labels can transcend the language barrier.

    At the meeting, Gustavo Aguirre talked about his efforts to create a community benefits agreement with the nearby Recology composting facility. The agreement commits Recology to create an odor minimization plan, implement air pollution mitigation measures, and invest yearly in community benefiting projects. At our meeting, multiple people chimed in that this approach was successful for both Recology and their community.  

    Staff from Kern County’s local enforcement agency and other county government officials also attended the meeting. This allowed for a dialogue between the local officials and community members. One exciting moment was when a Kern County employee talked about the Waste Hunger Not Food pilot project. The pilot project implements the food rescue element of SB 1383 regulations by distributing edible, surplus food from restaurants, schools, and markets.

    This community meeting demonstrated the importance of information sharing and solution-building with all involved parties. The conversation was richer because there were representatives from the state, the county, and the community. Getting people historically and systematically disadvantaged in the room and at the table is what environmental justice seeks to accomplish.

    ---Ciaran Gallagher, CalRecycle Capital Fellow

    Posted on In the Loop by Ciaran Gallagher, CalRecycle Capital Fellow on May 6, 2019

  • CalEPA's Big Earth Day Celebration

    We've been celebrating Earth Day for weeks now here at CalRecycle, along with our CalEPA partner groups. We all got together and held our big annual celebration yesterday at CalEPA's downtown Sacramento headquarters. We even had a few special guests, like Gov. Gavin Newsom. Little did he know he'd have to share the spotlight with Recycle Rex, the Bag Monster, Queen Green, and a few other stately dignitaries. Take a look at the fun we had! 

     

    Newsom at the CalEPA Earth Day event
    Posted on In the Loop by Syd Fong, TC Clark on Apr 25, 2019

  • Keeping Track: CalRecycle's Top-Read Reports

    CalRecycle publishes more than a dozen reports every year in its publications database to provide updates on the status of our programs and detail how much our state is recycling and landfilling. If reading an entire report seems daunting, check out the executive summary, which provides the big-picture context, key statistics, and basic conclusions. Here’s a quick list of CalRecycle’s most-read reports.

    2017 State of Disposal and Recycling in California

    The 2017 report outlines the primary laws that govern waste management and recycling and evaluates the state’s progress in meeting statewide waste diversion goals. This report also outlines new tools and approaches to increase recycling in the state, like improving the quality and marketability of recyclable materials that continue to be generated. Fun fact from this report: In 2017, California generated 77.2 million tons of waste and recycled 42 percent of it.

    2017 California Exports of Recyclable Materials

    California’s recycling infrastructure has heavily relied upon the export of recyclable materials from California ports, and this report outlines the materials we export and the countries that accept these materials. California recyclable materials exports have been steadily declining since 2011, dropping more than 33 percent in weight since then, which resulted in a corresponding drop in the vessel value of exports by nearly $5 billion.

    2018 California’s Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Program Fact Sheet

    This report provides a snapshot of the Beverage Container Recycling Program, including the recycling rate per material type, the total number of sales and redemptions, estimated revenues and expenditures, and the number of containers per pound by material type.

    2014 Disposal-Facility-Based Characterization of Solid Waste in California

    While the State of Disposal and Recycling report offers a big-picture look at how much waste is generated in California, this report reflects the results of an in-the-field study that examined the composition of our waste.  With up-to-date information on the types and amounts of materials disposed in the state’s waste stream, CalRecycle can better determine where changes are needed to achieve California’s 75 percent recycling goal. CalRecycle is currently conducting another waste characterization study that will likely be published in late 2019.

    SB 270: Report to the Legislature: Implementation Update and Policy Considerations for Management of Reusable Grocery Bags in California

    Curious about the success of the statewide plastic bag ban? This report provides an update to the California Legislature about how the plastic bag ban has decreased usage of single-use plastic bags and positively affected the waste stream.

    The Future of Electronic Waste Management in California

    Although not technically a report, this policy recommendation paper is an interesting read. It details how California’s current program needs to be expanded to include all the new types of electronics in the marketplace.

    SB 1383: Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment (SRIA)

    Curious about how the new organics law will affect California? This report details impacts on residents, businesses, and local governments, including benefits (like jobs created), direct costs (like rate increases), and an analysis of alternatives considered (like eliminating enforcement mechanism).

     

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Apr 4, 2019