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

  • California Ramps Up Green Waste Recycling

    Get ready! California is gearing up to implement a new recycling program to combat climate change. Starting in 2022, cities and counties in California will be required to provide organics recycling collection services to all residents and businesses, which is a significant step toward combating the effects of climate change in California. Then- Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395 , Statutes of 2016) into law in 2016, establishing targets to achieve a 50 percent reduction in the level of statewide organics disposal by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025. The bill establishes an additional target that not less than 20 percent of currently disposed edible food be recovered for human consumption by 2025. Even though SB 1383 regulations do not go into effect until 2022, local jurisdictions are working with haulers and preparing to collect more organic waste from businesses and homeowners.

    California generates about 23 million tons of organic waste every year, and 5 to 6 million tons of that is food waste.

    When we landfill any recyclable material, it negatively affects our environment by requiring that we acquire raw virgin materials (like oil to make plastic or trees to make paper). Organic waste has an additional negative impact on California’s environment: When landfilled, organic waste emits methane gas. Methane is a climate-altering greenhouse gas with an impact on our atmosphere 70 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year horizon. In other words, landfilling our yard and food waste directly contributes to climate change in California, leading to increased air pollution and corresponding health concerns like asthma, drier forests that burn in wildfires more easily, cyclical droughts, and coastline erosion due to rising seas.

    Fortunately, organic waste can be recycled into beneficial products like compost, a powerful soil amendment, and renewable natural gas, an environmentally preferable alternative to fossil fuel. California compost is used by California farmers to increase the nutrients, water-holding capacity, and carbon content in soil, which helps grow stronger, healthier crops. Many cities throughout the state use RNG to power their public buses and city vehicle fleets.

    SB 1383 will provide many benefits to California. The statewide organics recycling program will create new recycling and manufacturing jobs. It will also help Californians save millions in health care costs each year by improving air quality and decreasing health impacts, such as premature deaths and hospital visits—especially for sensitive groups such as children, the elderly, and people with chronic heart or lung disease.

    SB 1383 will also benefit our most vulnerable citizens. California’s growing edible food recovery network will capture food to help the 1 in 8 Californians, 1 in 2 UC students, and 1 in 5 California children who are food-insecure.

    SB 1383 is coming, and it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening our economy, and improving public health and the environment. You can learn more about SB 1383 on our Short-Lived Climate Pollutants webpage. You can learn more about organics recycling on our Recycle Organics webpage.

     

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Feb 11, 2019

  • 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

  • Combating Climate Change in California

    California has made combatting climate change a top priority for our state, and for good reason. Our communities are already battling the negative effects of climate change that endanger public health and the environment. Fortunately, CalRecycle and other state departments are taking steps to reduce its effects.

    Recycling for Climate

    Recycling combats climate change in several ways. First, it reduces the need to extract raw materials to manufacture new products, which reduces energy use and the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. For example, every 10 pounds of aluminum you recycle prevents 37 pounds of carbon emissions.

    SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016) establishes a target to achieve a 75 percent reduction of currently landfilled organic waste by 2025 and diverting this material into recovery activities. It also requires that cities and counties provide organics recycling services to residents and businesses, implement an edible food recovery program, and purchase recycled organics products like compost and renewable natural gas. SB 1383 will also generate thousands of new, locally based recycling jobs.

    Recycling organic materials like yard and food waste prevents methane gas emissions. When landfilled, organic waste decomposes and releases methane into the atmosphere. This is a big deal, because methane is a super pollutant at least 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Fortunately, organic materials are easily recycled into beneficial products like compost, which enriches the nutrients and water-holding capacity of soils, and renewable natural gas, which can power vehicles without using fossil fuels.

    California Climate Investments: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grants and Loans

    CalRecycle established the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant and Loan Programs to provide financial incentives for capital investments in infrastructure designed to address climate change and other environmental goals. This includes aerobic composting, anaerobic digestion, and recycling and manufacturing facilities that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One priority is to realize environmental and economic benefits in disadvantaged and low-income communities. “Putting Cap-and-Trade Dollars to Work for California” highlights past projects and benefits to local communities.

    California is experiencing the effects of climate change with cycling droughts, reduced Sierra Nevada snowpack (which provides 60 percent of the state’s water), longer and more extreme fire seasons, and rising sea levels. CalRecycle is directing many efforts to reduce and reverse these dramatic changes to our climate. From regulating the management of materials to their highest and best use, to investing in the necessary infrastructure California needs to have a closed-loop recycling system, CalRecycle is making a significant difference with tangible actions to address climate change. But perhaps more than anything, we value our partnership with the people of California who play a vital role in recycling for climate by adopting the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Learn more about CalRecycle’s efforts to combat climate change at our Climate Change webpage.

    —Christina Files

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on Jan 21, 2019