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

  • Fix-It Group Holds the Line Against Landfill Waste

    If you can repair it, there’s no need to replace it.

    Neighbors in the Oak Park area of Sacramento are fully aware of this simple truth. Once a month, they host the Oak Park Fix-It Cafe, described on its Facebook page as “a community-powered gathering for repairing and maintaining bicycles, clothing, household items, and the ties that bind us into a healthy community.” At various stations, they work with visitors to stitch buttons back onto sweaters, sew up holes, tune up bicycles, and troubleshoot appliances. And, since it’s a grassroots thing, they also chat about goings-on in the neighborhood and throw back some bagels and cream cheese.

    The group meets once a month, on the third Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, search for “Oak Park Fix-It Cafe” on Facebook.

    The bike repair station is a busy one at the fix-it clinic.

    The bike repair station is a busy one at the fix-it clinic.

    Bagels and appliance repair – what’s a fix-it café without both?

    Thinking of starting a fix-it café in your own community? Here’s a great resource to get started!

    Posted on In the Loop on Jan 31, 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

  • A New Twist on 'Out With the Old'

    It’s a new year and time to reflect on lessons learned in 2018. At CalRecycle, we’re not big fans of “out with the old,” unless we’re talking about old, outmoded mindsets about “waste” vs. “material that can be used again to make cool new things.”

    Take, for example, our Social Committees and our Zero Waste team, which teamed up to create the Inaugural Zero Waste Competition between Sacramento and Southern California staff for our Annual Summer Picnics.

    The Sunshine Club, the Long Beach office’s Social Committee, has been putting on an annual Zero Waste picnic for the past five years. This year, they challenged Sacramento staff to a waste reduction competition. The prize? Bragging rights for the next year—plus a repurposed, upcycled Zero Waste trophy!

    Zero Waste team members Priyanka Talanki and Benjamin Johnson.  Kathleen Strickely showing off the Zero Waste trophy

    Left: Zero Waste team members Priyanka Talanki and Benjamin Johnson built the Zero Waste trophy from upcycled material.  Right: Kathleen Strickely shows off the completed trophy.

    The Social Committees and Zero Waste team worked diligently to reduce waste upstream by asking attendees to bring their own “mess kit” and offering reusable plates and utensils for a $1 rental fee on the day of each picnic. Food waste was composted, excess food was donated, and beverage containers were sent to a recycling center to redeem for the California Refund Value (CRV). All remaining waste was weighed and divided by the number of attendees to come up with a comparable metric for the two picnics: “per-capita” disposal, or the amount of waste per person. 

    As a team-building exercise, the staffers took an old soda bottle, scrap aluminum, and a piece of driftwood to create the Zero Waste trophy. 

    And, the winner of the inaugural Zero Waste competition, weighing in at .037 lbs. of waste per person, was … (drum roll please) … Southern California!

    Sacramento came in at a close second with .05 lbs. of waste per person.

    Together, CalRecycle staff diverted 139.9 lbs. of waste from landfills by reusing, recycling, composting, and donating excess materials from the Annual Summer Picnics.

    If reducing waste is on your New Year’s Resolution list, that's great! Planning a Zero Waste event is not rocket science. However, it does take some extra effort. Ask yourself: How can you reduce waste in the first place? What kinds of material do you anticipate generating? How are you going to collect material? What is the highest and best use of the discards? Who is going to divert the material? It is essential to have a dedicated team of people who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty!

    As CalRecycle staff, it is important for us to embody the values of our department. As the leading agency on waste and recycling, it is important for us to “walk the walk” and lead by example. Striving for zero waste events is a small, but fun way to carry our mission to conserve resources, protect the environment, and help combat climate change.

    The Long Beach office accepting the Zero Waste trophy on behalf of Southern California staff.

    Long Beach office staff accepted the Zero Waste trophy on behalf of Southern California staff.

    Posted on In the Loop by Angela Vincent on Jan 7, 2019