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

  • Our Audience Asks: What Is the 50/50/50 Rule?

    Our Audience Asks: What is the 50/50/50 Rule?

    Last week, I received a phone call from a fellow Californian and avid recycler asking about the 50/50/50 rule at recycling centers. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I’ll get to it shortly. After the call, I started wondering what people actually know about the Beverage Container Recycling Program regulations, California law, and rules made by recycling centers for operational efficiency. So, let’s clear up some confusion.

    California Refund Value (CRV)

    Most people know what this is, but just in case, here’s a refresher! CRV is the amount a customer pays when they purchase beverages in eligible containers like aluminum, plastic, and glass. You should see this amount on your store receipt. This amount is paid back to customers once they return the eligible containers to a certified recycling center or dealer (the place where you bought the container). The amount for each container is 5 cents for anything under 24 ounces and 10 cents for anything 24 ounces or greater.

    Certified Recycling Centers 

    Recycling centers are privately owned businesses that are certified by us, CalRecycle. And just like any other company, they’re in the business of making money, so you may have noticed some closing in recent years because it’s hard to turn a profit when global markets take a downward turn. These privately owned businesses are allowed to make certain rules about collecting recyclables for business operation efficiency, but they must follow certain regulations set by CalRecycle, and CalRecycle must follow the laws set by the State of California. That also means if you have a complaint or concern about a specific recycling center or dealer, you can call us at 1-800-Recycle to file a formal complaint. Our hotline staff really appreciate when you’re polite to them! I know because I sit right next to them and hear what they have to go through--it’s not always pretty. After your complaint is filed, our department will follow up with that center to resolve the issue. 

    50/50/50 Rule

    Recycling centers are allowed to pay by weight as a matter of business efficiency, but if you request to have the recycling center count each container so you can redeem the exact amount you paid, California law allows you that option. The recycling center is required to comply with that rule. But, in order to keep business moving, you can only redeem 50 of each container type per visit. What does that mean? You can bring up to 50 aluminum, 50 glass, and 50 plastic beverage containers for a total of 150 CRV eligible containers. And just to ensure the recycling center attendant and people in line behind you don’t roll their eyes at you, sort your containers ahead of time and let them know beforehand that you want to receive payment by count. 

    For more information about Beverage Container Recycling visit our FAQ page

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Aug 1, 2019

  • Say "I Do" to an Eco-Friendly Wedding

    Say

    Summer is wedding season! While it’s a time for love, family, friends, and happiness, weddings can also lead to a lot of waste. The good news is you have the power to prevent it! Whether you’re planning a wedding for a future date or you’re putting the final touches on your upcoming summer nuptials, these tips can help you tie the knot the sustainable way.

    Close to the Heart

    Destination weddings are an effective way to combine honeymoons, get away from your usual surroundings, and cut down on the guest list (not everyone is willing to travel to the Bahamas for a few days). But traveling to exotic, far-off lands can also be taxing on the planet due to emissions from planes, trains, and automobiles. If possible, opt for a venue closer to home where guests won’t have to travel far and can carpool together. Outdoor venues are also a good option—let the sun be your light source during the day, and use solar-charged lights in the evening.

    Invitation Only

    It’s 2019—why are we still sending things via snail mail? OK, a wedding is a little different since it’s a special occasion, but if you want to cut down on paper waste and costs, sending out an evite is another viable option. Paperless invitations can still be elegant, classy, and unique while being cost-effective and wasteless. If there are some family members who don’t have email addresses (we’re talking to you, Aunt Ida), you can still print and send a handful of invitations without breaking the bank or the environment. And, if you’d like a keepsake for your wall or wedding album, you can print one out, too.

    Do the Environment a Favor

    Unfortunately, party favors are one of the biggest offenders at weddings. While they’re a traditional and fun way to take the happy occasion home with you, they often end up in the trash. If you’re willing, forego the little gifts altogether and give a small donation to a charity in your guests’ name. Or, give something that will eventually leave little to no waste, like small jars of honey, cute plants, tea/coffee/spice blends, or reusable bags, cups, or straws. Consider this rule of thumb at bridal showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties as well.

    Dress to Impress ... the Earth

    What do they say about weddings? Everyone will remember the dress and the cake! It’s so tempting to want to buy the most expensive, elegant, show-stopping dress, but secondhand or heirloom dresses are an often overlooked option. Besides, heirloom dresses have special meaning when you know they’re being lovingly handed down from a cherished family member or friend. Also, men rent tuxedos, so what’s the big deal about women renting dresses? 

    Let Them Eat Cake

    Then send them home with leftovers! That goes for any food you may have at the end of the reception. The best way to handle food is to find out how many guests will be attending and plan for that number to prevent food waste altogether. But, if that doesn’t work out, you have a few options. Have your catering company, if you use one, pack up leftovers for guests. Or, you can donate uneaten food to local organizations for the food-insecure. Yes, it can be done, despite what your catering company might say! It’s important to make sure you have a food waste prevention or donation plan in place before the big day.

    Continue the Celebration

    Did you know you can donate a lot of items that can be reused after your wedding? Flowers can be donated and rearranged for hospitals, hospice facilities, and elderly communities to brighten people’s day. You can also allow your guests to take arrangements home, but whatever you do, don’t just toss all those flowers in the trash. Organic waste makes up the largest part of the waste stream. Decorations, dresses, favors, unwanted gifts that weren’t on your carefully curated registry, and wedding prep supplies can all be donated to prevent waste and allow someone else a chance to celebrate on a budget.

    Honeymoon Highlights

    Sure, most of us love the excitement of getting and unwrapping gifts! But, before you get giddy with the registry scanner, consider requesting funds for your honeymoon instead. Cash is always a good way to go, but if you’d like to suggest your guests contribute to a fund that will help you pay for fun activities, there are several honeymoon registry sites. The highlight of your honeymoon could be that your loved ones help pay for it! Who needs another toaster that will eventually break and end up in the trash anyway? Plus, imagine all that shredded foil, glittery paper and ribbons—you can’t recycle that stuff!

    If you’re into environmentalism, these tips are a great way to bring awareness to your guests and prevent waste. And they’re all great suggestions for saving money, too!

     

    Posted on In the Loop by TC Clark on Jun 27, 2019

  • Five Tips to Close the Recycling Loop

    Despite what Kermit the Frog says, it’s actually easy to be green! Check out these five tips to up your recycling game and help the environment.

    1. First, reduce waste with reusables. It’s much easier to manage waste that never enters the waste stream, so consider switching to reusable items whenever you can. Try mason jars for drinks and soup. Reusable straws are often available at coffee and smoothie shops. Don’t forget to invest in a straw brush to scrub out the insides.

    2. Buy products with less packaging. CalRecycle estimates about 25 percent of our waste stream is packaging. If you can, buy items in bulk or opt for brands that use easier-to-recycle packaging materials (like cardboard strawberry containers instead of plastic clamshells). Also consider buying multiple items in one order when shopping online to reduce cardboard shipping box and padded envelope waste.

    3. Recycle yard and food waste. Food waste accounts for 18 percent of our waste stream and can be recycled into beneficial products like compost and renewable natural gas. If you don’t have residential curbside organics collection service, you can look for a local community garden compost program. Many community gardens accept yard and food waste for their compost piles. 

    4. Understand what goes in your blue and green bins and avoid contaminants in each bin. There is no statewide, universal recycling program in California, so local guidelines will vary. If you add food waste to your green bin and your community doesn’t have a composting facility that accepts food waste, you may have inadvertently contaminated your yard waste bin. Check out your local jurisdiction website or that of your waste and recycling hauler to learn more about what to put in each bin. In general, you want to add clean, dry items to the blue bin. If you add a spaghetti sauce jar with no lid and sauce residue inside the container, the sauce can leak out and contaminate other items like paper, making them more difficult to recycle and possibly bound for the landfill.

    5. Buy recycled-content products. The recycling economy depends on people buying products made with recycled content, which increases the demand for materials collected for recycling. When you’re out and about shopping, look for products made with recycled material.

    Posted on In the Loop by Christina Files on May 23, 2019