Be Picky About Packaging
In California, packaging waste makes up 27% of what we dump in landfills.
Between cardboard, bubble wrap, foam peanuts, air pockets and other packaging materials, what is the best way to know how to sort all of it?
We’ve got you covered! Check out our helpful infographic inside to see what goes where.
And maybe—just maybe—try cutting back on excess packaging this year. Consider:
When you shop at your neighborhood retailer, you reduce packaging waste and support local businesses at the same time. (Remember to bring your reusable shopping bags!)
Give gifts that don’t need wrapping. A gift card to their favorite restaurant, tickets to that hot new play… gifts of experiences are often the most memorable.
If you’re shopping online, look for shops that sell environmentally-friendly products. Shops like these and online shops like Amazon often have reduced packaging options, which you can select at checkout.
Batteries Not Included
(in your carts)
Making room for new gadgets and toys this holiday season? Remember:
- Make sure you remove the batteries and never dispose of batteries and electronics in your curbside carts! Batteries often cause dangerous fires in collection trucks and at processing facilities. Please place tape on the battery ends so they don’t spark along their journey. If you can’t remove the battery, please dispose of the entire item properly.
- TVs, computer monitors, cell phones and most other electronics contain toxic chemicals that can contaminate soil and groundwater when they end up in landfills.
Here are some free and low-fee ways to properly dispose of your batteries and electronics:
- Place small household batteries in a clear, sealed plastic bag and set them on top of your blue recycling cart lid on your normal service day each week. The driver will collect batteries separately.
- Place your electronics out curbside on your bi-annual Reuse Day. To look up your next Reuse Day date, visit RecycleSmart.org/cleanup and use the search tool under “Reuse & Cleanup Days Schedule.”
- Call Republic Services at 925-685-4711 to schedule an e-waste curbside pickup for a fee.
- Visit or schedule a pick-up from Concord Recycling Center in Concord or Rapid Recycle in Pacheco for free and low-fee e-waste recycling.
- Drop off household batteries at one of our FREE local partner retail locations. Visit RecycleSmart.org/HHW for the list of locations.
- Ask your property manager to contact Republic Services to schedule an e-waste pickup for a fee.
- Visit or schedule a pick-up from Concord Recycling Center in Concord or Rapid Recycle in Pacheco for free and low-fee e-waste recycling (among other services).
For more information about other common hazardous materials and proper disposal visit RecycleSmart.org/HHW.
California Passes Powerful Packaging Law
SB 54 requires 100% of single-use packaging and plastic food ware sold in California to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2032.
This Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) law gives primary responsibility for managing packaging products after their useful life to producers, who can design and market products to be more easily reused, recycled or composted.
Get the latest RecycleSmart news straight to your inbox by signing up for our e-newsletter! It’s easy—all you have to do is go to RecycleSmart.org/newsletter-preferences to sign up. You also have the option to stop receiving paper newsletters.
Holiday Tree Collection
Visit RecycleSmart.org for the upcoming 2024 holiday tree collection schedule.
HousesRemember to remove all tinsel, ornaments, lights, stands and other decorations before placing your tree on the curb during your designated tree collection week. For questions, call Republic Services at 925-685-4711.
Apartments & CondosPlace your tree in or near the garbage enclosure, or your property's designated tree collection location, during the scheduled collection week without blocking bins and carts. Remember to remove all tinsel, lights, ornaments, stands and other decorations. For questions, please contact your property owner or manager.
Reuse and Reduce Resolution
New Year’s is coming, and it’s time for resolutions!
Here’s a simple resolution for 2024: Try to create one ongoing lifestyle change or habit to reduce waste. You can get a jump start this holiday season by reusing wrapping paper and gift bags, gifting experiences instead of objects, or shopping locally.
Share your waste reduction tips and 2024 resolutions for reducing waste. Send us an email at Authority@RecycleSmart.org or post on our Facebook page (@CCCSWA) We might share your ideas to help your fellow neighbors!
Where Does Your
Let’s keep our green organics carts clean this holiday season:
- Plastic should never go into the green organics cart. Plastic and other contaminants can’t always be sorted out of your yard trimmings and food scraps at Republic’s commercial composting facility. Plastic becomes smaller plastic pieces–microplastics–that seep into the soil and contaminate our food.
- Remove any wire, tape, tree stands, imitation greenery, or other non-compostable materials from your wreaths and garlands.
- Compost all food scraps—meat, bones, shells and fruit pits can all go in your green organics cart along with your food scraps.
- Uncoated food-soiled paper such as napkins and pizza boxes go in the green organics cart. Shiny to-go paper food boxes and drink cups go in the black landfill cart.
- Cooking for a crowd? Soiled aluminum food trays should be disposed of in the black landfill cart.
For the full list of what does and does not go into your green organics cart:
Take it Back!
Since the pandemic, I’ve noticed that when I return items at certain online retailers, they will reimburse me, but tell me that I don’t have to send back the item I’m trying to return. It’s great that I get my refund, but I’m still left with an item I don’t want.
I started doing some research and found a couple of ways to give those unwanted items to people who can really use them. My list is below—you can use the info to help with your 2024 resolution to waste less!
- Donating to a local thrift store is another great option!
- Use RE:Source to find out how to reuse, repair, recycle and safely dispose of your items. You can find the link on the RecycleSmart home page: RecycleSmart.org
- If you have used items to give away, buy or sell locally, the OfferUp app is a great way to give them another chance.
- Online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor or Craigslist are other ways to sell items (I find treasures for myself, too!).
Canyon Club Brewery:
Nothing goes to waste at Canyon Club Brewery. Nestled in the town of Moraga, Canyon Club is a member of the EBMUD Food Recycling Project and has found creative ways to keep food scraps out of landfills.
“A business is another community member, and we generate about 100x the waste that a typical community member creates,” said Kevin Hamilton, President/Founder of Canyon Club Brewery. “As a business owner, I feel a responsibility to do whatever I can to reduce and manage our waste, especially because brewing beer creates a lot of very usable organic grain.”
Kevin estimated that their on-site beer brewing generates over one ton of spent grain a week—up to 100,000 pounds of spent grain a year. The sugar is used up in the brewing process, but the leftovers are still high-quality organic grain.
So, what do they do? Give it to the pigs! Yes, one of the recipients of the spent grain is a local pig farmer, who takes about 40% of the leftover grain off Canyon Club’s hands. Another is a local worm farmer, who takes about 30% of the grain.
Canyon Club also partners with grain bakers who use the spent grain in their breadmaking class (it makes an incredible sourdough!). These practices—donating spent grain to feed animals or people—help reduce the environmental impact of wasted food, which are core parts of ReycleSmart’s mission.
Even the space itself is sustainable. From the on-site greenhouse where they grow and propagate plants to decorate their space to their recycled furniture, reusable glassware and cutlery, and paperless menus and checkout, Canyon Club certainly sets a standard for sustainability at their facility.
Give them a visit at 1558 Canyon Road in Moraga, and tell them RecycleSmart sent you!
Fun with Furoshiki!
Furoshiki is the Japanese art of gift wrapping that uses colorful fabric instead of paper. It’s a great way to give your presents a special touch—and reduce waste! All you need is an old piece of clothing that you don’t want and can’t be reused—the more colorful, the better!
Step 1: Cut a fabric square with a diagonal three times longer than the width of your gift.
Step 2: Lay the fabric on a flat surface and place your gift in the center.
Step 3: Take the bottom corner of the cloth and bring it over the top of the gift, tucking the corner underneath.
Step 4: Do the same with the top corner.
Step 5: Bring the two side corners up and tie them in a tight square knot at the top.
Voila! You’ve created a beautiful gift—with memorable wrapping that can be used again and again!