Recology

Recycle Unwanted Clothing and Textiles in San Francisco

Posted in Diversion, Recycling, Resource Recovery, San Francisco, Waste Reduction, Waste Streams by ErinAtRecology on July 23, 2015

textiles
What do tote bags, oven mitts, chair cushions, carpet padding, and rugs have in common? They can all be made from recycled clothes and other textiles.

Many cities, including San Francisco, are making new efforts to collect old clothes and other textiles for recycling. Wearable items, recycled though a textile collection program, can be worn again. This ensures that the energy which once went into making the product is respected and optimally used. Post-consumer textiles that are threadbare, stained or torn can be made into other practical products, such as rags for commercial and residential use and insulation for automobiles and homes.

Why is it important to donate and recycle clothes and other textiles? Just like recycling bottles, cans, and paper and composting food scraps and plant cuttings, recycling textiles keeps materials out of landfills and incinerators.

The U.S. generates 25 billion pounds of textile waste per year; that’s about 82 pounds per resident. On average, each person donates or recycles 12 pounds of clothing discards but sends 70 pounds to landfills. It is within our power to change that for the better.

Increasingly, environmentally minded fashion designers use recycled textiles to create handbags, place mats, drink coasters, and coin purses. One enterprise remakes old work shirts into adorable dresses for little girls. Others invent stylish skirts, baby shoes, and fun neckties. At least one designer has turned white T-shirts into a wedding dress.

How can San Francisco residents add to these efforts? Please fold all old clothes and other textiles, put them in an open-top cardboard box, and schedule a special pickup with Recology. Send us an email through the “contact us” form on RecologySF.com or call (415) 330-1300.

These simple steps help San Francisco get closer to zero waste, an initiative set by our city to help protect the environment. In this way, recycling textiles — like reducing waste, practicing reuse, and participating in the blue and green bin program — is an opportunity to be part of the solution.

Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Exhibitions: Work by Michael Arcega, Ma Li and Eden V. Evans

Posted in Community, Events, Recycling, San Francisco, WASTE ZERO, You Should Know... by art at the dump on May 6, 2015
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco will host an exhibition and reception for current artists-in-residence Michael Arcega, Ma Li and student artist Eden V. Evans on Friday, May 22, from 5-9pm (with performance by Ma Li at 7:30pm) and Saturday, May 23, from 1-3pm. Additional viewing hours will be held on Tuesday, May 26, from 5-7pm, with a gallery walk-through with the artists at 6:30pm. This exhibition will be the culmination of four months of work by the artists who have scavenged materials from the dump to make art and promote recycling and reuse.

Michael Arcega

Michael Arcega
Recologica: A Nacireman Excavation
In his most recent work, interdisciplinary artist Michael Arcega employs the term Nacirema (American spelled backwards), coined by Horace Mitchell Miner in a 1956 paper that satirized the anthropological study of world cultures that emphasized “otherness,” influencing generations of anthropologists and social scientists. Like Miner, Arcega approaches North Americans as a strange people whose practices and rituals must be studied and understood. Though a socio-political critique, Arcega’s work also has a playful element, providing familiar entry points to alternative ways of thinking about those who colonize the landscape

….Read more

 

Ma Li
photo: Daniel Melo www.danielmelo.com
Ma Li
Meet You at the Bird Bridge in the Milky Way
Ma Li uses non-traditional art media and discarded materials to create sculpture and installations. Her dream-like, large-scale, frequently suspended forms reference her Chinese heritage and often appear like temples, lanterns, or ceremonial architecture. But her titles for works, such as Retrofuture City and 633 Hours to Intergalactica!, in combination with her materials that include vividly-colored plastics, lights, and mylar, speak to the meeting of tradition and pop culture; the ordinary and the fantastic; and the hand-made and mass-produced.While at Recology, Ma Li has created a living installation that attempts to connect her sculpture to the community, providing space for people to build relationships with materials, the environment, and each other. The work will happen in two parts. First, at Recology, where those attending the opening reception on Friday May 22 will participate in a choreographed performance at 7:30pm, and finally, at the Asian Art Museum on May 28 from 6:30-9pm, where the installation will be assembled.…Read more
Eden V. EvansEden V. Evans
Momento
In sculpture, installation, and textile works, Eden V. Evans addresses ideas of memory, and how our recollections of past experiences continue to shape our present selves. Working with the term momento, a variant spelling of memento, Evans has created artworks that explore specific moments in time and connect to her own experiences. Work is personal, yet universal, and speaks to issues of absence, loss and mortality, and the indelible marks these events leave on all of us. Says Evans, “because my most prominent memories are related to grief and loss, there is a tone of what used to be, but I’m often juxtaposing it with what is now.”…Read more 
About the Artist in Residence Program
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind program established in 1990 to encourage the conservation of natural resources and instill a greater appreciation for the environment and art in children and adults. Artists work for four months in studio space on site, use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area, and speak to students and the general public. Over one-hundred professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually, June through August.
Directions
From Downtown San Francisco/East Bay:
Go south on Highway 101 and exit at “Candlestick Park/Tunnel Ave.” After the stop sign, continue straight on Beatty Rd. Turn right on Tunnel Ave.

From the Peninsula:
Go north on Highway 101 and exit at the first “Candlestick Park” off-ramp. Stay in the left lane and take the first left toward the stop sign. Turn left at the stop sign onto Alanna Way and go under the freeway. At the next stop sign, turn right on Beatty Rd. Turn right on Tunnel Ave.

Public Transit:
The “T” Third St. streetcar and bus lines 9 and 9R stop at Bayshore Blvd. and Arleta Ave. (three blocks away). The Caltrain “Bayshore Station” stop is directly across the street from our facility.

Locations
Art Studio at 503 Tunnel Ave.
Environmental Learning Center Gallery at 401 Tunnel Ave.

Date/Time
ReceptionFriday, May 22, 20155-9pm (with performance by Ma Li at 7:30pm)
ReceptionSaturday, May 23, 20151-3pm
Additional viewing hoursTuesday, May 26, 20155-7pm with gallery walk-through with artists at 6:30pm at 503 Tunnel AvenueAdmission is free and open to the public, all ages welcome,

wheelchair accessible.
http://www.recologysf.com/AIR

Recycling Economics: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Posted in Diversion, Recology, Recycling, Resource Recovery, Waste Reduction by ErinAtRecology on April 28, 2015

Recology Recyclables
John Porter, Recology Guest Blogger

San Francisco Region Group Controller

Since I started at Recology a few years ago, one of the most common questions I receive surrounds both the environmental and economic impact of recycling. It’s usually in some form of: “How could the environmental and financial costs of sorting, shipping and processing of recyclables be favorable to simply sending the material to the landfill?”

The answer to this question is based on the cost and environmental impact of recycling facility operations – sorting recyclables and shipping the material for processing so they can be reintroduced to the market. From a cost perspective, can these efforts and the resources used be advantageous to sending the material to the landfill? Yes, both financially and environmentally.

That said there are two important considerations that must be included in the discussion:

The first is evaluating the difference between producing new products from recycled versus virgin material. Recycling aluminum, for example, can reduce energy consumption by as much as 95%. Savings for other materials are lower, but still substantial: about 70% for plastics, 60% for steel, 40% for paper, and 30% for glass. (1) In all cases, the energy savings are significant and well worth the effort to recover them.

The second are externalities, which are the un-priced, outside benefits that recycling produces. These include decreased air pollution from mills and factories, less water contamination from landfills, and reduced resource consumption. All of which have a financial and environmental cost. The process for obtaining and processing virgin materials is not often associated with recycling. We all know that mining, drilling and logging are activities that are detrimental to the environment, but since we aren’t paying for them on our monthly garbage bill, these factors are oftentimes overlooked.

When we really delve into the economics of recycling, it’s easier to understand if we look at the big picture.  The energy used to separate and process our recyclable material is offset by the amount of energy it would take to extract virgin materials and create new products. So, there is much more to consider than the cost we see on our garbage bills, and it also makes a lot of sense to think about our garbage as materials or commodities to be re-used in the future.

(1)” The truth about recycling“, The Economist, June 2007

Funky Family Restaurant, “Squeeze In,” Opens in Redwood City with 88% Diversion

Posted in Community, Composting, Diversion, Recycling, San Mateo County, WASTE ZERO by ErinAtRecology on March 25, 2015

IMG_4129Blog post courtesy of Recology San Mateo County Waste Zero Specialist, Angela Goebel.

“You’re sitting at our table,” says co-owner Rickey Martinez as I sit down with him, his wife Amanda, and Recology Waste Zero Specialist, Misty McKinney. The restaurant’s walls are filled with miscellaneous bric-a-brac and colorful aliens, so it isn’t surprising that the table has blended in. I look down and notice the table is filled with their photos, tickets, and other memorabilia you might find in a scrap book.

“We had a guest, he makes these. So if you look here, this is me when I was a long-haired hippie. This is our wedding invitation. We did a destination wedding in Hawaii. Pictures from our lives. A letter from Senator Harry Reid, welcoming me to the PR field when I was doing that a few years ago. We’ve had a fun ride. Neither of us thought we’d be restaurateurs.”

Amanda and Rickey begin telling me the story of how they came to open the new Redwood City Squeeze In. In Rickey’s family, restaurants became the stage for love, dreams, and community. In the 1950s, Rickey’s grandmother opened a restaurant in Upland, California called The Super. His aunts and uncles worked at The Super before and after school, and eventually it was where his mother met his father.

My mother waited on my dad,” he says, “And my dad left her a penny as tip because he thought the service was lacking. They didn’t know from one another until years later when they ended up working together at another restaurant. She mentioned The Super, so my dad said, ‘Oh yeah, I ate there once. The service was lousy; I left the waitress a penny.’ And she responded, ‘That was me! I was the waitress! How could you do that?’ My parents owned a restaurant when I was growing up. I guess it was only a matter of time before I did.

The first Squeeze In began by flipping omelettes in Truckee, California in 1974. The namesake came from how guests would have to squeeze in to sit at a table, since the restaurant was only a little over ten feet wide. At the time, Rickey’s Aunt Misty and Uncle Gary would drive up from Reno to eat at the original Squeeze In restaurant in 1979. When Aunt Misty and Uncle Gary first started thinking about owning a restaurant, they didn’t want just any restaurant, they wanted to own the Squeeze In. Aunt Misty had the opportunity to meet the owners of the Squeeze In, whom she told, “I love your place. If you sell it to anybody, you have to sell it to me.”
IMG_4125
In 2003, Rickey’s Aunt Misty and Uncle Gary went all in on their dream. They quit their jobs and purchased the Squeeze In. In 2005, Rickey went up to Tahoe for his cousin Shila’s wedding, and he helped out at the restaurant for the week. “Low and behold,” says Rickey, “Amanda was working there at the same time. We met and fell in love.”

Love was also in the air for foodies, and in 2010 the Food Network approached the Squeeze In to do a special on restaurants that love their guests. To their surprise, Bobby Flay rolled up in a blizzard to challenge them to a Throwdown. The menu, which dates back to the 1970s, features dozens of items that are named after Truckee locals and family members. The Food Network helped them pare it back a bit, and the menu gained the addition of a newly inspired omelette, the Spanish Flay.

The restaurant began growing and opening new locations in 2008. “People used to drive from miles and miles around, and fly in for vacation every year and have to go to the Squeeze In. So that got the ball rolling,” explains Rickey. Last year, the yoga studio a couple doors down approached them about opening a new location in Redwood City. The momentum grew; it was clear the community wanted their own Squeeze In.

IMG_4130Amanda and Rickey Martinez went a step further when they opened their Redwood City location this month. When Waste Zero Specialist, Misty McKinney, contacted them to assist in implementing a new garbage and recycling program, they decided to give composting a try. “We thought,” Rickey reflected, “we need to minimize the waste.”

“It’s good for the environment,” joined Amanda.

“And it’s good for business,” agreed Rickey. “There was a learning curve the first couple of days. It’s only been a week, and we’ve got a firm grasp on it. So obviously it’s good for us because we aren’t paying as much for trash, but the bigger picture is we are reducing our carbon footprint on the world. When we go to sleep at night, we can rest knowing that we did our part. I think that if every other business continues to do their part, it will help out in the long run. We won’t have to have all these landfills. As much as you want to give us the credit, Recology have given us the tools and the assistance needed to make it as smooth a transition as it needed to be.”

The Redwood City Squeeze In’s official opening is March 30th. There will be a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce at 2pm.

Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Exhibitions: Work by Kara Maria, Imin Yeh and Matthew Goldberg

Posted in Community, Events, Recology, Recycling, San Francisco, WASTE ZERO, You Should Know... by art at the dump on January 16, 2015

The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco will host an exhibition and reception for current artists-in-residence Kara Maria, Imin Yeh and student artist Matthew Goldberg on Friday, January 23, from 5-9pm and Saturday, January 24, from 1-3pm. Additional viewing hours will be held on Tuesday, January 27, from 5-7pm, with a gallery walk-through with the artists at 6:30pm. This exhibition will be the culmination of four months of work by the artists who have scavenged materials from the dump to make art and promote recycling and reuse.

Kara Maria

Kara Maria: A Trash Menagerie
Painter Kara Maria combines abstraction and representation to address subjects that range from the personal to the political. During her residency she has turned her focus to her immediate environment, making work in response to the Recology site. Using found stretched canvases, including amateur paintings and digitally printed, mass-produced artwork from Ikea, Maria has overpainted the works with recycled acrylic paint from the Household Hazardous Waste Program. The abstract portions of her paintings speak to the environment of the Recology facility, a constantly churning and tumultuous place whose frenetic nature is conveyed in Maria’s disjointed shapes and vibrant colors. The representational portions of her work reflect another aspect of the facility—the living creatures that inhabit or pass through the site. Interspersed within her paintings are detailed renderings of seagulls, raccoons, hawks, and other animals. …Read more

Imin Yeh

Imin Yeh: Goldbricking 
Used in labor, “goldbricking” is a term that means pretending to be productive. Its origins are in trickery and the act of conning someone by painting a brick gold. Though it could hardly describe Yeh’s dedicated work ethic, its use suggests a wry joke about her studio practice which is characterized by labor-intensive and often repetitive processes. Yeh’s art has consistently explored issues of labor and production. While at Recology she has been struck by the volume of corporate waste, and has scavenged the detritus of businesses and offices. Trade show banners have been sliced up and coated with shades of white house paint, their marketing jargon still ever so slightly visible, alluding to the transient nature of their messages. From discarded hotel uniforms, Yeh has created a textile work of monochromatic, geometric forms. Slight variations in the shade and texture of the fabrics reflect the wear and laundering of each garment, and are suggestive of the individual experiences of each worker. …Read more

Matthew Goldberg

Matthew Goldberg: Space Trash, Boomerang! 
What would happen if our trash was launched into space in a misguided attempt to rid the planet of waste, only to orbit and return to earth? This is the premise for the artwork Matthew Goldberg has made during his Recology residency. In sculpture, photography, collage, and installation, he explores trash as an extraterrestrial force—both familiar and foreign, from the past and seemingly also from the future. Says Goldberg, “The narrative is a fantasy—much like our perceptions of space and much like the general public’s perception of a ‘dump’ facility I have encountered when explaining this program.” Music is another outcome of his residency, which will be performed live by the appropriately named Sputnik (Goldberg and his brother) at the exhibition reception….Read more 

About the Artist in Residence Program
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind program established in 1990 to encourage the conservation of natural resources and instill a greater appreciation for the environment and art in children and adults. Artists work for four months in studio space on site, use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area, and speak to students and the general public. Over one-hundred professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually, June through August.

Reception
Friday, January 23, 2015, 5-9pm
Saturday, January 24, 2015, 1-3pm

Additional viewing hours
Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 5-7pm with gallery walk-through with artists at 6:30pm

Admission is free and open to the public, all ages welcome, wheelchair accessible.
http://www.recologysf.com/AIR

Locations-
Art Studio at 503 Tunnel Ave. and Environmental Learning Center Gallery at 401 Tunnel Ave.

Directions-
From Downtown San Francisco/East Bay-
Go south on Highway 101 and exit at “Candlestick Park/Tunnel Ave.” After the stop sign, continue straight on Beatty Rd. Turn right on Tunnel Ave.

From the Peninsula-
Go north on Highway 101 and exit at the first “Candlestick Park” off-ramp. Stay in the left lane and take the first left toward the stop sign. Turn left at the stop sign onto Alanna Way and go under the freeway. At the next stop sign, turn right on Beatty Rd. Turn right on Tunnel Ave.

Public Transit-
The “T” Third St. streetcar and bus lines 9 and 9x stop at Bayshore Blvd. and Arleta Ave. (three blocks away). The Caltrain “Bayshore Station” stop is directly across the street from our facility.

 

Artist in Residence Program Announces 2015 Residency Recipients

Posted in Diversion, Recycling, San Francisco, You Should Know... by art at the dump on December 9, 2014

Recology San Francisco is pleased to announce recipients of artist residencies for 2015. The six selected artists are Michael Arcega, Jeremiah Barber, Ma Li, Jenny Odell, Alison Pebworth, and Chris Sollars.

The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind initiative started in 1990 to support Bay Area artists, while also teaching children and adults about recycling and resource conservation. Artists work for four months in a studio on site and use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area. Over one-hundred professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually in August.

http://www.recologysf.com/AIR


Michael Arcega and Ma Li
Residency: February-May; Exhibition reception: May 22 and 23, 2015

As an interdisciplinary artist, Michael Arcega works across media to create art that is informed by language, history, and geography. In his most recent work he has adopted methodologies used in the anthropological study of world cultures that often emphasize “otherness,” but Arcega turns the tables, positioning North America as ‘the other” whose symbols and rituals must be studied and understood. Though a socio-political critique, Arcega’s work also has a playful element, providing familiar entry points to alternative ways of thinking about the people who colonize the landscape. Arcega is an Assistant Professor of Art at San Francisco State University. He received an MFA from Stanford University and a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2012, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been exhibited at the Asia Society in New York, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Honolulu Academy of Art, and the Orange Country Museum of Art in Newport Beach.
Ma Li uses non-traditional art media and discarded materials to create sculpture and installations. Her dream-like, large-scale, frequently suspended forms reference her Chinese heritage and often appear like temples, lanterns, or ceremonial architecture. But titles of works, such as Retrofuture City and 633 Hours to Intergalactica!, in combination with her materials that include vividly-colored plastics, lights, and mylar, speak to the meeting of tradition and pop culture; the ordinary and the fantastic; and the hand-made and mass-produced. She describes her works as “imbued with a sense of a celebration and a reminiscence of identity: from a woman in a collective society to a citizen of the planet.” Ma received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Shanghai Dong Hua University. In 2014, she was the recipient of a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Fellowship. She is also the recipient of a Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Award and a Knight Foundation Finalist Grant. She has exhibited at SOMArts, Root Division, and Swell Gallery in San Francisco, and has been an artist in residence at the Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina and the Vermont Studio Center.

Jenny Odell and Chris Sollars
Residency: June-September; Exhibition reception: September 18 and 19, 2015

Jenny Odell uses found imagery from sources such as Google Maps to create “portraits” of systems ranging from waste-water treatment plants to popular web searches. She has located satellite images of the factories world-wide where all the items she wore, ate or bought over the course of one day were produced, and has gathered aerial photos of 97 nuclear cooling towers together in a single image that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is disturbingly fascinating. Her work makes visible infrastructures and sources of production that play a role in our daily lives, but which are often hidden. She describes herself as “not so much a photographer as a collector.” Odell received an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA from the University of California at Berkeley. She is the recipient of a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant, and has exhibited at Intersection for the Arts, White Walls, and SOMArts in San Francisco, and in New York, Paris, and Barcelona. Her work has been featured in The EconomistWIREDFrieze, and The Atlantic.
Chris Sollars’ art involves the reclamation and subversion of public space through interventions and performance. His work can be experienced in two ways—through the witnessing of, or participation in, a performative event, or later viewing the documentation of the event in a gallery context via installations that combine photography, video, and sculpture. Sollars’ process is physical and conceptual as he juxtaposes dissimilar elements to create unexpected forms that are often comedic. Sollars received an MFA from Bard College and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2013, he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has received a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Commission Grant, a Eureka Fellowship Award, Artadia Grant, Headlands Center for the Arts Residency, and has exhibited in venues nationally and internationally. His work is in the permanent collection of the Berkeley Art Museum and his Left Behind sculpture series was most recently published by Publication Studio in 2013.

Jeremiah Barber and Alison Pebworth
Residency: October-January; Exhibition reception: January 22 and 23, 2016

Working in performance, video, sculpture, and installation, Jeremiah Barber explores ideas of transcendence, as well as perseverance, memory, and personal mythologies. Using his own body in performances that have incorporated elements such as fire, water and smoke, Barber investigates the realms of both the physical and the metaphysical. Though elegantly minimal in their execution, his attempts at near-impossible actions also include humor and illuminate the absurdity and wonder at the core of what it means to be human. Barber received an MFA from Stanford University and a BFA from Columbia College in Chicago. He is the recipient of a Eureka Fellowship, a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant, and from 2005-07 was an exhibiting member of Marina Abramovic’s independent performance group. He has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and in the Bay Area at Southern Exposure, SOMArts, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and The Lab.
Alison Pebworth explores aspects of contemporary life and culture using the tropes and traditions of an earlier America through projects such as her Beautiful Possibility tour in which she traveled to 25 venues across the United States and Canada. Her work is equal parts social practice, public performance, and fine art exhibition, and harkens back to a time of traveling performers and sideshow curiosities. Pebworth’s projects are often long-range and involve the gathering of data to bring to light the ailments of our sped up, high tech world, for which she provides metaphorical (and sometimes actual) elixirs. Pebworth is the recipient of Artist Grants from the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Center for Cultural Innovation and has been an artist-in-residence at numerous institutions including Ucross Foundation, Claremont, WY and the de Young Museum. She has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit, the Salt Lake Art Center, in Salt Lake City, and in the Bay Area at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Southern Exposure and Headlands Center for the Arts. Her work is included in Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City.

Sorting Out the Facts

Posted in Community, Diversion, Recycling, Services by ErinAtRecology on August 26, 2014

SF Apartment, August 2014
by Robert Reed
(View the original article here)

Making sure your tenants recycle and compost can seem overwhelming, but the benefits—to the planet and to your pocket—are well worth the effort.

Trash is not a glamorous subject. In fact, most of us do not give much thought to our discards. But since we literally depend on a healthy environment—clean air and water, and healthy soils that produce organic fruits and vegetables—for our very existence, it is important to learn new information about the benefits of recycling.

As San Franciscans, we have much more control over where our discards go than people in other cities do. When we toss something in a recycling, compost or trash bin, we decide whether individual items will get made into new products, become compost that is applied to local farms, or be transported to and buried in a landfill. We do not always remember that we have this power, but we do. When we learn that the typical American produces 4.5 pounds of garbage a day—about one ton of discards per year—we begin to understand the scope of this issue and its effect on the environment.

We recycle because we know recycling helps protect our planet. Recycling saves water, energy and other resources like trees, natural gas and oil. Recycling also avoids what environmentalists call “upstream impacts,” such as diesel emissions from heavy equipment used to mine virgin materials.

And here’s an economic bonus: recycling creates 10 times more jobs than landfilling or incineration. Across the nation and the world, many communities are waking up to the fact that recycling is a powerful job creator. If every city in America recycled 75% of its waste, we could create 1.5 million new, permanent, local jobs, according to a report called “Recycling Works!” produced by a coalition of environmental and labor groups. In California alone, if all cities recycled 75%, we could create 120,000 new jobs, according to a new study from the Natural Resource Defense Council. In many cases, these jobs would include health care and a pension.

In San Francisco, we created 200 new jobs in 10 years by increasing recycling. Many of these jobs are at Recycle Central, the large plant Recology operates on Pier 96 to sort blue bin materials, including bottles, cans and paper. Before we opened Recycle Central, many of these workers did not have jobs or had minimum-wage jobs. Now they earn $20 an hour.

Composting Is Key
In addition to supporting green jobs, recycling helps San Francisco make further progress toward achieving key environmental goals set by the city. The most significant goal, the one that gives San Francisco the opportunity to be a true environmental leader, is the goal to achieve zero waste by 2020. Zero waste means sending next to nothing to landfills. That is an ambitious goal. It may also be the most important environmental goal our city could have set.

Composting, for example, saves tremendous amounts of water. That’s because compost, by weight, is 50% humus, also known as nature’s sponge. Microorganisms in compost break the yard and food waste down into smaller and smaller pieces. When the microbes have done their jobs and the pieces can’t get any smaller, we have humus. It is carbon-based and both attracts and retains water.

Agronomists report that if we can increase the amount of organic matter on farmland by 1% by adding compost, we can save 16,000 to 18,000 gallons of water per year. There are 45 million people in California. Image how much water we could save if everyone composted their food scraps, plant cuttings and food-soiled paper like we do in San Francisco. This should be a key consideration and motivation, given the seriousness of the California drought.
Recology began collecting food scraps for composting in 1996. The rest of the garbage collection and recycling industry thought we were nuts. Now, hundreds of cities and more than 1,000 universities have replicated the program. And many more want to do the same.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that most of these cities do not have a place to take their food scraps for composting. That’s because U.S. cities and businesses have not built nearly enough composting facilities. San Francisco is fortunate in this regard. Recology established three compost facilities capable of taking food scraps and plant cuttings collected in the city. One is outside Vacaville, another is near Modesto and a third is at Pacheco Pass near Gilroy.

Where could our country build more compost facilities? One answer is: on top of landfills. Then, instead of putting materials inside landfills, we could move food scraps, plant cuttings and food-soiled paper to compost sites.

Farmers love compost because high-quality compost contains billions of microorganisms, tiny life forms too small to see with the human eye. This is important because the microbes break down the nutrients in compost into small pieces, so small that they can be picked up by plants’ roots. Agronomists call the work microbes do “microbial action.”

Recology operates its compost facilities as microbe farms. There are 11 stages to our composting process. Fundamentally, it works like this: transport trucks bring food scraps and plants collected in small trucks from all properties in San Francisco to the facilities. In 60 days, Recology transforms this feedstock into nutrient-rich compost that is applied to more than 300 local farms, orchards and vineyards.

For 13 years, Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farm has applied compost made from food scraps collected in San Francisco. Walker describes the microbial action achieved by applying compost to his farm as “stoking a fire” in the soil. We might think of it as new life working in the soil.

Farmers often have agronomists test the topsoil on their farms to find out what they need to put back to balance their soils. With this knowledge, Recology creates custom blends of compost for individual farms. We do this on blending pads at our compost facilities. We mix in soil amendments such as gypsum, lime, sandy loam, minerals and rice hulls. Using tractors called loaders we top load the finished compost into specialized transport trucks that deliver it to area farms. Farmers love this because the compost arrives ready to be applied.

Not only does compost give farmers a viable alternative to using synthetic or chemical fertilizers, compost helps farms achieve higher yields. Such are the findings of side-by-side field trials by agricultural organizations, including the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, the oldest agricultural institute in the United States.

Here is another great reason to compost: many local vineyards use compost to grow cover crops that pull carbon out of the air and sequester carbon in topsoil. These cover crops, such as mustard, fix carbon and nitrogen naturally in the soil. Paul Hepperly, professor emeritus at the Rodale Institute and a Fulbright scholar, believes that if every community followed this example we could offset more than 20% of carbon emissions. That estimate is the subject of much interest and further study.

Recology also brings compost back to San Francisco for residents to use in gardens and on outdoor plants. The annual Compost Giveaway, which we host each spring, is a bring-your-own-bucket event where we set up and staff four giveaway locations throughout the city. Residents bring empty five-gallon buckets and we fill them with a gourmet planting mix. Recology also provides compost to urban farms and community gardens in San Francisco through efforts coordinated by the Parks and Recreation Department.

Recycling Big and Small
We also recycle tremendous amounts of construction and demolition debris in San Francisco. Such debris comes from large construction and demolition projects, and from small contractors and individuals who bring materials to the transfer station at 501 Tunnel Ave. Recology maintains and staffs special recycling facilities and sorting lines at the transfer station for this purpose.

Large or bulky items are collected and recycled through the RecycleMyJunk program. Residents can also recycle textiles, such as old clothes, through this program—a new and popular service. Go to RecycleMyJunk.com for details. Working at the city’s direction, Recology has assigned several trucks and crews specifically to collect illegal dumping. This new program is working well, and our city is visibly cleaner.

Finally, while trash may not be a glamorous subject, it can be made into beautiful and unique art works. Recology’s Artist-in-Residence program continues to gain in popularity and renown. Last year, the program hosted a major exhibition at SFO. Pieces can be seen throughout the city in building entrances and other locations, including a three-acre sculpture garden at the transfer station. To learn about current and upcoming exhibitions go to Recologysf.com/AIR.

Increasing Recycling and Managing Collection Costs
In July 2013, the San Francisco Rate Board approved a rate order that changed the price structure for apartment buildings to encourage more recycling and composting. In August 2013, Recology, San Francisco’s recycling company, sent correspondence to apartment building owners and managers explaining the new structure and offering to help apartment buildings increase recycling and compost collection services and reduce disposal. By making these changes, apartment building owners and managers can help protect the environment and help manage their collection service costs.

In November 2013, Recology wrote, and SF Apartment Magazine published, a lengthy article titled, “Waste Not, Want Not” explaining the new rate structure. As a brief update and reminder, collection service charges now apply to all three collection bins: recycling, composting and trash. Importantly, the monthly rate charged to apartment buildings is discounted up to a maximum of 75% based on the building’s overall recycling rate. The rate board instituted this structure in support of the city’s goal of achieving zero waste by 2020.

To give apartment buildings time to increase recycling and composting and reduce disposal, the city instituted temporary caps limiting increases in monthly bills. Many buildings took advantage of this window to adjust their complement of bins and the frequency of collection service.

Under the Rate Order, the monthly service charge at all properties in San Francisco included a cost-of-living adjustment of 2.3%, effective July 1, 2014. Some buildings may see a larger increase due to either the elimination or reduction in their cap credit. These affected buildings received a personalized letter informing them of their new rates.

Apartment building owners and managers are encouraged to use the online apartment rate calculator Recology maintains at sfzerowasterates.com to see how potential changes in bin types, sizes and frequency of collection would affect your building’s monthly rate. You can also call us at 415-330-1300 and one of our apartment-house specialists will be glad to talk with you over the phone or set an appointment for a personal rate and service evaluation during the workshops we host specifically for apartment building customers.

Many apartment buildings are cleaning up and painting their trash rooms. Some buildings are improving lighting in recycling and compost bin locations. These steps make recycling areas more pleasant places, which helps encourage tenants to place their discards in the correct bins.

Additionally, Recology hosts a “property managers’ lounge” on its site, which provides owners and managers with numerous resources to encourage tenants to recycle and compost. The page is posted at recologysf.com/index.php/property-managers-lounge.

Recology San Mateo County Congratulates BizSMART Award Winners

Posted in Community, Recycling, Resource Recovery, San Mateo County, Waste Reduction, WASTE ZERO by ErinAtRecology on June 19, 2014

Recology BizSmartThe BizSMART @ Work is an annual award program recognizing businesses and multi-family complexes that are leading the way to reduce waste and conserve natural resources.

Recology San Mateo County (Recology) would like to congratulate this year’s BizSMART @ Work Award winners. Recology’s team thrives on working with the businesses and multi-family complexes to help them increase their diversion levels.

Recology works closely with customers by providing waste audits, cost savings analyses, internal recycling and compost containers, recycle buddy bags, posters, in addition to other outreach materials, and onsite trainings and presentations. With these tools, Recology’s Waste Zero Specialist can identify what technical assistance each customer needs to educate their staff and reduce waste going to the landfill.

Award categories include Recycle, Compost, and a combined Recycle and Compost.  The winners for this year’s awards are as follows:

Recycling Category:
Diddams Party Store, San Carlos
Sand Cove Apartments, Foster City

Composting Category:
300 Alpine Road LLC, West Bay Sanitary District
Bayshore Christian Ministries, East Palo Alto
Donato Enoteca, Redwood City
Milagros, Redwood City
Menlo Circus Club, Atherton
Oak Grove HOA/Manor, Menlo Park
Papillon Preschool, San Mateo
Promontory Point, Foster City

Recycling and Composting Category:
Abbott Vascular, Menlo Park
Back Yard Coffee Company, Redwood City
Catered Too, East Palo Alto
Embarcadero Capital Partners LLC, Belmont
Hassett Hardware, San Mateo
Impossible Foods, Inc., Redwood City
Kingston Café, San Mateo
The Plant Cafe, Burlingame
Rocket Fuel, Redwood City
Sweet Production, San Carlos
Villa Lucia’s Pizza, San Mateo County
The public also had a chance to select the 2014 Rethinker’s Choice Award by voting for their favorite nominees selected from the Recycle and Compost category winners through the RethinkWaste website. The winner of the 2014 Rethinkers’ Choice Award will be announced at the luncheon.

The nominees for the 2014 Rethinker’s Choice Award are:
Abbott Vascular, Redwood City
Back Yard Coffee Company, Redwood City
Embarcadero Capital Partners LLC, Belmont
Kingston Café, San Mateo
Sweet Production, San Carlos

Recology Western Oregon Partners with Local Veteran to Restore and Donate Thousands of Bicycles in Yamhill County

Three years ago, Dean Williams, a retired Vietnam Veteran from Amity, OR, noticed a few perfectly good bikes on a pile of scrap metal at a nearby waste facility. At the time, his granddaughter’s bike was recently stolen, so he went in to ask about purchasing one.

Recology Western OregonFrom that day on, Dean has been dedicated to refurbishing and donating bikes to local schools, probation departments, the Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP), police departments, church groups, and other local community organizations. Many of the donated bikes are the primary mode of transportation for recipients, members of the community who do not have access to a vehicle use the bikes to commute to work or school.

By early 2014, Dean’s project had become so successful, he’d run into a problem: his home’s driveway was full of salvaged parts, and he needed more tools and resources to continue his project.

Recology Western Oregon (RWO) decided to help. Dean’s project embraces RWO’s mission to achieve “Waste Zero” by finding a new life for previously discarded materials. It also provides a sustainable form of transportation for local children and families in need.

To help Dean’s project grow, RWO established a new Bike Shop at the RWO Valley Recovery Zone in McMinnville, OR. Dean has been provided with tools, storage space, and access to discarded bike parts at the facility. Even the shop’s benches and tables carry a message of sustainability – Dean salvaged lumber from RWO wood piles to build the work benches.

The shop is also serves as an education center where members of the community can learn basic bike maintenance and repair. Dean and RWO hope to educate the public on the importance of reuse and recycle, ensuring fewer resources end up in the scrap pile.

Dean has repaired and donated over 1,600 bikes as of May 2014, and with the help of RWO, his mission continues to expand. A box of bikes is currently being prepared for shipment to Africa, and Dean also plans to expand his collection efforts to other Recology operations along the Oregon Coast and Washington State.

Dean’s story began as one person’s passion to turn trash into treasure; today, it’s become a model reuse and recycle program. If you’d like more information or would like to get involved in the project, please stop by the “Bike Shop” at RWO’s Valley Recovery Zone, or send an email to rwoinfo@recology.com.

RWOBikeShop

 

 

 

13 Compelling Reasons to Compost

Posted in Community, Composting, Diversion, Recology, Recycling, Resource Recovery, Waste Reduction, WASTE ZERO by ErinAtRecology on April 7, 2014

Recology compost programs are designed to return nutrients back to our soils, and essentially back to our dining tables. Composting turns food scraps and yard trimmings into useful materials; the best and highest use of natural resources. 
Recology Compost

  1. Compost is a viable alternative to chemical fertilizers because it adds many nutrients to soil and doesn’t pollute groundwater, wells, or waterways.
  2. Composting keeps organic waste out of landfills, which supports more efficient land use and reduces methane gas emissions, a greenhouse gas.
  3. Compost sequesters carbon deep in the soil, which helps maintain essential nutrients in soil. This is especially useful when compost is used to grow cover crops, like mustard or beans.
  4. Compost promotes healthy microbial activity in soil, which makes micronutrients available to plant roots and discourages soil diseases.
  5. Compost improves soil structure, thereby protecting topsoil from erosion.
  6. Soils fed with compost retain far more rainwater, conserving our water resources.
  7. Compost helps grow plants and food crops that are rich with nutrients needed to sustain good health.
  8. Composting is easy and fulfilling!
  9. Compost collection programs return nutrients to local farms and support green jobs.
  10. Farms that utilize compost achieve higher yields than conventional farming that uses nitrogen fertilizers. This means farms produce more organic fruits and vegetables to support your good health.
  11. Composting reverses the course of waste from decay to new growth, turning coffee grounds, cantaloupe skins, and chicken bones into sweet carrots, juicy tomatoes, and fine wines.
  12. Composting helps our cities get closer to achieving zero waste.
  13. Composting helps California save tremendous amounts of water.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 249 other followers

%d bloggers like this: