25 Years and Counting
The Burbank Recycle Center is 25 years old! We will be celebrating this fall and are making plans now. Our staff is busy poring through old photos, handouts, and awards to piece together our history. Maybe you did a tour in 1997 when you were a fifth-grader or attended a compost workshop 10 years ago — whatever the experience, we would love to hear from you! If you have any memories, information, or photos you would like to share with us, please email Amy Hammes at Ahammes@burbankca.gov.
Master Recycler Program: A Trash Crash Course
Our 2017 Master Recycler students finished the program in early April and are using their new Zero Waste knowledge to find ways to further reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink their own waste footprint. During the seven sessions that began in January, they learned about recycling and packaging challenges and helped with a waste sort. Experts came in to explain commodities markets for recyclables, plastic pollution in our waterways, and businesses responsibility. There was extensive coverage of California Assembly Bill 1826 which aims to divert nutrient-rich yard clippings and food scraps from landfills. The curriculum also moved out of the classroom with field trips to the Burbank Landfill, the compost project at the Starlight Bowl, and local reuse facilities. Whew! Talk about a crash course in trash!
Students have moved into Phase II of the program and will now devote 30 volunteer hours to projects that reduce waste or increase reuse and recycling. Soon, you might see our Master Recyclers working on local clean ups, implementing recycling in their children’s school, creating little free libraries in Burbank neighborhoods, and much more! Please help support and even join them in these efforts. This program is planting sustainability seeds all over Burbank and soon will bear fruit to make a real difference in helping to preserve the City’s landfill space.
The Master Recycler program will return in January 2018. If you are interested in learning more, contact Amy Hammes at AHammes@burbankca.gov.
Calling All Tinkerers!
The Burbank Recycle Center plans to host a Fix It Clinic in the fall. If you know how to repair clothes, toasters, computers, or other household objects and if you would like to volunteer to teach and help your neighbors, let us know. If you are interested in volunteering or providing equipment or supplies, contact Amy Hammes at AHammes@burbankca.gov.
City Brings Home Two Golden Mikes
In January, the Burbank Channel, the City of Burbank’s government TV channel, garnered two Golden Mike Awards during the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California’s 67th annual awards ceremony.
Senior Video Production Associate Walter Lutz earned a Golden Mike Award for Best Light Feature Reporting for “Food Waste Prevention,” a story that highlighted the problems with wasting food. The segment demonstrated powerful messages, such as the fact that the average family of four throws away $1,500 worth of food each year, wasting resources and shortening the life of landfills. Judges were impressed with Lutz’s light-hearted approach to a serious subject that affects virtually the entire community.
The City’s magazine-style show, “Burbank On Demand,” won as Best News Public Affairs Program for the second time in three years. The quarterly show features City of Burbank services and unique stories regarding people and places in the Media Capital of the World.
Pulp Non-Fiction: Feeding People, Animals, and Soil
When Charles “Chipper” Pastron started the organic, cold-pressed production facility for JuiceFarm in 2012, he wanted to make this wholesale business as sustainable as possible, including finding a use for the vast amount of leftover pulp, rather than sending it to a landfill. The dream was to use the pulp for other food products or at least compost it. However, developing pulp products was met with mixed results and a lot of frustration.
That is, until recently. Pastron was listening to a local podcast and heard about Kaitlin Mogentale and her social enterprise startup, Pulp Pantry. The business works with organic juicing businesses and takes their leftover pulp to make a line of raw, grain-free, pulp-based granolas, raw veggie crisps, and vegetable-based flours. Like many startups, Pulp Pantry made good products but needed help expanding.
Perhaps a unique partnership was the missing ingredient to help them both? The Burbank Recycle Center spoke to them recently about their budding venture.
The obvious question, why pulp?
Mogentale: Well, considering that it takes 3-4 pounds of produce to make most single-serve bottles of juice, this results in 75% of the product becoming waste. With the popularity of juice now, you can imagine the volume of this useful material going to the local landfill. I saw this as a resource that could be turned into a wonderful and healthy food product.
Pastron: Having owned restaurants and other ventures since 1987, including Market City Caffe here in Burbank, I know the huge footprint generated by the food service industry. I had long been recycling before it was in vogue, but I know there is so much more that should be done. When we started JuiceFarm, the idea was to use this pulp to create a Zero Waste business. But the sheer volume of pulp we generate has been a real challenge — there are limited sustainable alternatives to the dumpster right now, which is unfortunate because our castoff product is incredible: high quality and USDA certified organic.
What do you hope to accomplish through this partnership?
Pastron: We have a need to get rid of this castoff product but since it is still “food,” we hope to find a way to create something of value that can be commercially successful. We are the first juicer to attempt zero waste by circulating our castoffs into a food product, so we are committed to making this happen. We have tried this on our own, such as using watermelon and strawberry pulps in lemonade products. We also use toasted almond pulp in some salads at Market City Caffe. Yet, making our own products beyond this just hasn’t worked. That is why joining with Pulp Pantry allows us to focus on our core business, and she can work on hers.
Mogentale: Creating irresistible, delicious products is the main priority, but the fact that we can do it with what is considered waste makes these items totally unique. My number one goal is creating an array of products using juice pulp as the main ingredient, rather than “powders,” so they are a high-quality, healthy choice as well. The pulp has two-thirds less sugar, half the vitamins and minerals, and all of the fiber.
How does your partnership work?
Mogentale: Working with JuiceFarm is exciting because they have a consistent, nearly unlimited, source of pulp from their juice production facility. They have a set menu and regular pressing schedule by vegetable and fruit. We have just started picking up so it is still small scale while we are in the product development stage. Each item uses 2 pounds of pulp, so as we scale up our operations there is an opportunity to make a big dent in JuiceFarm’s castoffs. And we are working on products for Chipper’s wholesale businesses so that they could bring our products to their Las Vegas stores.
Pastron: Our production facility is in Burbank on Verdugo, but most of our juice sales are in Las Vegas. Our dream would be to give this castoff product a second life under our own food label in our stores there. But just finding solutions to our production waste would be a huge step forward.
Are you looking at other solutions to the pulp waste problem in the new age of mandatory commercial organics recycling under state law AB 1826?
Pastron: We recently opened a microbrewery, called Verdugo Brewery, next to our juice pressing facility and have been donating our grain castoffs to a local pig farmer (the hops are not edible for the animals). This has been pretty seamless and is going well. They now also pick up the discarded pulp that Pulp Pantry does not take. It is common for microbreweries to donate their barley to farmers. This created a natural progression to add the juice pulp fiber. The pigs love it! Local composting options are very limited right now, too. We do allow garden clubs and individuals to come and take as much as they want; we like to share the bounty with whomever can use it.
Mogentale: I have been working with LA Compost to look at the local composting hub model. Hopefully, these partnerships will evolve and connect JuiceFarm with a local hub.
Clean Plate Club
Recent Master Recycler students joined alumni of the program for a Dinner and a Doc event in February. The special night included pizza and a film screening, featuring the documentary, “Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story.” After the movie, everyone participated in a discussion about food waste and what they could each do to reduce it in their lives. The 26 people in attendance only created a little bit of food waste and paper napkins, all of which were composted in one of the attendee’s backyard composting bins! Leftovers were sent home with attendees to enjoy later, and the pizza boxes were recycled. It was a 100% Zero Waste event!
If you are interested in learning more about food waste and what you can do about it, don’t miss our next showing of “Just Eat It” on June 6, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., at the Burbank Recycle Center, 500 S. Flower. Seating is limited! Advance registration is required at Burbankca.gov/JustEatIt. (Doors open at 6 p.m. and the movie starts at 6:30.) Following the film, Bernadet Halverson from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will address the issues of increasing food donation programs.
“Use By” Doesn’t Mean “Throw Away By”
Most “expiration” dates on products, often noted with “Best If Used By,” “Sell By,” or “Use By,” aren’t really expiration dates. Instead, they are manufacturer suggestions about freshness and quality. Very few products truly carry expiration dates, such as infant formula and baby food. On all other products, use common sense. Ask yourself: Has the food been properly stored? Is the package undamaged? Does the food smell and look OK? To learn more about food product dates and food safety, visit the USDA’s website at Goo.gl/Z7r2ji.
Composting: The Homegrown Solution
Join us at the Burbank Recycle Center for composting workshops on the last Wednesday of the month, from 6 to 8 p.m., now through November. Can’t make it on Wednesdays? We will be holding several special events, too. See the schedule for details and register at BurbankRecycle.org. Food scraps, yard clippings, and other organic materials make up 40% of the waste stream. Backyard composting reduces this waste and turns it back into valuable soil nutrients to produce healthier plants and improved water retention in your own gardens. We’ll show you how easy it is to keep your green waste at home working for you.
June 28 • July 26 • August 30 • September 27 • October 25 • November 29
Workshops are held the last Wednesday of every month at the Burbank Recycle Center from 6-8 p.m.
Keep ‘Em Loose at the Starlight Bowl
Public Works and the Parks and Recreation staffs are once again working closely together to manage the Starlight Bowl’s 2017 Environmental Stewardship program through education and on-site recycling. Concertgoers will find zero waste stations strategically placed that include separate bins for trash, general recycling, glass, and food waste. Zero Waste Ambassadors are hired to monitor the zero waste stations, assist guests with separating discards, and answer questions. Final sorting is performed at the end of the night to ensure contaminants are removed from the recyclables and organics.
Before the zero waste stations were introduced in 2011, the recycling rate at the Starlight Bowl was 20%. Now, the Starlight Bowl consistently diverts about 70% of the waste through recycling and composting and is aiming towards zero waste with more help from the public.
The biggest challenge to keeping useful material out of the trash comes when concertgoers mix their discards together. Cramming food inside a cup or tying plastic bags makes the job of sorting very difficult and, worse, contaminates items so they aren’t recyclable.
Here’s how you can help! When you head to a zero waste station at the venue, be sure to keep all of your materials loose from each other and follow these simple guidelines:
- Reduce: Take only what you need. Refuse condiment packets, disposable cutlery, straws, etc. (These small plastics are hard to separate out of recycling and composting piles.)
- Reuse: If you bring your picnic, pack it with reusables.
- Recycle: Put recyclables in the right bin — including food waste! Take your items out of the bag and place each in the appropriate bin.
- Keep ’Em Loose: Don’t stuff your items together. Don’t bag items or tie the bag shut. This creates contaminated waste that could have been recovered for recycling or composting with a little bit of separation and sorting.
Keep Our Stormwater Clean
The rainy season may be over, but it is always important to keep pollutants out of storm drains, waterways, and beaches. Follow these simple tips:
- Pick up after your pets.
- Throw your trash where it belongs — in trash cans or recycling bins, never on the ground or in the street gutter.
- Never toss cigarette butts on the ground.
- Sweep up dirt (instead of hosing down the pavement).
- Wash your vehicle on your lawn (and not your driveway).
The Great American Burbank Grasscycling Quiz for Kids and Families
1. Does your family or gardener leave grass clippings on the lawn?
Yes (1 million points) No (0 points)
2. Can your family list four reasons why leaving grass clippings on the lawn is beneficial? (250,000 points for each good reason
3. Where do Burbank grass clippings go after the City collects them? (1 million points for correct answer)
Santa Barbara, CA (100 miles)
Las Vegas, NV (175 miles)
Tulare, CA (165 miles)
4. Guess the estimated weight of grass clippings collected in Burbank each year? (1 million points for correct answer)
800 tons 2,000 tons 8,000 tons
Hints: CalRecycle, the State agency that tracks California’s waste, estimates that on average 1 acre of lawn creates 6.5 tons of clippings per year. A typical Burbank yard might generate 500-800 pounds of grass clippings per year. Burbank has about 21,000 residential lawns.
Crazy Fact: A NASA report estimates that American lawns are the largest irrigated crop in the U.S. and cover an area the size of Texas.
4 million points = Genius family
3 million points = Super smart family
2 million points = Awesome family
1 million points = Above-average family
Answers to the Great American Burbank Grasscycling Quiz:
1. Yes! 2. Saves water, saves time, returns nutrients to soil, improves soil, reduces air pollution, improves grass growth 3. Tulare, CA 4. 8,000 tons per year
Your Saturday Errands Might Result In Illegal Dumping
Did you know that used oil and electronics are only accepted at the Burbank Recycle Center Monday through Friday but NOT Saturday? Yet there are options on weekends at a local S.A.F.E. Center (visit Goo.gl/AZb1ZO for details and all locations). Burbank residents have access to safe disposal for used motor oil and electronics seven days a week:
- Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Burbank Recycle Center
- Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., S.A.F.E. Centers, 4600 Colorado (near Glendale) and 11025 Randall Street (Sun Valley)
Mattress Recycling Stacks Up
What is a half a mile high and no longer heads to our Burbank landfill? The 4,000 mattresses that were collected at the Burbank Recycle Center during the first year of the Bye Bye Mattress collection program. Not only does this make the City’s landfill manager happy, but it has also helped preserve our disposal space for future generations.
Remember, under the mattress recycling law, your retailer must pick up your old mattress if they offer delivery of a new one. Otherwise, you can drop it off at the Burbank Recycle Center Monday through Saturday during regular business hours or you can call to schedule a bulky pickup.
To learn more about properly disposing of all of your problem wastes, visit LACSD.org (click on Household Hazardous Waste, E-waste & Sharps), PaintCare.org, or BurbankRecycle.org.
Keepin’ It Local