Caltrans received the Green California Leadership Award for Project Recycle, an innovative solution to divert litter from landfills and increase recycling in the Adopt-A-Highway program.
Green California Leadership Awards are given to state and local governments to acknowledge outstanding achievements in environmental sustainability.
There were 80 entries statewide, and one winner in each of eight categories. Caltrans’ Project Recycle won in the Waste Management category.
Project Recycle provides a simple yet effective answer to allow Adopt-A-Highway volunteers to collect recyclable containers.
When gathering litter, volunteers carry a litter picker in one hand and a trash bag with the other. It is difficult to carry a second bag for recyclables, and full trash bags must be left at the roadside for pick-up.
Volunteers cannot take full trash bags away for sorting.
Project Recycle provides over-the-shoulder bags for Adopt-A-Highway volunteers to separate and store recyclables while gathering trash from the State Highway right of way.
Project Recycle also models “closing the recycling loop” by using bags made from 100 percent certified recycled plastic bottles.
Developed in 2003 by Caltrans District 1 Adopt-A-Highway Coordinator Nita Brake-Mills, Project Recycle has proven to be very effective. In the past five years in District 1 alone, 10 tons of recyclable materials have been collected from the roadside. Caltrans has now enacted Project Recycle across California.
In addition to Project Recycle, Caltrans also won a Green California Leadership Award in the Transportation category for the Statewide Stormwater Management Program.