San Joaquin FARMS Leadership Program Tours Cal-Waste’s MRF


Cal Waste Recovery Systems and the California Department of Food and Agriculture

FARMS Leadership Program: San Joaquin: November 19, 2019

Location of Field Day: Galt, CA

Theme: Environmental Science

Summary of the Day:

We began our field day with an introduction to Cal-Waste from MaryBeth Ospital. She told the group about the history of the company. Cal-Waste is a family-owned business who just welcomed the 5th generation into the world a couple of weeks ago. Cal-Waste is also the largest, locally-owned waste collection and material recovery operation in the region, providing residential, commercial and industrial services to areas throughout Sacramento, Calaveras, Alpine and San Joaquin Counties.

We began our day in the Outreach and Education room at Cal-Waste and on the far side of the room was a large window that overlooked the MRF, which is the Materials Recovery Facility. This is where all of the recycling and garbage is brought in, processed, and sorted by material type. After our introduction, we took a tour of the facilities. The San Joaquin FARMS Leadership students were able to get up close in personal with the trucks, the shop and even get a closer peek into the MRF which is currently be renovated and upgraded to a more technology-based system. This new system will allow for the waste being processed to be more thoroughly sorted and cleaned of any contaminated materials.

After our tour, we met back in the Outreach and Education room. The group was then met by Dr. Kevin Williams and Dr. Peter Kerr from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Both Kevin and Peter work in the Plant Pest Diagnostic Center at the CDFA in Sacramento, CA. They presented on Plant Health and Pest Prevention. They also shared with the students some insect displays as well as some pest traps that they use for insect collections.

“They say a picture is like a thousand words. Well looking at a specimen is like looking at 1,000 pictures” – Dr. Kevin Williams, CDFA

After the conclusion of our CDFA presentation we took a lunch break before introducing our next guest speaker, Chris Vicens. Chris is the Equipment Manager at Cal-Waste and started with the company when he was 16 years old. He has been with the company for over 25 years and was an inspiring testament to what it is like working or a family-owned business. He also spoke to the students about the importance of trade schools and apprenticeships and the different opportunities in which they can get involved at Cal Waste.

Our final speaker for the day was Dave Vaccarezza the Owner of Cal Waste. He shared with the students more insight on the family history of the business and told the students how true the saying is “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. With the MRF currently down for 6 weeks while it is being upgraded, there are 54 employees who are out of jobs. Rather than letting them go and trying to refill positions in 6 weeks Dave found positions as well as made new positions for all of his employees! Thank you Cal Waste for the hospitality and hosting the San Joaquin FARMS Leadership Program for a field day!

The above content was generously provided by the Center for Land-Based Learning. To read more about their program, click here.

Sustainability In Our Environment

At Cal-Waste our environment is of paramount concern. A healthy environment is necessary for human, animal, and plant life to survive. Clean water, air, and land are all a part of the natural resources we need to a live happy and healthy life. The Cal-Waste Team works hard to safeguard our environment as we serve you. We invite you to join us in protecting our water, air and land. When communities join together to protect the environment, they are protecting themselves and their future.

We Are A Sustainable Business

SB Logo
Congratulations to Cal-Waste Recovery Systems! We have earned our certification as a Sacramento Area Sustainable Business. The Sacramento Area Sustainable Business Program promotes businesses that adopt environmentally friendly practices, prevent pollution, and conserve resources. This program assists businesses in our region to improve efficiency, energy and water conversation and waste reduction. We are very happy to be a part of the team that is keeping our communities, healthy and environmentally secure.

To find out more about Sacramento Area Sustainable Business Program see their website here.


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Ride Public Transportation – Your local public transportation schedule. The National Safety Council found riding the bus is 170 times safer than driving your car and emit 80% less carbon monoxide than the average car.


Sacramento Stormwater Quality Partnership – Local information about urban water runoff pollution and community events that encourage pollution prevention.

State Water Resources Control Board – Ways to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the benefit of present and future generations.

California Environmental Law – Information and strategies to protecting the environment against harmful toxics.

Water Use It Wisely – Find hundreds of “how to save water” tips!


National Geographic Garbage Patch – Find out what happens when plastic is washed down our waterways and out to sea.

Teaching in the Classroom
Discovery Education – Lesson plans for teaching both young and old about recycling.

Fun Interactive Games
National Geographic Recycle Roundup – Help clean up the park in this fun interactive game.
NASA’s Climate Kids – Age appropriate information and online games teaching about preserving our environment.

Fun Sustainability
Earth 911 – A staff favorite! Learn the many ways to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Recycle & Reuse
Freecycle – Members local and around the world have joined this grassroots, entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Don’t Waste Our Future
youtube-logo2Cal-Waste is proud to have produced this amazing video with the help of Robert Solari and children from our local school district. Educating our future recyclers is key to our mission. Click the red button and check it out now!