Under the terms of Measure D, waste diversion rates were targeted at 25 percent in 1995 and 50 percent this year, increasing to 75 percent by 2010. So far the programs have been successful. Alameda County achieved a countywide diversion rate of 35 percent in 1995, up from a 13 percent rate in 1990.
There are many ways that businesses can voluntarily participate in programs that reduce waste. The programs come under the auspices of the StopWaste program and its motto of "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle." Program participants include businesses, public agencies, and non-profit organizations.
Rory Bakke, who directs the business and hazardous waste management program, says that programs to meet the waste reduction mandates are going well and are currently in the low to mid 40 percent range for the whole county. There's still room for improvement, however.
"Through partnerships with business, we are hoping to divert another 10,000 tons from landfill. We cannot meet the state's 50 percent goal by the end of year 2000 or the Alameda county 75 percent mandate by the year 2010 without businesses working along with us. Most of the additional diversion has to come from the non-residential sector, which is businesses and public agencies.
"Our goals for January include a new StopWaste partnership section of the website that will include case studies on all our award winning participants and a simplified guide on how to develop a mixed-paper recycling program. We will also have a Best Practices database, noting the practices that have saved companies the most money."
The StopWaste program offers a variety of resources to help businesses with their efforts:
Re-Think Your Bottom Line: A Resource Guide for Alameda County Businesses to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle . Not only is it a good environmental practice to reduce waste, it pays off. This 48-page booklet is designed for business owners and facility managers and offers practical, cost-saving tips and shows how Alameda County businesses are making waste reduction pay off. For example, one Bay Area Hilton Hotel reduced its annual garbage bill by one-third, saving nearly $100,000.
Comprehensive Environmental Assessments - The StopWaste Partnership is ready with expert assistance to help improve the bottom line for medium and large-sized businesses through cost-effective resource conservation. Offered are free, non-regulatory technical assistance, cost-cutting recommendations for waste reduction, and energy and water efficiency, follow-up assistance including helping getting loans and rebates, and an opportunity to showcase your company's accomplishments.
Funding Assistance - Funding is available for innovative projects that promote source reduction, decrease the amount of waste disposed in Alameda County landfills and encourage the development, marketing and use of recycled-content products. The agency has on-going grant programs including mini-grants for funding requests under $5,000, StopWaste Awards, and Market Development Assistance. The agency also provides a low-interest revolving loan fund.
Mini-Grants are designed to provide small amounts of money, within a brief period of time, for a specific and limited purpose. The agency has allocated $50,000 for the program in the 2000/2001 year and grants will be given out in increments from $250 until the money is disbursed.
StopWaste Awards , a competitive monetary awards program for Alameda County businesses with waste prevention projects, is designed to help divert materials that would otherwise be landfill. The awards include money and technical assistance. An applications packet is available online.
Market Development Assistance supports and funds business expansion and attraction efforts aimed at establishing or expanding value-added processors or end-use manufacturing facilities in Alameda County. Assistance is available in the form of siting, feedstock sourcing and market research.
Source Reduction Success Stories can be an inspiration to other businesses. For example, Pacific Bell prints and mails 140 million invoices to customers annually. In 1994, the company began printing on both sides of the paper, reducing paper usage by 27 percent or 1,010 tons of paper annually. Pacific Bell also now saves more than $11.5 million a year on its annual $53 million postage costs.StopWaste helped BART expand its recycling program and develop a recycled products procurement policy.
Recycling Resources - Online is a list of Alameda County vendors that recycle many types of materials. They includes asphalt, broken bricks, ceramic tile, dry wall, garage doors, glass of all kinds, paper and paper products, and plastics, plywood, window screens, plumbing and wood pallets.
Many items continue to have value after we're finished with them and can be reused. StopWaste encourages reuse by providing online a list of vendors that recycle specific materials. These can be anything from bubble wrap, ink jet cartridges and computer monitors to light fixtures, toner cartridges and software applications.
Pacific Gas & Electric has a variety of programs for businesses. Complete information and applications are available at www.pge.com .
Equipment Rebates - The 2000 Express Efficiency program offers rebates to help business customers reduce energy use without sacrificing comfort or performance. The program applies to lighting, air conditioning and refrigeration, and devices that use natural gas:
Express Lighting - Lighting accounts for 40 percent of commercial energy use. Upgrading lamps and fixtures is extremely cost-effective. Energy-efficient equipment can reduce lighting costs by 10 to 30 percent and because the systems last longer, maintenance costs are reduced. Air conditioning loads are also reduced. Rebates available include those for replacing incandescent or mercury vapor lamps with fluorescent fixtures or induction lamps, replacing magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts, or even for installing LED exit signs. Check the PG&E web site for a complete list.
Express AC, Refrigeration, and Food Service - Cooling, both air conditioning and refrigeration, is a major contributor to higher energy bills. Energy-efficient package terminal air conditioners, variable-frequency drives, programmable thermostats, and window reflective film will reduce maintenance and operating costs - plus, they're all eligible for rebates.
Express Gas Measures - This program includes rebates on equipment that will help to reduce gas usage. Rebates are available for installation of high efficiency storage water heaters, space heating boilers, and domestic hot water boilers.
The Bay Area Green Business Program is a successful voluntary partnership of government agencies, professional associations, utilities, businesses and the public. The program helps businesses comply with environmental regulations and then go beyond compliance to conserve energy, water and other resources and reduce pollution and waste. Alameda County is currently working with auto repair businesses, printers, and hotels in this program. For more information on the Bay Area Green Business Program, contact Ceil Scandone at (510) 464-7961.
The StopWaste Green Building program offers help and ideas related to construction. They can demonstrate that it makes economic sense to reduce, reuse and recycle "left-over" materials from building or remodeling projects.
Job Site Recycling Case Study - Details how Citation Homes completed the first phase of their Foothill Glen project, and in partnership with its recycling subcontractor, Green Waste Recovery Inc., was able to recover and recycle over 1,000 tons of materials during the construction phase, which was 86 percent of all waste generated on the project.
The Recycling Content Building Materials Database is a report of over 3,000 building materials containing recycled content or environmentally-superior products. It's designed for use by architects, contractors, remodelers, designers, house builders, tradespersons and businesses. Reports available online at www.stopwaste.org include those for adhesives, cabinets and countertops, carpeting, car stops and parking bumpers, concrete, fencing and decking, flooring, landscaping materials and accessories, paints and stains, picnic table and benches, plastic lumber, play equipment and structures, playground and surfacing, site equipment, stone and tile and wood flooring. The reports can also be ordered by calling the Agency.
California Integrated Waste Management Board Recycled Content Product Database is a recycled product database that includes some green building materials. It is searchable by product, brand name, company name, or category. Visit www.ciwmb.ca.gov/RCP/ or contact Linda Hennessy at RCP@ciwmb.ca.gov or (916) 255-2498.
A Builders Guide to Reuse and Recycling: A Directory for Construction and Demolition Materials offers practical, cost-saving waste reduction tips. It also contains a vendor directory for recycling materials such as asphalt, bricks, drywall, glass, wood and related items. The guide can be ordered by calling the Alameda County Recycling Hotline toll-free at 1-877- StopWaste or can be viewed downloaded online at www.stopwaste.org . The web site also has links to a number of other Green Building sites.
StopWaste presents Trash Talk with Betsy Rosenberg as a feature of KCBS, All News 74. The program has been honored for excellence by the Business Environmental Network. The Authority publishes a periodic consumer newsletter, WasteLine, that contains recycling news and tips for residents. Find more information at stopwaste.org.
So, how has all this come about? Each local jurisdiction in Alameda County has adopted a Source Reduction and Recycling Element (SRRE) as required by state law. Locally, the SRRE is administered by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority (ACWMA) and the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board, working together as an agency.
The ACWMA operates under a joint powers agreement with the County of Alameda, each of the 14 cities in the county and two sanitary districts. The 11-member Recycling Board, selected by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, is made up of five elected officials from the Waste Management Authority and six professional experts in specified areas of waste reduction.
The Authority and the Recycling Board offer a variety of programs in waste reduction, recycled product procurement, market development, technical assistance, grants and public education.
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