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That's a 'WRAP' for Waste in California

Ten businesses have won California’s primary recycling agency’s thanks, and a coveted commendation.

The businesses are winners of the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) of the Year commendations for 1999.

According to the Board, the honorees have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to environmental protection with business practices that promote recycling, reuse, and waste reduction. The top 10 winners for the WRAP of the Year were selected from among 566 1999 WRAP winners statewide.

In congratulating the companies, Waste Board Chairman Dan Eaton said California is focused on attaining a 50% waste diversion level this year, and will be helped toward the goal by the example set by the latest crop of WRAP winners.

“These awards commend the business community for taking an active approach to resource conservation and showing that recycling and cutting waste can also save a company significant costs -- even bring in new revenues in many cases -- and prove that going ‘green’ can keep business in the black," Eaton said.

The winners are:
  • Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles: The largest museum in the United States devoted exclusively to the history of the American West operates a tree recycling program, irrigates its landscaping with recycled water, donates computer equipment to L.A. SHARES and paper to local schools, and recycles aluminum, glass, plastic, cardboard, and newsprint.

  • Cagwin & Dorward Landscape Contractors of Novato: Annually, the company generates and recycles more than 23,000 cubic yards of greenwaste, 850 gallons of used motor oil, and 1,200 pounds of paper. All told, Cagwin & Dorward's waste reduction efforts are saving the company $25,000 a year and its customers thousands of dollars in water expenses.

  • Investec of Santa Barbara: Investec is committed to incorporating sustainable building techniques into its development projects to address environmental design and construction needs. The company received its award at the Summerland Heights development where Investec’s recycling efforts have focused on diverting wood, metal, drywall, cardboard, paper, asphalt, and concrete. The company has successfully diverted 83 percent of its construction materials at this project, removing them from the waste stream and recycling them.

  • Kraft Foods, Inc. in Visalia: The business substantially cut its yearly garbage disposal costs by reducing what it used to throw away.

  • Memorial Hospitals Association (MHA) in Modesto: An affiliate of Sutter Health/California Healthcare System, MHA is a nonprofit healthcare corporation. MMC employees recycled 10,072.5 pounds of white office paper and 21.23 tons of cardboard in seven months.

  • Pebble Beach Company in Monterey County: The Pebble Beach Company is a resort dedicated to the environment, recycling, and cutting its waste. During 1998, the company recycled 326 tons of glass, cardboard, and paper. The most successful program ongoing at the Pebble Beach Company is the green waste recycling project. In 1998, 2,500 tons of compost were produced from golf course grass clippings and green waste from the forest.

  • Straus Family Creamery in Marin County: The Straus Family operation produces high-quality dairy products and packages milk in reusable glass bottles. With a $1 deposit on all milk bottles, customers are encouraged to return the bottles for reuse, which keeps thousands of plastic and cardboard milk cartons out of the landfill.

  • Swinerton & Walberg Company in San Francisco: An employee-owned general contractor headquartered in San Francisco with offices throughout the West, Swinerton & Walberg provides construction, construction management, and design/build services for offices, hotels, academia, and retail. Swinerton & Walberg implemented an aggressive recycling program throughout its whole corporation. The organization also reports that it views its role in waste reduction as invaluable to the conservation of natural resources.

  • Trips for Kids/Re-Cyclery of San Rafael: Trips for Kids/Re-Cyclery's goal is to keep bikes out of landfills, returning them to the streets as affordable, efficient, environmentally friendly modes of transportation. The nonprofit organization recycles about 25 bikes a week, repairing and reselling about 10 of those and donating the rest to other bike repair programs such as the one operated at San Quentin Prison. All bike sale proceeds support nonprofit programs to take inner-city kids on mountain bike trips and help disadvantaged youngsters learn job skills repairing bikes while they work toward earning a bike of their own.

  • Unisys Corporation of San Diego: Unisys has modified its packaging process to use biodegradable starch packaging, replacing isocyanate packing foam. In addition, packing materials received with incoming packages are recycled as donated materials to local companies like Mail Boxes Etc. where they are reused. Unisys recycles many kinds of materials, from paper and metal to computer parts and landscape greenery, resulting in a waste diversion achievement of 80 percent. The company's efforts keep nearly 1,500 tons of materials that would otherwise be considered waste out of local landfills, and the success of their programs generates over $114,000 in revenue. Unisys also estimates its recycling work saves approximately 25,000 trees.

According to California Integrated Waste Management Board, more than half of what California throws away is generated by its strong business sector. Because of this, State waste officials point out that any attempt to move California to legislatively mandated waste diversion levels will require that private businesses and companies lead the way in reducing and recycling their wastes.

The Board established the WRAP award in 1993 to honor businesses making outstanding efforts to use resources efficiently and reduce the amount of solid waste sent to landfills.

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