Bayer, Costco Awarded for Recycling, Waste Reduction Efforts

Bayer, Costco Awarded for Recycling, Waste Reduction Efforts

Trash and recycle bins - http://www.flickr.com/photos/goincase/ / CC BY 2.0

Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals in Richmond, Calif., recycles 86 percent of the materials that it discards, but it's also taking action to have less material that would need to be recycled.

"Some of the raw materials we use in manufacturing are now bought in larger containers that reduces the total mass of empty containers to recycle or dispose," said James Breitlow, head of health, environment and safety for Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.

The company is also working with vendors to get them to take back empty containers that they had sent raw materials in so that the containers can be reused instead of tossed in with other recycling or trash.

For that work and more, Bayer was one of 12 Alameda County companies recognized by the 2009 StopWaste Partnership Business Efficiency Awards, which are decided by StopWaste.org.

The award winners are: 555 12th Street by Shorenstein Realty Services, Bayer HealthCare, Boston Scientific Corporation, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Costco Wholesale Livermore, Golden Gate Fields Racetrack, La Terra Fina, Lucky Supermarkets and the U.S. Postal Service's Oakland Processing and Distribution Center. Three companies received honorable mentions: Emerald Packaging, Heat and Control, and Peterson Holding Company.

In addition to recycling and reducing packaging, Bayer has replaced plastic utensils in its cafe with biodegradable alternatives, which, in addition to food waste and landscape maintenance waste, will be composted offsite and sold as garden compost.

Carl Zeiss Meditec has also worked with vendors to cut down on wasteful packaging, has added more material to its recycling program and is adding compostable utensils to its cafeteria, all of which has reduced the company's trash expenses by 50 percent.

Costco Wholesale in Livermore has become the basis for recycling and waste reduction efforts throughout the rest of Costco, as other locations have copied off the location's practices of using cardboard boxes from shipments to pack customer purchases and issuing reusable bags and tableware to all employees.

In addition to recycling and composting waste, Lucky Supermarkets locations in the area use their delivery trucks to backhaul materials or transport goods for other firms in order to avoid wasteful trips with empty trucks.

Boston Scientific is another company that has expanded its composting program, which began in early 2008 and now composts more than 43,000 pounds of material a month. Boston Scientific expanded the program to include waste from bathrooms and the company has also started recycling wood. The compost program already takes in food scraps, plants, paper products and corn-based utensils. In addition it has compost and recycling bins in all breakrooms, cafeterias, restrooms, and conference rooms. Through all of its efforts, the company has cut its disposal services bill in half.

Peterson Tractor keeps more than 384 tons of waste out of landfills a year by reusing boxes, pallets and shipping containers. It also recycles pallets once they're no longer usable along with the regular assortment of paper, bottles, cans and other items.

Trash and recycle bins - http://www.flickr.com/photos/goincase/ / CC BY 2.0