From candy makers to engineering companies, California businesses are proving that every little bit helps when it comes to reducing waste. Through this year's Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP), the Sacramento, Calif.-based California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) honored 1,403 businesses that together diverted a total 1.8 million tons of waste from landfills during 2003. The companies also avoided $135 million in operating costs in the process.
Since 1993, CIWMB has been recognizing the private sector's commitment to waste reduction. “It's important for us to involve businesses,” says Linda Moulton-Patterson, member and former chair of CIWMB. “We don't regulate them like we do jurisdictions, cities and counties, so everything they do is voluntary. We want them to know that they aren't just doing a great service to the environment, but that they can save money as well.”
For the ninth year, CIWMB has chosen 10 WRAP of the Year winners that, in the eyes of CIWMB, have made an extraordinary commitment to waste diversion. This year's recipients include American Honda Motor Inc., Eco-Pop Designs, Friedrich-Houston Enterprises, Frito-Lay, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Nomad Café, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Quad Winery and Ricoh Electronics Inc. (REI).
Madera, Calif.-based Quady Winery, a family-run business that produces dessert wines, is one of the smaller firms to receive the honor. By targeting all facets of its operations, including the vineyard, production area and sales offices, Quady reuses or recycles approximately 98 percent of its waste. For example, skins and seeds from the production area are used for compost in the vineyard. Similarly, the water used to wash down the tanks is reused for irrigation. Quady also reuses its packaging materials and recycles paper from the offices and glass from the tasting room.
Another WRAP winner, REI has worked with its parent company, Tokyo-based Ricoh Co., to divert 8 million pounds of waste and save $2.5 million in the past year. Following a zero-waste-to-landfill policy, REI promotes its “Five R Activities:” refuse, return, reduce, reuse and recycle throughout its seven California locations. The company's waste reduction measures include not accepting excessive packaging and sending back any reusable materials to the distributor. The company also designates a team to tour each facility to compile a list of best practices that are then shared with the other locations.
“Hopefully this award will influence other companies to do the same thing and create a sustainable society,” says Eiko Risch, manager of the company's Sustainability Promotion Division.
For a full list of WRAP winners, visit www.ciwmb.ca.gov/WRAP/.