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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Industrial Packaging Prevention and Reuse Project

Alameda County, California

Federal Funding: $498,720
Project Timeline: February 2011 – February 2014

Latest Update

The Use Reusables program continues to help businesses integrate reusable transport packing materials into their operations. The program team has participated in a number of presentations and workshops to encourage interest in the program and continues to follow up with past workshop attendees. The team continues to track implementation of the first and second rounds of Use Reusables grants and will soon award a third round of grants. The team collaborated with Sustain Dane, a Climate Showcase Community partner in Wisconsin, to implement a regional training workshop and is planning more with other Climate Showcase Communities. The team is making progress in drafting tools for project implementation, including a grant application, decision flowchart, cost-benefit analysis calculators, case studies, and a video introduction to reusables. Upcoming work includes awarding the third round of grants, working with businesses on implementation efforts, fostering partnerships, and participating in workshops.

Project Summary

Establishing a Model for Solid Waste and GHG Reductions from Transport Packaging

The Alameda County Waste Management Authority (StopWaste.Org) has launched a project to reduce the use of limited-use transport packing materials (such as wooden pallets and cardboard boxes) by helping businesses convert to sustainable and reusable alternatives. Reducing the use of disposable transport packing materials can reduce solid waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The project is developing a highly transferrable program model for local governments and businesses that can be replicated to achieve substantial solid waste and GHG reductions.

The project is administered by StopWaste.Org along with the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) as a primary program partner. A team of StopWaste.Org staff is working directly with San Francisco Bay Area businesses and their supply chains to help them transition to more resource-efficient and cost-effective reusable transport packing alternatives. The steps in the process include targeted business outreach and education, a minimum of six training workshops for participants, assistance with implementation planning for interested businesses with a team of supply chain logistics experts, financial modeling assistance for businesses using StopWaste.Org’s "Reusables Cost Comparison Calculator," promotion of the concept of reusables with upper management parties, on-site technical assistance for businesses, and continuous follow-up with businesses after transitioning to reusable transport packing alternatives.

The project has many benefits, including reduced GHG emissions from raw materials, production, transport, and landfilling of packaging. Businesses in Alameda County transitioning to reusable transport packaging are reducing vehicle miles traveled, increasing their economic competitiveness, supporting existing communities, and leveraging federal investment in the area. In time, the project will create lasting change and achieve ongoing GHG reductions that will extend beyond the grant, build sustained capacity within local agencies to address upstream GHG emissions, increase worker safety, link GHG reductions with environmental and economic co-benefits, and create a model of success that is broadly replicable.

Community Characteristics

Population: 1,491,482
Area: 737.57 square miles
Government Type: County
Community Type: Urban/Suburban
Median Household Income: $68,863

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of July 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 320.43 mt CO2e 1,731 mt CO2e
# of Pilot Businesses 9 10
# of Training Workshops 12 9

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