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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 2015

Latest Update

The Use Reusables program continues to help businesses integrate reusable transport packing materials into their operations. The program team has participated in numerous 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 is reviewing applications for a third round of grants. The team partnered with North Central Texas Council of Governments Exit EPA disclaimer, a Climate Showcase Community partner, to produce a training workshop in northern Texas, and also collaborated with Sustain Dane, a CSC partner in Wisconsin, to implement a regional training workshop. The team is drafting tools for project implementation, including a grant application, decision flowchart, cost-benefit analysis calculators, and case studies. The team also updated the Use Reusables website Exit EPA disclaimer, developed a 30-second video, and initiated a six-week Google AdWords campaign to direct traffic to the website. Upcoming work includes awarding the third round of grants, continuing work on tools, 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 September 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 436.4 mt CO2e 3,200 mt CO2e
# of Pilot Businesses 13 10
# of Training Workshops 16 9

Project Websites

Media Coverage

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