Commercial Recycling Technical Assistance
in Contra Costa County
Client: Republic Services, Pacheco, CA
Date: July 2015 to July 2019
Key Personnel: Laura McKaughan, Outreach Associate; Tracie Bills, Project Lead; Kim Lam, Client Representative
√ Reached out to 95 commercial customers to offer technical assistance.
√ Diverted an additional 60 tons of recyclables away from landfill.
√ Saved customers money through right-sizing and setting up effective programs.
Republic Services hired SCS Engineers in July 2016 to perform business technical assistance for customers in cities throughout Contra Costa County. Envirolutions Consulting was hired for this project and worked in coordination with the Contra Costa County Solid Waste Management Authority (RecycleSmart). We sought to increase recycling and organics participation through customer education and increasing the number of participating businesses.
Envirolutions Consulting reached out to businesses identified during visual audits as having significant amounts of recycling and/or organics in their trash dumpsters. The project included site visits, customized operational recommendations, ordering additional recycling and organics carts, and providing posters, interior bins, on-site consultation, and staff trainings.
Challenges were significant for making improvements to introduce recycling and organics programs during this project. These included multi-tenant complexes with decentralized janitorial services, lack of corporate buy-in, illegal dumping, and irresponsible behavior by anonymous employees using shared trash enclosures. To address these hurdles, Envirolutions Consulting worked with property management, tenant business’s management, and janitorial staff to create a game plan that ensured everyone’s needs were met, that any problems were met with immediate communication, and the expectation of participation in waste diversion programs was emphasized to all workers early and often.
Republic Services benefited from increased revenue from the sale of recyclable materials. The businesses and property management companies benefited from reduced waste bills and improved communication between tenant businesses and management. And clearly the environment benefited by keeping these materials in the resource stream and through the significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions due to these materials being recycled instead of sent to the landfill.
During our time on the project, Envirolutions Consulting reached out to 95 different businesses in the communities of Danville, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek, resulting in the additional diversion of over 600 yards of material annually or an estimated 60 tons of recyclable materials away from landfill every year.