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					                                                    Waste Reduction
       What Companies Can Do
       What Employees Can Do At Work
       What Employees Can Do At Home
       Resources

Every year, Bay Area residents and businesses produce millions of tons of garbage. More than half is sent to landfills,
including Altamont in Alameda County, Keller Canyon in Contra Costa, and Kirby Canyon in Santa Clara. Landfills like
these pose serious environmental hazards. Residents and businesses are generating an increasing amount of garbage
per person. In fact, the Bay area has the second highest rate of per-person garbage generation in the state. In a 1999
study, on average, each Bay Area resident generated almost two pounds of garbage per day, while the average employee
generated almost eight pounds per day.

Waste is a serious issue for our water as well. Local beaches are not always adequately monitored, so people who use
them may be unwittingly exposed to sewage or other contamination, and the bay is prone to episodes during which
chemicals can harm, and even kill, fish and shrimp. Pollution from our own homes, cars and neighborhoods is one of the
greatest threats to the Bay. For example, each year area residents contribute more motor oil to coastal waters than oil
tankers. When motor oil, pet waste, trash, and other pollutants are not properly disposed of, they are washed by the rain
into storm drains and flow directly into the Bay.

The news isn’t all bad. Bay Area counties are doing a better job of diverting garbage from landfills—mostly through
recycling. New consumer laws and initiatives are in place for safe disposal of batteries, unwanted medicine, and other
toxicities to reduce these wastes being absorbed into our water systems. (Sources: http://www.nrdc.org/greengate and
http://www.savesfbay.org)

What Companies Can Do:
   Recycling: These days, most companies have paper recycling, however also consider instituting bottle and can
    recycling, as well as electronics recycling (go to http://www.rethinkwaste.org/business.php to find out more).
   Donate excess electronics, office supplies, and office furniture to a community-benefit organization (contact your EF
    representative to find out where you can donate).
   Switch to 100% recycled paper in printers and copy machines.
   Use 100% recycled paper for letterhead, brochures, and other company collateral.
   Use the backs of already-used paper in fax machines, and as scratch pads.
   Adopt a policy of avoiding printing and copying whenever possible. Instead, encourage employees to publish
    documents electronically, post one copy at a central bulletin board, or distribute them as attachments via e-mail.
   If items must be printed, encourage employees to print only as many copies as they really need. With meeting
    handouts, ask staff members to share.
   Recycle used toner and ink-jet cartridges (most office suppliers will accept your used cartridges)
   Switch to biodegradable cleaners.
   Encourage employees to use reusable cups, plates and utensils at the office rather than using paper, plastic, or
    Styrofoam.
   Purchase environmentally friendly supplies and biodegradable food service products (e.g.
    www.greenearthofficesupply.com).
   If you have water delivered to the company, have them deliver large water coolers, rather than individual bottles of
    water for employees.



Entrepreneurs Foundation                                                              www.efbayarea.org
What Employees Can Do at Work:
   Take advantage of your company’s recycling practices. If your company does not recycle bottles and cans, take them
    home for recycling.
   Use the backs of already-used paper in fax machines, and as scratch pads.
   Avoid printing and copying whenever possible. Instead, publish documents electronically, post one copy at a central
    bulletin board, or distribute them as attachments via e-mail.
   If you must print, print only as many copies as you really need. With meeting handouts, ask staff members to share.
   Use a washable commuter mug for your morning coffee and eliminate a Styrofoam or plastic cup every day, as well
    as washable plates and utensils for your lunches. Bring your lunches to work in washable cloth bags, rather than
    paper or plastic.

What Employees Can Do at Home:
   Recycling: Check with your city’s recycling program on what can be recycled and what cannot and follow their
    directions closely (too often trash is mixed in recycling containers and vice-versa). More items can be recycled than
    you may think.
   Household hazardous waste may not be disposed of in your garbage or recycling. Check with your city or
    earth911.org to determine how to dispose of these. These include:
        o   Automotive fluids
        o   Batteries (all types and sizes)
        o   Paint & chemicals (e.g., solvents, cleaning fluids, pool/spa, pesticides, fertilizers)
        o   Fluorescent light bulbs
        o   Fire extinguishers
        o   Pressurized tanks (e.g., helium, propane, gas)
        o   Medical waste (e.g., sharps, syringes)
        o   Mercury containing items, such as thermometers and thermostats (it’s against the law to throw these items in
            the trash)
   Compost your yard waste or find out whether your city will pick up your yard trimmings.
   Wash your car at a car wash instead of at home. Professional car washes treat the toxic soup that car washing
    generates before it is discharged into the Bay.
   Get your car tuned-up and fix leaks so oil and other fluids don’t flow to the Bay. If you change your oil yourself, make
    sure you don’t drip or spill any. And as noted above, never dump the used oil!
   Don’t flush your unwanted medicine down the toilet or put it in the garbage. Dispose of unwanted or expired
    pharmaceuticals at a household hazardous waste facility or a pharmacy that accepts medication for proper disposal.
   Always pick up your pet’s waste—even in your own backyard—and throw the bagged waste in the trash (use
    biodegradable bags whenever possible). Use biodegradable kitty litter, and keep dogs out of streams and stream
    banks. Pet waste contains dangerous bacteria that can make people sick and has negative impacts on water quality.
   Donate gently used items.
   Bring bags to the market, either cloth ones or your old paper and plastic ones. Many markets will credit your bill for
    using your own bags. When buying only a few items, don't take a bag.
   Buy containers that you know you will be able to reuse or recycle, such as plates, mugs, and other items.
   Use rechargeable batteries in toys, flashlights, radios, etc..
   Use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers.
   Switch to cloth napkins, sponges, and cloth towels or wipes.


Entrepreneurs Foundation                                                                 www.efbayarea.org
   Switch to biodegradable cleaners.

Resources:
   California Integrated Waste Management Board: Provides waste Stream Profiles about solid waste management
    issues in California by pulling data together from numerous sources. Profiles are currently available in the categories
    of jurisdictions, counties, facilities, materials, legislative districts, and schools. http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Profiles/
   Earth911.org: Provides community-specific resources and guidance for where to recycle, safely dispose of waste,
    and other ways to preserve the environment. Call 1-800-CLEANUP or enter your zip code on their website to get
    community specific information most relevant to you. http://www.earth911.org
   FreeCycle: A place to search for recycled or free goods and services and more. http://www.freecycle.com
   Freeflow: The Environment: A New Way to Consider Recovery. Every year US business creates an estimated $20
    Billion of excess inventory, much of which finds its way to landfill. Avoiding or delaying this process is what Freeflow
    contributes to save the Environment. We offer a program through which corporate clients can choose to donate their
    excess inventory directly to the non-profits organizations of their choice. Freeflow is available around the world with
    facilities in the US, Europe and Asia. http://www.freeflow.com
   Green Earth Office Supply: Provides a wide variety of environmentally friendly office, school, and food service
    supplies. http://www.greenearthofficesupply.com
   GreenCitizen: Helps individuals and organizations recycle electronics responsibly. Has one-stop Silicon Valley and
    San Francisco Drop-Off Centers that are open daily to take all electronic recyclables from batteries and printer
    cartridges, to TVs and computer systems. You can schedule a pick-up of your electronic recyclables from your home
    or office, or use GreenCitizen Classifieds to extend the life of your electronics. http://www.greencitizen.com
   The Green Gate: A project of NRDC, the Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC uses law, science, and the
    support of 1.2 million members and online activists nationwide to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to
    ensure a safe and healthy environment. http://www.nrdc.org/greengate
   iReuse: Get Rid of Stuff the Green Way AND Get Used Furniture, Equipment, Supplies, and other items. iReuse
    facilitates reuse of unwanted items before recycling, which is about 93% more efficient. Purchasing used items also
    reduces demand on natural resource extraction. iReuse matches unwanted stuff with buyers and nonprofits via Wish
    Lists. Sign up for a wish list to get stuff today, or get your unwanted items picked up at your convenience.
    http://www.iReuse.com
   RethinkWaste.org (South Bayside Waste Management Authority): A joint powers authority of twelve member
    agencies in San Mateo County and is a leader in innovative recycling and waste-reduction programs. They provide
    cost-effective waste reduction, recycling, and solid waste programs to member agencies through franchised services
    and other recyclers to meet and sustain a minimum 50% diversion mandated by California State Law, AB 939.
    http://www.rethinkwaste.org
   RecycleWorks.org: Helps residents and businesses of San Mateo County take advantage of local environmental
    resources such as recycling, reducing the effects of green house gases, etc. While focusing on San Mateo County,
    RecycleWorks.org also focuses on unique programs in the greater Bay Area. http://www.recycleworks.org
   ReduceWaste.org: Mission is to conserve, protect and preserve the environmental resources of the Santa Clara
    County community through advocacy, education and outreach programs. Provides resources and guidance on how to
    reuse, reduce, recycle and intelligently dispose of waste materials. http://www.reducewaste.org
   Save the Bay: The oldest and largest membership organization working exclusively to protect, restore and celebrate
    San Francisco Bay. http://www.savesfbay.org
   StopWaste.org: The Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the Alameda County Source Reduction and
    Recycling Board, operating as one public agency, to provide guidance to both businesses and residents on how to
    reduce waste. They have a recycling hotline, 1-877-STOPWASTE, as well as a recycling wizard to find recycling and
    reuse options for materials. http://www.stopwaste.org
   Sustainable Silicon Valley: A nonprofit collaboration of businesses, governments, academic institutions and non-
    governmental organizations that are identifying and addressing environmental and resource pressures in Silicon
    Valley. http://www.sustainablesiliconvalley.org.
Entrepreneurs Foundation                                                               www.efbayarea.org

				
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