California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Business Waste Reduction

Don't Throw Your Profits Out With the Trash, Fourth Edition

The Bottom Line

When you get right down to it, making a profit is the driving force behind almost all businesses. Successful businesses maximize their income and minimize expenses. Why then, are so many potential profits going out with the trash?

Of the approximately 45 million tons of garbage produced in California each year, more than half originates from the commercial and industrial sectors. By practicing waste prevention, reusing products, recycling whenever possible, and making environmentally conscious purchases, your business can cut costs and increase profits.

Here are just a few examples of northern and central California businesses that have positively impacted their bottom line and were 1994 winners and participants of the California Integrated Waste Management Board's (now CalRecycle) Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP).

AMI South Bay Hospital, Redondo Beach, CA

AMI South Bay Hospital, a full-service, 208-bed health care facility in Redondo Beach, has embarked upon an aggressive waste management program aimed at packaging waste and recycling. Disposal tonnage has been cut by 50 percent, with cost savings of $100,000 since program inception. The hospital actively seeks vendors who provide items with postconsumer recycled content.

Baxter Diagnostics Inc.--Paramax Chemistry, Irvine, CA

Paramax Chemistry manufacturers the Paramax, a blood chemistry analyzer used in hospitals. Through its waste reduction and recycling efforts, the facility has reduced landfill waste by 77 percent since 1989. Paramax's Cuvette Reuse Project allows customers to return empty spools and cardboard boxes free of shipping charges. This project is estimated to reduce 203,760 pounds of cardboard and 180,000 pounds of plastic waste annually.

Bazaar del Mundo, Inc., San Diego, CA

Located in the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, the Bazaar instituted an extensive recycling program in 1990 and recycles cardboard, glass, plastic, steel cans, and grease. By diverting approximately 200 tons of material a year from the landfill, the Bazaar del Mundo has realized a savings to date of $10,700.

Beckman Instruments, Inc., Brea, CA

Beckman Instruments, Inc. provides quality products and services, from academic bioresearch to applications in the bioindustrial and diagnostic laboratory. The facility involves all 1200 employees in recycling white paper, cardboard, computer paper, plastics, and aluminum cans. In addition, Beckman has a program that allows customers to return polystyrene shipping containers (at Beckman's expense) for reuse. Since the inception of their program in May of 1993, Beckman has diverted over 275 tons of waste from local landfills, and has earned over $35,000 from both sales of recyclable items and reduced landfill costs.

Doubletree Hotel--Orange County, Orange, CA

The Doubletree Hotel, Orange County, is a 450-room, first-class, full-service, corporate hotel located near Disneyland. Unclaimed guest items and used employee uniforms are donated to charities. The hotel also offers green suites: environmentally friendly guest rooms with recycled products and filtered air and water. In 1994 they recycled 73,000 pounds of materials and saved $12,000.

East Shore RV Park, San Dimas, CA

East Shore R.V. Park rents sites to recreational vehicles on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, supplying renters with full hookups, telephone, cable TV, grass, trees, and other convenient amenities, and lake access for fishing. In an effort to reduce their weekly trash pickups, they have started a program of mulching their grass cuttings three times a month back onto their 37 acres of lawns and, once a month, picking the clippings up and composting them on site. They mix the composted grass clippings with chips from tree trimmings and spread it in planter beds for weed control, thereby reducing their use of chemical weed control. East Shore's efforts to reduce weekly trash pickups have resulted in a savings of at least $7,000, or 46 fewer trash hauls a year.

Kaiser Permanente--Sherman Way Regional Laboratories, North Hollywood, CA

Kaiser Permanente Sherman Way Regional Reference Laboratories donates used computers, microscopes, and medical equipment to public schools and less developed countries. Listings with the California Materials Exchange and Los Angeles Sanitation District Recycling Directory have helped maximize waste reduction by offering used cardboard, paper, and glass to other companies that can use them. Also, by reusing plastic containers and sterilized test tubes, the company is saving $62,000 annually.

Lakewood Regional Medical Center, Lakewood, CA

Lakewood Regional Medical Center recycles paper and cardboard and has cut compactor waste hauling in half, saving approximately $24,000 per year.

Nissan Motor Corporation, Gardena, CA

Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. has reduced the use of paper and diskettes by placing their environmental and safety manual on the local area network computer system. Nissan's memohead and business cards are made from recycled paper. Nissan's Master Parts Distribution Center in Compton has saved over $80,000 in packaging costs by reuse and recycling.

Norton's Palm Dry Cleaners Inc., Placentia, CA

Norton's Palm Dry Cleaners, Inc. is promoting the use of a reusable garment bag to reduce packing material waste. At present, it is estimated this service reduces material use about 25 percent, resulting in a cost saving for plastic bags of 25 percent, or about $4,000 annually.

Plaza Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA

Plaza Camino Real is a super regional shopping center located in North San Diego County within the cities of Oceanside and Carlsbad. The center recycles all mixed paper, cardboard, glass & plastic bottles, aluminum and metal cans, green wastes, and construction debris. A special program during eight months of the year diverts food wastes from their restaurants to feedlots in the Riverside County area. The 145 retail stores and restaurants and the five major department stores at Plaza Camino Real have cut 51 percent from their waste stream, thus saving over $25,000 in hauling and dumping fees in 1994 alone.

Ricoh Electronics, Inc., Tustin, CA

Ricoh Electronics, Inc. manufactures copier machines and related supplies such as toner, developer, parts, and thermal paper products. By separating corrugated paper boxes and recycling them, the company reduced trash hauling fees by $800 per month. All areas of the company have collection boxes for white and nonwhite paper which is collected for recycling. This recycling program earns the company $300 to $600 per month.

Sea World of California, San Diego, CA

Sea World's recycling efforts have resulted in the diversion of 881,252 pounds of trash from local landfills. The "clean green" waste and cardboard recycling programs results in nearly 320,200 pounds of clean green waste and 438,760 pounds of cardboard recycled annually. In 1993, Sea World of California's recycling program yielded a savings of $19,284.

Toyota Technical Center, USA, Inc., Torrance, CA

Toyota Technical Center, USA, Inc., (TTC) is an automotive research and development company, with locations in Michigan, California, and Arizona. Each location has a dedicated recycling program. In California, TTC has reduced the number of trash pickups, resulting in a 76 percent savings in the company's waste removal budget between 1993 and 1994. Also, money saved at TTC in California due to purchasing fewer supplies has resulted in a 15 percent reduction in costs.

For More Help:

  • For more help in establishing a program to keep your profits from going out with the trash, you can call your city or county recycling coordinator or solid waste manager for local referrals and more information on industry-specific programs and waste evaluations.
  • The California Materials Exchange, CALMAX, facilitates the reuse and recycling of excess products, materials, and discards from California businesses. An online service and a bimonthly CALMAX catalog list materials available and materials wanted. Any business, nonprofit group, or government entity may list, at no charge, materials they have available or materials they need. For more information call CALMAX toll free, (877) 520-9703.
  • CalRecycle Waste Prevention Information Exchange, has sample outreach materials from other organizations.
  • CalRecycle Buy Recycled Program, (916) 341-6481.
Last updated: August 21, 2012
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