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Materials Efficiency Success Stories

The R4 Program
coordinates waste diversion and recycling at the University of California, Davis. The program focuses on source reduction as the most important component of solid waste reduction and provides tips for reuse, recycling and rebuying practices for many household items. 

Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board and the Alameda County Waste Management Authority maintain a website that offers information, publications and grants on recycling and composting, buying recycled products, and business waste reduction.

Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow is a Portland, Oregon program that aims to provide "one-stop-shopping" for area businesses to help them make their properties more energy-efficient and water-efficient and generate less waste. 

City Power: Flexing Municipal Muscles describes San Jose, California’s progress toward sustainability, which began with a pioneering effort in waste management and recycling. 

The Commercial Waste Reduction Clearinghouse, operated by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Solid Waste Program, helps companies implement waste prevention and reuse techniques and features success stories from businesses, schools and public agencies. The case studies are searchable by topic.

The EcoStar Business Awards Program rewards small Montana businesses that have taken the initiative to reduce solid and hazardous waste, conserve energy and water and improve air quality. Program winners receive display ads, publicity, a certificate and the rights to use the Eco Star logo.

eCycling is a partnership among EPA Region 3, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to recycle unwanted computers, computer equipment, and televisions.

Get in the Loop Recycling Program is a Washington state program aimed at increasing the market for recycled products. 

Green Dot - Dual System Deutschland is the outgrowth of a European-based effort to prevent and recycle sales packaging and to recover secondary raw materials and return them to production. Companies pay a licensing fee to print a green dot on their packaging, and the Dual System then fulfills company take-back requirements for that packaging.

Imperial City Recycling Project is a waste-reduction program in Nebraska that boasts the highest waste-reduction rate in any recycling program in the state’s history. 

The Integrated Waste Management Program and Recycling Policy in San Jose, California requires the city to consider the recycled content and recyclability of products and packaging in its procurement decisions. 

Interface, Inc. is the second leading carpet textile manufacturer in the United States, and a multi-billion dollar company. After operating Interface conventionally for 21 years, CEO Ray Anderson set out to make the company sustainable and environmentally-friendly company, focusing on recycling and diminished waste.

The Jefferson Parish Christmas Tree/Marsh Restoration Project in Harahan, Louisiana, uses discarded Christmas trees bound for the solid waste stream to protect threatened marshlands and wetlands along the Louisiana coast. 

King County Environmental Purchasing Program has been assisting public agencies in King County, Washington purchase recycled and environmentally preferable products for more than nine years. The program's Annual Report for 2000 documents savings of $575,000 through environmentally preferable purchasing. Program products are listed at the program's home page.

Long-Range Planning/Municipal Recycling is a sustainable planning program in Chillicothe, Missouri that aims to generate new ideas, develop additional leadership and involve the entire community. The program also includes a curbside recycling program and the creation of a paper fuel pellet plant. 

Materials Reuse and Recycling Program enables the city of Chicago, Illinois to shift from waste generation and disposal to policies and strategies that promote conservation and recycling of materials. 

Orange Grove County Recycling Center is a recently-expanded $2 million materials-recovery facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee that employs 100 adults with developmental disabilities to process more than 55 tons of recyclables per day. 

Paper Working Group consists of leading businesses that are large-volume paper and paperboard buyers. The group was convened by Metafore in 2003 to collectively identify ways to develop a consistent and affordable supply of environmentally preferable paper.

Planet Newark Recycling is a project that promotes Newark, New Jersey as a prime location to establish or expand a recycling business through financial incentives. More than 80 recycling firms have been established as a result of this effort. 

Resolution for Procurement and Use of Recycled and Environmentally Sensitive Products is a resolution adopted by the Phoenix, Arizona City Council that sets guidelines for the purchase of recycled products, the use of recycled tires, the maximization of compost and mulch use and studies of product-reconditioning programs.

Resource 2000 Salvaged Building Materials Reuse & Recycling Program was started by the Boulder Energy Conservation Center to sell recycled building materials in Denver and Boulder, Colorado.

Collections of Materials Efficiency Success Stories

The U.S. EPA's WasteWise Industry Sector Publications provide case studies highlighting the commitments and accomplishments of WasteWise partners in over 20 industries.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance offers Waste Reduction Record-Setters Program Profiles, including more than 50 examples of communities and business reporting waste reduction rates of 50 percent or higher.

Minnesota Waste Wise success stories offer examples of how businesses and organizations across Minnesota are reducing waste and saving money.

Clean Washington Center works to increase markets and uses of recyclable commodities by manufacturers and end users. Their website offers fact sheets on products and projects using specific recycled commodities including organics, wood, glass, plastic, rubber, paper and industrial waste.

Preventing Pollution in Our Cities and Counties: A Compendium of Case Studies highlights pollution prevention success stories in cities and counties throughout the US. Many of the profiles focus on achievements in the reduction of municipal solid waste. The document is available for purchase from the National Association of Counties, 440 First Street NW, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 393-6226; Fax (202) 737-0480 

Megalinks to success stories on other sites provide links to success stories on a wide variety of sustainable development topics, including Materials Efficiency.

Last updated: January 31, 2005

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