About a year after its launch, the ReThink Disposable program is really building momentum — 25 businesses have been certified (18 of them in the downtown district), 13 are in the process of being certified, and 24 more businesses have signed up.
ReThink Disposable helps businesses save thousands of dollars while contributing positively to the environment. The program, developed in partnership with the City of Alameda and funded by the Ocean Protection Council, has a goal of helping 100 businesses switch from disposable foodware to reusable foodware in an effort to reduce the amount of solid waste being added to our landfills.
The ReThink Disposable program recently analyzed the combined accomplishments of five businesses in the program and announced these results:
- 314,499 single-use items reduced annually
- 1,976 pounds of waste prevented annually
- Average annual cost savings to businesses: $1,598
With numbers like these for only five businesses, the numbers will be even more astonishing when the program meets its goal of 100 participating businesses.
Crispian Bakery, Taqueria Viva Mexico, and Habanas Cuban Cuisine are wonderful examples of what can be accomplished by completing the ReThink Disposable certification process. Auditors were able to work with staff to make simple changes that reduced annual waste and also resulted in total cost savings to the businesses.
With Earth Day being celebrated in Alameda this Saturday, April 21, it’s a terrific time to reflect on how the Downtown Alameda businesses do their part to protect the environment and make Alameda a greener community every day.
Common green practices in the district include reducing water use with low flow toilets and auto-off faucets; conserving energy by upgrading lighting and equipment; diverting waste from the landfill through reuse, recycling, and composting; and using non-toxic or low-toxic cleaners.
When it comes to being green, the Downtown Alameda has racked up some impressive numbers:
- Over 45 businesses have participated in Alameda Municipal Power’s energy efficiency programs in the past 3 years.
- More than 30 businesses have signed up for AMP’s “Alameda Green” program, helps bring more renewable energy to Alameda.
- Nearly 75 restaurants and eateries participate in “organic” recycling of all food waste. According to Alameda County Industries, that’s over 1/3 of all participating businesses on the island.
- Over 20 retail shops sell almost exclusively reused and reclaimed items… clothing, furniture, toys, antiques, videos, books, and more.
- 4 downtown businesses have recently completed the new ReThink Disposable: Unpackage Alameda program and have switched more of their disposable items to re-usable items, with dozens more ready to “graduate.”
As a commitment to sustainability, eleven Downtown Alameda businesses have taken steps to become a Certified Green Business. The green practices of these business has been verified by the California Green Business Network: