Firms in San Joaquin County, Calif., Honored for Efforts to Reduce Solid Waste

State officials honored five companies doing business in San Joaquin County for outstanding efforts to reduce solid wastes.

Nov. 24—State officials honored five companies doing business in San Joaquin County for outstanding efforts to reduce solid wastes.

Of those, Luster-Cal Nameplate Corp. of Lodi is the only county-based company lauded by the 2004 Waste Reduction Awards Program. Other winners, headquartered elsewhere, but with operations in the county, were Save Mart Supermarkets, Trinchero Family Estates, Target Corp. and Safeway.

Lustre-Cal, a WRAP award winner for the fourth year in a row, produces a variety of adhesive labels, nameplates, panel overlays, membrane switches, shielding, custom converted and insert-mold decorated products.

It has reduced by about three tons per year materials hauled to landfills, primarily by diverting scrap aluminum to a recycling and by reusing some of the silicone-treated liner paper from adhesive-backed label stock, said William Coon, Lustre-Cal purchasing manager.

Altogether, its efforts save the company about $14,000 a year, but bottom-line benefits are not the primary motivation, Coon said.

"There is some financial gain, but overall there's an underlying belief at Lustre-Cal in protecting the environment," he said. "It's not our first inclination just to throw something into the landfill."

That same sort of spirit distinguishes Modesto-based Save Mart Supermarkets, which operates S-Mart, Save Mart and Food Maxx stores in San Joaquin County, said Ray Agah, company director of engineering and construction.

"I'm very proud of being part of this company," Agah said Monday. "Save Mart is known to be part of the community wherever we are. That's part of our passion."

The regional grocery chain, which operates 122 retail stores in Northern California, instituted environmental policies and programs that have reduced the waste it ships to landfills by nearly 80 percent, about 43,000 tons annually. It has also saved more than $2.2 million per year in costs.

One unusual aspect of its environmental programs is one that takes organic wastes, primarily produce-department parings and bakery discards.

Those materials are collected at a single point in Merced, where, after separation, the organic materials are composted. The finished premium compost is then bagged and returned to Save Mart garden shops and sold as a top-quality soil amendment.

"If you're building a garden, or anything like that, that's the best thing," Agah said. "You don't get any weeds in it"

Save-Mart, which now has won five WRAP awards in a row, has a dozen business operations in San Joaquin County. Those include five S-Mart supermarkets in Stockton and one S-Mart in Lodi; two Save Mart supermarkets in Manteca and two in Tracy; a Food Maxx supermarket in Stockton; and the SMART Transportation distribution center in Lathrop.

The other county WRAP winners are:

—Trinchero Family Estates, based in St. Helena, produces Sutter Home, Trinchero, Montevina and Trinity Oaks wines; Fre, an alcohol-free wine; and distributes Reynolds Vineyards wines from Australia.

The company has an ambitious water recycling and composting program.

Grapes shipped to the Napa winery from its vineyards in Lodi and Clements return in the form of grape pomace to a composting facility in Sacramento County. The finished compost, in turn, is distributed back to the vineyards.

Trinchero, a WRAP winner for five years running, also operates a wine storage facility on Jacob Brack Road in Lodi.

—Target Corp. of Minneapolis is credited with recycling more than 400,000 tons of materials nationwide last year, including cardboard, paper, fluorescent lamps and ballasts, food, batteries, and shrink wrap. It has won seven WRAP awards since 1997.

Target operates five stores in San Joaquin County: two in Stockton and one each in Tracy, Lodi and Manteca.

—Safeway Inc., one of the nation's largest retail grocery companies, operates 582 California stores in its Vons and Northern California divisions. A green-waste composting program last year diverted 68,785 tons of waste from landfill disposal in the state. Those two divisions also diverted more than 148,657 tons of other materials from landfills, including cardboard, plastic, meat waste, metal, paper and glass through recycling programs.

Based in Pleasanton, Safeway has won six WRAP awards. It operates five stores in San Joaquin County, including two supermarkets in Stockton and one each in Lodi, Tracy and Manteca, as well as a major distribution center in Tracy.

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