Builder Recognized for Waste Diversion

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A Santa Barbara home building firm is the new recipient of a prestigious award from the state of California for its successful efforts to divert waste from landfills.

January 24, 2000

A Santa Barbara home building firm is the new recipient of a prestigious award from the state of California for its successful efforts to divert waste from landfills.

The California Integrated Waste Management Board--part of the California EPA--recently honored 566 companies in all industries as Waste Reduction Award Program (WRAP) recipients. From that group, Investec Real Estate Companies is one of 10 "WRAP of the Year" recipients for 1999.

According to Roni Java, a spokesman for the state agency that has administered the program since 1993, "These 10 represent the best models of waste diversion in their respective industries. They have found new uses for an amazing amount of product."

What did Investec, a custom-home and production builder facing strong no-growth opposition in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, do to receive this recognition?

From September 1997 to August 1999, Investec recycled upwards of 83% of the wood, metal, asphalt, concrete, drywall, cardboard and paper coming from its residential job sites on the Central Coast. During the period, the firm generated a total of 529.42 tons of waste from constructing approximately 400 homes. About 440.68 tons were diverted from the landfill.

Investec vice president Charlie Eckberg, says the ongoing diversion effort uses a combination of on-site sorting as well as the sorting services of a local waste management firm, MarBorg Industries. More specifically, job-site diversion programs separated:

  • 32 tons of concrete and asphalt,
  • 129.49 tons of wood waste (with nails), crates etc.,
  • and 96 tons of rubble-dirt, concrete with rebar, rocks, bricks, tile and stucco.
    Off-site diversion conducted by Waste recycling contractor MarBorg sorted 183.19 tons that included everything from drywall to carpet padding.

    Eckberg says Investec has been actively pursuing "Green" construction initiatives throughout the 12 years that the company has been in existence, including "sustainable" and "smart growth" principles that planning boards along the Central Coast have been requiring. Investec did not immediately have an estimate as to the added cost of the program, but it did receive a priceless amount of good public relations during a recognition event held late last month at its luxury home community, Summerland Heights near Santa Barbara. California Waste Board member and former state senator David A. Roberti was the keynote speaker at the event that was attended by many local community leaders.

    According to Roberti about 15% of the state's landfill tonnage comes from the construction and demolition industries. Investec's efforts, he says, provides a model for other home building companies nationwide.
    The California Environmental Protection Agency set a goal in 1993 to reduce the amount of landfill tonnage by 50% by this year. As of 1998 the state, through programs like WRAP, has reduced the 56 million tons of waste generated by California business 33%, Roberti notes.

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