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Featured Article filed under Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on Aug 4, 2014

Working Partner Update: Community Purchasing Alliance, Washington DC

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/community-purchasing-alliance-washington-dc-working-partner-update/

Based in Washington, DC, the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA) leverages the buying power of its member community organizations to lower operating costs while supporting vendors committed to a greater social purpose. CPA is owned entirely by its members, which include religious institutions, charter schools, and other nonprofits. Together, CPA helps these organizations realize that by working together they can advance their commitments to social and environmental values while also improving their bottom lines.

CPA started as an electricity-buying group in 2011. It has since grown to more than 100 organizations and helps its members save around 15% on their electricity bills by purchasing at fixed group rates that include 100% renewable energy and a rebates. The fixed rates help members with greater budget predictability and the clean energy component aligns with their sustainability principles. CPA expects 30 to 40 new religious congregations to join this program in the fall. They hope to soon help members more closely track their utility usage to determine additional ways to save money.

Members expanded their cooperative purchasing to waste and recycling pick-up, because of the significant cost savings potential in this area. CPA signed contracts that will save 25%, or $96,000 in the upcoming year, for the 45 participants in this program. Information was collected on the current practices of dozens of members to inform the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. They found members were being significantly over-charged to have their trash collected and on top of that had little recourse in their service agreements. For example, one church was paying $2,300/month for the same level of service that is now being provided for $490/month. CPA created its own service contract within the RFP but allowed respondents to propose changes. The RFP offered additional points for local, minority-owned companies that paid its workers living wages and used transfer stations and materials recycling facilities that share these values. This year, CPA selected two local companies that together employee 250 local residents as the winning vendors.

Other cooperative purchasing programs include installation of solar panels, copier leasing, office supply purchasing and payroll services. CPA also has a discount program with nine ACE Hardware stores in which members receive 10% off any item and 25% off bulk purchases. CPA estimates that, on average, members save $6,000/year by participating in the electric, trash and recycling, and supplies purchasing programs. This savings stays local and enables the nonprofit members to continue serving the community while staying committed to their social and environmental values. CPA believes the model will become self-sustaining once it reaches 180 members in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Once the concept is proven, CPA aims to work with partners to replicate the model in cities across the country.

Contact Information: Web page  http://cpa.coop/; contact person Felipe Witchger, felipe@cpa.coop


This article authored by Megan Loeb and Neil Seldman

austinskyline
Featured Article filed under Stop Incineration, Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on Jul 9, 2014

Working Partner Update: Austin Gets $1 Million Grant for Eco-Industrial Park

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/working-partner-update-austin-1-million-grant-eco-industrial-park/

ILSR and the City of Austin, Texas, have been working partners since the late 1980s, when a coalition of environmental groups, small businesses and progressive City Councilors rejected a garbage incinerator already under construction. The City Council closed down the project and initiated a path toward recycling, composting and use of low cost landfill which… Continue reading

MRN-wide
Featured Article filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Brenda Platt | No Comments | Updated on Jun 17, 2014

Brenda Platt Presenting At Maryland Recycling Network – June 19, 2014

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/brenda-platt-presenting-maryland-recycling-network-june-1-2014/

ILSR co-Director, Brenda Platt, is speaking on a zero waste panel on June 19, 2014, at the Maryland Recycling Network’s annual conference.   Her presentation, “The State of Composting in the U.S.,” will highlight cutting edge composting programs around the country.  Management and reduction of organics in our waste streams is a hot topic for many… Continue reading

10-17-12 Brenda at the podium
Featured Article filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Jun 18, 2014

ILSR’s Brenda Platt Delivers Keynote for US Zero Waste Business Conference 2014

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/ilsrs-brenda-platt-delivers-keynote-waste-business-conference-2014/

ILSR co-Director, Brenda Platt attended this year’s USZBC conference, hosted in Atlanta, Georgia at the beginning of May. Elemental Impact’s online magazine highlighted Platt’s keynote presentation in their blog: For the 2014 USZWBC Conference - Creating Value Through Zero Waste, the superb program topics substantiated the zero waste industry’s continued evolution. Hosted in Atlanta, GA – a city entrenched… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on May 5, 2014

International Conversation on Zero Waste, May 2014

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/international-conversation-waste-2014/

During a recent e-mail interchange, Mal Williams of Zero Waste Wales, Plasnewydd, Cardiff, reported on disappearing waste in that country. In order to maximize efficiency, add value to collected recyclables and reduce available materials for incineration, co-mingled recycling (single stream), is being phased out. Nancy Gorrell, Berkeley, CA commented: Hooray for Wales! Here in Berkeley,… Continue reading