CASA and CASA Youth are working with over 25 Alameda High students to deliver the “Alameda High School Reusables To-Go Pilot Program” to dramatically reduce disposable foodware waste in Alameda’s downtown Park Street district. This pilot will demonstrate the waste reduction and cost-effective solutions for transitioning from disposable to reusable take-out containers. We have partnered with Dispatch Goods (https://dispatchgoods.com/home) to increase our capacity and capability to execute this pilot program. The ultimate goal of the project will be to transform the Downtown Alameda Business Association district to reusable foodware for both dine in and take-out and support the City of Alameda in exploring the feasibility of updating its foodware ordinance to require reusables at all food service establishments throughout the City.

CASA Youth has secured a three-year grant from the Altamont Education Advisory Board (www.altamonteab.org) to help fund the project, and is seeking additional grant funds and project partners to test this innovative approach to waste reduction for restaurant take-out meals.

The pilot project will launch in Fall 2020 when students return for the semester and downtown restaurants are open again for take-out. During the first phase, Alameda High School students will participate by purchasing take-out meals in reusable containers  and depositing them when empty in special bins staged at the restaurants and at Alameda High’s campus. Dispatch will collect the empty containers, commercially sanitize and return them to all participating restaurants. In addition to reducing waste and instilling new consumer habits amongst Alameda’s local youth and residents, this program is designed to help both restaurants and AUSD reduce material and waste-hauler fees. Over the next three-years, we will test methods for formalizing the pilot program and expanding it beyond the student population to City staff at City Hall and, ultimately, all residents and families in Alameda.

We are grateful for the support of the Downtown Alameda Business Association, the City of Alameda Public Works Department, and the Alameda Unified School District for their guidance in the development of this project.