On Thursday, May 10 Aera Energy LLC became the first company in Bakersfield to move toward zero waste by including food composting in their headquarters recycling program. Aera launched an effort aimed at achieving the environmental strategy known as “zero waste.”
Mayor Harvey Hall and Linda Hartman, executive director of Bakersfield ARC Foundation, helped to launch the zero waste effort for Aera’s headquarters facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony during the company’s Health, Safety and Green Fair. The event was held at Area’s headquarters, 10000 Ming Avenue.
“The concept of zero waste is straightforward: begin by producing less waste and then recycle or compost everything possible so that nothing goes to the landfill,” said Tom Harlan, Aera administrative services manager who has led the down-to-earth effort. “We take pride in being an environmentally conscious company. Achieving zero waste in our office headquarters will take us to the next level.”
In 2010, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the per capita generation of waste was 4.43 pounds per person per day, with a recycling rate of only about 34 percent. Aera’s waste elimination mindset aims to change that trend.
The more than 500 employees and contractors at Aera’s headquarters will now use only compostable plates, cups and utensils. New compost collection bins will make it easy for employees to sort organic waste for composting as well as the standard recyclable materials such as bottles and cans.
Compost collection bins, where even the plastic bags are compostable, are replacing trash cans and the compost material will be processed by the City of Bakersfield. Uneaten lunch – plates and all – will be turned into nutrient rich soil that can be used in agricultural fields.
“We are also expanding our recycling efforts with BARC,” Harlan added. “Our new bins will also make it easy for employees to collect recyclable work paper as well as plastics, cardboard, glass and almost anything else a worker might throw away in a normal day. Ultimately, our goal is to add nothing to the landfill.”
Following the ribbon cutting, Aera employees, their family members and retirees had the opportunity to interact with over 120 local exhibitors at the Health, Safety and Green Fair. The event provided opportunities for e-waste recycling, health screenings and a look at the latest in hybrid and electric vehicles. Employees were also test-riding Segways as well as electric and new concept bicycles such as the Elliptigo.
“We partnered with local non-profit agencies that can reuse clothes, books, cell phones, towels and pet products, construction materials, eye glasses and much more that were donated by our employees,” said Harlan. “We recycled literally tons of material during the event.”
Aera Energy LLC is a California oil and gas producer. Company headquarters are in Bakersfield and most of its production is centered in the San Joaquin Valley. Aera also has oilfield operations in Ventura and Monterey counties.