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November 1, 2011 > Special Life Events: Jason Mahon

Special Life Events: Jason Mahon

Jason Mahon was sworn in on September 27, 2011, as a director of the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board, commonly referred to as Stopwaste.org. He has been appointed to the eleven-member county board by the county board of supervisors and joins other elected and appointed leaders.

The Recycling Board is responsible for programs that promote source reduction, residential and commercial recycling, recycled product procurement and market development. This also includes county-wide policies like mandatory recycling and county-wide plastic bag bans and fees, both of which are currently under review by the board.

Mahon co-founded Premier Organics in 2002, an Oakland-based manufacturer of organic nut butters with more than 45 employees. For the past two years, Harvard University's Initiative for a Competitive Inner City has recognized his organization as one of the fastest growing companies in the country.

"Watching our own company grow and generate more waste really motivated me to be more active in finding solutions," said Mahon.

He first became involved with waste and garbage issues when working with Premier Organics' team members on training programs about what is recyclable and compostable and how to dispose of hazardous waste like batteries and paint.

Mahon has also led a reusable pallet wrapping project (partially funded through Stopwaste's mini-grant program) and was able to persuade other food industry participants to conduct trials and, ultimately, implement reusable pallet wrapping programs of their own. A grocery product may be wrapped and unwrapped on a pallet with single-use plastics more than five times before the consumer takes it home. The program implemented by Mahon was designed to reduce that waste.

"I could see our company hitting a point of diminishing returns in trying to reduce waste that required a review of how garbage systems and garbage policies work together. Small changes to a big system can reduce thousands of tons of waste," he stated.

Over the past two years, Mahon has toured in-county and out-of-county garbage handling facilities, conducted hundreds of interviews with people in the garbage industry and studied garbage and recycling franchise contracts.

For more information, visit www.StopWaste.org

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