Family-owned and operated Peña's Disposal, Inc. -- founded by Salvador Peña in 1949 -- continues to blaze new frontiers in the area of recyling.
The Cutler-based company was recently honored by the California Resource Recovery Association for outstanding construction and demolition debris diversion. That means the company was tops in the state when it comes to diverting materials from landfills.
The notification letter from the association noted that the awards committee "was impressed by the sustained increase in diversion provided for construction and demolition materials in Tulare County."
When Peña's Disposal won the contract to handle construction and demolition recycling for Tulare County and seven of its incorporated cities in 2011, it diverted 82 percent of material from the landfill. That compared to 56 percent under the previous hauler.
The reycling rate, which jumped to as high as 89 percent, is not that startling for Carlos García, the company's service manager.
"It's just part of knowing what the material is and finding different markets for the material," said García.
The company, he said, guaranteed a diversion rate of 60 percent when it bid for the county contract.
"That's just the way we operate," said García. "We're more efficient. Our goal is to keep as much as we can out of the landfill."
In the process, Peña's Disposal created 25 jobs.
"This kind of improvement in recycling was noticed in Sacramento and Peña's is honored to be recognized," said Peña's vice president Gabe Peña. "We are a small, family-owned company competing with national companies, but the accomplishment of our staff is really remarkable."
Peña, in a press statement, said he was pleased "to do our part to get Tulare County closer to the state's overall rate for diverting waste from the waste stream and into recyling."
Peña's Recycling -- which serves communities in Tulare and Fresno counties -- is the only facility in Tulare County to process refuse, recycling, construction, demolition, e-waste and green waste all at one site.
The company was the first to incorporate green trucks into its fleet, and is the first hauler in the county with natural gas vehicles.
Peña's Recycling operates out of a 62,000-square-foot facility in Cutler.
The company provides curbside waste pickup to 21,012 customors in unincorporated areas of Tulare and Fresno counties.