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Success Story

Atacama Manufacturing, Albany, Oregon

Estimated Annual Savings - 150,300 kilowatt-hours

A quick glance in your trash or recycling bin is all it takes to see the huge role single-use plastics play in American lives. Even a few takeout meals add up quickly, and those to-go containers, utensils, straws and cups affect the environment long after your food is a distant memory.

After spending decades in plastics manufacturing, Chris Vitello, founder and CEO of Atacama Manufacturing, couldn’t shake the feeling that instead of contributing to the problem, he could be part of the solution.

“In 2009 I looked back over my career and said, ‘Boy, I have personally sent a lot of plastic to the landfill.’ That’s when I decided there had to be a better way, and I started what is now Atacama Manufacturing.”

The Albany-based company aims to break the waste cycle by replacing single-use plastics with plant-based, reusable, and compostable packaging. It also works with customers like the restaurant chain Sweetgreen to fine-tune a circular reuse system. Through this process, Atacama makes plant-based containers, collects them after use, and turns the used products into raw material for new ones — repeating the cycle in a closed loop instead of sending the containers to a landfill.

Read how Atacama received more than $23,000 in cash incentive for upgrades at their Albany Facility