On Friday, all five Alameda County supervisors and the county administrator convened, not in their downtown meeting room, but beside a construction site at Highland Hospital to celebrate the groundbreaking of the hospital’s Acute Tower Replacement Project. A dozen ceremonial shovels were placed next to the podium, while several excavators were doing the real work on the other side of the fence.

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Most people may not know that the carpets in Alameda County’s General Services Agency’s office in downtown Oakland are partially made from shredded recycled plastic bottles. They also may not know that over 25 percent the power used at the Santa Rita jail comes from solar panels. These, along with other energy efficient and recycled materials projects, are part of Alameda County’s green purchasing policy. The idea is for the county to buy and use as many green products as possible in order to save water and energy and reduce waste.

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