California Waste Solutions (CWS) provides recycling, waste management and materials brokering services to public and private sector clients throughout northern California. The Duong family formed CWS in 1990 and it continues as a family enterprise today.
Shortly after arriving here from Vietnam in 1981, the Duong family started CWS predecessor, Cogido Recycling, which was sold to a national solid waste company in 1990. In 1992 CWS won a contract to collect and process recyclables in the City of Oakland and since winning that first contract, CWS has grown into a substantial regional company. CWS began processing the majority of residential recyclable material for the City of San José in 2000 and in 2006, San Jose selected CWS to both collect and process these materials.
CWS operates recycling plants in Oakland and one in San José as well as support facilities for its truck fleet and collections operations. The company´s highly qualified staff includes professionals with local and international waste management experience.
In addition to materials collections and processing, CWS brokers recycled materials, both nationally and international markets.
The Duong family´s inspiring story is one of perseverance. Before the Vietnam War, they owned the largest paper mill in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Following the South Vietnam take over, their holdings were nationalized and the family fled the country with just the clothes on their backs and whatever could be carried by hand. Following two years in a Philippines relocation camp, the Duongs went to San Francisco where they began collecting discarded cardboard and other paper that they recognized as valuable commodities.
From this humble start, with virtually no English language skills or understanding of American business practices, CWS is now one of the top 100 of national solid waste industry players and currently employs more than 200 people.