Recycling Update 2018 Speakers!

Over 20 presenters will inform and inspire the 23rd Annual Recycling Update conference.  See our ZWW/Recycling Update page under our Activities Tab to register for RU and to see the activities being planned for the annual Zero Waste Week.

David Allaway, Senior Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.  David will address Oregon’s efforts to move up the hierarchy with a focus on reducing wasted food, reuse/repair, and the built environment; Oregon’s transition to sustainable materials management; and the development of new statewide systems to measure progress towards broad sustainability goals that include – but go beyond – traditional weight-based waste recovery metrics.

Ric Anthony, Principal, Richard Anthony Associates, “Why Bottle Caps?” – Bottle caps are one of the most frequent plastic items found in coastal cleanups. There is need to bring the producers these products and packages to the World table to draft Zero Waste responsibility plans for proper management of discarded plastic via redesign for recyclability, buyback purchasing opportunities (closed circle), and recovery campaigns for vagrant plastics on land and sea. In ten minutes I will discuss the science and the campaign which includes legislative action to force the redesign to leash the lid, a lawsuit to fund the cleanup and a public education campaign that includes returning the caps found in coastal cleanups back to the producer.

Will Bakx, Soil Scientist/Owner, Sonoma Compost Company, “It Ain’t Over until the “Overs” have a Home” – When making finished compost or mulch, ‘overs’ are screened off to create a clean, uniform marketable product.  The ‘overs’ are the coarser woody fraction that used to go to biofuel plants for green energy.  As biofuel plants are shutting down or raising the bar on what products they accept, Woodageddon has arrived.  Or, Chunky Mulch is here.  Clean up your ‘overs’ and return all organics to the soil.  Mulch: the obstacles and the solutions.

Erin Cooke, Sustainability Director, San Francisco International Airport and Jennifer Acton, Environmental Operations Manager, San Francisco International Airport, “Achieving Zero: SFO’s Journey” – San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO or the Airport) has established the bold, Strategic Plan goal, of becoming the world’s first zero-waste Airport by 2021. In setting this target, our Airport asks the question of “how low can we go?” within its 14 million square foot campus materials system. To accomplish this bold goal, SFO drafted its first Airport Zero Waste Plan, which sets a pathway to respond to this question and achieve this goal. The Airport’s key implementation leads will walk attendees through SFO’s approach and gain feedback, from you, on what approaches will help our campus reach zero.

Sharon Daraphonhdeth, Interim Director of the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC) at the University of California Berkeley, “UC Berkeley Students Make Zero Waste Possible” – UC Berkeley is committed to reaching zero waste by 2020. Sharon will be presenting on the major accomplishments, created and implemented by students on campus. She will touch on the importance and power of student leaders, and how they are shaping the conversation and paving the way towards zero waste.

Ken DaRosa, Chief Deputy Director, CalRecycle – Mr. DaRosa will share updates regarding SB1383 compost regulations.

Mikhail Davis, Director of Restorative Enterprise, Interface, “Making Closed Loop Carpet a Reality” – For nearly 25 years, Interface has been grappling with the challenge of making their new carpet tiles from old carpet, with many setbacks and breakthroughs along the way.  Mikhail will discuss the Interface journey to make carpet to carpet recycling a technical and economic reality and how and why they decided to break with the carpet industry in 2017 and support the passage of AB 1158, the nation’s first EPR law for carpet.

Jeff Denby, Co-Founder, The Renewal Workshop, “Enabling a Circular Economy for Apparel” – The reason we have waste in the apparel industry is the design of the industry itself. The Renewal Workshop leverages technology, systems thinking and marketplace drivers to start to evolve the industry towards a more regenerative model where resources are wisely used.

Tim Dewey-Mattia

Sara Fuentes, Sustainability Program Manager, Commercial Industrial Waste Applications, Inc. (CIWA, Inc.), “Putting the Zero Waste in Concierge Services” – Learn how CIWA uses emerging technology to help track trash and recycling services and save time and money. CIWA will share some best management practices and lessons learned through a few case studies from their large-scale tech clients in Palo Alto.

Hilary Gans, Manager, SBWMA – In 2016, the SBWMA had a large fire at the MRF. Hilary will tell the tale and share what he has learned from the experience.

Adam Gendell, Associate Director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, “The State of Sustainable Packaging” – This presentation gives an overview of the most current understanding of packaging sustainability, including industry trends, regulatory happenings, and hot topics in sustainable packaging. Learn about the latest news and hear about the industry-facing work of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive Officer, Zero Waste Scotland – Ian Gulland will update us on the latest trends and policies in Zero Waste Scotland.

Zoe Heller, Assistant Director of Policy Development, CalRecycle – The export of recyclable material is a key component of California’s recycling infrastructure.  China’s import restriction is resulting in less recyclable materials leaving California, creating opportunities and challenges for how we manage our materials domestically.

Kevin Kumataka, Green Business Coordinator, San Francisco Green Business Program, “Creating Access to Environmental Recognition” – 2 years ago the San Francisco Green Business Program distinguished itself as the most stringent of Green Business Programs.  This created credibility but became a barrier to many businesses and business sectors in San Francisco.  To address this issue of access to working with the program and to maintain credibility, the SF Green Business Program has piloted a tiered certification model approach.  Come to this talk to learn about developments of not just the SF Green Business Program, but the development of the CA Green Business Program and expansion of the Green Business model to other states.

Alexandra Lalor, Greg Dudish, Alina Bekkerman, Dennis Uyat, “Lessons Learned from Zero Waste Youth Brazil” – From Brazil to the United States, people are coming together and collaborating to create a zero waste world. Representatives from Zero Waste Youth USA will share their experiences from attending the Brazil Zero Waste Youth conference, including challenges we face, similarities we share, and connections we’ve made as we continue to build an international zero waste movement.

Michael Lok, Planning Associate, Asian Health Services – Michael staffs the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative which was funded by AHS and has grown into a statewide coalition focused on making the nail salon industry safer, healthier and more just for the 129,000 nail salon workers statewide most of whom are immigrant women of color. Michael will give an overview of the Collaborative’s environmental justice work which stands on a foundation of community outreach, research and policy advocacy.

Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste Senior Coordinator, San Francisco Dept. of Environment, “San Francisco Upgrades MRF And Expands Materials Recycled” – San Francisco made major upgrades at Recology’s Recycle Central @ Pier 96 to increase the types of materials recovered, improve quality and reduce residual. These upgrades, along with efforts to reduce plastic in compostables and pursue the highest and best use of resources, resulted in San Francisco moving paper cups and cartons from composting into recycling, as well as moving aseptic cartons and plastic film from trash to recycling. Hear how these changes were made, and the latest status and results of the in-progress 2-year citywide rollout of outreach along with smaller trash and larger recycling bins, while addressing recent challenging market conditions.

Patrick Mathews, Salinas Valley Recycles, “Organics Management Planning in the Salinas Valley, the Perfect Storm” – The presentation will overview the expansion of SVR’s Organics Management Program and how we will utilize the $1.34 million grant awarded by CalRecycle under their Greenhouse Gas Reduction, Organics Grant Program for 2016-17.  The topics will include selected technology review, Ag waste recovery, collections, and food recovery and distribution in the Salinas Valley.  The discussion will also outline the unique organics “perfect storm” SVR is planning for in the near future: increased organics recovery, cannabis wastes, and growing challenges for the cattle feedstock (culls) markets.

Kelly McBee, Policy Analyst, Californians Against Waste, “Preserving California’s Bottle Bill” – California’s unique beverage container recycling law was enacted in 1987 and is one of the largest and most successful Bottle Bill programs in North America.  However, over the last few years, unsustainable losses of revenue for recyclers has led to the closing of hundreds of bottle buyback centers, denying California the full scope of the program’s greenhouse gas emission reduction benefits and others. Kelly will discuss opportunities for comprehensive program reform, legislative efforts to date, and next steps.

Terry McDonald, DR3 Mattress Recycling, and Saint Vincent de Paul Lane County, “Building Blocks from Broken Stuff” -Most retail thrift stores send worn and damaged materials to the landfill.  At St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, we use the broken stuff as building blocks for new products. Scratched vinyl records, ripped leather sofas, shirts with blown-out elbows, table tops with no legs? No problem. Our upcycling team creates unique products that attract buyers looking for something that didn’t come off an assembly line. The revenue supports a unique range of services to those struggling financially.

John Moore, Legal Counsel, NCRA, “Winning Isn’t Everything” – Presentation will discuss three local litigation cases from the past year.

Kate O’Neill, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, “The Global (and Local) Impacts of China’s Scrap Ban” – This presentation addresses the unfolding impacts of China’s crackdown on scrap imports, with an emphasis on scrap plastics. I trace out implications for California, the US and the rest of the world, and discuss the many different options currently on the table.

Kerry Parker, Recycling Specialist, City of Alameda, and Samantha Sommer, Waste Prevention Program Manager, Rethink Disposable, “Straws-on-Request, and ReThink Disposable: Unpackaging Alameda Initiative” – The City of Alameda, now implementing a new law that bans plastic straws and other single-use plastics, has found itself suddenly in the midst of ongoing arguments regarding the branding of that whipped coffee drink everyone loves; responding to tough questions like whether or not something deemed “compostable” or “recyclable” actually is, and finding the way through tricky policy-making where most disposable single-use plastic food ware is now banned in the small island city.  Find out about how Alameda’s partnership with Clean Water Action’s ReThink Disposable program to create a demonstration project to “unpackage” a Bay Area community has brought expertise, resources, and technical assistance to hundreds of island businesses, and supports the city’s ambitious source reduction policy to keep our coastlines and bays free from plastics and other debris.

Jerame Rentaria, Organics Marketing Specialist/Company Landscape Designer at Zanker Road Resource Management, Ltd., “DM Reduction System at Zanker Facility” – The DM Reduction system processes materials categorized as miscellaneous debris, as well as residuals from Zanker’s other operations, including bulky items such as furniture, which are collected from local garbage collection companies. The fines are conveyed to a General Kinematics Air Classifier. Here, materials are fluidized with a high-velocity air stream which removes heavy items such as glass, metals, wood, and stones to be removed from lighter items such as paper, plastic and insulation. The heavy items are marketed as ADC, and the lighter items are shipped to a landfill for disposal.

Nicole Tai, CEO, GreenLynx – Nicole will discuss the growth of GreenLynx, which started in 2013 as a deconstruction coordination group and has grown into a full service reclaimed materials company with a Woodworks, Retail Store, Deconstruction service, and Green Building division. GreenLynx opened its store in Santa Rosa in August 2017 and is currently expanding to include reclaimed furniture and finish products, a reclaimed lumber retail and receiving yard, and on-site pickups of reclaimed lumber. Nicole Tai will also briefly discuss the recent Deconstruction Workshop GreenLynx hosted along with the EPA, and the amazing group formed out of this gathering.

Monica Wilson, US and Canada Program Director, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), “Recycling is Not Enough: Findings from our Global Plastic Recycling Research Project” – Working with organizations in China, Southeast Asia, EU, and US, GAIA’s research project on plastic recycling found that as exports increase to Southeast Asia processing may increase by the informal recycling sector, which would have environmental and health impacts on workers and surrounding communities. We also found that international plastic recycling trade transparency is nearly nonexistent and that stronger coordinated action needs to be taken by governments and other actors to curb the overproduction and consumption of plastic.

StopWaste Response to NCRA eNews “Member Showcase” AD Article

By Wendy Sommer, Executive Director, Alameda County Waste Management Authority (AKA StopWaste)
I was surprised to see the “Showcase” article in your December eNews about a lawsuit that names our organization. It certainly makes sense for NCRA members to discuss and debate critical issues, but a suggested call to consider joining the lawsuit from the editor seems out of place when NCRA’s Board has not taken a position on it. Dialogue is important, but it does requires more than one voice, so we now feel the need to weigh in on the article and clarify/correct some of the statements made.

The lawsuit pertains to the Organics Recovery Project, which is a part of the Davis Street Transfer Station Master Plan. Much of the project is necessary for Waste Management to comply with requirements set forth in their franchise with the City of Oakland, ensuring that Oakland material placed in landfill does not contain organics. The project is not designed, nor is it adequately scaled, to replace Oakland’s universal and mandatory source separation services. Unlike the existing structure at the transfer station that is only partially enclosed, the new state-of-the-art facility will be fully enclosed with rapid roll-down doors, negative air pressure and biofilters.

The City of San Leandro as the lead agency under CEQA adopted an Initial Study/Negative Declaration and approved the project in 2011, without receiving any objections. The Alameda County Waste Management Authority’s (ACWMA) discrete role as a responsible agency under CEQA was to amend the Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan to include the project location and description. ACWMA required Waste Management to comply with all conditions imposed by the City of San Leandro and other regulatory agencies, including the Local Enforcement Agency and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. ACWMA reviewed the facts and followed the process as required by law. We do not have control over the project’s design, nor influence over city franchise agreement requirements.

The lawsuit alleges that the ACWMA did not comply with CEQA because it did not perform or require additional environmental review. Petitioners Boone and Stein refused to understand that CEQA requires additional environmental review ONLY IF 1. A project will have new and significant adverse environmental impact, AND 2. Those impacts result from new information, changed circumstances, or substantial changes to the project that occurred after completion of the prior environmental review. ACWMA staff independently evaluated Waste Management’s proposal, requested additional documentation and clarification, and concluded that there is no evidence showing that there will be new significant impacts requiring additional environmental review. There are no substantial changes to the project, no new information, and no changed circumstances since San Leandro’s 2011 approval.

The next steps on this issue will be played out in court. For those who are interested, all the documents filed with the court, including ACWMA’s detailed response to the plaintiffs’ brief are available at the Alameda County Superior Court website: https://publicrecords.alameda.courts.ca.gov/PRS/Case/SearchByCaseNumber. The Case Number is RG17858423. We feel that the lawsuit is unnecessary, and a waste of time and resources to defend, so we hope it is resolved soon.

 

 

The AD Lawsuit You May Not Know About

Editors Note: Have you heard about the pending lawsuit challenging City of San Leandro and Alameda County Waste Management Authority’s CEQA approval of the proposed Waste Management of Alameda County Mixed Waste Anaerobic Digestion facility? If built, the facility will have a huge impact on how discards are handled in Alameda County – and this region, for decades to come. Is the digestion of mixed waste the highest and best use of these discards? Does this approach qualify as Zero Waste? Could that money be better spent on outreach and public education? Why hasn’t this been covered by the press? This is an issue that NCRA members should be discussing and debating

By Arthur R. Boone, Center For Recycling Research and Total Recycling Associates
Petitioners Stein and Boone filed a lawsuit in late April challenging the CEQA duties of the parties. After finding counsel in early May, the petition  was rewritten and filed in early August. There is no pre-trial discovery but simply analysis of the administrative record to find (or oppose those findings) in the petitioners’ complaint. The moving parties filed their briefs at the end of October, citing many shortcoming in the proceedings. (Due to the high cost of pre-paid counsel, Boone withdrew from the Stein-led lawsuit in late October and filed his own brief.)  Defendants briefs are due December 10th (although not released at press time, saying no doubt that they followed CEQA exactly) with the petitioners having a chance to rebut any arguments by January 10th before the show-down before the judge on January 30th.

The most interesting arguments against the proceedings are that:
1) City of San Leandro and Alameda County Waste Management Authority voted on two different proposals.
2) Defendant Waste Management of Alameda County changed its plans with inadequate documentation.
3) The various approving agencies failed to consider a “no project” alternative before starting their approval processes.
4) Alameda County’s ban on incineration includes gas produced from waste materials that is burned for energy, even though the facility is located within the City of San Leandro and not on county land, and
5) The changed status of the project’s area (a piece of the Davis Street Transfer Station) by adding a definition of non-attainment to the air in that space between the projects first light (2011) and its final approval (2017) is a “changed circumstance” which under CEQA would require more staff work.

Recycle Bicycle – West Oakland Tour

By Tim Dewey-Mattia, NCRA Co-Chair – Membership, Engagement and Activities Committee, 12/5/17

Postponed a month due to the smoke from the North Bay fires, the new date for the West Oakland Recycle Bicycle tour brought sunny skies and a dozen NCRA bicyclists out to Frank Ogawa Plaza. The group set out up San Pablo Avenue and over to the now-shuttered site of Alliance Recycling, a buyback center – the focus of the movie Dogtown Redemption – that recently closed due to neighborhood opposition. We discussed the compounding pressures on buyback centers – unsustainably low state processing payments, skyrocketing rents and rapid gentrification of neighborhoods like West Oakland.

Down Peralta Street at the West Oakland Farm Park, it was a much more uplifting scene. Here City Slickers Farm has a community farm, kitchen and playground that provides food and a gathering space to the community. We enjoyed some bites of fresh veggies before cruising just around the block to marvel at the massive metal piles at CASS Inc, aka Custom Alloy, which processes both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Next was a quick peek in the gates of Oakland’s single-stream recycling MRF, California Waste Solutions (not open on the weekend). With China’s dramatic announcements to cut back on imports and the proliferation of random plastic packaging, curbside collectors are feeling the squeeze. Investment in recycling infrastructure and domestic markets would certainly be appreciated.

Down Mandela Parkway and over to Magnolia St, we came to the highlight of the tour – the O2 Artisans Aggregate Eco-Industrial Park. Such an impressive and cool spot – with tons of cool reuse and recycling industry going on. Aitan Mizrahi gave us an hour tour, as we poked our heads in on a sake factory, a soldier fly larvae to animal feed operation, salvaged woodworking, aquaponics…and of course, the Don Bugito “pre-hispanic snackeria”, where they grow edible insects inside a tidy old shipping container.

We hopped back on our bikes and passed the only open buyback center left in West Oakland, National Recycling, then headed past the EBMUD digesters and out to the Port of Oakland. The Middle Harbor Shoreline Park is an under-the-radar and amazing park with panoramic views of the bay, the bridge, the San Francisco Skyline and the port around you. The Port of Oakland is the 5th biggest container port in the US, and recyclables make up about a quarter of total exports – that comes to approximately 2 million tons of recyclables shipped out in 2016 alone. We had a discussion of the impending moves by China and the impacts on markets.… and a quick snack of tasty chocolate covered crickets and spicy mealworms that we picked up from Don Bugito.

The Sutta Company and Schnitzer Steel are both visible from the Adeline overpass, as we headed back from the port and over to our final destination – Old Kan Beer & Co, for beer and food. The fish & chips are highly recommended.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable and interesting few hours exploring the Zero Waste landscape of West Oakland – where the scope and range of different recycling businesses is quite remarkable and always changing.

Thanks again to board member Hilary Near for planning out the route and for being a superb tour guide – and if you missed it, keep posted for another West Oakland Recycle Bicycle tour coming up in 2018!

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