In Boone’s Words August 2017

At a very nice event on Thursday, July 27 at the Ed Roberts Building in Berkeley, The Ecology Center hosted four speakers on plastics and food. The theme for July was PLASTICS FREE JULY and the assembly was the culmination of a variety of events. Carollyn Box from the Five Gyres Science Program (whose founders were early disciples of the beloved Captain Charles Moore) spoke on all the recent data documenting plastics in the ocean, much of it microscopic (90% of the plastics in the ocean are smaller than a grain of sand), much of it becomes like a smog. It’s even scarier when you do autopsies on fish and shellfish. Arlene Blum, research scientist at UCB and head of the Green Science Policy Institute, leads of group of loosely affiliated scientists who study how materials in plastics get into the foodstream with cumulative effects. They have produced six four minute videos on the major problems in this area. Brenda, the Outreach Coordinator of the Plastics Solution Coalition (with which our friend and NCRA member Jackie Perez of The Last Plastic Straw has recently been adopted as a program) identified their goal (with 600 members) to refuse single use plastic and they are now testing an intervention program. Chemicals leach badly out of plastics is the uniform conclusion of all research. Samantha Sommer works for Clean Water Action as the Waste Prevention Program Manager, supporting Chris Slafter as field work director, and they have received grants and contracts to work with food sales facilities to reduce plastic packaging. A very impressive chart on cost savings and ROI time; ending plastics pays. 30-40 people in attendance; a good event. ARB


Martin Bourque announced at the Plastics session that the government of China had announced that day the end of all scrap imports at the end of this calendar year. This may throw West Coast market advantage for California collected materials in a tizzy but it could also help redevelop basic materials re-manufacturing here in our state. As you know, California is a major importer from other states of all basic materials: paper, glass, metals, plastics and wood. The plastics industry is probably ahead of all of these basic industries (except glass) in developing reprocessors within the state who can convert used goods into new ones. It will be interesting to hear from the brokers who move materials around the world how the Chinese decree will affect our West Coast markets. All those empty sea containers made China an easy market; now what?  ARB


Captain Reducer was a cartoon figure populating THE RECYCLER,  an occasional publication of the Campus Recycling Program at Humboldt State University, from at least 1991 where he gave advice of wasting less and recycling more. The Volume 12, #1 of Fall, 1999 of this journal is now in the Urban Ore collection of archival materials; if you have more copies of THE RECYCLER, let ARBoone or Susan Kinsella know how to acquire those copies.

REUSED OFFICE SUPPLIES: Boone is consolidating his workspace and has large supplies of used: file folders, 3 ring notebooks, paper printed on one side only and various other paper goods. Contact him at with your interests.

President’s Report, August 2017

By Laura McKaughan

Hello all and happy summer! NCRA is pleased that during what is normally a slower time for us we are staying busy with lots of activities. First of all, thanks to all those who joined us for NCRA’s networking mixer on June 22 at San Francisco’s Hotel Zetta in their hip “Salvage and Rescue”  Lounge. We had over 20 participants join us for drinks provided by NCRA and a premiere Bay Area networking opportunity. We are making plans to have our next mixer in San Jose in September so please keep an eye out for that. Thanks to all those who attended!

We’ve also been lining up a lot of great tours for our membership and greater community alike! On June 15, NCRA convened a tour of the West Contra Costa Organics Materials Processing facility in Richmond. This facility recently installed a Covered Aerated Static Pile (CASP) composting system, which utilizes forced air instead of mechanical turning to aerate the piles. And on July 13, NCRA coordinated a tour of Recology San Francisco’s Pier 96. Recology recently invested $12 million to update their sorting facility infrastructure in order to make it state-of-the-art again and help the city get to Zero Waste by 2020. This tour sold out in only 1 day so stayed tuned for future organized tours of this popular facility. Lastly, save the date for Saturday October 14, when NCRA is coordinating a recycling tour via bikes of West Oakland infrastructure and history.  More details to come on this soon. Mark your calendars and come out and join the fun!

Look for NCRA and the NCRA Players at the CRRA Conference, held at Paradise Point in San Diego, August 20-23. Join other statewide recycling professionals at CRRA’s 41st annual conference and tradeshow and look out for the NCRA Players on Tuesday night of the conference when we will present, “The Rind of Ancyent Marinere.” I’m prohibited from providing any more details at this time but rest assured that this year’s performance will be the “best show ever!”

Last but not least NCRA’s annual Member Appreciation Picnic is scheduled for Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 12-4pm at Lake Temescal Park in Oakland. Games, food, sun and fun promise to ensue and the event is free to members. As always non-members are welcome with a $5 suggested donation to cover costs. More details will be posted in the newsletter and on the website soon so please save the date!