Zero Waste Week 2018 East Bay Recycling Facility Tour Report

WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THAT STUFF WE DISCARD?
By Nik Balachandran, Co-founder and CEO, Zabble Inc.
On March 21, an unusually cold and rainy March morning, a bunch of us gathered at the Oakland BART station for the East Bay Facility Tour. We were met by NCRA Board Members and Activities Committee members Alexandra Bradley, Tim Dewey-Mattia and Hilary Near, and staff Juliana Gerber, who drove us there and back through the pouring rain and fed us bagels and other tasty Recycling Update leftovers. Highest and best use!

We visited Independent Recycling Services, DR3 Mattress Recycling and Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex and Transfer Station. Bio-Link Depot, which gives surplus lab supplies and equipment to schools, was also to be on the tour but was closed that day.

The first stop was Independent Recycling Services, a construction debris recovery facility on San Leandro St. in Oakland. We were greeted by the foreman, Billy, who was very courteous in showing us around and explaining daily operations. The facility accepts wood, metals, concrete, plastic, brick, glass, asphalt, gypsum and miscellaneous debris. They do not accept household or hazardous waste.

On a typical day a truck with construction material drives over the scales to weigh the load. The truck then dumps the contents in a common area. The truck is then weighed again on the way out. The difference is used to calculate the tipping costs. A receipt is then furnished with the tonnage disposed and percentage of diversion from landfill, if available. Multiple sorters sift through the pile to pull out valuable materials like uncontaminated concrete, wood (2×4, 2×6…), etc. to add to sorted piles. The management then finds alternative end markets for these goods. The unusable material ends up in a residual discard area. NCRA members had many questions and Billy saw to it that he answered every one of them. One of the members was even able to salvage a perfectly good looking functional piece of furniture.

The second stop was DR3 Mattress Recycling in Oakland. DR3 is a California-based mattress recycling company founded in 1999. They have 3 locations (Oakland, Stockton and Woodland) where they accept drop-offs. They also offer pickup for commercial accounts.

A mattress has 4 recyclable material types; steel, foam, cotton and wood. At DR3, employees place individual mattresses on a waist high platform and disassemble them by hand, also known as deconstruction, in order to maximize the quality of the extracted materials. With this process, DR3 claims that they can recycle 80-90% of a mattress. They then sell bales of clean material. DR3 processes around 800 – 1,000 mattresses a month.

The NCRA group enjoyed taking part in an impromptu competition for the fastest deconstruction times where members took turns completely taking apart a mattresses. Overall, we took with us a good understanding of the different components in mattress recycling.

After that we made a brief stop at the San Leandro Habitat For Humanity ReStore, the nonprofit home improvement store that sells donated new and used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances at a discounted price. We roamed around the store and explored their offerings. It was a good reminder to donate before discard if possible.

Our last stop was at the Waste Management’s Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex and Transfer Station (DTST), one of the most sophisticated material recovery facilities in the country. We met with C&D Diversion Manager, Erika-Alexandra Solis and her team who graciously gave us a tour of the 10 acre facility. (We also learned that Ms. Solis was a recipient of the 40 under 40 Award at this year’s Waste Expo.) NCRA organizers treated us to more delicious leftovers and Vietnamese Bahn Mi sandwiches. Jay Ramos, Sr. District Manager also talked with us for a short while on the plan to sort residuals.

DSTS accepts organics, C&D, recyclables, bulky items like appliances, mattresses, tires, reusable items such as household goods – which are sent to St. Vincent De Paul and trash which is sent to Altamont Landfill in Livermore. Random audits are conducted at different stages to flag inappropriate or contaminated items in the different streams. Materials that cannot be recovered for reuse, recycling or composting are headed to the Altamont Landfill in Livermore. A Waste Management Earth Care Center is located within the premises offers compost and mulch in multiple dyes for professional and household use. It was mentioned that the MRF recycling rate at the facility is 75%.

On my way back in the BART, I reflected about the complexities of the discard management system with all the different material types, their respective handling process and end markets, only for a new cycle to begin. The rain had now abated and the sun was pushing its way through the dark clouds. Perhaps, it’s just a co-incidence that this intricate system made more sense now.

For more info here are Waste Management Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex view these YouTube videos:

Monthly Board Meeting – This Thursday in Oakland – All are welcome

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RECYCLING ASSOCIATION

BOARD MEETING – THURS May 17, 2018

Location: John Moore’s Office, 1970 Broadway St, Oakland, CA 94612

Food served at 6 pm; meeting begins at 6:30 pm.

Open to the public – all welcome to attend. Please RSVP to the NCRA Office if you wish to attend. Coming late? Let the office know so someone can be prepared to come down to let you in; the doorperson leaves at 6pm.

DRAFT Meeting Agenda

2018 Recycling Update – Speaker Video Presentations

We are pleased to offer you the video presentations for the 2018 Recycling Update conference; more will be added weekly, so please check back and spread widely!

Allie Lalor , Greg Dudish , Alina Bekkerman , Dennis Uyat, “Lessons Learned from Zero Waste Youth Brazil”

Terry McDonald , Executive Director, St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, Inc.

Nicole Tai , CEO, GreenLynx

David Allaway, Senior Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Jeff Denby , Co-Founder of The Renewal Workshop,“Enabling a Circular Economy for Apparel”

Jerame Rentaria , Zanker Materials Processing, “DM Reduction System at Zanker Facility”

Hilary Gans , Manager, SBWMA

Michael Lok, Asian Health Services

Kevin Kumataka, SF Green Business Program

Sharon Daraphonhdeth, UC Berkeley

Jennifer Acton & Erin Cooke, San Francisco International Airport

Kelly McBee, Californians Against Waste

Mikhail Davis, Interface

Will Bakx, Sonoma Compost Company

Patrick Mathews, Salinas Valley Recycles

Ken DaRosa, Chief Deputy Director, CalRecycle

Ruth Abbe, President, Zero Waste USA

David Allaway, Senior Policy Analyst, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Kerry Parker, Recycling Specialist, City of Alameda and Samantha Sommer, Waste Prevention Program Manager, Clean Water
Action

Sara Fuentes, Sustainability Program Manager, Commercial Industrial Waste Applications, Inc. (CIWA, Inc.)

Zoe Heller, Assistant Director of Policy Development, CalRecycle

Kate O’Neill, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley

Monica Wilson, Policy & Research Coordinator, GAIA

Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste Senior Coordinator, San Francisco Dept. of Environment

John Moore, Legal Counsel, NCRA

Tim Dewey-Mattia, Public Education Manager, Napa Recycling & Waste Services

 

Annual Members Meeting! Thursday April 19th at StopWaste Office

Please join us for our annual meeting where we will brainstorm our focus for 2018.  Meeting will be held at the StopWaste office at 1537 Webster Street, Oakland 94612. Email us at ncrarecycles at gmail.com to RSVP, or with any questions you may have.

Tentative Agenda is as follows:

6:00pm Food and Group Sharing

6:30pm Annual Membership Address

7:00pm Group Activity: Priority-setting for committees

7:30pm Groups come back together for report out

7:45pm Screening of STRAWS with brief Q&A after

8:30pm Meeting adjourns & off to green drinks!

2018 Recycling Update – Speaker PDF Presentations

Thanks to our outstanding speakers at the Recycling Update Conference!

Video presentations are being edited and will be featured on our YouTube Channel when they are ready in mid-April, so please check back!

Ruth Abbe – Save the Albatross Zoe Heller – CalRecycle
David Allaway – Part 1 & 2 – Oregon Department of Environment Kevin Kumataka – San Francisco Green Business Program
Will Bakx – Sonoma Compost Michael Lok – Asian Health Services
Erin Cooke & Jennifer Acton – San Francisco Intl Airport Jack Macy – San Francisco Department of Environment
Sharon Daraphonhdeth – UC Berkeley Patrick Mathews – Salinas Valley Recycles
Ken DaRosa – CalRecycle Kelly McBee – CAW
Mikhail Davis – Interface Terry McDonald – St. Vincent de Paul
Jeff Denby – Renewal Workshop John Moore – Recycle Law
Tim Dewey-Mattia – Napa Recycling Kate O’Neill – UC Berkeley
Sara Fuentes – CIWA Kerry Parker & Samantha Sommer – City of Alameda and Clean Water Action
Hilary Gans – ABAG Jerame Renteria – Zanker
Adam Gendell – Sustainable Packaging Coalition Nicole Tai – GreenLynx
Iain Gulland – Zero Waste Scotland Monica Wilson – GAIA
Allie Lalor, Greg Dudish, Dennis Uyat, Alina Bekkerman – Zero Waste Youth International