NCRA Board Meeting – This Thursday 7/20 in Oakland

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RECYCLING ASSOCIATION

BOARD MEETING – THURS July 20, 2017

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

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

Open to the public – all welcome to attend. Please RSVP to the NCRA Office if you wish to attend.

DRAFT MEETING AGENDA

Now Available: Commercial Food Waste Reduction in Alameda County

NCRA Report highlights ways to meet SB 1383

We are proud to announce the release of Commercial Food Waste Reduction in Alameda County, the first-ever study of wasted food prevention and recovery efforts and opportunities in Alameda County. Highlights include over 50 policies and program suggestions, food recovery ecosystem infographics,  and observations and findings based on research and stakeholder interviews. Funded by StopWaste, the report is available on the NCRA website.

 

Survey of CRV Redemption Operators, June 2017

Survey of CRV Redemption Operators, June 2017

Being conducted by Doug Brooms in collaboration with Dan Knapp, Ph.D., Urban Ore, Inc.

California has lost about 35% of its redemption centers in the last four years. According to CalRecycle, the State agency that oversees recycling, during the past 12 months since April 2016, another 140 collection centers have closed. Now there are only 1,692 statewide. In Alameda County 28 redemption centers remain, of which 6 are in Oakland. The erosion of businesses and jobs, the drop in resource recovery and the inconveniences to consumers of having fewer redemption centers are no longer tolerable.

Nonprofit recycling advocacy organization, Californians Against Waste, has requested a survey of Bay Area recycling centers that return Container Redemption Value (CRV) deposits to the public. They are working to understand the impacts both on businesses and on local communities. They will use the information gathered first to understand the impacts, and then to inform decision-makers in Sacramento who are working on reversing these closures. The information will also be used to inform the public. We want to make each interview into a very short informative story that people can relate to.

Here is the first interview:

Community Conservation Centers (CCC) operates a recycling buy-back and drop-off facility situated on a 98,000 square foot parcel owned by the City of Berkeley at Gilman and 2nd Street. (Map) The multifaceted recycling enterprise encompasses CRV redemption and buy-back in one quadrant, an adjacent zone for convenient drop-offs for a dozen recyclable categories, and the  Ecology Center Curbside Recycling office and yard to the north. The processing operations for container and paper sorting and baling occur in the rear of the property. Tall stacks of bales abound – compacted aluminum cans, plastic bottles, mixed paper, cardboard and large open metal boxes of glass.

Drive-in customers wait in queue to unload their CRV segregated cans and plastic bottles directly into a hopper for a short conveyor belt ride up and over into a rectangular metal basket sitting on a scale.  An adjacent buy-back weigh station is for non-CRV items including paper, cardboard and metal and glass bottles segregated into clear, green and brown. Walk-in customers empty their goods into black 55-gallon barrels. The various weights, rates and amounts are printed on a receipt which customers redeem for cash at an open window. The supply of customers has gradually increased. The mix of occasional casual redeemers to regular dependent redeemers is about 50/50.

The breakdown in plastics received is about 30% #1 PET bottles, 30% #2 HDPE bottles, 30% consumer clam shells and containers, and 10% industrial crates, tubs and buckets. There is no market for food contaminated plastics, which are disposed of at a loss. This year, China’s National Sword has replaced its Green Fence policy, demanding higher quality bales with no more than 2% contamination, which is not a problem with CCC.

CCC first noticed a downturn in scrap values in 2013. Revenues have not been sustainable, but operations remain viable using reserve account funds and support from the City of Berkeley. Challenges include increasing overhead, transportation costs, regulations and maintenance of an aging facility. Stormwater regulators have imposed compliance requirements, adding to costs. If scrap values continue their slide, the outlook would not be good, but there are no eminent thoughts of closing the recycling facility

CCC does not have any residential neighbors and has not experienced complaints. Suggestions for improving the bottle bill include adding CRV redemption for milk, liquor and wine bottles, and having supermarkets to pay for (buyback) all of the CRV plastics they sell.

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Recycling Update – Speaker Video Presentations!

We are pleased to share some of the video presentations from our 22nd Annual Recycling Update Conference.  More presentations are being added every day, so check back in, and view and share widely!

Giri Veeramuthu, Director of Quality, American Licorice Company – “Retailers and Manufacturers Striving for Sustainability Goals.”

Jackie Nunez, The Last Plastic Straw – “Speaking Truth to Plastic -The Last Plastic Straw Movement – A tipping point from Awareness to Action.”

Jerry Powell, Founder and Executive Editor, Resource Recycling, Inc. – “Recycling Markets, Real and Alternative Facts.”

Vanessa Pan, GO Box -“Filling in Emerging Needs Around Reuse.”

Komal Ahmad, CEO and Founder, Copia – “Solving the World’s Dumbest Problem: Food Waste.”

Susan Blachman – “Measuring and Recovering Wasted Edible Food in Alameda County.”

Wendi Shafir, EPA Pacific Southwest Region – “How K-12 Schools can improve student nutrition, save money and avoid wasting food.”

Adam Lowy, Move For Hunger -“Donate Your Food When You Move.”

Mark Murray, Executive Director for Californians Against Waste – “Update on the California Buyback Crisis.”

Melissa Romero, Policy Associate for Californians Against Waste – “Legislative Update & What to Expect.”

John Wick, Marin Carbon Project – “Creating Healthy Working Landscapes in California and Beyond.”

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of the California Product Stewardship Council – “How Stewardship Efforts Are Impacting Operations and Budgets.”

Maria Javier -“Planning for Trash: A Regional Look at Municipal Perceptions of Solid Waste Management in Urban Planning.”

Don Litchfield, Area Post Collections Manager, Republic Services – “Transitioning from Standard Windrow Composting to Covered Aerated Static Pile – Lessons Learned.”

Amy Hammes, Recycling Specialist, City of Burbank – “The City of Burbank’s Master Recycler Program.”

Emily Coven, Recyclist – “A Silicon Valley Executive Walks Into the Solid Waste Industry…”

Dave Lentz, Wastexperts – “Supplemental Services for Commercial and Multifamily Dwellings.”

Lise Gorgone, Administrative Services Manager, City of Albuquerque Solid Waste Management Department – “Processes to Understand and Reduce Contamination in Curbside Recycling.”

Garth Schultz, Principal, R3 Consulting – “Recent Trends in Solid Waste Rate Setting.”

Bob Hollis, The Mobius Network LLC, – “GreenEducation.US Offers National Certification.”

Tim Aagard, Tiny Tots Diaper Service -“The Three R’s and Diapers.”

Shana Levy McCracken – “Innovations in Fashion—Implications for Waste.”

Dan Kurzrock, Co-Founder, ReGrained – “Edible Upcycling: Circular Economy Applications for the Food System.”

Wade Laughter, Cannabis Activist – “The Importance of Compost in the Production of Commercial Medical Cannabis.”

Adopt A Friendly Bill

By Doug Brooms, NCRA Boardmember and Legislative Lead, 4/2017
Have you ever given much thought to the array of mostly environmental laws which protect our food, water, air, health, safety, climate, security… in short, our well-being? What if there emerged a nationwide 4-year campaign to systematically dismantle, roll back and weaken many of the laws, regulations and safeguards that we casually take for granted? Perhaps you should consider adopting a bill or even join the NCRA committee that evaluates bills for letters of support or opposition.

Lucky for us, California is one of only six states – CA, DE, HI, OR, RI, WA, having a democratic governor and majority legislature, arguably with a greater predisposition towards environmental protection over special interests. The California Environmental Protection Agency “Cal EPA” historically has been party to landmark laws and statutes, and in leading the nation with lofty targets for resource recovery, mitigation of greenhouse gases and climate protection.

Cal EPA is comprised of an array of state agencies, one of which is the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (DRRR) or “CalRecycle”. (Click here for the CalRecycle State of Recycling in California – Updated 2016.) Of the hundreds of bills introduced during the first two months of each year, CalRecycle handpicks three dozen or so for their Priority List. NCRA in turn selects those considered worthy of our merit to support or oppose.

For 2015, there had been an initial set of 44 CalRecycle priority bills, of which 8 ultimately got signed into law, 18%. NCRA had written 12 letters of support to committee chairs, and subsequently five to Governor Brown, all of which he signed. For 2016, there had been 41 CalRecycle bills, of which NCRA had supported 9, including 8 bills of the 20 that got passed, 49%.

There was one 2016 bill that had gained fervent support among NCRA members. Prop 67 would uphold the 2014 statewide law to phase out single-use grocery bags, an ever growing environmental scourge and hazard to wild- and marine-life. Plastic bag manufacturers from NJ, SC and TX spent over $20 million in opposition. Weeks before the Nov. 2016 elections, NCRA activists led by the board conducted comprehensive voter outreach, canvasing at supermarkets and events, phone calling, posting blogs and bulletin board posts and produced a 3-minute must-see video, “Yes on Prop 67, Ban the Bags!”. NCRA is proud to have been among the hundreds of organizations which contributed to the passage of Prop 67, albeit by a modest 52-48 margin.

For 2017 there are 31 CalRecycle priority bills, of which 12 NRCA has supported or likely will support, plus another 12 having promising potential. Among the remaining crop, we particularly like those in the spirit of last year’s Prop 67 towards mitigating the bane of plastic pollution of our lands and oceans, and the deleterious effects to sea-faring birds and marine life. AB 319, initiated by a number of our members who are also leaders of the Save The Albatross Coalition, would prohibit a retailer from selling or offering for sale a single-use plastic beverage container with a cap that is not tethered to or contiguously affixed. AB 1594 aims to curb ocean plastic pollution, and SB 705 would phase out Styrofoam and other single use plastic food packaging and wares, in favor of compostable and recyclable versions.

In the spirit of Zero Food Waste, there are two bills, AB 954 “Food Packaging Date Labels” and AB 1219 the “California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act”. Both are designed to lessen edible food waste. (Here is information from the USDA website regarding the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act signed into law by President Clinton in 1996.)

The NCRA ZWAC committee has prepared 4 letters to date. You are welcome to reuse them for your own organization. Send a note to the office via our contact page to receive them in an editable document.

To see abbreviated descriptions of CalRecycle’s Priority List, and to stay abreast with NCRA’s preferences and support of bills, periodically visit our 2017 legislative page. Another valuable source for current legislation updates is Californians Against Waste (CAW).

If you have inclinations towards environmental or legislative activism, consider getting more engaged with NCRA, or whichever environmental justice organization that you prefer. Environmental and Zero Waste Advocacy in California are as important as ever, to preserve hard fought environmental victories and to create new ones. Consider advocating for those bills that are beyond the purview of NCRA, but nonetheless are worthy of pursuit. Make a phone call, sign a petition, join a discussion, or do whatever might sway or persuade a lawmaker. Thus whenever again you ponder the panoply of coveted laws that protect us, the planet and our future, be content that you made a contribution, in your own way, to your own well-being.