NCRA Annual Holiday Potluck!

Please join us for the NCRA Annual Holiday Potluck!Copy of Copy of Urban Ore 038

When: Sunday, December 6, 4-9pm

Where: The lovely home of John T. Hanscom and family, 2744 Belrose Ave, Berkeley near Claremont Ave.

Why: To enjoy wonderful food, Champagne, beer and wine (please bring something to share!)  with your friends and colleagues in the NCRA community.

We enthusiastically welcome ugly sweaters, stories, poems and 3R sisters song reprisals. Kids (and you!) welcome for trampoline fun. Bring friends and family for this rousing good time!

Please RSVP to Juliana Gerber by Friday December 4th at

Masonic Homes’ Composting Tour

Masonic Homes Photo JC1NCRA Tours Masonic Homes’ Innovative Composting and Woodlands

By Nicole Gaetjens, Sustainability Coordinator at Mills College and Ellen Hopkins, Zero Waste and Composting Consultant

NCRA members Ellen Hopkins and Nina Salvador and Tri-CED Recycling employee Raquel Archuleta led eight other NCRA members on a tour of an on-site composting system in July. Located on 250 acres in the hills of Union City, Masonic Homes is one of the largest assisted living facilities in Northern California. Masonic Homes and the neighboring facility – Acacia Creek Retirement Community, have partnered with Tri-CED Community Recycling for over three years to compost all food discards generated by 600 full-time residents and staff in an on-going effort to increase sustainability at the site. The compost produced is being used for an innovative habitat restoration project led by Math Science Nucleus (MSN) to restore native California flora to the hillside of this Mission Hills property.

The Earth Flow is made by Green Mountain Technologies. Ellen Hopkins, composting consultant, and Raquel Archuleta explained the collection flow, in-vessel compost process and operations. Raquel collects prep (pre-consumer) and dining (post-consumer) food waste daily in four to five 64-gallon containers and brings it to the compost station. The compost system has a tote-tipper that tips each container into the loading end of the machine and an electric auger mixes the material into the existing compost in the system. Food scraps (nitrogen source) are mixed with equal parts of bulking agent (carbon source) in the system to produce a C:N ratio that makes the composting process effective. Daily input of food waste is about one ton or two yards, and bulking agent is about ½ ton or 2 yards. The bulking agent(s) used in this case is horse bedding from a neighboring horse stable and chipped wood waste from landscape maintenance on the property. The NCRA group checked out the compost in the vessel and were surprised there was no noticeable odors.

The Earth Flow is a fully automated, fully contained, in-vessel composting system that provides optimum conditions for thermophilic composting. The auger, aeration and moisture addition systems are programmable for process and product objectives. The traveling auger mixes in the new feedstock at the load end. The new material is quickly inoculated with active composting microbes as it is blended in. Process air above the compost in the vessel is pulled through a biofilter next to the Earth Flow. The biofilter is composed of moistened woodchips. Microbes that normally inhabit woodchips (no inoculants needed) scrub odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with 95% efficiency. The “plug flow” matrix migrates to the discharge end over the course of 2-3 weeks. In-vessel time depends upon the amount of material loaded and system size. After processing within the vessel, the compost is unloaded and cured to completion outside of the vessel within 6-8 weeks.

Nina Salvador, who is familiar with the reforestation project, described it in more detail: Masonic Homes and partners aim to restore the native oak woodland that once inhabited this region prior to the over grazing of cattle. The woodland will provide ecosystem services and enjoyment to the community. Nearby California State University-East Bay faculty and students are also involved in the restoration effort led by Joyce Blueford of MSN. This closed-loop system demonstrates a win-win-win project and was a great tour for the NCRA group.

WHOIS… MATH SCIENCE NUCLEUS is a 33 year old national and international educational and research non-profit composed of scientists, educators and community members. Locally it is associated the Children’s Natural History Museum in Fremont. It serves as an online science resource center to assist school districts, teachers, and administrators around the world. The major goal is to develop problem solving capacity through science for the world’s children. Read more… MSN:

Member Appreciation Picnic hosted by NCRA and Zero Waste Youth USA

Copy of Group 2 2014
A big thanks to all those who attended NCRA’s Annual Picnic, this year co-hosted by NCRA & Zero Waste Youth USA on Sunday 9/27 at Lake Temescal in Oakland! Over 25 members and non-members alike joined up for a day of BBQing, lawn games, networking, frisbee, and more! Please keep an eye out here for annoucements of future tours, mixers and a holiday gathering…all details coming soon!

Join NCRA & Oakland Recycles Saturday, 11/21!




The Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA) is going door-to-door in Oakland to promote recycling and composting among Oakland multi-family residents and we need your help! Are you available to help us get the word out on November 21?

In partnership with Oakland Recycles, recycling workers from recycling workers ILWU Union Local #6, and the Alameda Sustainable Recycling campaign, NCRA will visit apartment-dwellers in Oakland to let them know more about changes to their waste collection services that became effective July 1st.  The goal of this outreach is to assist the city of Oakland in reaching Zero Waste by promoting the benefits of composting and recycling. We also hope to develop community pride, increase awareness about the new curbside compost collection program, and clarify questions about what is accepted in the recycling and compost bins.

Volunteers should be prepared to walk up and downstairs and will likely walk 1 mile or more over the course of the day. Hats, sunscreen and water are recommended. Light refreshments in the morning and lunch will be provided as well as all other outreach materials. If planning to attend, please RSVP to the email address below. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Date: Saturday, Nov 21st

When: 9am-10am volunteer training, 10am-1pm door-to-door outreach, 1pm-2pm lunch and debrief

Location: ILWU Local 6 Hall 99 Hegenberger Rd, Oakland, CA 94621

Organized by: Northern California Recycling Association

Please RSVP if you can join: 510-320-3140 or EMAIL US