Thank you 2019 Recycling Update Sponsors!

THANK YOU TO OUR 2019 RECYCLING UPDATE SPONSORS!

Sponsorship makes low-cost tickets and scholarships for Zero Waste Week events possible!

GOLD: City of Fremont, City of Vallejo, StopWasteNapa Recycling & Waste ServicesCity of NapaSan Francisco Department of the EnvironmentHF&H ConsultantsR3 Consulting GroupZero Waste SonomaRethinkWasteMt. Diablo Resource Recovery, County of San Mateo Office of Sustainability

SILVERSCS Engineers, Ecology Center, Gigantic Idea Studio, Zero Waste Marin, Marin Sanitary Service

BRONZEAmador Valley IndustriesPleasanton Garbage ServiceCity of StocktonCRRA, City of Sunnyvale, RecycleSmart, CRRC – Northern District, Stanford Recycling/PSSI, Sure-Close, South San Francisco Scavenger, City of Livermore, Recycle For Change, RecycleMore

The Devil We Know – Film Screening and Panel

The Devil We Know Film and Panel Discussion, The New Parkway Oakland, Thursday, 3/21/19, 6:15-8:30pm

From cosmetics to ski wax, frying pans to waterproof jackets, take-out foodware to stain-resistant fabrics, Teflon-like chemicals are found in hundreds of consumer products — and now in the blood of nearly every American. We invite you to learn more about these chemicals so you can protect yourself and your family, and take action to demand protective policies and safer products. The Devil We Know is a documentary that was a favorite at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

Event Schedule:

6:15pm   Arrive early to claim your spot and to purchase delicious food and drink!

6:30pm   Screening Begins!

8:00pm   Brief discussion about what you can do!

RSVP and be sure to arrive by 6:15pm to claim your reserved spot. After 6:15pm, seats will be on a first come, first served basis during the screening.

Co-hosted with SFEnvironment, Clean Water Action Oakland, Center for Environmental Health

Recycling Update 2019 Speakers Announced!

Over 20 presenters will inform and inspire the 24th Annual Recycling Update conference.  See our ZWW/Recycling Update page under our Events Tab to register.

Here is our partial 2019 Recycling Update Conference line-up, in alphabetical order:

Peter Schultze-Allen, CPSWQ, QSP/QSD, BFQP, LEED AP – Peter Schultze-Allen is a Senior Scientist at EOA Inc. with extensive experience in the environmental field. He specializes in green stormwater infrastructure, litter reduction, zero waste policy, complete and green streets, sustainable landscaping, and urban forestry practices. His past experience includes two years with Recology in SF, eleven years managing the environmental programs for the City of Emeryville and five years at EOA where he has been providing GI, LID and litter-related technical assistance and program support to municipalities around the Bay Area.

The design of buildings has a large impact on the levels of waste and litter generated during operation. Mr. Schultze-Allen will present a summary of findings from a recent Bay Area report on designing buildings to meet stormwater and zero waste goals.

Jennifer Arbuckle, Recycling and Public Education Manager, Northern Recycling and Waste Services – Jennifer is a Northern California Native, Master’s Degree from CSU Chico in Environmental Geography, been working in the environmental field for the last 17 years, the last 12 being with Northern Recycling and Waste Services as Recycling and Public Outreach Manager.

Jennifer will highlight the statistics and various situations resulting from the unprecedented disaster of the Camp fire.

Timothy Bouldry, Director, ISWA Scholarship Programme –  Timothy photographs and documents open dumpsite activity in developing countries, as well as the communities informally recycling in these areas. He has pointed attention to the topic of environmental and humanitarian injustices for ten years. He currently resides in Nicaragua where he is directing The ISWA Scholarship Programme that provides education to youths that agreed to not return to the dumpsite in order to pursue an education. More info about can be found at TimothyBouldry.com and ISWAkids.com.

Timothy Bouldry will be presenting The ISWA Scholarship Programme that is providing education for 70 youths and parents who are transitioning from a life of informally recycling at a dumpsite in Nicaragua, towards education and planning their futures. Nicaragua has been experiencing a lot of civil unrest due to their administration and the authorities they control. Human rights injustices will also be discussed, along with how politics and corruption affect municipal waste. 

Martin Bourque, Executive Director, Ecology Center – Since 2000, Martin has led the Ecology Center, a community-based organization incorporated on Earth Day in 1970. Under Martin’s leadership, the Ecology Center is leveraging local direct community service programs to have state and national impact. Martin has spearheaded innovative efforts such as creating a farmers’ market industry group, pioneering electronic food stamp access and incentives at farmers’ markets, and passing the nation’s first Soda Tax. By linking local grassroots grit with highly competent program implementation, and increasingly effective policy advocacy, Martin has led the Ecology Center to become a high impact engine for change.

Kourtnii Brown, Founder, Common Compost – Kourtnii is an environmental policy analyst and worm composting enthusiast, and the founder of Common Compost in Oakland, California.  Her idea for a community compost cooperative won the Living the New Economy’s Hackathon in November 2014, from which she received entrepreneurship support to launch a 3-year compost pilot project with funding from local grants and partnerships throughout the Oakland farm-to-fork community. She currently serves as a compost policy consultant to the Sustainable Economies Law Center and is also the Steering Committee Chair of the California Alliance for Community Composting.

The Ins and Outs of Community Composting – Community composting is an important facet of a diverse composting infrastructure and provides education to help catalyze larger scale municipal efforts. Kourtnii Brown, policy consultant with the Sustainable Economies Law Center, will address what policymakers and stakeholders can do to support community-scale composting efforts in terms of identifying legislative definitions, best management practices, and regulatory exemptions that standardize and ensure well-operated community composting sites. The presentation will provide a short overview of the legal and policy trends impacting each stage of the composting process, including 1) organic material generation, 2) hauling, 3) composting, and 4) distribution of compost.

Maricelle Cardenas, Community Outreach and Education Specialist, StopWaste – Maricelle is a community educator who has supported various education and outreach projects at StopWaste since 2010 and Jeanne Nader Program Manager, StopWaste – Jeanne runs the Community Based Outreach Project, which includes SWEET. Previously, Jeanne led the Master Composter training and residential outreach on sustainable gardening. She has been a Program Manager at StopWaste since 2001. Her background is in environmental education and community organizing.

SWEET – StopWaste Environmental Educator Training – StopWaste staff, Jeanne Nader and Maricelle Cardenas, will present the story of SWEET – an innovative and nimble train the trainer model that certifies Alameda County residents as environmental educators and community connectors. Jeanne will provide an overview of the SWEET training goals and nuts and bolts. Maricelle will share how StopWaste and SWEET grads have leveraged the Food Waste Reduction program focus into community outreach, education and mobilization opportunities.

Joshua Perez-Cramer, Operator, Independent Recycling Services – Joshua is the Operator of a Construction & Demolition Facility in East Oakland, who has been working in the environmental industry for the past five years, starting out working for a Solar Company as well as selling Energy Efficient Home Improvements. He is also an Environmental Educator with Stopwaste and enjoys volunteering with NCRA and Zero Waste Youth Events.

Josh will be discussing experiences working with different departments and jurisdictions; the pro’s & con’s with C&D Regulations and working with several departments; hauling vs. processing- source separation; education and community outreach; and the importance of 3rd party verification.

Lisa Duba, Principal, Gigantic Idea Studio – Lisa is a founder and principal at Gigantic Idea Studio, Inc in Oakland, California. She has worked to promote environmental programs and behaviors since 1995. Her work includes campaign planning, messaging and creative concepts in the areas of waste reduction, recycling, and pollution prevention. Current and past clients include City of Palo Alto, Livermore, Oakland, County of Santa Clara, and the Clean Water Program Alameda County.

Outreach Campaigns to Combat Curbside Contamination – Global markets require recycling feedstocks that are significantly cleaner than what’s typically collected curbside in the blue cart. Municipalities are responding with outreach to address wish-cycling and proper preparation of recyclables. Stefanie will share two campaigns created for two Bay Area cities.

Roland Geyer, Professor, UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management – Prior to joining the Bren School Roland held research positions in Germany, France, and the UK. Since 2000 he has worked with a wide range of governmental organizations, trade associations, and companies on environmental sustainability issues. In his research he uses the approaches and methods of industrial ecology, such as life cycle assessment and material flow analysis, to study pollution prevention strategies based on reuse, recycling, and material and technology substitution. Roland has a graduate degree in physics and a Ph.D. in engineering.

Making Recycling Work – Reuse and recycling have the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of industrial production, but suffer from widespread misunderstandings and have so far fallen short of their promise. This presentation will discuss how common misconceptions about recycling have been preventing it from reaching its full environmental potential and explore strategies to change this.

James Green, Founder, FixmyKix – James Green is a 19-year-old African American born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, Ca. His passion for sneakers and entrepreneurship led him to found FixmyKix.  FixmyKix is a mobile marketplace app for the service of sneaker restoration and customization to be bought and sold, to promote artistic entrepreneurship among young people and to reduce shoe waste in our landfills. James believes Entrepreneurship transforms lives and founded FixmyKix so that sneaker restoration and customization services can be more accessible to all and sneaker artists can now better access their customers.

Patrick Hayes, Recycling Specialist, City of Oakland – Patrick is the Former Director of the California Straw Building Association, and has now worked with the City of Oakland for 18 years, leading development of the C&D Ordinance, and introduced online submittals, developed green building ordinances, and was the Technical lead on the Non-Exclusive Franchise system for C&D. Currently, Patrick is developing a biodynamic farm with blackwater recycling and goats, and his biggest effort is now teaching an 11-year-old how to disregard the box.  

Patrick will outline the highlights of Oakland’s C&D non-exclusive franchise system.

Rob Hilton, President, HF&H Consultants – As President of HF&H Consultants, Rob has provided recycling and solid waste consulting services to more than 150 public agencies across the United States. He has been involved in over 350 projects covering a wide range of strategic, operational, programmatic, contractual, and financial issues. He has already negotiated four franchise agreements that had to anticipate the requirements of SB 1383 before it was complete and has been engaged by several other agencies around the state to develop SB 1383 plans.

It’s Not As Scary As You Thought: How to Start Implementing SB 1383 Programs – SB 1383 is being described as the biggest legislative milestone since the adoption of AB 939. Many jurisdictions across the state (particularly ones without organics collection programs) are anxiously anticipating the final adoptions of SB 1383, but implementing SB 1383 may not be as bad as they think.  This presentation will: Provide a big-picture summary of SB 1383, highlighting requirements that will likely have the biggest impact on local jurisdictions; describe practical steps local jurisdictions can do now to ensure their agencies are SB 1383-compliant; spotlight local governments that have recently adopted or modified franchise agreements to meet SB 1383 requirements.

Jen Jackson, Toxics Reduction & Healthy Ecosystems Programs Manager, San Francisco Department of the Environment – Jen and her team lead a variety of programs and implement policies that reduce toxic pollution and improve environmental and public health, such as an ordinance banning the use of food service ware containing fluorinated chemicals, a first-in-the-nation requirement for grocers to report antibiotic use in meat and poultry production, an award-winning Integrated Pest Management Program, a municipal Green Purchasing Program, an urban biodiversity program, and an extensive residential household hazardous waste disposal program. Prior to joining San Francisco in 2015, Jen worked in wastewater and stormwater pollution prevention for almost eight years in the public sector, and began her environmental career in the non-profit sector at Sierra Club and Save The Bay. Jen earned her master’s degree in Resource Management & Environmental Planning with a focus on water resources.

Fluorinated chemicals are a class of more than 5000 chemicals that are persistent and some have been shown to harm human health. The City of San Francisco is tackling the myriad uses of these persistent organic pollutants, including in food service ware, carpet, furniture, and firefighting foam.

Doug Kobold, Executive Director, California Product Stewardship Council – Doug has worked in the Solid Waste and Recycling industry and “talking trash” for over 26 years.  The past 18+ years, prior to taking the helm as the Executive Director at the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC) in August 2018, were spent at Sacramento County where he held the position of Waste Management Program Manager in charge of the Business Development & Special Waste division. He has served on the Northern California SWANA Chapter Board of Directors as Chapter President and currently serves as Vice Chair on the California Chapters Legislative Task Force (LTF).

With the passage of SB 212 (Jackson, 2018), California will have safe, free, and convenient unused/unwanted medicine disposal options in every county in just a few short years.  SB 212 also creates a requirement for safe return containers to be distributed free of charge with every sharp/needle sold. This presentation will cover the important features of SB 212, an update on the ensuing regulations drafting process, a rough timeline for the roll-out of the statewide program, and other pertinent information.

Gina Lee, Founder, Circular CoLab – Gina is the author of The State of the Circular Economy in America, the first United States focused Circular Economy landscape study which analyzes over 200 Circular Economy initiatives.  Gina has over 15 years of experience working in Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Impact in the United States, China, and Germany.  Her past roles include overseeing partnerships with Fortune 500 corporations and top-tier business schools for the Aspen Institute, working with the Schwarz Group in materials management, and leading programming and corporate relations for Mercy Corps Beijing. She is skilled in engaging with organizations from across the policy, government and private sector and has managed workshops and pilot programs with organizations including TATA, the American Sustainable Business Council, TEDxLA, and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

My presentation will provide an overview of the guiding principles of the Circular Economy and highlight innovative American businesses and organizations that have already built circular solutions.  The presentation will also include trends and challenges facing the development of the Circular Economy here in the states and provide some ideas for moving forward.

Brennan Madden, Senior Consultant, RRS – Brennan’s technical skill set provides economic, modeling, and data analysis to a wide range of clients within our waste recovery, materials recovery facility (MRF), renewable energy, and organics sectors. Brennan’s background is steeped in renewable energy, industrial ecology, and project management, with specialization in life cycle analysis, life-cycle design, integrated assessment, as well as photovoltaic, biodiesel, and anaerobic digestion energy. Brennan has also been integral in refining the TruCycle recyclability/compostability assessment in multiple countries. His expertise includes economic and material feasibility, GIS analyses, as well as tool, database, and model development. Brennan holds an MS in Sustainable Systems and a graduate certificate in Industrial Ecology, both from the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability.

Robin Franz Martin, Executive Director, Joint Venture Silicon Valley – Robin came to Joint Venture’s Food Rescue Initiative in 2017 to head the A La Carte pilot program, bringing 20 years of experience in public health and community team building. Most recently she led volunteer building projects for LifeMoves, Bay Area, an organization committed to ending the cycle of homelessness in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

Robin started her career with the NAACP working on urban environmental health issues, later working in Boston at the Education Development Center on national and international public health issues, and as Executive Director of the Central Square Business Association. She also founded a summer camp program for at-risk middle school students, fostering personal and social change through exposure to sustainable agriculture and healthy food options.

Robin will discuss A La Carte, a fleet of refrigerated food trucks that resemble their trendy food truck cousins, but without cooking and washing facilities. Every day the trucks collect surplus edible food from university and corporate campuses and drive directly into neighborhoods where a high concentration of people living with daily food insecurity can have a normal, dignified experience as they select meals free of charge. To alleviate any barriers, no personal information is gathered.

Teresa Montgomery, Sustainability Manager, South San Francisco Scavenger Co.Teresa has over twenty years of experience in the solid waste and recycling field. She has a broad background in marketing and has developed and carried out a number of successful public information campaigns. She has extensive experience in the public and private sectors. From 2005-2015 she worked as the Director of Communications for the Pellegrini group of companies: Alameda County Industries, Garden City Sanitation, Livermore Sanitation, Mission Trail Waste Systems, and SAFE. In 2016, Teresa moved over to the South San Francisco Scavenger Company where she now works as the Sustainability Manager. She also maintains a part-time role at Garden City Sanitation.

Using Magic to Clean up Commercial Organics – During the summer of 2017, Blue Line Transfer added a Scott Turbo Separator to its arsenal of processing equipment. Loads of commercial waste containing a high volume of food scraps, food-soiled paper, and plastic & bioplastic bags are directed to the Scott and magically transformed. A significant amount of material previously sorted manually, sent out for processing, or hauled directly to landfill is recovered for on-site anaerobic digestion. The magic “salsa” created by the Scott allows Blue Line to landfill less, digest more, and increase gas production for their CNG fleet. Win. Win. Win.

Dr. Molly Morse, CEO, and co-founder of Mango Materials – Molly received her Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering–with an emphasis on anaerobic biodegradation of biocomposites for the building industry–from Stanford University, and her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. Dr. Morse has contributed to multiple patents, publications, and presentations. Along with other Mango Materials team members, she is currently working to up-scale the biomanufacturing technology of using methane gas to produce biodegradable materials.

Molly will be talking about next generation biopolymers and their potential for addressing closed-loop carbon cycles.

Julie Muir, Zero Waste Manager, Peninsula Sanitary Service/Stanford Recycling – Julie Muir works for Peninsula Sanitary Service/Stanford Recycling and has managed Stanford University’s Waste Reduction, Recycling, and Composting Program for the last 25 years.  She leads Stanford University toward a zero waste campus through a rigorous and comprehensive program of waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting. She enjoys most working with students and the campus community on waste reduction and educating on the connection between materials management, the economy, and climate change.  Julie Muir is Past-President and current Senior Advisor to the California Resource Recovery Association and Chair of the Zero Waste Campus Council.

Tailgating Zero Waste at the Stanford Stadium – As Stanford University moves towards its goal of Zero Waste by 2030, Stanford’s Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation (DAPER)  has focused on the adoption of new Zero Waste initiatives to further its commitment to sustainability.  This presentation will present the opportunities and challenges of supporting sustainable tailgating including using new dumpster trailers, green tailgate checklist, and fan engagement. Stanford won the Most Improvement award in 2017 from the PAC 12 Conference’s Zero Waste Bowl for its expanded tailgate recycling and composting initiatives.

Roxanne Murray, Recycling Programs Coordinator, City of San Mateo –  Roxanne has 17 years of experience working in the solid waste field, five years in the private sector as a Recycling Coordinator for Allied Waste and the last 12 years as the City of San Mateo Solid Waste/Recycling Programs Coordinator. Roxanne oversees the City’s solid waste contract with Recology San Mateo County; is responsible for all the City’s waste reduction programs; and works with the City Council, County and South Bayside Waste Management Authority regarding the City’s waste reduction efforts.

Ron Kasper, Recycling Coordinator, City of San Mateo – In Ron’s 33 years with the City of San Mateo, he has served many roles in both the Parks and Public Works Departments. For the past nine years, Ron has been the City’s Recycling Coordinator. The focus of his time at work is tackling the City’s illegal dumping issues. For the past four years, due to Ron’s efforts, they have seen close to a 50% reduction where the City had to take the responsibility for removing illegally dumped debris.

Ron and Roxanne’s presentation will highlight the efforts to reduce illegal dumping over the past few years in our City. Due to these efforts, we have reduced the number of times the City has had to take responsibility for the removal of illegal dumping by close to 50%.

Jerame Renteria, Organics Marketing Specialist, Zanker Road Resource Management – Jerame is a seasoned member of the marketing team with over 6 years of experience focusing on recycled commodities markets and branding for outbound inert/organic products such as Class II Base Rock and Soil Amendment.  Some of his key roles include the managing of installations for recycled landscape products for client projects while maintaining customer relations for more than 1,600 Demolition Contractors, Debris Box Companies, and General Construction Contractors. Jerame works closely with Operations at Zanker Recycling making sure material being recycled is non-hazardous and acceptable in accordance with Zanker’s Class III landfill designation.

Advanced C&D Processing SystemSilicon Valley is known as the land of innovation when it comes to computers and information technology, but few people know that it is also the land of recycling innovation. Case in point: Zanker Recycling’s newest operation, the Advanced C&D Processing System which is using AI technology to sort C&D debris into marketable commodities.  Robots are the driving force of this advancement which will lead the C&D world to its next level.

Susan Robinson, Senior Director of Policy and Sustainability, Waste Management – Susan Robinson is Senior Director of Policy and Sustainability at WM.  Her 30+ years in the industry includes work in the public sector, non-profit environmental work, consultancy, and over 25 years in the private sector.  Susan’s experience includes global commodity marketing, research, and analysis of industry trends, and twenty years managing municipal solid waste and recycling contracts. She currently leads WM’s Sustainability Team.

Over the past three years, using US EPA’s Facts and Figures tonnage data, WM’s national average cost information, and EPA’s WARM tool, WM created a GHG abatement curve for the solid waste and recycling industry.  More recently, we used updated pricing and tonnage information to focus on the recyclables processed at single-stream MRFs to understand the environmental impacts and cost of the materials that we manage. Our goal for this exercise was to understand how we might prioritize our efforts for maximum environmental benefits, and at what cost.

Roberto Sabatini, President, Environmental Novociclo S.A. – Roberto has worked previously with mathematical modeling for flood forecasting at the Working Group on Hydrology and Environment. In 1998, Sabatini founded Ethermidia, one of Brazil’s first internet companies which became a leader in the Santa Catarina market. He also founded EnsinoWeb, a web-based education company, as well as Gincana Premiada, which focused on educational entertainment. Since 2008, Sabatini has been involved with Lixo Zero, a waste management and recycling program for companies, complexes, and communities. He is a member of Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA) and serves as the president of Instituto Lixo Zero Brasil. He has a degree in civil engineering from the Federal University of Santa Catarina.

Roberto will discuss the most recents updates in Zero Waste in Brazil.

Steven Sherman, Principal, Steven Sherman Consulting – Steven has worked on organics program planning and implementation–yard trimmings since 1988; food scraps since 1992–as a consultant to local governments, haulers, and processors across the country. He has helped to develop or further the success of several leading municipalities in our field, including San Francisco, StopWaste, Berkeley, Metro (Oregon), the East Bay Municipal Utility District, Portland, and the South Bayside Waste Management Authority. Steven’s skills cover program and project planning, budgeting, and implementation; economic and data analysis; policy evaluation; long-range program planning; survey development; meeting facilitation; staff management and mentoring; contractor selection and contract management; and organizational development. Steven earned an M.S. in Resource Economics from Cornell University and a B.A. in Environmental History from Yale College; he also holds graduate certificates in Financial Planning and in Advanced Indonesian Language. 

Picking Plastics in Paradise: Using Citizen Scientists to Characterize Marine-Borne Plastics in Indonesia — Steven Sherman participated in a citizen science-based initiative, led by the non-profit organization 5 Gyres, to document and characterize plastics in the marine and coastal environment in Indonesia. This presentation addresses the waste characterization methods employed and results found.

Kristin DiLallo Sherrill, Chief Marketing Consultant for California Electronic Asset Recovery, Inc. (CEAR) – Kristin has worked with CEAR for over 11 years. She oversees customer relations and marketing strategies. Kristin has played a vital role in the relationship with many of CEAR’s largest customer acquisitions. She holds her BA in Communications with an emphasis in Environmental Public Relations. Her industry knowledge and customer relations have helped CEAR become a leader in IT Asset Disposition, Data Security and electronics recycling.

Kristin will discuss lithium battery hazards from a recyclers perspective.

Nate Stein, CEO, PS Creations LLC – Nate grew up in the restaurant industry, and his dad moved to California in the 70’s from New York where he attended the Culinary Institute of America. He started off with a bagel company that he sold to Otis Spunkmeyer and then moved into Delis and restaurants and then finally having a catering company. And that’s where it all started for Nate. 3.5 years ago Nate was working a 300 person wedding event and had over 600 plates he needed to wash…from those plates the Platescrape innovation was born.

Nate will discuss Platescrape’s journey and how it can influence California.

We Cannot Recycle Our Way Out Of Plastic Pollution

By John Douglas Moore, Co-Chair, NCRA Zero Waste Advocacy Committee

Please watch the 15 minute segment of Sunday, January 3’s edition of “60 Minutes” which first focused on Boyan Slat’s enterprise to clean-up large ocean plastic gyres by using a large net to collect it, and then segued to the global problem of plastic pollution, painting a pretty grim picture.

The show did not question Slat about what he intended to do with the collected plastic and gave a light brush to any current performance flaws in the technology. China’s National Sword was highlighted as impacting plastics recycling but did not address impacts on collected contaminated paper, cans, and bottles, and did not confront the big lie of single stream collection long advocated by monopolistic trash haulers.

An intelligent adult watching the show asked me “does this mean my plastic Starbucks cup does not get recycled when I put it in the store’s recycling bin?”

Lest you have any doubt that we cannot recycle our way out of plastic pollution and need to up our efforts to reduce plastic use and pollution, please watch this show segment. […]

 

NRC 2018 Awards

The National Recycling Coalition 2018 Awards Recipients, 10/15/18

Yesterday, The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) honored their recycling awards recipients at the 2018 Resource Recycling Conference in St. Louis.  The awards were presented to the winners, along with the recipients of the Murray J. Fox Scholarship, at a special ceremony.  The awards were especially meaningful on the 40th anniversary of the founding of NRC.

The awards program is designed to honor and recognize outstanding individuals, programs, and organizations around the country, both for their achievements, and to serve as a model and a resource for learning for NRC members.  Award categories recognize outstanding programs in for-profit businesses, higher education, non-profit organizations, and community / governmental programs, as well as awards for outstanding emerging leader and lifetime achievement.  The NRC will be posting information on all winners on the NRC’s website.

NRC’s Awards Committee Chair Lisa Skumatz commented on the process saying of fellow committee members, “They worked long and hard to sort from among the huge number of submittals to find those shining examples – a task that was made particularly hard because there were so many really stellar nominees.”  She noted that “The winners embodied best practices, and we were very pleased that winners came from across the country to accept their awards, so attendees had the chance to learn first-hand how these programs work so well!”

Jack DeBell, Chair of the Murray J. Fox Scholarship program presented three St. Louis-area university students with scholarships to assist in their education.

2018 Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement in Recycling – Gary Liss
  • Bill Heenan Emerging Leader – Leana Houser, Johns Hopkins University
  • Outstanding Community / Government Program – County of Santa Cruz
  • Outstanding Business Leadership-For Profit Company – Cox Enterprises , Atlanta
  • Outstanding Not-for-Profit Business Leadership -Bridging the Gap, Kansas City, MO
  • Outstanding Recycling Organization – Colorado Association for Recycling (CAFR) / Recycle Colorado
  • Outstanding Higher Education Winner – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

On hand to help present the awards were NRC’s Chair, Lisa Skumatz (of Skumatz Economic Research Associates); NRC’s President David Keeling (of the Steel Recycling Institute); and Marjorie Griek, NRC’s Executive Director.

Details of the Awards and Winners

Outstanding Business Leadership For-Profit Company: Cox Enterprises
Cox Enterprises believes working towards positive environmental change is important — both inside the company and in the communities they serve. This underlying principle influences their business operations and investments, acting as the catalyst for establishing their environmental sustainability division, Cox Conserves, in 2007. In 2013, Cox Conserves adopted three aggressive goals: carbon and water neutrality by 2044, and zero waste to landfill (ZWTL) by 2024 (diverting 90% of waste from landfill and incineration).

Cox has intensively focused on achieving ZWTL and developed purposeful programs aimed at properly managing their waste streams. Five years later, this call to action for ZWTL goes out to their companies across the US and entreats their employees to embrace environmental stewardship, enabling them to lead by example in this journey towards sustainability. These challenging goals demonstrate the organization’s commitment to being thoughtful stewards of the environment, while searching for innovative ways to grow the business responsibly.

Outstanding Not-for-profit Business Leadership: Bridging the Gap
Bridging The Gap (BTG) is a Kansas City based not-for-profit dedicated to environmental education and action through volunteer engagement. Bridging The Gap was founded in 1992 by attorney Robert J. Mann whose vision of community building across government, business and the private sectors soon translated into environmental activism.

BTG established the city’s first drop-off recycling center, helped establish many regional recycling centers, advocated for curbside recycling in KCMO, and eventually coordinated community education for the long-awaited curbside program when it was finally adopted, thirteen years later. Today, BTG is the home of many diverse environmental programs, including the Business Recycling Program which has helped over 130 businesses achieve waste reduction and implement recycling programs over the past five years.

Outstanding Recycling Organization: Colorado Association for Recycling / Recycle Colorado
Over the last few years, CAFR faced many of the same challenges other ROs were facing:  mergers that reduced membership, programs suffering from lower market prices, contamination, and market challenges; and the complexities associated with very low landfill prices, a significant rural component, and weak state-level authorities.  Rather than suffer a slow decline, CAFR shook things up, hiring a new ED, updating its vision / mission / operations plan, and adopting a mantra of undertaking only activities that were tangible, actionable, and measurable, and focusing on infrastructure, end markets, and policy.  Member services were no longer the focus.  They shook up the traditional model in membership, conference session design, councils, partnered with non-industry NGOs, solicited sponsors for targeted projects, and in one year increased membership 50%, and significantly exceeded sponsorship and revenue goals.  To signal the change, they changed their name.  This RO has ideas that can be learned from! 

Outstanding Higher Education: University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point has been running an exemplary recycling program since it was designated as a Solid Waste Experiment Center in 1990. Annually, over 500 tons of landfill waste is avoided and $17,000 saved on average in avoided landfill tipping fees.

The university’s Waste Education Center (WEC) is an extraordinary facility that functions as a materials recycling and composting facility, provides training in sustainable waste management practices and is used for research trials. WEC is administered by the College of Natural Resources (CNR). The CNR offers an undergraduate degree in Soil and Waste Resources with a Waste Management option to prepare students for jobs at landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, hazardous waste sites, recycling and composting centers. Students utilize the WEC as a classroom and lab, and perform research activities as well. Waste management graduates enjoy placement rates of 90-100% and work at private companies and government agencies.

Outstanding Community or Government Program: Santa Cruz County CA
Santa Cruz County has been a leader in recycling and waste reduction for decades. The source of many innovative programs from bans on plastic bags and Styrofoam to EPR programs for drugs and sharps, requirements for sustainable practices in food service businesses, composting of food waste, creative source reduction efforts, outstanding outreach and education programs and more, Santa Cruz County has won numerous awards and accolades from industry organizations, environmental groups and elected officials. They continue to model best practices for other programs around the country and to constantly strive toward greater sustainability and zero waste.

Bill Heenan Emerging Leader: Leana Houser
Leana Houser has dedicated herself to initiating and improving programs that ensure environmental and social responsibility are embedded in JHU operations, and shows the same commitment in her personal life – oftentimes bridging the two to blur lines and amplify impact. She helped found the regional network B’CaUSE (Baltimore Colleges and Universities for a Sustainable Environment), has served on the board for Friends of Patterson Park, and as been a mentor to numerous interns and employees at Hopkins.

Her charisma, creativity and compassion make her a valued leader adeptly able to bring different partners and stakeholders together to find common ground for the greater good.   From connecting her daily work to divert furniture and provide waste bin infrastructure – the diversion of which improves public health across the city by avoiding the incinerator – to connecting the work of those city nonprofits by way of furniture and bin donations, Leana leads by example.

Lifetime Achievement in Recycling – Gary Liss
Mr. Gary Liss has over 40 years of experience in the solid waste and recycling field.  He was a founder and past President of the National Recycling Coalition and was Solid Waste Manager for the City of San Jose, CA.  In San Jose, Mr. Liss developed their recycling programs into national models, which are currently diverting 62% of the overall waste stream.  In addition, Mr. Liss is a leading advocate of Zero Waste, and a special Zero Waste advisor to the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN). Gary Liss’s litany of achievements started in 1970 helping start students organized against pollution (SOAP) at Tufts, continued through MassPirg, appointments with Sierra Club of New Jersey, Engineering Department in Newark, NJ, NJ State Department of Energy working on Alternate Technologies to focus on Recycling, and closed out the 1970s by writing part of NJ’s energy master plan setting a statewide goal of 25% recycling, worked with the Institute for Self Reliance, US Conference of Mayors, and serving as the Sierra Club representative to join the first Board of the NRC / and was elected chair in 1978.  And those are just his efforts in the 1970s.

In the 1980s, he moved to California and started moving things forward there.  He worked on waste issues in San Jose, continued on the Board of the NRC, and worked on waste reduction strategies at the municipal level.

In the 1990s, and specifically in 1995, he helped develop the Grass Roots Recycling network to champion Zero Waste, started Gary Liss & Associates, and began the work he continues to this day – working with the NRC, and helping communities across North America and internationally on Zero Waste.  His current titles include: President Gary Liss & Associates, a Founding Board Member and Past President of NRC; VP of Zero Waste USA; Board member Zero Waste International Alliance, and Past President US Zero Waste Business Council.

Gary is tireless, dogged, determined, and committed – and now his is also an award winner.

The National Recycling Coalition congratulates all of this year’s winners!

Notable sponsors and contributors of these awards include: SCS Engineers, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Robert Gedert, Container Recycling Institute, Waste Management, Skumatz Economic Research Associates / SERA, George Dreckmann, Barbara Eckstrom, Fran McPoland, Susie Gordon, Melisssa Young, MaryEllen Etienne, Marjie Griek, NRC Executive Director, Mark Lichtenstein, NRC Board, Leslie Lukacs, Steel Recycling Institute, The Recycling Partnership, Dylan DeThomas.