Recycling Update Program

Program for the 21st Annual Recycling Update
Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 8:30am-4:30pm
Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, CA
(click here for pdf – limited copies will be available at event)

8:00 a.m.  Registration Opens – Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. RU 21 Introduction: Laura McKaughan, NCRA President

Josh Simpson, Director of Marketing for the Kamps Propane, “Innovation for Recreation – The Little Kamper Refillable Propane Tank.” Outdoor recreation is a passion for many Californians and camping is a year round activity at destinations from the coast to the mountains. It is estimated that more than 4 million disposable propane tanks are used in California every year for camping, picnicking and tailgate cooking. The disposable tanks are hazardous waste, costly to recycle and frequently end up in landfill. Now there’s a better option and today you’ll see how a refillable 1lb propane tank is going to change the recreation fuel marketplace.

Mike O’Donnell, Managing Director for the Mattress Recycling Council, “Mattress Collection and Recycling Programs.” In 2013, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island enacted legislation requiring mattress manufacturers to create statewide recycling programs for discarded mattresses.  The Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) is the non-profit organization established by the mattress industry to work in partnership with stakeholders to develop effective recycling programs in these three states.  Mike will provide an update on the new California program while providing valuable comparisons to the Connecticut program which launched on May 1, 2015.

Dana Frasz, Founder of Food Shift, “Strategies for Reducing Food Waste in Santa Clara County and Beyond”, Despite national efforts to address hunger and reduce wasted food, 40% of food in the US is wasted while 49 million Americans are food insecure. Why are efforts falling short and what might more efficient, equitable, and sustainable solutions to this paradox look like? Food Shift has been exploring this question for over 4 years and in early 2015 Santa Clara County hired Food Shift to identify barriers and insights in the community. Dana will share findings from the report, provide an update on Santa Clara’s progress, and share details of Food Shift’s soon-to-launch Alameda Kitchen project.

Miguel Robles, Project Coordinator for the Biosafety Alliance, “The Soil Not Oil Coalition“. How can traditional and cultural practices help educate communities about the impact of global warming, environmental chaos, and the connection between environmental and social pollution? How we can bring together strategic coalitions of diverse stakeholders, elected officials, and community organizations who have not traditionally acknowledged these issues as a central theme? Miguel Robles from the Soil Not Oil Coalition and the Biosafety Alliance has been part of a movement to advocate for seed freedom, sustainability, and regenerative management of soils by eliminating the use of GMOs, agrochemicals, and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

Jared Blumenfeld, Director, EPA Region 9, “California’s Trash Control Policy: Guidance for Source-Reduction as well as controlling the Pacific Garbage Patch”
2016 will be the year when real progress is made resolving one of the world’s most vexing environmental issues — the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. California’s “Trash Control Policy” is the first measure in the country aimed at eliminating trash from lakes, streams and shores across a state. Under California’s new policy, by 2026 trash is prohibited from polluting our waters, and each large municipality and industrial discharger must implement “trash free” measures and report its compliance. This means that the public can oversee the progress and make sure that policy becomes reality. Many cities have responded by increasing recycling and street sweeping, which both play a key role in trash and marine debris reduction, but it’s not just a matter of preventing trash from getting to the water’s edge. We also need to reduce the amount of disposable material being generated. Not only must waste be diverted from landfills to increase recycling and composting rates, it has to be reduced from the get-go. California’s two waste measures — the diversion goal and trash policy — represent a visionary approach to a blight that for too long has choked our waterways, harmed wildlife and endangered our drinking water supplies.

Laura McKaughan, NCRA President, and Andrea Deleon, Cascadia Consulting Group Co-Project Manager, Organics Outreach to Multifamily Properties in Oakland.” In collaboration with the Oakland Recycles partners, the Northern California Recycling Association, and Cascadia Consulting Group, took on an ambitious campaign to do outreach to hundreds of apartment buildings and inform residents and property managers about the newly introduced organics collection service which rolled out in Oakland on July 1, 2015. Hear about best practices and occasional pitfalls of doing door-to-door outreach to the residents of MFDs in different Oakland neighborhoods.

Jessica Connolly, Recycling Programs Coordinator for multifamily dwellings at Marin Sanitary Service, “Multifamily Dwelling Compost Pilot: Measuring how Outreach Tools Influences Participation.” In 2015, Marin Sanitary Service conducted a pilot study in multifamily dwellings (MFDs) that measured how distributing outreach and educational materials affects programmatic participation in a food scrap recycling program. MFD participants in the study were assigned to one of four groups, each receiving different levels of outreach tools and educational materials. Over the course of six weeks, each compost cart at these MFDs was monitored for volume, material type (food waste/yard waste), and contamination levels. Data was then aggregated and analyzed to determine if there were correlations between outreach efforts and participation in programs.

Maria Javier, Environmental Specialist, City of Fremont, “Fremont Times Square: A Local Success Story” Overflowing garbage. Minimal recycling. Multiple commercial tenants. Non-English speakers. Sound familiar? City of Fremont, Republic Services, Union Sanitary District, StopWaste, and Bridgeport Management Company team up to bring a 50-tenant commercial site into compliance. Through site assessments, waste audits, tenant surveys, and translated educational materials, Fremont Times Square is now a success story!

Damon Carson, President of repurposedMATERIALS, “Repurposing Industrial Waste Streams.” Carson will lead us on a behind-the-scenes look at the mission/concept of “repurposing” industrial waste streams.  So, what is “repurposing”? It is taking a retired street sweeper brush and giving it a second life as a backscratcher for horses or cattle.  It is taking a decommissioned fire hose and giving it an extended life as a boat dock fender.  It is taking an obsolete ski lift cable and giving it a second life as hand railing in a luxury condo building!

Lisa Skumatz, Principal of Skumatz Economic Research Associate (SERA),“Every-Other-Week Collection:  Tradeoffs in Frequency, New Streams, Efficiencies, and Cost-Effectiveness” Communities and haulers are looking to achieve multiple objectives: provide better service, increase diversion, and minimize costs.  One key strategy being considered is changing – and jointly optimizing — the frequency of trash, recycling, and organics.  In projects for several national clients, we interviewed communities across the nation with every other week collection of trash and other streams.  We used SERA’s detailed collection cost model to run scenarios under hauler, contracted, and municipal settings, and assessed the pros and cons, costs, and diversion outcomes from collection optimization work – selecting weekly or fortnightly collection of recyclables, yard waste, yard and food, and trash.

Tim Dewey-Mattia, Recycling & Public Education Manager for Napa Recycling & Waste Services, “Zero Waste Lessons from the Napa Earthquake” California definitely has its share of natural disasters and these disasters often bring with them piles and piles of debris. In the midst of crisis, Zero Waste often becomes a low priority and most of this debris is sent to landfills. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Learn some of the basic lessons from the 2014 Napa earthquake so when the next disaster inevitably comes, your Zero Waste programs don’t take a direct hit.

Maybo AuYeung and Emmanuel Nava,  Co-coordinators of the 2016 Zero Waste Youth Convergence, “Organizing Youth for Change.” Introducing an energetic and budding organization – Zero Waste Youth USA! ZW Youth USA seek to learn from the more experienced and to share their story of who they are, what they have accomplished, where they are heading and how to empower the next generation to build a zero waste future.

12:30 p.m. – LUNCH

Evan Edgar, Principal of Edgar & Associates, “The California Plan before the Ban Goes Global.” As California gears up to effectively eliminate organics from landfills by 2025 to mitigate methane, the global stage has a renewed concern about short-lived climate pollutants such as methane. With the Paris UN talks on climate change discussing methane and having California with a seat at the table, the California business model goes global on how to increase your GNP while reducing your GHG footprint. The California model has a Plan before the Ban to use the methane as transportation fuel and the digestate for compost to create healthy soils.

Doug Button, President and General Manager of South San Francisco Scavenger,“ Making Gas Not Trash.” In 2015, South San Francisco Scavenger and it’s sister company Blueline Transfer Inc installed a 12,500 tons per year anaerobic digestion facility that co-digests food and yard waste and harvest the methane for use as compressed natural gas for their fleet. Hear about their successes and lessons learned in the first year of their anaerobic digestion operations.

Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President at As You Sow, “Shareholder Pressure to Challenge Pharma on Drug Disposal” Lack of free, convenient programs for proper disposal of unneeded or expired consumer prescription drugs and accessories contributes to water pollution, illicit drug use, drug addiction, and threats to sanitation workers. Consumers lacking drug disposal programs in their communities often flush old drugs down the toilet, contributing to water pollution.  As You Sow has initiated dialogues and filed shareholder proposals to be voted on a company annual meetings in in 2016 at three major U.S. drug makers:  AbbVie, Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co.  Studies have found detectable levels of pharmaceuticals in surface and groundwater drinking water sources. In 2013, overdoses from prescription pain medications killed more than 16,000 Americans. Most U.S. communities lack free, convenient, on-going collection programs that could help alleviate these critical problems.  Companies need to step up and provide financing for a national network of drug take back.

Matt Cotton, Composting Consultant, “Composting Rules: It’s Complicated Composting faces a perfect storm of new regulations to confront. From CalRecycle regulations, new inerts limitations; new Storm Water Resources Control Board regulations; new pad and pond requirements; as well as emerging new Air Quality Management Districts’ & Air Pollution Control Districts’ regulations limiting emissions.  All of this when we’ve passed a very ambitious new law to redirect food scraps will challenge for communities & composters.

Eric Dubinsky, Project Scientist in the Ecology Department at Lawrence Berkeley, “The Fate of Pharmaceuticals in Thermophilic Compost.” Wastewater treatment has been demonstrated to be ineffective for pharmaceutical degradation and has resulted in the release of bioactive compounds into the environment.  Less is known about the fate of pharmaceutical degradation in the thermophilic composting process.  It is hypothesized that bacterial secondary metabolism, resulting from the high levels of microbial activity in the composting process, will fortuitously consume pharmaceuticals while deriving energy from primary sources.  We are analyzing the degradation of specific pharmaceuticals and the emergence of breakdown products through high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectroscopy.  By measuring the reaction kinetics of pharmaceutical degradation we can determine if pharmaceutical-contaminated feedstocks can be safely used for compost.

Teresa Montgomery, Public Relations Manager for Garden City Sanitation, and Richard Gertman, Principal at For Sustainability Too, San José Residential Food Scraps Pilot– from Fork to Feed!Garden City Sanitation is mid-way through their Residential Food Scraps Collection Pilot. The pilot includes over 5,000 residential customers and tests two types of carts: a 64-gallon split garbage/food scraps cart and a 20-gallon designated food scraps cart. Yard waste is collected separately in loose piles. Food scraps collected in the Pilot Program are delivered to the SAFE pre-processing facility at Mission Trail Waste Systems and then to SOS at Garden City. At SOS, materials are transformed into a nutrient-rich dry meal used in animal feed.

Nick Lapis, Legislative Coordinator for Californians Against Waste, “Legislative Action on Waste Policy”  Nick will discuss the passage of several landmark pieces of legislation in the past several years, and what these new laws portend for the future of waste reduction and recycling in California. He will also discuss bills and other policies that are on the horizon and give an update on the statewide bag ban that will be on ballot in November.

Michael Gross, Director of Sustainability for Zanker Recycling, “WoodAGeddon” In California, 24 biomass electric generating plants produce more than 600 megawatts of baseload renewable energy.  Biomass helps California meet mandated greenhouse gas reductions, by upcycling woody waste into fuel and providing a net reduction of more than 3.5 million tons of biogenic greenhouse gas emissions per year. In addition, workers in this industry divert more than 7.5 million tons of low-value wood materials from our state’s waste stream every year that otherwise would wind up in overburdened landfills.  However, California is losing this asset with seven plants having closed in the past two years and another 7 plants shutting down in 2017 due to antiquated or expiring contracts. Come and learn about the situation and what is likely to happen when biomass no longer exists in California.

Wes Nelson, Sales and Marketing manager for GreenWaste Carpet Recycling, “California’s Magic Carpet Ride.” Nelson will provide a brief overview of current California post-consumer carpet landfill diversion and recycling rates including what types of carpet can and cannot be recycled and why. He will also give an update on current market conditions and California’s Carpet Stewardship Program including grant opportunities.

Daniel Hamilton, Sustainability Program Manager for the City of Oakland, “Oakland Represents at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris” The City of Oakland has recently developed a new inventory for community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  As part of this effort, the City developed unique methodology to identify emissions associated with upstream and consumption-based activities, which highlights the role of waste reduction, composting, and recycling in meeting long term GHG reduction goals.  This presentation will illustrate the difference in results in calculating GHG emissions using this approach, and show how the City used this approach as its core focus area in representing US cities at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

Rob Hilton, Vice President with HF&H Consultants, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Loving Charges for Recycling and Organics.” Since the first recycling programs in Northern California, we (collectively) have misled the public into believing curbside recycling and composting collection is free. As those communities began collecting more for recovery than for disposal, their rate structures began to falter and both customers and elected officials questioned ask why their bills were going up so dramatically. HF&H has worked with dozens of communities around the state seeking to correct this trend. This presentation will provide case studies from communities who have been successful in adding charges for recovery programs, pairing them with more sophisticated education and outreach methods, and progressing forward in their recovery rates.

Susan Collins, President of the Container Recycling Institute, California Beverage Container Program Needs Our Help.” Collins will share the latest news about what is going on with commodity prices including some of the hidden reasons for the low prices and what the experts are saying about when prices will increase. She will also share how low commodity prices affect redemption centers and how cost calculations have led to the race-to-the-bottom and death spiral we are in today.

Eli Goodsell, Director of Regenerative Programs for the Conservation Corps North Bay (CCNB)“Local Conservation Corps – Recycling Stuff and Changing Lives” Diversified CalRecycle funding has enabled Local Conservation Corps to establish new recycling programs in e-waste, tires, and oil. Coupled with a reduction in funds received from the bottle bill and with thirteen Local Corps across California, these programs are likely to have an impact in your community.  This presentation will give you an overview of what the Corps are up to and how they can help increase diversion rates in these key material streams.

4:15 p.m.  Closing Recycling Update 21 by Tom Padia of StopWaste

4:30 p.m.  Happy Hour at Spat’s (1974 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley)