Help StopWaste Set Priorities


By NCRA Member Justin Lehrer, Operations Manager, StopWaste, 10/21/20
Every other year, StopWaste engages in priority setting to inform the Agency’s budget development, resource allocation, external fund-seeking efforts, and program selection and design for a two-year period. The agency is now engaged in the 2020 priority setting process, and will discuss a new draft set of two-year priorities at the November 2020 joint Waste Management Authority (WMA), Recycling Board, and Energy Council (EC) meeting.

A two-year priority setting process enables the Agency to be responsive to new challenges and opportunities. This ability to be nimble and adaptive has perhaps never been more important than now. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our communities and our work, the increasing urgency of the climate crisis, persistent social and racial disparities, new State-level requirements such as SB 1383, and the growing knowledge that we must take our work to the next level in order to achieve ambitious waste reduction and clean energy goals all point to the need for an updated set of priorities for the Agency. Updated priorities will guide the work of the Agency over the next two fiscal years, through June 2023.

StopWaste’s current priorities, presented as a set of guiding principles, have informed the Agency’s work in many important and tangible ways, including, such as:

      • FOOD WASTE PREVENTION: Increasingly high priority given to food waste prevention through projects such as the Stop Food Waste campaign, schools outreach, and assistance and tools developed to promote and enable edible food recovery and donation.
      • ORGANICS OUT OF LANDFILL: Ongoing efforts to divert organic materials from the landfill, such as through implementation of the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance.
      • CARBON FARMING: Coordination with member agencies to conduct training on compost application and to incorporate innovative carbon farming practices into city climate action plans.
      • SB 1383 IMPLEMENTATION INFRASTRUCTURE: Convening member agency staff to coordinate SB 1383 implementation efforts.
      • REUSEABLE FOOD WARE: Shift in focus from exploring mandatory food service ware policy to development of upstream pilot projects that build reusable food ware infrastructure.

At the October 15 NCRA Board meeting, StopWaste staff shared a set of considerations that are top of mind and serving as a framework for updating Agency priorities. These ideas have evolved, with input from staff and stakeholders, into the following aims:

      • SYSTEMIC CHANGE: Support member agencies and partners to make strategic policy and program interventions that create systemic change at scale
      • SOCIAL AND RACIAL EQUITY: Hold social and racial equity at the center of our work
      • COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIPS: Cultivate collaborative partnerships across issues and design programs that foster overall community and environmental well-being
      • REGENERATIVE ECONOMY: Focus resources on strategic interventions where we can support the shift towards a regenerative economy
      • SOCIAL NORMS: Change the social norms driving inefficient resource use and overconsumption
      • HEALTH INDICATORS: Evaluate success based on overall system health indicators

One important goal of the process is for the resulting priorities to reflect the full scope of the Agency’s work, including materials management efforts and the work of the Energy Council to advance clean energy solutions in Alameda County communities (previously the WMA/Recycling Board and EC have conducted separate priority setting processes).

Recycling Plan Update

The guiding principles adopted by the WMA Board are developed through a joint process with the Recycling Board. Measure D, the county charter amendment that established the Recycling Board, mandates that the Recycling Board implement a comprehensive source reduction and recycling program. This is further outlined in the Recycling Plan, which extends through 2020 and is currently being updated. While creating and updating this Plan is the legal obligation of the Recycling Board as a distinct entity, it is designed to be complementary to and consistent with the WMA’s goals, objectives and strategies and therefore it informs Agency priority-setting. The draft Recycling Plan can be found here and input may be given directly to staff by November 13, 2020, or at the December 12 Recycling Board meeting.

Between now and December, staff are facilitating a series of presentations and discussions with the WMA Board and its committees, Recycling Board, Energy Council, member agency staff, and other partners to gather input on the priorities that will guide Agency efforts for the next two years. Staff will request that the WMA Board and Energy Council consider adoption of a new set of two-year priorities at the December 16 Waste Management Authority/Energy Council meeting. NCRA members are invited to follow this process by sharing their input during the public comment period at any upcoming public Board meetings – schedules and agendas are posted online,  or via email to Justin Lehrer.

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