Member Interview – Nikhil Balachandran, 09/18

NIKHIL BALACHANDRAN, NCRA MEMBER SINCE 2017
I have a relentless desire to find solutions that address sustainability and process efficiency problems by building products from inception to scale with a passion that derives its inspiration from climbing mountains and swimming in open water. My encounters with litter during hiking and open water swimming have been defining moments that have compelled me to switch my career to keep trash out of the environment.

Now CEO of Zabble Inc., I live in Walnut Creek and am happy married to Diana. We are expecting a daughter in the coming weeks.  My professional goal is to build a company that provides services and tools to quantify and categorize waste to enable a circular economy that eliminates waste, is financially efficient and protects Earth.

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Annual Member’s Appreciation Picnic, Sunday, September 16

Sunday, September 16, 11am – 3pm, at East Bay Regional Parks’  Lake Temescal Streamside Picnic Area, 6502 Broadway Terrace, Oakland, CA. Directions

Join us for a day of BBQ, lawn games, networking, frisbee and more! Family, kids, friends and dogs welcome!

The event is free to members – NCRA will provide all food and drink!  Non-members are encouraged to chip in $5; no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

RSVP by 9/10/18.

Need a ride? We can help, just let us know.

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Food Waste Policy Update

By Food Waste Reduction Committee Members, Susan Miller Davis, Infinite Table and Susan Blachman, Blachman Consulting

SB1383, signed by Governor Brown in 2016, requires reductions in short-lived climate pollutants, similar to the way AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, does for greenhouse gases.  SB1383 specifically targets organic waste methane emissions.

CalRecycle is developing the regulatory language to support the following targets under SB1383:  a 50 percent reduction in the level of statewide disposal of organic waste from the 2014 level by 2020; a 75 percent reduction in organic waste disposal by 2025; and the recovery of 20 percent or more of edible food that is currently being disposed for human consumption by 2025.

Since the bill’s passage, CalRecycle has been holding workshops on the regulatory language. The most recent workshops were held on May 7 & 8, 2018. The following is the Table of Contents of the May 2018 proposed regulations. For more information and documents., visit the  CalRecycle Public Meeting Notice.

Article 1. Definitions
Article 2. Landfill Disposal and Reductions in Landfill Disposal
Article 3. Organic Waste Collection Services
Article 4. Education and Outreach
Article 5. Generators of Organic Waste
Article 6. Biosolids Generated at a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW)
Article 7. Regulation of Haulers
Article 8. Cal-Green Building Standards
Article 9. Locally Adopted Standards and Policies
Article 10. Jurisdiction Edible Food Recovery Programs, Food Generators, and Food Recovery 
Article 11. Capacity Planning
Article 12. Procurement of Recovered Organic Waste Products
Article 13. Reporting
Article 14. Enforcement
Article 15. Enforcement Oversight by the Department
Article 16. Penalties

SB1383 will require local governments to impose new levels of collection service for generators, develop new sources of organics recycling and edible food recovery capacity, and comply with new levels of state and local oversight. CalRecycle has received considerable feedback on the most recent draft, so we expect it to continue to be revised.

In 2019 CalRecycle will be networking, providing technical assistance, and developing tools, model ordinances, contracts, and case studies to support efforts at the local level to meet the organic waste reduction targets and comply with the regulatory requirements.

In the meantime, NCRA will be holding the Zero Food Waste Forum on October 16, 2018 in Berkeley focused on innovative ways local governments are implementing and can comply with Article 10, the edible food element.

A related bill, AB 1219, the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, adopted in 2017, should help with food recovery. It strengthens and expands liability protections for food donors. Among its provisions, the law requires health inspectors to educate businesses about the laws that exist to protect food donors from liability, which is the first time a state has done this. To assist health inspectors, staff at a number of non-profits (the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, the California Conference of the Directors of Environmental Health, and the Center for Climate Change and Health, with support from The California Endowment) produced the Safe Surplus Food Donation Toolkit, to educate food facilities about safe surplus food donation, including information on liability protections, state mandates, and safe surplus food donation practices. The Toolkit includes websites where food generators can find recipients of donated food.

If you know of any feeding organizations that are not included, please encourage them to get listed. They are: Sustainable America  Feeding America and Ample Harvest

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Bernie Meyerson, 1932 – 2018

The Bay Area Recycling Community Has Lost One Of Its Long Time Heroes
By Kevin Drew, Residential Zero Waste Senior Coordinator, San Francisco Department of the Environment

Bernie Meyerson slipped away in May, following his lifelong partner Marion by 7 years, an eternity after their over 60 years together, starting out as teenagers in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn just after the end of WWII.

Bernie was “present at the creation” of many aspects of what we now take for granted in Bay Area and California resource recovery, such as: curbside recycling in Fresno in the 1970’s, opposition to incinerators in the Berkeley and San Francisco, supporting reform of SF’s 1932 Refuse Ordinance and Norcal’s (now Recology) monopoly, supporting recycled content industries as the only real solution to sustainable materials management. Bernie not only advocated for, but got into the business of, recycling: putting his time and money where his mouth and brain were, helping to create Multi Material Management & Marketing in Oakland.

Bernie was a mentor to many of us in the recycling movement. Always willing to spend some time discussing the intricacies of recycling and materials management. “It’s all about the markets” was Bernie’s common refrain and he’d go on to explain what was happening in China, Viet Nam, India or Los Angeles, where ever material was moving or not moving. For good measure, Bernie could be counted on to add a dose of thoughtful exposition on the connection back to local, state and national policies and politics. He was a powerful intellect, able to hold forth persuasively and accurately on our industry, and many other topics.

Bernie could also be counted on to “be there” for the environment and fellow recyclers, even decades down the road on important matters and little issues. Most recently he helped protect San Francisco’s waterfront from over-development by helping to passing Prop B. He provided long hours of thoughtful consideration as a member of San Francisco’s Peak Oil Task Force. He saved my butt with wise counsel on handling the DOC Enforcement actions being levied at the HANC Recycling Center shortly after I started work there in 1988, and early in the AB2020 implementation.

I really never stopped listening to Bernie wax on, wax on about . . . whatever. I miss that repartee already.

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Rinsing Plastics at Events

By Arthur R. Boone, Center For Recycling Research and Total Recycling Associates
In its 12 years of operation, the First Friday Street Fair on lower Telegraph in Oakland had never had a recycling program; running from 5 to  p.m. on, guess what, the first Fridays of each month, it had escaped attention from the regulators. The sponsoring organization’s exec had used the Sierra Club tree team to plant trees in the area, so Boone asked her if she needed a little help getting started. He got referred to John Eric Henry, FF event manager, and on the first Friday of May, Boone and four other NCRA-based volunteers – Brooms, Hanscom, Krueger, and McKaughan, did their magic on assorted trash bags and some three-sort bagged materials out of Clearstreams to see what’s happening.

Most pleasing was how little EPS (Styrofoam) there was in the mix with lots of molded pulp food plates and the paucity of glass, paper and OCC. Most astounding to Boone was the high percentage of plastic cups, cutlery, and film, most of it too covered with goop of various origins to be immediately usable.

Anybody know of ways to rinse discarded plastics to make them clean enough to go in a drop-off location as in Berkeley and El Cerrito?; this stuff didn’t go to China then and doesn’t now. Resin sorters seem to have the resin of origin solved but not the goop. Any leads?  ARBoone