Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition 2020

NCRA is a new member of the Clean Seas Lobbying Coalition. This group of very interesting non-profit organizations is dedicated to source reduction solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. The members are:

2020 CLEAN SEAS LOBBYING COALITION MEMBERS 
The 5 Gyres Institute (Los Angeles)
Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research and Education (COARE) (Oakland)
Heal the Bay (Santa Monica)
Northern California Recycling Association (Berkeley)
Plastic Oceans International
Plastic Pollution Coalition
Save Our Shores (Monterey)
Seventh Generation Advisors (Santa Monica)
UPSTREAM (San Francisco)
Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation (Ventura)
Zero Waste USA (Sebastopol)

Previous members include The Story of Stuff Project and Surfrider Foundation

The Coalition contracts with Ecoconsult to provide lobbying services. Justin Malan, the principal and founder has more than 25 of experience in Sacramento as a legislative and agency consultant, as well as independent advocate. Our primary contact is Genevieve Abedon who has been with Ecoconsult since January 2017. Before joining, Genevieve worked on both statewide and local plastic pollution policy and campaigning for Californians Against Waste. In the past she has worked as a Landfill Reduction Technician at various events and sailed across the North Atlantic Ocean studying microplastic pollution with The 5 Gyres Institute.

Ecoconsult’s preferred modus operandi is collaboration. They secure meaningful results for clients by working closely with their existing strategic partners and by building foundations for future coalitions and partnerships. They have a successful record of getting sponsored bills signed into law.  But the work doesn’t stop there – they also use their extensive regulatory and program management experience to ensure that the state effectively and efficiently implements their clients’ legislation.

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Pending Federal EPR Legislation Would Damage or Destroy US Recycling Industry

By Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and NCRA Member, 8/30/19 – Excerpts and bolding by Dan Knapp of Urban Ore
In August federal bills on plastic pollution and Zero Waste were put forward in Congress by Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Representative Alan Lowenthall (D-Calif.) and Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn). Neither can come close to moving forward given the make-up of the Senate and the veto power of the president. Yet they can establish a blueprint for progressive steps in the future. However, some fine-tuning is needed to ensure that well-intended legislation does not actually make it harder to move forward toward recyclers’ goals.

 

“The call for a national EPR system is a serious mistake. Recycling is not dying and a radical effort to turn the recycling sector over to the companies that generate waste is uncalled for. It turns out that the demand for U.S. recyclables is strong in the U.S. and overseas. There is a scramble by foreign investors, led by the Chinese, to build paper and plastics recycling plants throughout the U.S. and ship clean materials to home factories. U.S. companies are vying for these materials as well. An estimated 20 new recycled paper mills are under construction in the U.S. at this time in every part of the country. Cities are converting to dual stream and small single stream processing which generate clean materials to meet these markets….”

 

… “Organized citizen and small business activism has been the key to the start up and growth of recycling in the U.S. and remains so to this day, starting with drop off centers, moving quickly to community based collection systems, then to eventual adoption by cities and counties. The citizens’ recycling movement merged with the hugely successful anti garbage incineration movement in the 1980s and the inspirational and practical Zero Waste Movement in the 1990s. Citizens at the local level have run for office and won, organizing coalitions that city and county councils could not ignore without a threat to their next election….”

… “An EPR system would shut this engine of recycling off completely. Access to decision makers at the local level would be eliminated as cities would have abdicated their decision making power of waste and recycling to corporate nonprofit boards that will replace all decision making, collection, processing, and marketing. Public recycling jobs would be terminated and workers rehired by these Brand Name corporations with little union and employment protections, and lower pay and benefits. Mary Lou Van Deventer, environmental writer, recycling pioneer, and principal of Urban Ore, the iconic materials reuse and processing enterprise, refers to EPR for traditional materials as a “hostile takeover” threatening 50 years of recycling activism.

“PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestlé introduced EPR for traditional recycling materials in 2013. The goal, as interpreted by the vast majority of grass roots activists, is to stop any new bottle bills from being enacted and to roll back the existing 10 state bottle bills. Frequently heard comments among pro EPR…advocates add insult to injury: Cities do not know how to recycle and they are broke so they can’t do anything, corporations have the money and know how to recycle better. The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) praised the legislation’s EPR component, “EPR is the only transformational solution to the current crisis.”

“These comments are counter-intuitive given the history of U.S. recycling wherein cities have learned from the early successes of grassroots recycling and adopted them for municipal roll out. Grassroots pressure at the local level continues to lead the country toward new rules for waste and recycling management.

“Efforts to impose EPR controlled by Big Soda in R.I., Conn., Minn., and Calif. failed in the last few years despite a stealth strategy, including hiring of former state legislatures to lobby their former colleagues, state environmental organization staff, and grassroots environmental organizations.” []

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Account of The Third Annual North Bay Zero Waste Symposium

By Arthur R. Boone, Center for Recycling Research (CRR)
The July NCRA News told of the Zero Waste Symposium in Rohnert Park in late July and, after noting the 27 different speakers being scheduled, I resolved to attend. About 90 people were present with a generous dollop of old NCRAites; seen were Ruth Abbe, Will Bakx, myself, Jordan Figueredo, Gary Liss, “Green Mary” Munat, Judith Silver and Todd Sutton. I heard five highlights in the program:

1.     Mimi Enright of the Sonoma County Community Food Systems program, talked about how the county stayed on top of a rapidly shifting environment (100,000 meals needed the day after Camp Fire in 2017) at the same time respecting the integrity of many volunteer and non-profit efforts.
2.     Kourtnii Brown of Oakland’s Common Compost thinks that smaller organics diversion programs may bear more fruit than the 100+ big facilities expected under SB 1383 to make industrial scale compost at higher costs, less social gain, and an unclear contribution to social equity. She noted there is “the trend to make policies that favor only big solutions.“ very wise to my mind.
3.     Marv Zauderer started and runs the ExtraFood program in Marin County. Relying heavily on individual initiative and simplicity of organization, Extra Food tries to connect persons with food and people in need; not a lot of details but three million pounds moved in five years is 800 pounds per day of groceries; 2/3rds of his volunteers are seniors.
4.     Eric Jackson as leader of the Trashion Fashion Show of the Sonoma Community Center recounted its 9 year history with lots of kooky side bars: in addition to youth campy clothes, there are clothes for found Barbie dolls, costumes for pets with found stuff, etc. A real kick; the artiest of the day.

5. Green Mary (a/k/a Mary Munat) now has 45 employees and works a lot of big events in SF. Trying to talk the SF Marathon leaders into patches for each new year rather than yet another T-shirt. SF’s rule is that any event that requires a police permit also must have a recycling plan and program. Volunteers at many event disposal points may be the best pub ed available to not-at-home youngsters.

A nice program; well-paced. Good food and drink. A lot more individual initiative stories than we tend to hear at RU where it’s more about official and routinized efforts. Refreshing.

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5 Things To Know About Communities Of Color And Environmental Justice

“Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” Dr. Robert Bullard

5 Things To Know About Communities Of Color And Environmental Justice Jasmine Bell, Center for American Progress, 4/25/16

1. Communities of color have higher exposure rates to air pollution than their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. A Yale University study found that non-Hispanic whites had the lowest exposure rates for 11 of the 14 pollutants monitored in the study. Meanwhile, Hispanics had the highest exposure rates for 10 out of the 14 pollutants, and African Americans had higher exposure rates than whites for 13 out of the 14 pollutants. Some of the pollutants studied have been connected to asthma, cardiovascular issues, lung disease, and cancer. For example, a case study of The Bronx, New York, found that individuals who lived close to noxious industrial facilities and waste sites were 66 percent more likely to be hospitalized for asthma. Significantly, these same individuals were 13 percent more likely to be people of color.

2. Landfills, hazardous waste sites, and other industrial facilities are most often located in communities of color. A report titled “Toxic Waste and Race at Twenty” reviewed data collected over a 20-year time period and found that more than half of the people who live within 1.86 miles of toxic waste facilities in the United States are people of color. A report by the Center for Effective Government found that people of color are nearly twice as likely as white residents to live within a fenceline zone of an industrial facility. These facilities contribute to air pollution, safety issues, and health concerns.

3. Lead poisoning disproportionately affects children of color. Children of color who live in urban areas are at the highest risk for lead poisoning caused by lead-based paint. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that 11.2 percent of African American children and 4.0 percent of Mexican-American children are poisoned by lead, compared with 2.3 percent of white children. Lead poisoning can result in a wide range of health problems, such as anemia, seizures, and brain development issues. Even with the restrictions on lead paint usage, children of color who live in low-income communities continue to suffer the most. For example, a 2004 report revealed that African American children and Hispanic children in Chicago were 12 times and 5 times more likely to be poisoned, respectively, than white children.

4. Climate change disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. The effects of climate change, such as extreme weather conditions, have devastating consequences for communities of color and low-income communities. These extreme weather events can displace residents and even cause death. In the aftermath of such disasters, efforts of city officials to rebuild communities of color and low-income communities are often inadequate compared to efforts to rebuild higher-income and white communities. Perhaps the most powerful example of this inequity is the communities of color in New Orleans that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Black homeowners received $8,000 less in government aid than white homeowners due to disparities in housing values. In 2013, about 80 percent of the mostly black residents of the city’s Lower 9th Ward had not returned to their community due to inadequate building efforts. 

5. Water contamination plagues low-income areas and communities of color across the nation. Studies have documented limited access to clean water in low-income communities of color. Water contamination has largely affected children of color who live in rural areas, indigenous communities, and migrant farmworker communities. Contaminated water can cause an abundance of health-related issues, particularly for young children. Depending on the contaminant, possible health problems can include waterborne diseases, blood disorders, and cancer. Indigenous people of the Navajo Nation, for example, have suffered for years from water contamination due in part to the residual effects of uranium mining in the region during the 1950s, as well as the recent Gold King Mine toxic spill. In St. Joseph, Louisiana, residents are forced to live on water that is tinted brown and yellow but that the state continues to claim is safe to drink. African Americans make up three-quarters of the town’s population and nearly 40 percent of the residents live in poverty.

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