El Cerrito’s Big Night For Recycling

El Cerrito Recycling Celebrates 50 Years!
By Arthur R. Boone, Center for Recycling Research, 8/10/22

One of California’s cities most attentive to developing multiple services to make recycling in all its facets easier for residents is El Cerrito, a small city in the southwest corner of Contra Costa County. Nestled beneath a 30- foot steep embankment, the El Cerrito Recycling + Environmental Resource Center, a 3-acre facility in use since 1972 has a wider array of destination points than any other known drop-off center in California.

On Friday, August 5, the present and past leaders were there with 150 onlookers to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start up of the center. As seen in the photo above, the center has bins or shelves for more the 30 materials including secure spaces to exchange household goods and leave things for Urban Ore, several clothing recyclers, plus a small pass-along shed for books.

Gabrial Quinto, current Mayor of El Cerrito, was especially friendly to me, while 4 or 5 former mayors repeatedly sounded the note that it was the people of El Cerrito, not their leaders that made this facility happen. They saw the Santa Monica dropoff as their early model (not Berkeley as is often thought). A nice trail of documents that can go to the National Recycling Archives now stored at Urban Ore in Berkeley was hinted at. Those of us with archive-gathering as a favorite avocation were charmed.

The biggest disappointment in the event was the small attention paid to NCRA Member Joel Witherell who was, long before recycling became a pastime, the face that those of us saw in El Cerrito being the linchpin and leader of the program. The Parks and Recreation Director from 1973-1993. Joel was a recycler masquerading as a bureaucrat while most of us working with public officials for our livelihood or survival remember endless rebuffs to our good ideas and hard work for a future. Joel died in 2014 after enjoying his retirement but it seems others have kept the torch held high.

I remember Joel for the summer NCRA picnics at his home out east of San Pablo, his continuing encouragement to small, barely making-it, programs, (like my own [Oakland 1983-89] etc. He was a champ.

Retired Mayor Gregg Cook has a 63-page manuscript of El Cerrito’s recycling program: El Cerrito Recycling History 1972-2012

There was also a mini-reunion of old admirers of Joel who came out for this event; thinking especially of Kathy Evans, Becky Dowdakin, Chris Lehon and others.

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Election 2022 – Nominate Yourself To Serve On The NCRA Board!

NCRA is a Recycling and Zero Waste trailblazer and has been since its inception in 1978. You can help develop the cutting edge by applying to serve on our 11-person Board of Directors!

Five positions will be open this January. One member is stepping down. It’s a two-year working post. Attendance at three out of any six consecutive meetings is required – but we prefer you attend as many as possible. You are also expected to take an active role in at least one standing committee plus one Recycling Update committee.

We meet on the third Thursday of the month, currently via Zoom. (Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings moved around the Bay Area – sometimes in conjunction with tours. Phone participation was possible at many locations.)

Directors discuss issues, hold debates and influence regional and national recycling strategy. Such as:

    • Tour facilities and talk business with operators
    • Engage regional and national industry leaders
    • Work on behalf of colleagues who need a boost
    • Tackle issues that can’t be ignored
    • Hold events and webinars on important topics
    • Track and comment on legislation

Benefits include helping NCRA protect and rejuvenate the environment while promoting a waste free economy, as well as free entrance to all NCRA events. Great opportunity to network with movers and shakers. Looks good on your resume as well at interviews.

Nominees must be a member in good standing. We are seeking candidates that are familiar with NCRA and have actively participated in a committee and/or attended at least one board meeting in the last 12 months.

To nominate yourself or someone else with their permission, please submit a campaign statement of 225 words or less via our Contact Page, between September 1 and October 1. Submittals longer than 225 words will be ignored.

In your statement, please introduce yourself, note how long you have been a NCRA member and what committees you are on and then tell members why they should consider voting for you. Be sure to read the previous Statements beforehand.

The Election begins Tuesday, November 15 and ends Tuesday, November 29 at 11:59pm. Results will be announced – first to the candidates, and then via the December newsletter.

If your NCRA membership has expired or will soon, please Log-in to renew ASAP! This ensures you will be able to run and vote as well as continue to receive the NCRA News and event discounts. Your membership helps support NCRA’s advocacy and education efforts throughout the year.

NCRA July Legislative Update

By Doug Brooms, ZWAC Co-Chair, 7/15/2022

Please visit the NCRA 2022 Legislative Advocacy page for additional information. Comments, recommendations and questions are welcome and appreciated.

Clean Seas Lobby Coalition Priority Bills
NCRA has been included, among many other organizations, as a signatory to support letters for the following 7 Bills that are still active. Most of these Bills reside in the Appropriations Committee in the alternate House.

AB 1817 Product safety: textile articles: perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
AB 1857 Solid waste. (Incinerators Diversion Credit Removal)
AB 2026 Recycling: plastic packaging and carryout bags
AB 2247 PFAS Disclosures in Cosmetics
AB 2638 School facilities: drinking water: water bottle filling stations. SB 1013 Atkins D  Beverage container recycling: reports: electronic submittal: wine and distilled spirits. (Revised)  CAW letter sign-on
SB 1255 Single-use products waste reduction: Dishwasher Grant Program for Waste Reduction in K–12 Schools and Community Colleges.

CalRecycle Priority Bills
The following are 12 Bills, selected from CalRecycle’s list of Priority Bills, for which NCRA has submitted letters of support to designated legislative committees. Most of these Bills reside in the Appropriations Committee in the alternate House.

Note: Bills currently also supported by Californians Against Waste (CAW) are designated with (*)
AB 649 Bennett D  Calrecycle: Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Relations.
AB 661 Bennett D  Recycling: materials. Minimum recycled content.
AB 1001 Garcia, Cristina D  Environment: Mitigation measures for air and water quality impacts: Environmental justice.
AB 1067 Ting D  Beverage containers. In-lieu Study.  *
AB 1985 Rivas, Robert  D  Organic waste: list: available products.
AB 2048 Santiago D  Franchise agreements: Database.
AB 2208 Kalra D Fluorescent lamps: sale and distribution: prohibition * (new)
AB 2419 Bryan D  Environmental justice: Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Justice 40 Oversight Committee.
AB 2440 Irwin D  Battery and Battery-Embedded Product Recycling and Fire Risk Reduction Act of 2022.
AB 2779 Irwin D  Beverage containers: Wine and distilled spirits.  *
SB 1046 Eggman D  Solid waste: Pre-checkout bags.  *
SB 1215 (Newman) E-Waste Recycling Program Expansion (Group support letter)

The following 8 additional CalRecycle Priority Bills, previously proposed as viable candidates for NCRA support, are in need of further assessments:
AB 923 Ramos D  Government-to-Government Consultation Act: state-tribal consultation.
AB 1740 Muratsuchi D  Catalytic converters.
AB 2374 Bauer-Kahan D Crimes against public health and safety: Illegal dumping. (Recent)
AB 2784 Ting D  Thermoform plastic containers: Postconsumer recycled plastic.  *
SB 1075 Skinner D  Green hydrogen: Emissions of greenhouse gases.
SB 1136 Portantino D California Environmental Quality Act: Expedited environmental review: Climate change regulations (Recent)
SB 1187 Kamlager D  Fabric recycling: Pilot project.
SB 1206 Skinner D Hydrofluorocarbon gases: Sale or distribution. (Recent)  *

Again, comments, recommendations and questions are welcome and appreciated.

Thanks for considering.

Plastic Free July Means Reuse Too!

By Bonnie Betts, NCRA Social Media Coordinator and Assistant Newsletter Editor

Support your local economy by circulating resources through local groups, pantries, and creative reuse centers as well as on-line resources. Check-out  the logos and links below, as well as some additional recommendations and photos.

Yes, the idea is to avoid plastic this and every month, but what do you do with plastic household discards? Give them to friends, neighbors and even strangers! I suggest the following  platforms.

Facebook is a well-established resource for location-based groups. See the examples listed below. If one chooses to not have a Facebook account, please consider Freecycle, Buy Nothing Project, Nextdoor and Craigslist.






Bay Area Facebook Groups
Berkeley Free and For Sale
Free & For Sale
Free & For Sale Bay Area
Buy Nothing East Bay Families
Virtual Yard Sale North Bay
Oakland Buy Sell Or Trade
Bay Area Garage Sale
Free Good Stuff Berkeley
Alameda ONLINE Garage Sale

Image courtesy of www.peebleslife.com/elementor-6138/

Cleaning out your pantry? Need to get rid of edible food on the spot?

Try out Olio – this application connects neighbors and local communities so that surplus food could be shared and not thrown away. I personally used this application when I lived in Oakland (pre-pandemic).

Start a Free Little Library

Courtesy of Nancy D., MN Free Little Library with step platform

Start a Little Free Pantry

Courtesy of Victoria, TX via www.littlefreepantry.org
Courtesy of www.creativereuse.org

Creative Reuse Centers
Have art supplies and miscellaneous items to donate? (Refer to each website for items currently accepted.)

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, Oakland
The Legacy, Sebastopol
SCRAP, San Francisco
RAFT, San Jose

Courtesy of www.creativereuse.org# # #

Farewell Despina

By Tracie Onstad Bills, Executive Director, California Resource Recovery Association, 6/6/2022

Despina Kreatsoulas, CRRA Director of Events and past Director of Administration, passed away Saturday, June 4, 2022 after battling terminal cancer. This is an incredible loss for CRRA, for her family and for the many others with whom she shared her passion for life.

Despina was incredibly proud of her Greek heritage. Each year she would travel to Greece, often twice a year for a week or two, while she worked full-time for CRRA. I think we can all say that she did not miss a beat. For the CRRA community, Despina’s competence, persistence and caring were evident each day. She uniquely and effectively helped make CRRA the strong, vibrant organization that it is today.

Despina was also co-founder of Politismos Museum of Greek History, an on-line museum that also hosts pop-up exhibits, lectures and children’s programs. In lieu of flowers, the family humbly requests a memorial donation to:

The Politismos Museum of Greek History
c/o The Hellenic Museum of Michigan
67 E. Kirby St.
Detroit, MI 48202