We’re shaking things up and asking you to help spread the word.
Applytoday or nominate a colleague to present at the 42nd annual Recycle Update (RU), Tuesday, March 17 at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. We are seeking speakers new to the RU scene and folks working to get their efforts to a tipping point, as well as NCRA veterans with something new to say. With the National Recycling Coalition helping bring more industry experts to the Bay, we’re excited to provide everyone an opportunity to share their expertise.
INVITATION TO INCLUSIVITY AND AWARENESS FROM YOUR NCRA BOARD By The NCRA Board, 7/9/19 The Board of Directors would like to acknowledge receipt of an anonymous letter in late May reflecting on the recent Recycling Update (RU) conference hosted on March 19, 2019. Part of the letter is presented at right while the entire three-page letter – with one name redacted, is available on the website.
The author self-identified as a supporter, community member, member of present and future generations, and a person of color. S/he addressed the board on uncomfortable RU content and generally inviting the organization to reflect on its role in rooting Zero Waste in environmental justice and ethnic equity.
First, we appreciate the courage it must have taken to share these reflections, let alone to attend RU again when the content and environment was previously experienced as alienating and disturbing. We understand that the invitation is less to draw attention to the individual’s discomfort but rather to reassess our role in contributing to a Zero Waste world that serves the urgent goals of ethnic equity, collaboration and inclusion. We hear you. We are grateful for you for speaking up.
We apologize for facilitating a conference that did not welcome all equitably and may have propagated microaggressions, such as depicting people of color performing undesirable behaviors while white people were shown demonstrating desired behaviors. We own the impact that our collective lack of attention to these details had on at least one attendee. For that, we apologize.
We accept the challenge to adopt inclusivity, collaboration and ethnic equity as a guiding mission at NCRA. We own our role as a board in crafting the content framework of RU and as a space for the diverse NCRA membership and non-members to explore and learn. Our intention is to serve all. We are committing to leveraging resources for our membership and broader communities to that aim.
We invite you to join us, your Board, to reflect on NCRA’s history and re-center our shared mission around diversity, equity, inclusion and collaboration. We are gathering a subcommittee to consider the resources available. Please, join us in this important work of reorienting our zero waste work to build a more just and inclusive movement.
Let us know your experience, thoughts, reflections and interest in joining the initiative at by completing the NCRA Inclusivity Survey. Also use it to share any resources you think will help on this journey. We would also appreciate hearing from anyone who would be willing to assist with organizing RU next year, helping to select RU speakers, or giving a presentation at RU that addresses environmental justice or related issues.
Responses – anonymous or signed can also be mailed to: NCRA, PO Box 5581, Berkeley, CA 94705-5581
By Rebecca Jewell, RU Co-Organizer and Portia Sinnott, Editor
68 surveys were received out of 430 registrations – 16%; 10% is considered a good response. Approximately 120 comments were submitted including 29+ recommendations for next year. Only a few respondents skipped questions, except for Q11. NCRA Events Outside of Zero Waste Week, received 21 responses and 47 skips.
Q1. Overall: 91% of the respondents said the Conference was Excellent – 54% or Good – 37%. Nine percent said okay and no one – 0% said they did not enjoy the Conference. Q2. Topics: 90% were satisfied or very satisfied with the Speaker topics. Q3. Recommendations: Almost half – 46%, made speaker recommendations or other suggestions for next year. Q4. Subjects: The top ten subjects they would like to see more of in 2020 were EPR, Food Waste Reduction, Public Education Strategies, Food Recovery, Legislation and Regulations, Reuse/Repair, Product Bans, Product Redesign, Franchise Innovations and Zero Waste Businesses. Q5. Price: 80% said the price was just right for the content; 9% would pay more, 7% a little expensive, 4.69% too expensive. Q6. ZWW Events: When asked which of the other Zero Waste Week events they found valuable, more than half – 55%, said they were not able to attend the other events, 31%, said Green Drinks, 14% Zero Waste Youth Convergence and 13% Devil We Know film screening and discussion. Q7. Zero Waste Week: 76% of folks said they think we should continue to offer Zero Waste Week, 1.5% said No and 22% No Opinion. Q8. NCRA News: 88% read the NCRA News; 47% said they read it monthly while 41% said they read it occasionally. (One suggestion was to include it on the NCRA Facebook page.) Q9. Membership: 79% of the respondents are NCRA members. Q10. Member Satisfaction: 73% are satisfied with the services and information NCRA offers to its membership; specifically, 31% are very satisfied, 42% satisfied and 5% are neutral; 19% are non-members. There were zero comments. Q11. NCRA Events Outside of ZWW: Only 21 respondents answered this question. 57% attend Tours, 52% Networking Mixers, 33% Annual Meetings, 29% the Annual Picnic, 24% Board Meetings and 10% the Semi-annual Holiday Party. Q12: Lunch: 75% thought highly of the lunch: Excellent – 53% or Good – 22%. Nine suggestions were provided including a better system rewarding folks who brought their own plate and telling folks in advance what’s on the menu so they can choose to bring their lunch. Q13: Profession or Affiliation: 53% of attendees are government employees, 13% consultants, 7% educators; 10% franchised waste haulers/recycler; 7% are non-profits, 7% are educators, 6% businesses, 6% activists, 7% other and 0% Independent recycler/composter.
Comments List In Question And Submittal Order Editor’s Note: One comment was edited to remove identifiable references. The two specific individuals were apprised of these comments via email and phone.
There were a few sessions I found informative, but it lacked interesting/new/innovative speakers that the conference has showcased in the past.
Please print Name and Organization in larger font on the tags. The tags were almost illegible. There is plenty of room, and this will facilitate conversations.
Such range and depth — love the format too!
Topics seemed a little bland and heavy focus on recycling vs higher up the hierarchy (rethink, redesign, reuse, refuse). My favorite presenter was ironically the least technological -Plate Scrape!
Best NCRA I’ve ever attended.
I just love hearing from all aspects of the recycle community.
Need to touch more topics like implications of China’s ban
I very much like the lightning style, but I think you should allocate 5 minutes for questions. There are always more questions than time, and not enough networking time to follow up later.
I wish there was more diversity with presenters and we could hear from communities too instead of solely industry speakers.
It is my Not To be Missed annual event!
The ten minutes format was a bit too short. Fewer, and more selective, choices would be better.
Presentations were not particularly engaging, but event was well organized
I would have liked to see more food waste reduction topics, more focus on topics that are current news, issues cities and counties are faced with such as SB1383, Plastic reduction (great to see Berkeley’s ordinance), more innovative public/private partnerships.
Some good topics. Others felt like they had been discussed before.
Because we do not live a society with a justice system that benefits everyone I did not care for the illegal dumping topic. I also did not care for the XXXXX speaker as she clearly does not know what Environmental Justice means and joked about it. XXXX.
It was such a wide variety, and some were not relevant to my work. Some were a little too far “out there”, and for example didn’t think Sabatini’s presentation offered anything. I would like to see more “practical” presentations, case studies or pilot studies of new programs, outreach ideas, etc. For example, Gigantic Idea’s presentation was great.
Is it possible for NCRA to review speaker slides ahead of time & help edit down? Some of the speakers had way too much text/hard to read charts or graphic illustrations on their slides. If NCRA can provide guidelines for slides–maybe even limit the total number of slides the speaker can have/text, it would make their presentations more effective. Also, help speakers do a run through of their videos to make sure they work before the presentations. Some speakers had more success than others with showing video content.
Not enough cutting edge, need more about plastic, some speakers not very good
There were a few that got zero questions, and that was often l indicative of who might have been left off list in my longer-than-ten-minutes suggestion.
Some presenters had poor presentation skills, and others presented on topics that were forgettable
Please make sure to include statewide policy directions. I missed that.
Given the recycling processing market crisis, this topic is something many people are interested in learning more about and would be good to cover more of this
Generally I appreciate the speaker themes you come up with. I find I like the cutting edge/hard to handle discard issues the best-such as alternatives to landfilling dog shit!
Markets, which companies are recycling materials into new products, where are they?
Folks from out of state. There are too many locals we’ve heard from before
New take on upcoming policies (state and local), how to actively implement 1383 (maybe more than one consecutive speaker)
The Berkeley foodware and litter reduction ordinance
Max Weschler – Urban Ore, James Slattery, SF Environment – C&D, Michael Siminitus, ZW Events, mark Funkhauser, Chumash Casino Resort – Tribal ZW & TRUE ZW Certification Process
Would love some sort of global bin comparison study – who’s using what and how happy they are with them. so difficult when each entity has to do the research from scratch!
A few speakers on SB 1383. What about a pre-recorded talk from a processor from China?
Can we hear from more school-based programs? Universities and K-12 alike.
Please have the projector set up and expanded as much as possible before presenters begin speaking. Many of the presentations in the morning were hard to view until the projection was expanded later in the day.
More details on SB1383 requirements and how to do it; recycling markets – let’s hear from the sellers or processors of materials
More on latest technologies
It would be interesting to have speakers from environmental organizations like: Women’s Environmental Network (WEN), Cascadia Consulting Group, Green Mary, Replate, Olio, Farming Hope, Imperfect Produce, Rethink Waste, Stopwaste
More on circular economy, hazards in plastics, more on how we can create policies that galvanize more reuse, recycling like a requirement for x% of recycled content in everything!
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sunrise Movement, 350.org’s Youth vs. Apocalypse, anyone who cares about creating a more inclusive zero waste/environmental movement.
More on how cities etc are approaching SB 1383, AB 1826 compliance, etc.
Provide presentation guidelines to all presenters with some basics (1 page and some helpful links) on how to create and deliver engaging presentations in the given time restrictions. Many presenters are not prepared (don’t know they have 10 minutes, don’t know how to give a 10 minute presentation) or cram too much into their time. It’s a unique challenge to be asked to present, often very complex topics with narratives in a short period. Presenters could use some help from NCRA to guide them on how to make the most of their time and the audience’s time. Simple suggestions could include a major emphasis on keeping presentations to 10 minutes, practicing, giving a slide # recommendation (15 or less), and being consise with their stories and complex concepts. OVERALL, some presenters are great and all usually have relevant and important stories to tell. However, the way that some people present distracts from the audience’s ability to digest, understand and appreciate their message.
Allow 1 & 5 minute speakers again too. Limit number of slides, words per slide and font size (no unreadable slides). Encourage more than powerpoints–mix it up. Allow people to talk with each other outside–it’s often better than the speakers. Thanks.
I think the private company folks should be vetted further – like the first speaker who talked about circle economy and highlighted ikea and other companies’ greenwashed tactics as a good thing.
Ellen MacArthur Foundation representative that can present the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment report efforts to address plastic pollution
More examples of partnerships versus individual representative
Cutting edge products like platescaper or new cutting edge services, toxicity of plastic pollution
Longer than ten minutes. Actually, have some longer, some shorter. I once went to a conference where a session had several 99 second talks, and it was FUN, and not for the faint of heart presenter.
It’s interesting to hear of innovative new products, but I don’t think vendors necessarily need to have their own presentation slot
Mark Nicolas, SFE re: SFRecycles & presenting clearly
Who are the “players’ with legislation? (industry, key legislators)
Suggest that you might offer roundtable discussions to brainstorm policy/legislation
Outreach, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Scaling source reduction and reuse beyond boutique efforts.
Emphasis on waste prevention
Q6 ZWW Events
I wouldn’t mind a 20-30 minute Q+A session for the entire group to be able to bring up certain questions/issues and see how other folks/municipalities are handling/facing those challenges (separate from the dedicated speaker format)
Very nice & tasty reception. Loved the veggies & tater tots.
I wish I had heard of swap-o-rama earlier, as I wasn’t able to make it because I somehow missed the memo until after the date passed!
Once BART is available from San Jose, I will be able to attend more events.
Was everything on the website? I didn’t see all of these listed.
Living so far away, I was unable to attend other events but would have enjoyed many of them if I were closer
Green Drinks is always great
Green Drinks was great! An awesome opportunity to meet people.
Getting pretty crowded at Spat’s, time to try a different venue with more space
Q7. Zero Waste Week
Altho it depends on the amount of work /effort required for a full week of events.
I think it’s fantastic to offer ZWW because it helps build the culture.
YES, it is a very educational and inspiring week of Zero Waste events!!!
If there are enough people participating in the other ZWW events besides RU. It’s hard for me to make the other events during the week, so for me only able to attend RU. Definitely think ZWYC over the weekend is a good event to sustain.
Q8. NCRA News
I like to keep abreast of trends.
Good content, but I get too many emails to stay on top of them all
Didn’t know about it
I am newly subscribed to NCRA News, but I’d like to read more of it!
I am interested in the content.
I don’t get it.
I signed up on the FaceBook page immediately after the conference, and hope to stay more frequently updated that way.
I don’t receive it, not a member
I read the newsletter
Updates, Jobs and events
it’s very valuable material and perspective
Keep up on lies, rumors and gossip
I’m new. Not bored
Good information to stay abreast of current events, but I really only read when I have time
Great article topics and updates, helps keep me well informed.
Just learned about NCRA prior to this event.
The City of San Jose’s structure requires a staff rotation for memberships and conference attendance.
Colleague is one, and NCRA topics don’t have enough composting/organics related topics for me to warrant membership
No longer based in Bay Area but considering joining anyway again
Just learned about NCRA prior to this event.
Q10. Member Satisfaction – 0 comments
Q11. NCRA Events Outside of ZWW
The traffic from South bay is too hard to overcome.
Hard these days due to family commitments.
Haven’t been able to attend Bay Area events since I moved to San Luis Obispo
I would attend a networking mixer located in the South Bay.
I’m new. First event for me
I always go out for vegan food since I am in Berkeley and there isn’t much at the RU.
I’m gluten-free, not meat-free, so I wind up taking a sandwich and throwing away the bread. Not ideal!
Quinoa is great, but every year it seems the same recipe?
The bread in vegan option was dry
Why does the side salad always have to include quinoa? Yuck!
Great food! Please let people know what’s on menu so we know whether to bring our own (for those with food allergies). You provided GF and vegan which was awesome! And I did bring my own lunch which wasn’t necessary.
I really enjoyed having a vegan option and coffee creamers. The lunch and snacks were great.
Cookies at lunchtime and/or breaks. Not at breakfast.
Q13: Profession or Affiliation
I wear lots of “hats!”
Staff for UC’s system wide Zero Waste Working Group
The amount of content of the event can be overwhelming, so we have offered the speaker presentations here for you in pdf format to reference and keep handy for your own planning purposes. There are several that are still getting uploaded; if you need one sooner, please contact Juliana and I can assist.
Over the next couple of months, we will upload the speaker videos to our NCRA YouTube Channel, so please, stay tuned!