Wednesday, April 6, 2016

What I Learned from Zero Wasters




Dana Frasz, from Food Shift, Strategies for Reducing Food Waste in Santa Clara County and Beyond session, NCRA Recycling Update 2016. 



In March, I joined nonprofits, business representatives, and community leaders for (NCRA) Northern California Recycling Association’s 21st Annual Recycling Update at Freight and Salvage, in Berkeley, California.


The conference included 25 speakers, sharing the latest Zero Waste Updates. The term Zero Waste might puzzle people. My definition of Zero Waste sending nothing to the landfill. And this is what the speakers had in mind. Here are some highlights of what inspired me: 

1. There is Shareholder Pressure to Challenge Pharma on Drug Disposal.

Conrad MacKerron, shared the need for proper disposal of prescription drugs due to the negative impacts they have on our environment. If you’re a San Francisco resident like me, the San Francisco Department of the Environment has a Safe Medicine Disposal Program for residents. Medicine recycling programs need to be available for everyone everywhere, so we can prevent drug abuse and unsafe disposal.

2. Children can be Your Biggest Allies in Mulitfamily Properties.

Andrea Deleon, Cascadia Consulting Group, shared this statement as one of her experiences providing outreach for organics to Multifamily Properties in Oakland.
This information was a testimonial to the work I do! While I’m able to measure how many students I reach (to motivate and inspire to compost and recycle to protect nature) while at schools, I’m unable to measure the impact that I have at their homes. Many students share with me that they continue their “Compost Monitor” role from their school cafeterias into their own kitchens at home.

3. Zero Waste Professionals are Humorous.       

Matthew Cotton, Composting Consultant, shared, “Compost is going through puberty” in the session, Composting Rules: It’s Complicated session. What he meant was that many municipalities are in different stages of composting facilities and infrastructure.
A group of NCRA members danced and sang a version of “Downtown” called “Landfill”.

4. Ecosystem Solutions for Ecosystem Problems.

Dana Frasz, from Food Shift, shared this in the Strategies for Reducing Food Waste in Santa Clara County and Beyond session. Hence the creation of the Alameda Kitchen. Food Shift was created “so food is not wasted, people are fed, and jobs are created.”

5. Landmark Legislation that will Help California Reduce Waste.

Nick Lapis, Californians Against Waste, shared bills that included: reporting percentage of recycled materials that were used to make the packaging, eliminating sell by, use by, good by dates on food products and simplifying labeling to reduce food waste. Food waste is a big issue and I was happy to learn that there will be some legislative action to help reduce it. To the polls, I will go!

6. Social Media Plays a Huge Role Communicating in Emergency Situations.
Tim Dewey-Mattia, shared in the Zero Waste Lesson from the Napa Earthquake session, that they saw ten times the amount of impressions on Twitter and Facebook when they posted right after the earthquake, compared to non-disaster posts. In emergencies people want to know and expect organizations to provide information and resources to help the community at large.

7. Discarded Industrial Items Have a Second Life.
Damon Carson shared in the Repurposing Industrial Waste Streams session that his company takes things like discarded billboard ads and converts them into roofs. Check out more at Repurposed Materials Inc.

8. The International Soil not Oil Movement
Miguel Robles, Soil Not Oil Coalition, shared how he is advocating seed freedom, sustainability, and regenerative management of soils by eliminating the use of GMOs, agrochemicals, and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.  

9. The International Zero Waste Youth Movement
Emmanual Nava and Maybo AuYeung, Co-coordinators of the 2016 Zero Waste Youth Convergence, shared how they are Organizing Youth for Change. Annually their organization hosts a convergence to empower youth through learning, envisioning, and action to bring the true zero waste concept to their schools and communities. This year, I presented at this event.
   Tabling at the Green Connections + Lunch, Zero Waste Youth USA Convergence 2016.

2016 Zero Waste Youth Convergence
I presented with Robin Freeman, from Merritt College, in the
Green Careers & Education, Breakout Session at the 2016 Zero Waste Youth USA
Convergence.

I spoke about my current role and how I joined the Zero Waste Movement.
I lead by example when it comes to Zero Waste and hope you become inspired to have a Zero Waste lifestyle too!