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Agency Update - Summer 2017

SWEET is Back This Fall

Applications for the StopWaste Environmental Educator Training (SWEET) are online now. This six week train-the-trainer program digs deep into the innovative practice of sheet mulching, use of compost and mulch, and provides valuable community educator skills. SWEET graduates are invited to participate in future program content modules, including Food Waste Reduction, Home Composting and Edible Gardening.

Program graduates leave with skills to provide technical assistance, as well as promote and lead workshops.The training is open to the public and appropriate for city staff. 

Grantee Profile: Fixit Clinic

Saving the world one toaster at a time

Young and old arrived at their local library with blenders, blue jeans, and toaster ovens hoping to repair their treasured items at the Fixit Clinic. With the support of StopWaste mini-grant funds and local jurisdictions, a dozen Fixit clinics were held in six different Alameda County cities this past year. At these popular events, Fixit Coach volunteers helped over 275 people revive their cherished possessions and keep them out of landfill. 

Fixit Clinic is based locally and holds volunteer-based events nationally. They were recently featured on the PBS Newshour.

Summer HHW Events

Now accepting medicine and mattresses!

The Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Program will host several community drop-off events this summer. In addition to the traditional HHW materials, medicine and controlled substances will now be collected. Mattresses will also be accepted in Albany and Alameda. Events are being planned in different locations throughout the year. The following are currently scheduled: 

  • Golden Gate Fields – July 16
  • Alameda – July 23
  • Oakland - August 20

The website will be updated as new events are scheduled.

Employee Spotlight

Cassie Bartholomew

Program Manager

Cassie Bartholomew manages the food waste reduction project, which focuses on strategies of prevention, donation, and composting for commercial kitchens, school cafeterias, higher education, and residents. Cassie joined the agency in 2004, and managed our environmental education, Bay-Friendly school garden, and school composting programs. Cassie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Masters in Teaching from the University of San Francisco.

What’s your favorite thing about working here?

It's exciting that we have the opportunity to do innovative work, and pilot new ideas and approaches to solving big environmental issues at a local scale. We work with a wide range of audiences—from businesses to schools and residents—testing different approaches and messaging that hopefully motivate people to change their behavior. We get in deep, whether it’s storing bananas correctly at home, or tracking food waste in an industrial kitchen to better understand food loss in operations. I am constantly learning and growing as a professional, which is really rewarding.

What do you do when you are not working?

I have two amazing children with busy and budding social lives. I volunteer at their schools, especially in the school garden, compost and recycling programs. At home, we just sheet-mulched and replaced our lawn with a drought-tolerant landscape for pollinators. I enjoy observing the new flora and fauna returning to our neighborhood. We have a dog - actually I am a total softy for animals. Animals in need of rescue seem to find me.

How do you practice what you preach?

I try to model for my kids the practices that I hope they will adopt. At home, we are attempting to be more mindful of how we shop, prep and store food to prevent wasted food. I live outside Alameda County and we don’t have access to curbside food scrap composting, so we compost our food scraps in our worm bins, which feed our veggie garden. My daughter recently tested different types of fruit and vegetable storage techniques for her 4th grade school science fair project, which was selected to represent her school at the district science fair.

What is the food waste prevention tip that you use most?

My kids are pretty good at eating salad, but they will eat even more with croutons! So as I'm making morning lunches, I cut up the heels of bread and put them in a paper bag on the counter to dry up. Then I pretty much follow the recipe on our Stop Food Waste website. It’s a great way to get them to eat their veggies and use up end and bits of bread.

Anything else we should know about you?

I'm really into animals and wildlife. Before working at StopWaste, I managed youth programs at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Initially, I was drawn to mega-fauna like raptors but I soon became totally obsessed with insects and arachnids. One of the most memorable experiences of my life was traveling to the central highlands of Mexico to see first-hand the eastern monarchs migration to over wintering sites, and tagging monarchs with middle and high school students to track their migration in San Leandro. It was so cool!

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