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Agency Update - Spring 2017

Business Efficiency Awards

Congratulations to the 2017 StopWaste Business Efficiency Award Winners: 

  • Beneficial State Bank, Oakland - Excellence in Recycling & Composting
  • Evergreen Nursery, San Leandro - Excellence in Waste Prevention & Closing the Loop 
  • Guckenheimer - Excellence in Reducing Wasted Food in Alameda County 
  • Niles Pie Company, Union City - Excellence in Waste Prevention & Reuse
  • Rahma Mediterranean Market, Dublin - Excellence in Recycling & Composting

Winners were recognized for their efforts and accomplishments at the March 22 Authority Board Meeting. 

New Bag Law Starts in May

Starting May 1, the reusable bag law for Alameda County is expanding to retail stores. The law is intended to reduce litter, keep plastic bags out of local waterways, and encourage the use of reusable bags. Requirements for eating establishments will begin November 1, with outreach materials distributed in late spring.

Schools Assisted by StopWaste Receive Awards

4Rs Student Action Heroes blaze the screen

Mr. Jason Ewing’s 5th grade class at John Green Elementary in Dublin received honorable mention in the "Make Not Wasting Food a Way of Life" international video contest, hosted by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) and the UN Environment North America Office.

Cool School in Fremont

Congratulations to American High School in Fremont for being voted a KPIX Channel 5 "Cool School" for their food-sharing program that cuts waste and provides food for those in need.

FRESSSSH! - A New Campaign to Reduce Food Waste

We've launched a fresh new campaign to promote food waste prevention focusing on easy tips to help people:

  • PLAN WELL to prevent waste
  • STORE WELL to properly extend food's life
  • EAT WELL to use what you already have

Check out our new website with delicious images and snappy, tasty tips.

In Memoriam: Russel Franklin Shaffer

We are deeply saddened that our colleague and longtime educator, Russel Shaffer, recently passed away. Russel enchanted the public with his enthusiasm for composting and gardening at farmer's markets, the County Fair, and Master Composter classes. We are grateful for his more than 10 years of service sharing his passion and knowledge. As a community member, Russel served as the President of the Alameda County Beekeepers and mentored youth at Irvington High School, teaching composting and beekeeping. We will miss his bright smile, warm presence, and the sweet honey that he shared from his backyard beehives.

Employee Spotlight

Rachel Balsley

Senior Program Manager

Rachel Balsley leads the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance Project overseeing enforcement, technical assistance and outreach. She joined the agency in 2001 and has a history of working in business assistance, environmentally preferable purchasing, and compost bin sales. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in BioResource Science and has an MBA from the Presidio School of Management. 

What is your favorite part of working at StopWaste?

I love it when businesses—the owners and managers—engage in waste diversion activities. It is exciting to see when people really get involved and become champions, setting up their projects, complying with regulations, and empowering their employees. I also enjoy the challenge of working on a project that has many different moving parts and complexities that need to be coordinated.

How did you get into this field?

As an undergrad at Cal, I took a seminar class called "The Joy of Garbage" which featured a series of speakers from the recycling industry. After taking the class and working in the field, I came to see recycling as a concrete way that people can help protect the environment, and it can be a gateway activity to other environmental actions. I also find it fascinating to see the intersection of industry, government, operations and consulting. After graduating, I worked at Central Contra Costa Solid Waste Authority and for the Campus Recycling and Refuse Services at UC Berkeley. 

What continues to surprise you about recycling?

Separating materials for recycling seems like it should be SO easy, you wonder why people can't do it. However, business owners, apartment managers, and people in general have a lot of competing priorities so recycling doesn't always rise to the top. That’s why we are continually trying to develop support materials to help busy people set up the infrastructure for good recycling programs. 

How do you practice what you preach?

I am a strong believer in waste prevention and seek used and consigned clothes for myself and my family. We like to grow veggies in our home garden (with soil amended with compost, of course!) and last year we did a home energy upgrade to make our house more comfortable.

Anything else we should know about you?

In my off hours, I like to spend time with family. I have two young boys and we enjoy going to local parks. I grew up in Santa Cruz and spent time on my Dad's organic farm, both of which helped me develop my desire to protect the environment.