Our newly updated and easy-to-use Sign Maker tool makes it easy to create customized signs that show materials generated and where to put them. Pre-made ready to print signs are also available.
Meri Soll joined the agency in 1996, with previous environmental experience in both the public and private sectors. Meri manages the implementation of the countywide bag law, the grants to non-profits program, and the construction and demolition (C&D) program. She holds a B.S. degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
What do you do here?
I wear many hats but I am focused on the management and implementation of three major projects. I manage the countywide bag law, which recently expanded to include all retail stores and eating establishments. The grant program is currently focused on providing funds to non-profits and organizations involved in upstream activities including waste prevention, reuse and repair. We are working with municipalities to create a regional approach for certifying how well mixed C&D recycling facilities sort and recycle C&D materials from construction job sites.
How did you get in this field?
I had been working for an environmental consulting firm and quickly realized that the "environment" wasn't their highest priority. My first job in the solid waste field was working with the Oakland-Berkeley Recycling Marketing Development Zone (RMDZ). Through the RMDZ, I learned of the Waste Management Authority and its great reputation and I kept my eye out for job openings.
What do you like about your job?
It’s been over 20 years since I started working at StopWaste, I guess you can say I grew up here. The grant program is a double-win: it has provided over $8 million in funding to help start and expand several local nonprofits that provide invaluable goods and services while diverting waste from landfill. Some recent examples include:
And the bag law…it is so gratifying to hear people at the check-out line say “A bag for 10 cents? I don’t need one.” and see them walk out with a few items in their hand. The bag law really makes people pause before taking a bag.
What do you do when you are not here?
I love live music… I just got a tambourine as a holiday gift. I guess you could say I am a live music junkie. I also enjoy spending time with my family, walking my dog, and outdoor activities like hiking, swimming and being in nature.
How do you practice what you preach?
Even before I worked here, I always hated waste of any kind. I love shopping at consignment stores as my first stop for purchases. I think twice before buying anything new and ask myself if I really need it. Working here, the waste-reduction mindset has become deeply ingrained. I try to share my values with my family. They still need reminders, but something must have stuck because my teenage son has only one pair of jeans, one pair of sweat pants, and one pair of shoes and he says it’s enough!
Any tips for remembering your reusable bag?
I really like the bags that fold up as small as a tennis ball. I keep a bag in my purse, several in the car, I have bags everywhere. I forget them at the store like everyone else, but I let the person behind me pay the cashier while I dash to the car to grab them!