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Agency Update - Spring 2022

New SB 1383 Resources

California’s new organics and recycling law, SB 1383, is in effect, and StopWaste is continually developing resources to inform residents and businesses of requirements. We recently conducted an informational webinar to help businesses, nonprofits, and institutions in Alameda County understand current recycling and composting requirements and how to comply in four easy steps. We now have a dedicated SB 1383 Food Recovery webpage that provides information about the food recovery requirements and resources/support tools. Additionally, a list of countywide Food Recovery Organizations and Services is now available on our RE:Source tool

One-Day Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Events Begin

It’s never been easier to drop off your old electronics, paint, pest and garden products, and more for free at our hazardous waste one-day drop-off events, kicking off on May 1 in San Leandro. Just make a registration and head over. Check our website as we’ll be posting additional events through early fall.  In the meantime, residents can always drop off stuff for free at one of the four facilities open year round in Oakland, Hayward, Livermore, or Fremont.  

Grantee Spotlight: Tri-Valley Haven

Executive Director Timothy Burroughs (2nd from left) and board members Melissa Hernandez (center), David Haubert (right), and Bob Carling (not pictured) joined Tri-Valley Haven staff and community partners

This month, StopWaste Executive Director Timothy Burroughs (2nd from left) and board members Melissa Hernandez (center), David Haubert (right), and Bob Carling (not pictured) joined Tri-Valley Haven staff and community partners to celebrate the grand opening of their new, more spacious and centrally located food pantry space the organization opened in downtown Livermore. Tri-Valley Haven is a vital community organization that serves adults and children who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or homelessness. The organization also does food recovery and distribution across Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton, and with this new space, they are able to offer a client choice model that lets clients choose the food items they want to take instead of giving prepackaged bags. Congratulations, Tri-Valley Haven on your new move! 

Employee Spotlight

Jeff Becerra

Jeff Becerra

Communications Manager

Jeff Becerra joined StopWaste in 2010 as communications manager after serving for eight years as East Bay Municipal Utility District’s senior public information representative. He’s a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, where his plans to work in physical therapy got derailed after taking an environmental science class. 

What do you do at StopWaste? 

As communications manager, I get to work on a broad range of things, but the common theme is knowing well the bigger picture priorities of the Agency and figuring out how those get woven into our day-to-day work, whether that be something like reviewing a flyer that's going out, input on an outreach campaign, or communicating with the board through topic briefs. Other tasks are more time intensive, like writing the narrative portion of the budget, which focuses on telling our story to our primary stakeholders.

What is your favorite part about working at StopWaste? 

I would say my favorite part is a combination of the people and the attitude, which is one that never settles on a certain way of doing things and is constantly striving to be as relevant as possible. It’s a mindset that permeates throughout the organization, including our board, staff, and the partners that we work with. Things aren’t stagnant, and sometimes that means working on a new project or topic area that we haven’t tried before. I also like the actual content of the topics that we work on. Over the last few years I’ve become really interested in sustainable landscaping. 

In addition to the communications work, part of my job is overseeing our policy efforts in Sacramento. It’s been satisfying to see how the work that we’ve done in the county has resulted in changes throughout the state.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the industry and at the Agency over the last 12 years? 

The biggest shift is probably in the orientation of the organization and the partners we work with - away from a primary focus on keeping things out of the landfill and reducing tonnages. We’ve seen some of the negative consequences of solely focusing on volume - from contamination in waterways or communities either locally or internationally who are harmed from improper disposal. There’s been a shift toward a more holistic view of what we consider to be the benefits of our work and thinking about resources more broadly, and how being less wasteful and more energy efficient can also improve the health of people and communities.

Do you have a life motto or mindset that you live by? And how do your keep your desk so tidy? 

I like some of the ones from now retired colleague Tom Padia; one was “progress not perfection.”  I do have the mindset of continuous improvement rather than perfection, which can often be a subjective measurement. Process and how you go about achieving your goals are important too. And yes, I do tend to keep my desk tidy but that’s mostly because clutter makes it difficult for me to focus! 

We are sad to say it, but you are nearing your retirement from StopWaste. What’s next for you

After working nearly 30 years either at public agencies or on behalf of public agencies doing sustainability communications and outreach, I have a major career shift coming up. I’m not going to stop working but I've come to appreciate the benefits of sustainable landscapes from working here and at East Bay MUD where the focus was on water conservation. I'm ready to work out in the field and away from a computer. I’ll be doing some work in sustainable landscaping, which is still loosely defined but I’m starting out with aesthetic tree pruning. The East Bay is actually at the center of this field, and I’ve been taking classes at Merritt College learning how to apply the principles of bonsai techniques to trees in a garden setting. It’s a nice combination of art and science. Where it goes from there I don’t know. This is where it parallels the work in communications in that I like change.