Questions about what goes where in your curbside bins? How about where to donate that old bicycle or recycle your unwanted electronics? We’re excited to announce our new RE:Source guide for easy answers! It replaces the previous online guide RecycleWhere.org, and is faster and easier to use, and more importantly, provides reuse & repair alternatives and comprehensive curbside service information. For on-the-go searches, the RE:Source guide is also available in app format for iOS and Android devices. Please dig in and explore, and as we continue to update and improve the data, we welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agency Update - Fall 2020
Timothy Burroughs joined StopWaste as Deputy Executive Director in July 2020. He previously served as Director of Berkeley’s Department of Planning and Development and prior to that, as Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Berkeley. He has a master’s degree in international environmental policy from American University in Washington, D.C., and also served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa.
What drew you to StopWaste?
Coming to StopWaste was an opportunity to come to an agency that I’ve known for a long time, and that I’ve always had a lot of respect for. Coming from the City of Berkeley, I have had the chance to collaborate with StopWaste over many years. In 2008, I led the development of Berkeley’s Climate Action Plan - one of the first in the nation - and I partnered closely with StopWaste staff to form the chapter in that plan focused on waste reduction. StopWaste made some invaluable contributions to how we framed the goals and policies in that plan, especially around circular economy and source reduction.
I also have always been very impressed by StopWaste’s staff. They are dedicated, smart, and mission driven. It's an honor to now be part of that team. I also really appreciate working at the local government level, especially in Alameda County where there is so much diversity and innovation happening. I love the ability that local governments have to impact not only their own communities, but when something happens well, when local government comes up with a really good idea, it tends to spread beyond that specific community to effect policy and effect change throughout the county, the region, and even beyond.
How would you say that the convergence of events happening today – the pandemic, anti-racism protests, and the wildfires leaving communities choking on smoke – has impacted the environmental field and our work?
I have the strong sense that our work to advance sustainability has never been more urgent. Part of that is due to how front and center the impact of climate change is right now – we're seeing the fires up and down the West Coast, and we’re getting these constant, front-of-mind reminders about the urgency of the crisis, and for me, that makes me want to redouble our collective efforts to try and do something about it.
On the other hand, there’s a lot of competing priorities on people’s minds and our collective community right now. Many of those just have to do with meeting basic needs - people are worried about public health, small businesses are worried about their livelihoods, parents are worried about access to education for their kids. What that means for us is that we have to continually rethink and reimagine how we deliver our work in a way that intersects with issues that are important to our communities. Environmental sustainability remains a core value within the communities that we serve, and at the same time, we have to figure out how to have that value intersect with the other concerns that people have. Ideally our work would create not only environmental benefits but also social and economic benefits. Our outreach and services need to reach the entire community, not just parts of the community that have more resources or time to focus on the environment. It’s a challenge but it’s also an opportunity to reimagine and bring our work to the next level.
Do you have a motto or a practice that you try to live by?
I do have a practice of trying to be as present and in the moment as I possibly can, and that’s a really difficult practice to maintain. I fail at it constantly. But I have found that the more present I am in a conversation that I’m in or the work that I’m doing, it enables me to bring more of myself into that conversation or that work and to listen to and learn more from others.
What are you most excited to work on in your new position?
It does feel like we’re at this inflection point, where we have an opportunity to respond to the challenges that our communities are facing in a way that helps people, and elevates our work to the next level. Having come so recently from a city government, I have a strong sense for how the jurisdictions that we serve are being impacted right now, so I’m excited to help our agency design our work in a way that helps cities respond to the challenges they are facing, so that we bounce back even better and stronger than before. I like the aspect of our work that not only supports jurisdictions to comply with regulations, but also to excel beyond compliance, to innovate and drive solutions that create a clean energy and a circular economy.
What do you enjoy doing when not working?
My wife Sweena and I have two kids - Jasper and Jade - and we love getting outside and biking around Berkeley and usually stop along the way for donuts or some sort of treat. We have bees – I come from a long line of beekeepers and my dad is a beekeeper on the East Coast. It’s one of those hobbies that connects you to the natural world around you, and it also forces you to be present, and that’s a refreshing thing when so many other things are swirling right now. We also just added some chickens to the mix, so our backyard is starting to feel like an urban farm.