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Agency Update - Summer 2024

Honoring Local Environmental Leaders

Six entities were recognized at the June 13 StopWaste Board meeting. Awardees were recognized for their leadership and innovations in advancing environmental sustainability, waste prevention, and contributions to building healthy, climate resilient communities in Alameda County. 

The award winners and categories are: 

Vesta Foodservice, Hayward — Excellence in Food Recovery & Donation 
Sparkl Reusables, Oakland & Spectrum Community Services, Hayward — Excellence in Reusable Foodware Partnership 
oWOW, Oakland — Excellence in Construction Innovation 
Drake's Brewing Company, San Leandro — Excellence in Waste Prevention and Reuse 
Mohr Elementary School, Pleasanton —  Excellence in Sustainability at School

$1.1M Awarded to Alameda County Organizations

From collecting durable medical equipment for reuse and developing refrigerated drop-off hubs for surplus food to ensuring more meals reach our communities and expanding the reusable cup network across more cafes, StopWaste’s new grantees are committed to not only preventing waste but also to building a more circular, resilient, and inclusive economy.  

This year $1.1 million in grants funding will go to support 59 organizations for projects in six different categories: Food Waste Prevention and Recovery, Community Food Systems, Reusable Foodware, Reusable Transport Packaging, Reuse and Repair, and Surplus Food Donation Equipment. Since 1996, StopWaste has provided more than $10 million in funding to local organizations and businesses. We welcome you to explore previous and current grantees on our website.

Budget Priorities Defined for New Fiscal Year

Our vision for Alameda County is a thriving, resilient community where people are empowered to use resources and energy in ways that promote community health, support the local economy, and benefit the planet. To achieve this, we’ve identified three long-term goals to guide our strategy and programs that focus on advancing environmental sustainability, fostering a circular economy, driving innovation in construction, and nurturing a local food system through various programs, partnerships, and community engagement. 

For an overview of the budget priorities click the link below; the complete budget document is available here.

CA Right to Repair Act Now In Effect

Signed into law last year and now in effect as of July 1, California’s Right to Repair Act is a major step forward for the right-to-repair movement. It requires electronics and appliance manufacturers to provide necessary parts, tools, and documentation for repairs to independent repair shops and product owners. This means consumers can choose to have their electronic devices fixed by their preferred repair servicer, rather than being restricted to go through the device manufacturer. Now is the time to show our support to local repair shops, find one near you with our RE:Source guide.

Employee Spotlight

Soudabeh Abbasi


Soudy joined the agency in 2019 and continues in her role as Accountant. Before joining the agency, she worked for the City of Emeryville and for a non-profit organization. Prior to working in accounting, Soudy held a successful career in Iran’s film industry as assistant director. She holds two degrees: a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting from Cal State East Bay and a B.A. in Art and Drama from her native country of Iran.  

What do you do at StopWaste?
I am an Accountant on the Operations team, and my job is all about handling the revenue that comes into our agency. Basically, I collect revenue, transfer money from the bank to our agency accounts, and keep track of all the transactions. I also provide reports to Program Management staff so everyone has easy access to financial information related to their work and monitor payroll. On top of that, I handle pensions; I really like this part of my job because I get to learn more, and I'm committed to spreading the word about the benefits and programs available to my colleagues because they can make a big difference in their lives. Most recently I am learning about grants and am exciting about this.

How did you start your career in accounting?
I worked in the film industry in Iran for 15 years before moving to the U.S. When I arrived, I tried to break into the film industry here, but I found it hard because most of the opportunities were in Los Angeles and we were living in the Bay Area. I then focused on my goal of finding a job to help support my family. So I thought: what career can I pursue that will guarantee a job? That’s why I chose to study Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Accounting was the way that I would be able to get a job in the U.S. I gave my best effort and graduated with honors from Cal State East Bay. In my last year, I was even offered a job at a non-profit before graduating. All the effort and sacrifices were worth it, and I achieved my goal. After that, I applied for government roles and got hired with the City of Emeryville and then here at StopWaste. I do miss my old job as an assistant director, but I like my job now, even though it’s completely different.

What are some skills that have helped you succeed in your role? 
Being detail-oriented is a key skill that has helped me succeed in my role. Another skill that has helped me succeed is relationship building. This skill is important because you work with many people across the agency. If you have great relationships, it’s much easier to communicate, ask for reports, and get folks to cooperate when needed.   
How has working at StopWaste impacted you?
I feel good about what I do and the organization I am a part of. It’s just a great place to be. At my previous job with the city of Emeryville, I was familiar with certain county sustainability initiatives because I would receive Measure D funds and transfer them to the environment services office. But here at the agency, I can delve deeper and familiarize myself with our different programs.

What’s a practice or motto you live by? 
I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. It helps to prevent misunderstandings and taking things so personally. I always like to ask for more context and information to know more about the situation before jumping to conclusions. Also, I try to stay positive, that’s another thing I practice, too. I always try to focus on the positive, valuing what I do have instead of focusing on what I do not. For me, the glass is full. Saying it is easy, but living it is not, which is why I try to practice this daily.  

What do you enjoy doing outside? 
I'm really into staying active and love hiking and working out. I enjoy being outdoors in nature and like to go hiking every week for at least two hours with friends. One of my favorite hiking trails is the Castleridge Trailhead in the East Bay—I highly recommend it! I also try to make it out to Yosemite for some camping for about three days every year. Apart from all the outdoor stuff, I'm really into reading books, especially on psychology and philosophy, and I like listening to podcasts too.