Skip to main content

Agency Update - Winter 2022

New Composting & Recycling Law Goes Into Effect

California’s largest solid waste regulation in decades went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, aiming to reduce organics going to landfill by 75 percent by 2025. The move is a critical step: when organic matter rots in landfills it creates harmful methane emissions that contribute to climate change and threaten the health of our communities.   

Under the law: 

  • All compostable materials like food, paper, and yard waste must be sorted and collected for composting,  
  • Recyclables must be sorted and kept out of landfills,  
  • Food generating businesses must recover edible food that would otherwise be disposed and donate it to feed people.  

In Alameda County, SB 1383 regulations will be implemented under the Organics Reduction & Recycling Ordinance through a partnership among Alameda County jurisdictions, garbage service providers, StopWaste, and the Alameda County Environmental Health Departments. We're working closely with our jurisdictions to help them comply with the law through outreach and education, compost procurement, food recovery and donation assistance, and more. 

Grant Funding Available to Prevent Waste

Are you a business, nonprofit, or institution in Alameda County with innovative ideas to prevent waste (or know someone who is)? StopWaste is now offering $700K in total funding for innovative projects around reuse & repair, food waste prevention & recovery, food donation equipment, reusable foodware, and reusable transport packaging. We’ll also be holding virtual office hours with staff to help answer any questions. Deadline to apply is February 25. 

Transforming the Bay Area Construction Sector

Merritt Crossing, Oakland

We’re honored to have recently been named a finalist out of only 60 groups nationwide for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. As a finalist, StopWaste will use a $500K grant to lead a coalition of public, nonprofit, and academic partners in creating a plan for a construction innovation cluster to bring to market new technologies and products that aim to address the converging crises of housing, economic inequity, supply chain volatility, and climate change in the Bay Area. Through this project we aim to advance circular economy innovations and business models, including material efficiency, reuse, and deriving value from currently wasted materials. In March 2022, the coalition will submit a proposal to compete for approximately $40 million in American Rescue Plan funding to develop and scale the construction innovation cluster in the Bay Area. 

Employee Spotlight

Jennifer West

Program Manager

Jennifer West joined StopWaste as a board member in 2009 after she was elected to the Emeryville City Council. In 2017, she rejoined StopWaste as a program manager on the Energy Team. She received her undergraduate degree in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University with a concentration in Japanese, and a master's degree from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. 

What do you do at StopWaste? 

I work on a number of disparate things. When I was hired, my main focus was on energy efficiency and decarbonization in buildings, primarily supporting BayREN, our regional energy network. I led an effort to design a heat pump water heater incentive program for contractors, which I’m still involved in. I also support our member agency sustainability staff around the work of the Energy Council through our Technical Advisory Group. 

I also work on landscape efficiency and sustainability projects, supporting our member agencies with implementation of the Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (WELO). More recently, I've been supporting jurisdictions to comply with the enormous compost and mulch procurement requirements under SB 1383 – an effort to reduce methane emissions statewide. I support our efforts and relationships in Sacramento and at the California Public Utilities Commission, staying informed on issues that are priorities for the agency – from recycling and waste to extended producer responsibility and electrification.  

You have a unique perspective, having served on StopWaste’s board and as an elected official yourself. You have even been a teacher. In what ways have these experiences influenced your outlook? 

All of my prior experiences help me to see the value of relationships, good facilitation, and engaging conversations.  No matter how well you do technical or specialized work, if you can’t reach out and collaborate with other people and tell your story, it’s not as meaningful or impactful. Having learned about StopWaste from the board’s point of view initially was fascinating and helped me to appreciate the agency from both the outside and the inside, and particularly the role we can play in Alameda County and beyond. I’ve always been impressed with StopWaste’s work and feel personally aligned with what is happening at the agency. It is government doing what it should be doing, both in terms of reducing environmental impacts for the greater good, and even more  working to address the negative impacts of years of inequitable policies. 

What is your favorite thing about working here? 

I like the non-hierarchical structure and the ability to change and shift what you’re working on so that you can grow within the agency. I really appreciate the passion of my co-workers; we're all doing the best we can, and that drive and interest is really apparent at StopWaste. 

Do you have a life motto that you live by?  

My grandparents said to me, “it’s not what we say, it’s what we do.” This is hard because we like to say the right things, and while that can be important, the measure of your character is really in your actions. I think about that a lot even if I’m not sure I am always living up to my own ideals.   

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?  

I garden with my mom who is an excellent gardener, and I have a lot to learn still – I'm putting in a rain barrel and try to get that compost delivery at least once per year. I love to hike – I'm a new dog owner as of about 2 years ago. I love reading books, right now I’m reading a book that is a selection of my grandfather’s writings, as he founded Heifer International. I enjoy cooking and I love spending time with my family and friends, so the pandemic has been a real drag – or a chance to get in touch with my introverted side. I enjoy meeting strangers on the bus or on BART, or at the grocery store, which has also been harder with the pandemic.  

What about you might surprise us?  

It would probably be surprising to hear that I sang in a bluegrass band in Japan where I lived for two years.