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Agency Update - Winter 2024

New Grant Round Opens!

Spotlight on Tri-Valley Haven's Food Pantry

Tri-Valley Haven is a safe space that is committed to supporting its community members who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or homelessness. Thanks to a Food Waste & Recovery grant from StopWaste, the nonprofit has been able to significantly increase the amount of fresh, healthy, and nutritious food they recover and provide through their food pantry. In addition, they have transitioned to a “client choice model” that empowers pantry visitors to select food items that best suit their lifestyle, traditions, and health needs.
For nonprofits, businesses, institutions, and school districts interested in applying for a grant, the StopWaste 2024 Grant Cycle is now open. A total of $1.1 million in grant funding will be awarded to projects that focus on waste prevention, reuse, and recovery of food, goods, and materials as well as development, marketing, and products made with recovered materials.

Local Reusable Foodware Ordinances Gain Speed

Ending the year on a high note, the City of Oakland successfully passed a comprehensive local reusable foodware policy. Built on StopWaste’s model ordinance that we developed for interested cities to customize, Oakland’s ordinance would require prepared food and beverage vendors to provide reusable foodware to guests dining in and only provide single-use plastic items upon request. The policy also allows guests to bring in their own reusable foodware containers for to-go orders. Bioplastics for takeout are prohibited, and reusables are required at large venues and special events held in the city. These efforts aim to address the urgent interconnected crises of plastic pollution, mass consumerism, and climate change.
Oakland is the second city in Alameda County, after Berkeley, to adopt a reusable foodware ordinance. StopWaste is providing essential support to these cities by creating the necessary infrastructure for reusables. We also provide funding for reusable foodware innovative pilot projects. Click below to learn more.

SB 54 Rulemaking Underway

Rulemaking is underway for SB 54 – a sweeping new state law to cut dependence on single-use packaging, while shifting plastic pollution responsibility to producers and manufacturers. The law sets ambitious goals to reduce plastic packaging and requires that all forms of single-use packaging and food ware be recyclable or compostable by 2032. CalRecycle just released the draft regulations as well as a legally-mandated list of packaging materials that are covered by SB 54, with a determination regarding which of those materials are actually recyclable or compostable.

For local governments, the implications of the list is that if a material is deemed recyclable or compostable, then jurisdictions are required to include that material in their waste management/collection systems. CalRecycle is now actively seeking public comments on the regulations and materials list. StopWaste is engaging local jurisdictions across the state to ensure that their voices are heard and needs are incorporated into the final regulations. Click below to learn more about SB 54 and how to get involved.


Food Requirements for SB 1383 Tier 2 Food Generators Now in Effect

An important requirement of California State law SB 1383 is that some food generating businesses must recover surplus edible food that would otherwise be disposed of and donate it to nourish people. This not only cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but also helps alleviate food insecurity in our communities. As of Jan. 1, 2024, Tier 2 food generators including large restaurants, hotels, health facilities, large venues, large events, state agencies, and local education agencies are required to comply with food donation requirements. StopWaste has developed resources to help businesses comply with the law, including an updated overview handout of the edible food recovery requirements and a compost and recycling requirements handout for businesses and multifamily properties, available in multiple languages. Businesses can locate a food recovery partner organization or service here.

Employee Spotlight

Jamie Andrade

Program Services Specialist

Jamie Andrade is a Program Services Specialist on the Schools team. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Aklan College in the Philippines and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco. She first joined StopWaste as an Associate on the Schools team in 2016. In 2020, she became a manager at GreenCitizen, Inc., an electronics recycling business. before returning to StopWaste in 2022.

What do you do at StopWaste?

As an environmental educator lead on the Schools team, I primarily coordinate and oversee field trips to our education centers at the Davis Street Transfer Station in San Leandro, and the Fremont Recycling & Transfer Station. In my previous role as a schools sustainability associate at StopWaste, my role focused on conducting field trips at our education centers. I now coordinate and manage field trip operations, working behind the scenes to schedule and work closely with teachers as the Agency focuses more on partnerships. This involves following and providing support for our teachers’ fieldtrip experience, including pre-activities before arrival at the education center, supporting the tour, and assisting with their class action projects.

As a lead educator, I support in curriculum development and I also support our Environmental Educators. One of my favorite parts of the job is conducting field trips and engaging with the students—although I don’t conduct as many anymore. Currently, my focus is on building efficient processes and optimizing logistics for our education center tours. However, soon I will pivot and shift to support South County partnerships as they arise between educators, schools, and districts. Another important goal is to amplify youth voices. There are so many inspiring stories that I hear from our community members, especially from our youth, my goal is to have their stories heard and that their impact is felt.

What are some skills that have helped you succeed in your role?
My previous management experience helped me immensely during my associate years at StopWaste when partnering with up to 20 teachers, school leaders, and others. I was able to transfer my communication skills, which helped to build relationships and connect with others. In learning how to build and manage multiple moving parts as an associate, it strengthened my management skills even more for my role today. Coming back to StopWaste after two years, I feel like I picked up where I left off. Also, having a deep understanding of the programs and curriculum allows me to build and streamline processes for our team of educators to focus on fostering relationships with students and teachers versus spending time on administrative tasks.

How has working at StopWaste impacted you?
I used to want to work in the recycling industry. After getting my masters, I thought I'd become a recycling coordinator and work in operations thinking that recycling is an ultimate solution to waste reduction. But after coming to StopWaste, and working closely in school communities, I learned that outreach and education, when done meaningfully, is an effective upstream waste solution.

What’s a practice you live by?
Prior to the pandemic, I had a pretty hectic life working two jobs and balancing all of that with my personal life. It wasn’t until the pandemic when our systems were forced to slow down that I started to truly reflect on my needs and wellness. This allowed me to prioritize my health and learn more about my body. I dealt with some health issues at the time and making space to research and to listen to my body enabled me to explore various ways of self-care. For instance, I established a morning routine, which now includes nourishment when I wake up, like a warm drink and a bowl of soup, and incorporating movement to prepare myself for the day ahead.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy traveling and taking urban walks. A close colleague of mine funnily coined my brief travels as “pop-overs” as I used to do weekend trips and fly out either domestically or internationally and be back in time for work the following week.
Crafting is another one of my hobbies. A goal of mine this year is to recreate things out of materials that I already have instead of purchasing new. In my recent apartment move, I realized I’ve accumulated tons of items that I am finding hard to part with and know they can be repurposed in some way. So, I do have projects lined up. Another goal for the new year is to learn how to make my own clothes.
I’ve also taken to experimenting in the kitchen and making fun refreshments like mocktails and fruity herbal teas.