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Agency Update - Spring 2021

New HHW Campaign – Send Toxics Packing!

HHW campaign

There’s a sneaky team of toxics in town – and it's time to send them packing! Our brand new Household Hazardous Waste campaign adds a little humor to a serious subject: toxics such as old paints, pesticides, and batteries pose health and safety risks if disposed of improperly. The campaign is part of StopWaste’s annual promotion of easy drop-off of hazardous waste at HHW facilities across Alameda County. Visitors can book appointments in advance through a new online system, and the website services and online appointment system are now available in Spanish.

Reuse and Repair Orgs Unite

Reuse and repair group

A used mannequin shop owner, an electronic waste management company, and a refill store start-up might seem like unlikely partners. But it turns out they have a lot in common: they are all innovators, helping to prevent waste and conserve resources in our communities. And they are part of StopWaste’s Reuse and Repair Stakeholder Group, which began in 2017 with a small group of mostly StopWaste grantees, and has now expanded to close to 100 participants that work in reuse, repair, and recovery for organizations across Alameda County and the Bay. The group comes together quarterly to network, create partnerships, explore shared resources, and most recently, go on virtual tours of organizations and businesses sharing their impressive operations and business models.  

Reducing Wasted Food, Addressing Food Insecurity

Crucible

StopWaste's grants program provides Food Waste Prevention and Recovery grants to nonprofits and businesses to prevent food from going to waste through source reduction and/or support for developing infrastructure and increased capacity to recover and donate food to feed people. Through partnerships with local businesses and community and faith-based organizations, these grant recipients help address food insecurity, one of the most pressing environmental and equity issues facing county residents.  

The coronavirus crisis skyrocketed the number of people in our community who are struggling to access food for their families. At its height, regional food recovery organizations reported three-fold increases in need, and struggled to meet demand while also facing reductions in food donations and volunteer shortages.   

In response, we were able to award 10 one-time COVID-19 Emergency Funding Grants to current food recovery organization grantees to support increased need during the pandemic.  

Employee Spotlight

Arielle Conway

Arielle Conway

Program Services Specialist

Arielle Conway grew up in the Bay Area, and went to UC Santa Cruz where she studied Environmental Studies and Education. She first joined StopWaste in 2011 as a schools team associate, worked for two years with the Bay Friendly Coalition (now ReScape), and rejoined StopWaste as a permanent staff member in 2017.  

What do you do at StopWaste?  

I work on the schools team and primarily support the 4Rs Student Action Project implementation and education. I also support our Transfer Station field trips and work on outreach to help students take action. When I was in 3rd grade, I actually went on a field trip to what was then called the Davis St. SMART station, so that was my first exposure to StopWaste. I am now helping implement the programs I participated in when I was younger! 

What is your favorite part of working here?  

It’s really two-fold: Internally I love being on the schools team and helping to carry out our vision. When you’re talking about climate change and the impacts of waste there are so many connections to everything around us. It's also incredible to be able to work with youth right now who are so empowered and so activated to take action. I recently joined the Oakland Unified Sustainability Advisory Council – a new group that formed in response to their emergency climate action resolution. And the students in the breakout sessions were so fired up – some of them have lived half their lives in a drought or through fires. That was really reactivating for me to keep doing this work.

Given all the challenges schools have faced during COVID-19, what gives you optimism?  

It’s that youth continue to show up and I’m excited that we’re working with them more and more directly, listening to their hopes and concerns. Youth are telling it like it is and we’re creating spaces that lift their voices to the forefront of action and decision making. Teachers are also super passionate and activated about climate change and all of the interconnected issues. Despite the challenges, they are all still showing up and leading by example. And going virtual has expanded the potential for greater access to our programs. But whether we’re virtual or in-person, it’s all about connections and relationships and I don't see that ever changing. 

Do you have a life motto that you live by?  

I don’t really have a motto but I learned from one of my closest co-workers at ReScape about this idea of the past me helping out the future me, asking myself what are the things that I can do now that can help me later on down the road.  

What do you enjoy doing when not working? 

Mostly I enjoy hanging out with the dog, backpacking, camping, and hiking. I recently discovered Leona Canyon in Oakland. Even though I grew up here, I’m always finding new places. It’s fun to explore all the nooks and crannies of the Bay Area. I’m also a big board and video gamer.