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Reducing Plastic Marine Debris Through Source Reduction - Webinar Recording

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The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) recently completed a first-in-the-nation project to promote plastic source reduction on three University of California campuses: Santa Barbara (UCSB), San Francisco (UCSF), and San Diego (UCSD). With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9, Marine Debris Team, and in collaboration with two California-based organizations, PSI led efforts to design and implement strategies to reduce the amount of disposable plastic used for take-out meals on the campuses. Almost half of the debris found on beaches is made up of disposable plastics from take-out food and beverages, which can create lasting hazards for public health, wildlife, and the environment.

This webinar will provide an overview of PSI’s project, paying special attention to the lessons we learned so that other universities can take steps to reduce their reliance on disposable plastics. Such steps include incentivizing vendors to use compostable products by securing lower prices for them; ensuring that the plastics used in dining areas are recyclable; and soliciting the leadership of students, staff, or a combination of both, to carry out needed tasks.

Speaker Bios:

Charlotte Strem
Assistant Director Physical and Environmental Planning
University of California (UC) Office of the President

Charlotte works with all ten University of California campuses and all five medical centers on land use and environmental planning.  She works on Long Range Development Plans, and administers the University’s compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. She chairs the Sustainable Transportation and the Solid Waste and Recycling Working Groups to implement the UC Sustainability Policy. She has worked for UCOP since 1991. Her career in the planning field includes both the public and private sector work for cities, counties, regional and territorial governments, and private consulting. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies (UC Santa Barbara) and a Master’s degree in City Planning (University of Pennsylvania) with Certificate in Urban Design.

Krista Mays
Sustainability Manager
Housing, Dining, and Hospitality, UC San Diego Campus

Krista started in what’s now known as the Sustainability field in 1990 as a senior at SDSU. She’s been at UCSD since 1994 starting as the first Recycling Coordinator in the UC system and then growing the position into recycling, trash, energy conservation, composting, water conservation and any other green thing the students dreamed up.  In 2008 she joined UCSD’s Housing Dining Hospitality staff as their Sustainability Manager, a position that covers everything from composting to fair trade, energy conservation to purchasing standards and student education and outreach. She supervises a team of 10 student workers, known as the EcoNauts, and together they try to find new ways to educate and inspire residents and HDH staff. Krista has her Master’s in Strategic Communication a BA in Public Administration.

Susan Bluestone
Recycling & Waste Reduction Coordinator
UC San Francisco

Susan joined the staff of UCSF’s Facilities Department as its first-ever recycling staff member after working in the recycling field for 10+ years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She continues to maintain the same tremendous enthusiasm for having the opportunity to see direct results of recycling outreach and operational improvements at UCSF. Susan initiated UCSF’s restaurant  back-of-the-kitchen Compost Program and the Building by Building Bulky Item Pick-Up program to funnel re-usable materials  to public schools and other non-profit groups when UCSF no longer needs them. She enjoys working with all departments at UCSF in her ongoing efforts to make recycling and composting as user-friendly as possible at UCSF. She greatly appreciates the efforts of the custodial staff whose hard work brings UCSF ever closer toward sustainability.

Katie Maynard
Sustainability Coordinator and Staff to the Academic Senate Sustainability Work Group
UC Santa Barbara

Katie has been a Sustainability Coordinator at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) since 2005. In this role, she helps connect the academic and operational divisions of the university, empower students to become sustainability leaders, and engage faculty in campus sustainability efforts. She advises the Plastics Solutions student organization at UCSB, which in partnership with other campus stakeholders was able to reduce plastic bottle water purchases by 52% through installation of hydration stations and public outreach. She is also the event manager for the CA Higher Education Sustainability Conference.