Annalisa Belliss of StopWaste and Chris Slafter of ReThink Disposable engaged faculty and students in thought-provoking discussions on waste prevention and its positive impacts on the environment, community and economy during Meeting Period (MP) on September 22 as part of the Sustainability Guest Speaker Series.
StopWaste is a public agency that works with Alameda County schools, businesses, and nonprofits to reduce waste through waste prevention, recycling, and food recovery projects. ReThink Disposable Clean Water, a program of Clean Water Action – Clean Water Fund, takes on single use products by engaging the public, food business owners, and policy makers to reduce waste and cut costs. O’Dowd has partnered with ReThink Disposable to minimize the use of paper plates in the cafeteria and, as a result, saves 3,000 pounds of waste every year!
Annalisa creatively engaged guests on the issues of food waste, discussing how minimizing food waste addresses environmental issues and also promotes quality of labor and anti-hunger projects on a global scale. The audience watched a short film on the life cycle of a strawberry and were asked to think critically about how consumers and food industry treat products. Chris then shared the unique story that brought him to work with ReThink Disposable. An avid surfer of the northern California coastline, Chris was exposed to the tangible consequences of plastic waste production and vowed to make a change in his community. Now working with ReThink Disposable, Chris and his team collaborate with local businesses on innovative projects. From reducing unnecessary packaging such as individual condiment wrappers to collecting data on consumer habits with reusable containers, ReThink Disposable is tackling challenging problems one straw at a time.
The semester will continue to feature a wealth of guest speakers, including O’Dowd alumni, parents, and greater Bay Area community members. All of the O’Dowd community is invited to join us for these talks, which take place from 1:50 – 2:50 p.m. on the following dates: 10/6, 11/17, and 12/1.