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Archive for May, 2014


Urban Ore: Economic Development, Zero-Waste Leader

Fri May 30, 2014 at 11:58:35 PM EST

by Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN & ILSR Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Special Briefing, Strategy Session & Networking Opportunity:


On Tuesday, June 10th at 2:30 PM, join the DC Environmental Network, Institute for Local Self Reliance and the DC advocacy community for a special briefing on zero waste and economic development in the 21st century. This event will be held at the offices of the DC Environmental Network, 1100 15th Street NW, 11th Floor. Our presenters will be Mary Lou Van Deventer and Dan Knapp, of Urban Ore.

RSVP Here! Join us for this special briefing.

Key issues to be addressed at this briefing:

– Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Design
– Resource Recovery Parks
– Municipal Composting
– Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
– History of Recycling in Post-World War II United States

This presentation is part of a speaking tour sponsored by the Institute for Local Self Reliance in celebration of their 40th anniversary since their inception as a community organization in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC.


Urban Ore is a reuse and recycling enterprise based in Berkeley, CA that traces its origin to the tip face of the old Berkeley dump from where Urban Ore recovered its initial tools and capital as the basis for the multi-million dollar enterprise operated by 65 workers and occupying a unique site on 3 acres in downtown Berkeley, CA. Urban Ore provides quality used building materials, household furnishing, with its 200,000 square foot warehouse for its immediate customers. It has also become a supply train for scores of additional reuse stores throughout the SF Bay Area.

DSC_0007b2Urban Ore is a private business with a track record of community service that dates to its origins. Van Deventer and Knapp lead the fight in the early l980s to keep garbage incineration out of the region. The Berkeley Burn Papers, l982, informed citizens and small businesses well beyond the Bay Area. Over 300 planned garbage incinerators were defeated by grass roots campaigns inspired by the work of Urban Ore and neighboring recycling enterprise, Santa Rosa Community Recycling Center that produced Garbage Incineration the False Panacea.

Van Deventer and Knapp have also served as intellectual and policy leaders within the recycling and economic development movement from which the zero waste movement emerged in the 1990s. Knapp traveled to Australia and brought back word of initial zero waste efforts in Canberra. Zero Wealth has become the new paradigm for grass roots citizen and small business activists.

Urban Ore developed the 12 category (and sub cluster) source separation system, which has become the basis for contemporary zero waste plans. Urban Ore participated in the first zero waste plan in the US, for Del Norte County, CA. Urban Ore graphics have been used in numerous plans for resource recovery facilities. Van Deventer and Knapp are at the center of policy discussions on Extended producer responsibility. They were principal contributors to the Berkeley Zero Waste Commission revised that self-serving EPR formula put forward by global corporations. The Berkeley City Council and the Global Recycling Council of the California Resource Recovery Association have adopted their principles of government control over EPR. Urban Ore published The EPR trilogy following a national conference on EPR held by the Illinois Recycling Association in 2012.

Urban Ore worked with ILSR to establish the Recycling Archives Project, now housed at the University of Illinois, Springfield.

Urban Ore Quote boxBoth Van Deventer and Knapp hail from the Mid-West. Van Deventer is an environmental writer who started her career at Friends of the Earth and then worked for the CA Office of Appropriate Technology in Sacramento. Knapp was a professor of sociology at the University of Illinois and University of Oregon before getting involved in solid waste and recycling in Lane County, OR where he opposed the building of a garbage incinerator. As predicted by Knapp, the plant blew up within a few years. The tale of this early anti incineration and pro recycling battle has been depicted in the Lone Recycler, published by Urban Ore with illustrations by Nancy Gorell, Berkeley Ecology center.

Urban Ore has been the lead group pointing out that recyclers and zero waste advocates are the true environmental and philosophical conservatives within the US political spectrum: conserving resource, protecting the environment and creating new companies and jobs.

RSVP Here! Come learn about the best zero waste programs in the country.

All are welcome!


Former DDOE Staff Recognized for Service to District!

Mon May 19, 2014 at 05:27:51 PM EST

By Chris Weiss, Executive Director, DC Environmental Network

DCEN Invites All Metro-Based Environmentalists and Others to a Special Awards Ceremony!

Awards No Background

Mark your calendars. On July 10th at Noon, join the DC Environmental Network, Chairman Mendelson and Councilmember Grosso for a special recognition of five former District Department of the Environment (DDOE) employees who played important roles to grow DDOE, expand the vision for achieving clean rivers and a clean energy future and developed and created what is now known as the Sustainable DC plan.

Click here to sign-up to attend and show support for five DC environmental leaders who have made a difference!

Our 2014 DCEN Environmental Advocacy Award Recipients (Former Position with District Government):

DSC_0431c Paul Connor, Deputy Director, Environmental Services, DDOE
Kim Katzenbarger, Office of the Attorney General, General Counsel, DDOE
Veronique Marier, Deputy Director, Energy Administration, DDOE
Christophe Tulou, Director, DDOE
Barry Weise, Special Assistant & Legislative & Regulatory Analyst, DDOE

Our Award Presenters:

Chairman Phil Mendelson, Council of the District of Columbia
Councilmember David Grosso, Council of the District of Columbia

Mark your calendars. All are welcome. More information to follow. RSVP here!