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Newsletter – May 2012 


It’s been a year since Humboldt residents wrote letters, articles, and opinion pieces, spoke on the radio, and turned out en force at Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA), County Board of Supervisors, and city council meetings to voice their outrage over the decisions that caused the loss of local control of our recyclables, and to urge saving the Samoa Recycling Processing Facility for processing Humboldt County’s locally collected materials.

Our collective voice elevated the awareness of our elected, appointed and employed local government leaders that the public wants quality recycling services designed to conserve natural resources and contribute to the local economy.  Their response to increased public scrutiny of HWMA processes and local government waste management decisions has been positive.  The HWMA website provides much more information and their meetings are now televised for public viewing on Access Humboldt.  We applaud HWMA’s steps to improve transparency and to better inform the public of its activities.   It’s a modest butgood start.  Now, there’s much more that needs to be done:

ï HWMA’s strategic planning process needs to produce a clear,        comprehensive and practical plan

ï Review of the County’s integrated waste management system to          determine how it can be modernized and improved

ï The selection and hiring of a new executive director for HWMA

ï The passage and implementation of local ordinances that will help us to reduce our waste generation

ï Ongoing public education to inform local public policy makers, the media and the general public about how to better reduce, reuse and recycle waste generated in our county.

HWMA has lacked strong direction and a cogent, cohesive and comprehensive plan.  Last fall, citizens like yourself demanded, in written and verbal testimony, full public participation in the proposed strategic planning process – beginning with a public scoping workshop; a planning process that looked at a full range of issues – including HWMA governance structure, procedures and practices; and an opportunity for public review and comment on the planning consultant Request For Proposals (RFP.)  Zero Waste Humboldt publicized commenting opportunities, provided technical assistance and comment guidance, and delivered public testimony.


Last August, Zero Waste Humboldt volunteers with the sponsorship of the City of Arcata, HWMA, and the North Coast Recycling Market Development Zone, presented a zero waste innovation forum for public officials, waste reduction, reuse, and recycling businesses and organizations, and news media.   This winter, ZWH founders decided to create an organization to provide research, public education, and advocacy for better local waste management decisions.  In the initial meetings among concerned citizens and business owners agreed on these priorities and Zero Waste Humboldt was born.

ZWH is led by local residents with expertise in community organizing and strategic planning, integrated waste management, and environmentally-beneficial business development.  We are guided by a common vision of one day living in an environmentally-sustainable economy in which the County and local municipalities have cooperated to adopt a common zero waste management goal and county-wide integrated waste management plan, supporting policies and implementation practices.  Outcomes of these actions include significant waste reduction local job creation and business development based on reusing and recycling discarded materials.  To achieve our goals, ZWH will serve our community as a source of information, advice and policy advocacy .  We are committed to a vision of regional sustainability, and the role of innovative, collaborative waste management policies and practices in building a truly sustainable economy.


You can learn more about Zero Waste Humboldt at

You may have seen the May 12 “My Word” in the Times Standard that asked Board of Supervisors candidates crucial questions about their positions on County waste management issues.  Their answers will be posted at as they are received.

In coming months citizens, public officials, business owners, students and the media will be able to find useful information on our website  (currently being developed) about zero waste activities in and outside of Humboldt County.   Keep coming back to see news and resources we’ve added.   You will be able to learn more about:

  • Zero waste principles and goals,
  • regional zero waste management and plans,
  • local reuse and recycling based businesses,
  • waste reduction initiatives and opportunities,
  • the relationships between zero waste and climate change,
  • local and out-of-the-area success stories, and
  • our positions on local government waste management policies.

We consult with national experts and glean information relevant to local waste reduction, reuse, and recycling solutions and will disseminate information via our website, radio interviews with experts, public forums, email action alerts and email news bulletins about waste management industry news, trends, and activities.

We would like to continue sending you email news bulletins and action alerts that inform citizens about events, activities, local resources, and information of interest; and opportunities to influence the policies and practices of local government.  If you don’t want to receive ZWH news nor action alerts, just reply by email to request that you be unsubscribed and we’ll remove you from our distribution list.


We welcome your participation!  To become a Zero Waste Humboldt volunteer, contact us at .  Donations large and small help us provide our public education and outreach services.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!