Zero Waste Humboldt is the only organization on California’s northwest corner that specializes solely on waste reduction solutions. Inspired by the Redwood Coast’s natural beauty and cultures, we educate the public, provide technical assistance and training, and advocate for sustainable materials management and Zero Waste policies. Our sense of urgency to conserve natural resources and fight climate change drives Zero Waste Humboldt to target all single use and wasteful products and packaging with proactive waste prevention strategies. Our public education campaigns create behavior change — not “green marketing happy talk.”


ZWH’s mission, services and community projects stem from our vision of a desired future with 0 waste, sustainable materials management, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Waste prevention will be accepted as the most effective method to protect our scenic rivers, Humboldt Bay, Pacific coastline, ranchlands, forests and Redwood Coast communities from plastic pollution, litter and roadside dumping.

Our residents, businesses, government agencies, community groups and schools will adopt Zero Waste values and habits. Systems will be implemented and infrastructure installed to direct discarded materials to second uses. Waste generation will decrease so much that the large trucks that haul Humboldt County’s garbage to distant landfills will no longer be needed. Humboldt County’s sustainable materials management practices will result in measurable and significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We will achieve the Circular Economy in Humboldt with many of our special niche manufacturers using recycled feedstock materials to make their products.


ZWH adopted the Zero Waste International Alliance 10 Zero Waste Business Principles as the foundation for its work in 2012. Our top priority is to implement proactive waste prevention strategies to reduce waste generated in the first place, and our work with materials reuse, recycling and composting methods follows. Recycling-based economic development in Humboldt is essential to our mission; helping local businesses to integrate recyclable materials into their production processes creates the Circular Economy.

Central to our work are 3 core services: (1)public education for all segments of the local population, (2)advocacy and policy development with local and state government, and (3)technical assistance consulting and training for businesses, schools and government agencies to reduce the proliferation of single-use products and packaging – especially plastics.  Our services benefit the community in the following ways:

  • Natural resource conservation and achieving the highest & best use for discarded materials.

  • Business and local economic development.

  • Achieving compliance with new state and federal laws

  • Grassroots organizing, project management and leadership development

  • Preparing local youth with Zero Waste training to enter the workforce

  • Examples and models for how to implement Zero Waste practices


ZWH introduced the Zero Waste movement to Humboldt County in 2011, and incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization in 2014, to provide contemporary sustainable materials management and Zero Waste practices.

ZWH is governed by a board of directors who reside in different Humboldt communities and bring experience in the Zero Waste method, public education aimed at behavioral change, developing collaborative partnerships, advocacy, different business sectors, and nonprofit management. An Advisory Board provide both pro bono expertise and project feedback; and information on community resources and partners.

ZWH accomplishes much of its work with a small staff, a growing network of partner organizations, more than 50 regular trained volunteers, and as a work site for Humboldt State University student internships, work-study employees, community service-learning projects, senior capstone projects, and graduate student research.

ZWH honors Humboldt businesses and community members who are exemplary models of successful commitment to Zero Waste in an annual Zero Heroes Night celebration.

To learn about Zero Waste Humboldt’s services, please read SERVICES.


Kelly Fortner
Kelly FortnerPresident
Krista Miller
Krista MillerVice-President
Kate Lancaster
Kate LancasterTreasurer
Ben Winker
Ben WinkerBoard Member
Layla Richardson
Layla RichardsonProject Manager/ Board Member
Michael Deakin
Michael DeakinBoard Member
Wendy White
Wendy WhiteBoard Member


Maggie Gainer
Maggie GainerZW Technical Advisor
Amy Whitlatch
Amy WhitlatchBookkeeper
Shelly Reider
Shelly ReiderZero Waste Specialist
Lisa Enge
Lisa EngeZW's Arcata Business Packaging Reuse Coordinator


[email protected]

Mail Address: PO Box 293 Arcata, CA 95518

Physical Address (by appointment only): 839 9th St Arcata, CA 95521