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SBCC Center for Sustainability to Present ‘Waste & Recycling for a Better World’

Hear from young eco-entrepreneurs at the March 25-26 event

Meet the young eco-entrepreneurs who can change the way you think about trash, and those who can help you understand recycling, why we must and how we can. Please join the SBCC Center for Sustainability as it continues its “Cities as the Solution” series with “Waste & Recycling for a Better World” on March 25-26.

The event will start at 7 p.m. Friday in the Fe Bland Forum on SBCC’s west campus with keynote speaker Albe Zakes, vice president of marketing from TerraCycle Inc., a company that makes useful products from garbage and is now at the forefront of the eco-capitalist movement. Zakes will share the entrepreneurial adventure he and TerraCycle company founder Tom Szaky have experienced as they created a company that’s good for people, good for profits and good for the environment.

A follow-up event will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 26 at the SBCC PS101 Building on the east campus, 721 Cliff Drive. A morning plenary session will be followed by afternoon break-outs that will include three dynamic speakers in the world of waste and recycling:

» Albe Zakes, the 25-year-old global vice president of media at TerraCycle Inc., the world’s leading “upcycling” company, which converts waste materials into eco-friendly, affordable products available at major retailers worldwide. TerraCycle upcycles and recycles traditionally non-recyclable waste, including drink pouches, chip bags, tooth brushes and many more. TerraCycles innovative “Brigades” programs encourage community organizations to participate in trash retrieval while earning cash. Paying out more than $1 million last year alone, the brigade programs are partially funded by corporate partners including Kraft, Starbucks and Mars.

» Nikhil Arora, 23, BTTR Ventures, a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, who with business partner Alex Velez gave up careers in investment banking to start an urban farm, growing gourmet mushrooms from coffee waste. Their most recent product, easy-to-grow mushroom garden kits, are carried in more than 90 Whole Foods Markets. Since starting BTTR Ventures, they have diverted more than 10,000 pounds of coffee grounds per week from the waste stream, being paid to do it.  Trash to cash, they are proud of providing jobs in their urban community.

» Janet Unruh, executive director of the Institute for Material Sustainability, MA engineering and technology management, and author of Recycle Everything, Why We Must, How We Can. We’ve all heard of peak oil, but what about peak hafnium, or peak terbium? Hafnium, which is important in computer chips, could be depleted by 2017, and terbium, used in florescent light bulbs, by 2012. Unruh believes that everything can be recycled 100 percent — provided we learn how to design things properly and set up the right systems for materials recovery.

In nature, there is no such thing as “waste,” but as humans we produce nearly 220 million tons per year. Come learn a better way, not to only recycle, but upcycle, diverting billions of pieces of garbage from our landfills and incinerators, while generating income and creating jobs.

The event is sponsored by the SBCC Center for Sustainability. For more information, click here or contact Margie Bushman at 805.965.0581 x2177 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Margie Bushman is a coordinator for the SBCC Center for Sustainability.

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