Zero Waste 101 – Getting Started on your Zero Waste Journey

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Zero Waste 101 – Getting Started on your Zero Waste Journey 2016-06-13T16:37:06+00:00

5th Annual National Zero Waste Business Conference
Zero Waste 101 – Getting Started on your Zero Waste Journey
Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
10:45 am to 12:00 pm

Panel Description: So, you’ve realized that Zero Waste is an important part of your business’s long term sustainability, but where do you get started?  This session will give you the basic building blocks you will need in order to get your Zero Waste program off the ground.


IMG_7735Judi Gregory, owner of Go2Zero Strategies, has worked in the recycling and solid waste management field for over 25 years.  In 2013 Ms. Gregory was awarded Small Business of the Year by the CA Small Business Association.

Throughout her career, Judi has worked with various hauling companies as well as operated her own hauling company for 10 years.  She has set up recycling programs at some the largest movie studios in the world, including Paramount Studios, NBC, ABC, CBS and Warner.  Ms. Gregory also helped implement the City of Santa Monica’s multi-family and commercial recycling program and, and currently works with a client to operate one of the largest multi-family recycling programs in the state.  Ms. Gregory has extensive background in operations and management of waste collections, with a focus on programs that divert materials from disposal through recycling and Zero Waste initiatives.

Judi has spent an extensive part of her career involved in non-profit work, including as the Interim Executive Director, Conference Manager, Certification Manager and past President of California Resource Recovery Association.  Judi currently serves as the Training Manager for the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and also on the Board of NRC’s National Standards Certification Board.

Ms. Gregory’s business received a WRAP Award from the CA Integrated Waste Management Board in 2004 and Ms. Gregory received the “Recycler of the Year” award from CRRA in 2007.  Ms. Gregory’s business is a certified WBE, SBE and is a Veteran Owned Business Enterprise.  Judi Gregory serves on the Green21 Initiative working group with Senator Liu and her staff.



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Eric G. Handler, M.D., M.P.H., became Health Officer for the County of Orange in August 2006. His previous experience includes serving as the Deputy Secretary for Children’s Medical Services in the Florida Department of Health (1996-2000) and Chief Medical Officer for the Florida Department of Children and Families (2000-2003). Most recently he was the Chief Medical Officer for the Boston Regional Office for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2004-2006.

During his career, Dr. Handler has held several academic appointments, including an Associate Professor at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Handler received his Medical Degree from Chicago Medical School and completed his Pediatrics training at L.A. County-U.S.C Hospital and his Master in Public Health at UCLA. He completed a pediatric rehabilitation fellowship at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital.
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Leading up to college, Jonathan Levy always knew that he wanted to major in Business, but did not know in which area to focus. It was not until he took Managerial Statistics that he found his calling. From measuring movements to reduce bottlenecks to analyzing large swaths of data using linear regression, majoring in Supply Chain Management just made sense. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Technology and Operations Management from Cal Poly Pomona.

After college, Jonathan found himself in the Industrial Engineering department at UPS as well as Engineering and Facilities at Target, managing teams while optimizing their supply chains. There was, however, one recurring theme that he just could not wrap his head around: most of today’s supply chains are linear. With constraints aimed at minimizing cost and/or maximizing revenue, little time is spent focusing on creating a zero waste, circular supply chain.

In 2013, Jonathan was introduced to the California Resource Recovery Association where he earned a certificate in sustainable resource management. Since then he has worked with a variety of haulers and organizations on recycling and organics diversion projects, including Republic Services, NASA Services, Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. When he is not greening businesses he is constantly looking for new ways to zero waste his life.


tom wright photoTom Wright is a fourth generation Californian. He began in the US natural and organic foods industry in 1973, with a small seed company in San Francisco. The company supplied  edible sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the first US makers of trail mixes and granolas.
He has a B.A. in Economics from  Revelle College, Univ. of Calif. San Diego,and an M.A. in Holistic Studies (Ecological Economics) from John F. Kennedy Univ.
Mr. Wright’s interest in ecology and systems thinking began with a chance meeting and lecture by R. Buckminster Fuller when he was 11.
For 28 years Mr. Wright worked as a national brand and sales manager to several companies in the natural and specialty channels of  food and beverage:  Arrowhead Mills, R.W. Knudsen’s, Crystal Geyser Water Co., Seventh Generation, and the Perrier Group.  In 1984, he created and managed a campaign for CCOF (Calif Certified Organic Farmers) to promote “certified organic” through natural food retailers nationally.
After being trained in The Natural Step (1996), Mr. Wright created In 1997 he led a Visionary Planning session for the Organic Trade Assn (OTA). In 2002 Whole Foods Markets engaged him to develop several “green” programs, for a path toward sustainability. He coined the “Green Mission” brand. The first project was on-site solar development in 3 Southern Californian stores.  He organized the collaboration between WRI and Whole Foods that created the largest private wind REC purchase at that time (2005). In 2007 he organized the team that rolled-out the Non-GMO Project Verified through Whole Foods Markets and UNFI.

Another project involved both ‘trash audits’ and waste reduction programs, including the establishing 9 regional industrial scale compost systems. He spearheaded the plan to promote reuse-able bags, and get rid of cheap flimsy plastic shopping bags. Current projects include a responsible packaging initiative, a non-gmo supply chain initiative, green accounting including carbon and ecological footprints, and several eco-literacy programs for leadership. In 2004 Mr. Wright began producing the bi-annual “Responsible Packaging” forums and awards for the North American organics foods industry. He teaches at bi-annual Organicology. See:

Since 2004, Tom has worked on various material recovery projects, increasing recycling rates and compost rates through increased access. These materials have included rigid plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, cartons and aseptics, and organic materials and bioplastics. Early in 2013, he managed a project that certified 3 Whole Foods Markets in San Diego as the first “Zero Waste” grocery stores certified by the US Zero Waste Business Council. As of Jan 2015, there are 12 more WFM certified as Zero Waste, and many more stores now in queue for that certification.

Tom Wright, Sustainable Bizness Practices. Founder,; Specializes in issues surrounding the grocery industry: Evaluating brands’ & manufacturers’ claims, Zero Waste certification, waste-diversion & auditing grocery and food operations, finding markets for hard-to-recycle products and materials, high-recycled content products, etc.