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CRRA 2023 Conference and Trade Show

August 13–16, 2023

Hyatt Regency Burlingame, CA

Navigating the New Waste Paradigm: The Circular Economy in Action

Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at 8:45 AM–10:15 AM PDT
Regency Ballroom C


Session Description

After years of talking about Extended Producer Responsibility and the Circular Economy,  California and other states are finally implementing true EPR programs which require producers to take responsibility for their waste. Learn the inside story of how SB 54 and other groundbreaking laws were created. Discover how the Circular Economy will cut waste, reduce pollution, improve Environmental Justice and pave the way for a truly sustainable society. 


Tim Goncharoff, National Stewardship Action Council


Speaker Biography

Tim Goncharoff is a well-known innovator in the world of Zero Waste. The creator of many breakthrough laws and cutting edge programs, Tim speaks and writes widely on waste reduction, sustainability and environmental protection. Tim currently serves as the President of the National Stewardship Action Council and works as an environmental consultant across the country. 

Abstract Title

A New Waste Paradigm: The Circular Economy

Speaker Abstract
  1. Traditionally, our approach to manufacturing has paid little heed to the waste products produced throughout the process, especially at end of life. Local governments have been saddled with this increasingly insupportable burden as waste has dramatically expanded while also becoming more toxic and tougher to recycle. 

         2. EPR closes the loop by holding producers responsible for their own waste products,  placing the cost where it belongs while providing manufacturers with incentives to create more sustainable products. 

          3. Other parts of the world have been quicker to adopt EPR. The speakers have traveled extensively to Europe, Canada and elsewhere to study best practices. 

          4. California has been attempting EPR approaches with mixed success for products ranging from mattresses to carpet, mercury thermostats and plastic packaging.  The speakers have been intimately involved in the creation and evaluation of these programs.

         5. With SB 54, California has implemented everything learned from past efforts to create a groundbreaking new approach to reducing waste, litter and toxic materials while reducing costs and enhancing environmental justice.  The new law is already prompting imitators across the country. 

Heidi Sanborn, National Stewardship Action Council

Executive Director

Speaker Biography

Heidi Sanborn is the founder of the California Product Stewardship Council and the National Stewardship Action Council. She has been a leader in promoting environmental protection and circular economy solutions for decades. Heidi is in great demand as a speaker across the US and beyond, and has been a Keynote speaker for previous CRRA conferences. Heidi also serves as the President of the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District. 

Abstract Title

In the Trenches: Getting EPR Done

Speaker Abstract

An increasingly complex world requires complex solutions to challenging problems. In the abstract, EPR often seems like the best approach to waste reduction and more sustainable manufacturing, but in practice,  there are many obstacles.

How do we persuade producers that they should be concerned about waste, which has never been their problem?

In a political process that favors modest, incremental change, how do we convince policymakers to try a whole new approach in the face of outraged opposition from well-funded campaign donors?

What kind of governance structures are needed to ensure sustainable programs which will continue to make progress over time without atrophied or being undermined by opposition?

How do we educate the public to embrace a fundamentally different approach to producing goods and protecting the environment?

Learn the answers to all of these questions and more from someone who has been in the trenches and emerged victorious!

Jordan Wells, National Stewardship Action Council

Director of Advocacy and Communications

Speaker Biography

Jordan joined the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) at
its formation in 2015. Jordan is passionate about policy and legislation and enjoys advocating for producer responsibility policies and all that entails, including development of strong coalitions to advocate for policy change. 
Jordan received a Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability from San Diego State University (SDSU) and studied abroad at the University of Oxford. The Sustainability Department awarded Jordan the Outstanding Graduate Award.

Abstract Title

Completing the Circle: EPR Moves into the Mainstream

Speaker Abstract

Early efforts in California and elsewhere prepared the ground for Extended Producer Responsibility. Now the circular economy is catching on not just in the environmental community, but in the halls of government and in corporate boardrooms. EPR laws have now been implemented in a number of US states as well as in Canada, Europe and elsewhere. Learn how we have found common ground with surprising people in the corporate and government worlds and crafted legislation that works for everyone. Discover the secrets of the circular economy that will help make your programs effective and efficient. Find out all the mistakes we made so you don't have to! Learn how to find the partners you need to build successful and scalable circular economy solutions!


Leslie Lukacs, Zero Waste Sonoma

Executive Director