Who is at the Table?

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Waste and Recycling

August 27, 10am-12pm PST / 1-3pm EST

Presented by Northern California Recycling Association (NCRA) in coordination with the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council, the NCRA DEI Committee and the Ohio Recycling Coalition. Produced by Portia Sinnott, NCRA Vice President and Zero Waste USA Program Director.

Are we leading the way or stumbling behind? Does anyone have a handle on the statistics? Has your business, agency or non-profit adopted DEI initiatives? Are they actively being implemented and tracked? Are the benefits clear to all involved? What factors are being addressed – age, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, ability, language and/or cultural background? Does your workforce reflect these commitments – in front of the house: management/decision makers, as well as the back of the house: workforce/membership? Are there efforts underway to boost workforce training and advancement? 

This webinars objectives are to motivate the waste and recycling industry to actively explore and discuss DEI issues and initiatives, and inspire organizations as well as individuals to create their own DEI mandates. We will address the various aspects of the topic via succinct introductory presentations followed by commentary, a robust intra-panel discussion and a lively Q&A session! The webinar slides and resources will be made available to all attendees.


  • Moderator and Commentator, Arley Owens, Executive Director, Ohio Recycling Coalition, former NRC Board Member, organizing member of the NRC DEI Council, and former Chair of the NRC Communications Committee and the Minorities Recycling Council
  • DEI Introduction and Industry Situational Report, Sophia Huda, Vice President, Ohio Recycling Coalition, member of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and Adjunct Sustainability Professor, The New School, New York
  • Developing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Mandates, Faye Christoforo, Executive Director, Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN)
  • Safe and Sustainable Recycling, Alina Bekkerman, NCRA Board Member and DEI Committee Co-Chair and San Francisco Conservation Corps, Zero Waste Consultant and Felisia Castañeda, NCRA Member and DEI Committee Co-Chair, and Recology San Francisco Environmental Learning Center Supervisor
  • Moving Forward Together, Abrilla Robinson, Vice President, Ohio Recycling Coalition’s and Chair of the Ohio Recycling Coalition’s newly created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Past President of the National Recycling Coalition Minorities Recycling Council and organizing member of the new NRC DEI Council.

Speaker Bios

Arley Owens

Arley Owens

BIO ARLEY OWENS, MBA, CRRM Arley Owens, a proven and time tested Environmental Thought Leader, is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Ohio Recycling Coalition, a 501 (c-3) Non-Profit organization www.orcrecycles.org. Recently Arley was appointed as a new Board Member for the National Recycling Coalition’s Board of Directors and Chairs the NRC’s new Diversity Equity Inclusion Council and also Co-Chairs the National Recycling Coalition’s Board of Director’s Fund Development Committee and Communications Committee. Arley’s pathway to environmental leadership began with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) where he implemented several energy and resource savings programs as the Chief Environmental Officer and Special Programs Group Manager for ODNR’s Ohio State Parks, one of America’s largest park systems, overseeing recycling, waste management, grant administration and special environmental programs designed to reduce energy costs within the 74 state park system. Prior to Arley’s promotion to Chief Environmental Officer, Arley was the Communications Administrator for the ODNR’s Division of Recycling where he, along with a stellar staff, created and implemented the national award winning Recycle, Oho! Program for the State of Ohio; worked closely with Ohio’s 52 Solid Waste District; administered an annual five million dollar grant assistance program and coordinated annual statewide recycling awareness campaigns and environmental education programs. Arley also held positions with ODNR’s Office of Employee Services as an EEO Officer, Employee Relations Coordinator; and with the ODNR Division of Civilian Conservation Corps as Project Supervisor. In 2014, Arley along with nine other Ohio based businesses and individuals were recognized by the Association of Ohio Recyclers for the respective major impact they had made on Ohio’s Recycling Industry. Today as the Executive Director for the Ohio Recycling Coalition, Arley along with ORC’s Leadership Team, have launched ORC’s “Made In America NOW” Financial Stimulus Program, and are in the process of creating ORC’s Environmental Leadership Academy designed to expose, engage, educate and empower individuals to learn how they will be the next generation of Environmental Stewards for our Planet Earth. Arley earned an MBA in Marketing from the University of Phoenix, Business Marketing Certification from THE Ohio State Fisher College of Business, a BA in Communications from THE Ohio State University and successfully completed the Solid Waste Authority of North America’s course work and is a Certified Residential Recycling Manager. Arley is the Founder and President of the critically acclaimed; Earth Team Green Eco-Thriller Comic Book Franchise www.earthteamgreen.org. Arley’s next best-selling Eco-Thriller Comic Book is titled “The Sky Princess-Crusader For Climate Change and Zero Waste Wonder. Arley is a United States Airforce Vietnam Veteran who served proudly as a member of the Tactical Air Command’s 823rd Elite Combat Security Police while defending eleven US Air Force Bases in Vietnam.
Ohio Recycling Coalition
Executive Director
Faye Christoforo

Faye Christoforo

Faye (They/She) became a trash nerd in 2011 when they began to root around in trash cans on their college campus and came up with the questions, “Why do so many people think pizza is recyclable?” and “Why do people throw away so much usable stuff when so many don’t have their basic needs met?” This launched them on a journey to understand the relationship between systemic oppression and exploitation and the linear consumption economy.

Faye has worked in a variety of social and environmental justice spaces over the course of their “career”. They graduated from Earlham College in 2014 with a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. As a student, they were a very busy organizer, co-founding the move out program, the Free Store on campus, and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign.

Since becoming a Co-Director at PLAN in 2014 Faye has supported the rapidly growing team in working with a network of over 400 college and university campuses to build long term sustainable solutions to waste that are rooted in climate justice and collective liberation. They have held workshops and speaking events on behalf of PLAN at over 100 college and university campuses across the country as well as international events. They believe that students and young people are the most powerful changemakers and hold the key to driving the Zero Waste Movement forward.

Beyond their work, they enjoy building/partaking in queer communities, reading dystopian fiction, and their cat, Dipstick.

Post-Landfill Action Network

Co-Executive Director

Sophia Huda

Sophia Huda

Sophia has several years experience working in waste management and the environmental sector, with a particular focus and passion for recycling and plastic waste and environmental justice. She began her career in Brussels at a trade association representing the plastics industry, where she worked on issues such as chemicals regulation, plastics recycling, and food packaging safety. She has also worked as a research analyst for the Closed Loop Fund, in the Middle East and Mexico on water management issues, and on public health issues for Sub-Saharan African countries.

An Adjunct Professor at The New School in New York City, she lectures an undergraduate class on Sustainable Systems at Parsons School of Design and a graduate class on Sustainable Perspectives and Practices for the M.S. Environmental Policy and Sustainability at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy.

Sophia sits on the Leadership Team of the Ohio Recycling Coalition, is also a member of the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School in the Bronx.

Originally from Toronto, Canada she has lived and worked in France, Belgium, the West Bank, and the United States. Sophia has a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and graduated cum laude from the University of Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) with a M.Sc. in Public Policy in 2010 and from Columbia University with an M.S. in Sustainability Management in 2016. She is fluent in French and can speak Bengali and Arabic.

Ohio Recycling Coalition

Vice President

# # #

Share This