Samantha Sommer brings close to 15 years of zero waste industry experience. As the Director of Business Innovation for the national non-profit UPSTREAM, Samantha is accelerating the transition to a reusable economy in the food services sector. She is deploying reuse systems targeting the take-out and delivery markets that are viable and safe during COVID-era guidelines and conditions. Before joining UPSTREAM, Samantha directed the award-winning ReThink Disposable campaign for Clean Water Action and oversaw the certification of hundreds of food service operations transitioning from single-use to reusable foodware. Participating food operators eliminate over 21 million single-use foodware items annually, while saving money and reducing over 131 tons of waste from being littered or requiring downstream waste management.
Samantha also consults local governments on the development, implementation, and evaluation of their zero waste plans and programs. She is a Certified Professional in Sustainable Resource Management and holds degrees in Environmental Studies and Community Development from UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis.