Inspiring Communities to Embrace and Achieve Zero Waste

Board of Directors

Ruth Abbe, President                                                                     
Rick Anthony, Vice President – Advocacy, Past President, ZWIA Liaison
Gary Liss, Vice President – Program

Monica Wilson, Secretary/Treasurer


Portia Sinnott, Program Director and Administrator
Laura Anthony, Save The Albatross Coalition Program Manager
Chris Sparnicht, COOL Program Manager and Web Consultant

Ruth Abbe

Ruth Abbe, Abbe & Associates LLC and SWANA Northern California Gold Rush Chapter, Alameda, CA
Ruth Abbe is a Zero Waste practitioner with more than 25 years of experience in recycling and composting program and facility development. As the principal of Abbe & Associates LLC, she works with municipalities across the U.S. to develop the social and physical infrastructure to achieve Zero Waste. She serves on the Board of Directors of the GrassRoots Recycling Network (Zero Waste USA), the Zero Waste International Alliance and the Gold Rush Chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America. In her home city of Alameda, California she is a grassroots leader with Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda (CASA). CASA has developed an award-winning recycling and composting program for the Alameda schools (the Alameda Green Schools Challenge) and supports the “Miss Alameda Says, ‘Compost!'” program to help implement mandatory recycling and composting requirements at restaurants and multifamily buildings.

Gary Liss

Gary Liss, Gary Liss & Associates, Loomis, CA
A leading Zero Waste advocate, Mr. Liss has helped more communities develop Zero Waste plans than anyone else in the U.S., he is president of Gary Liss & Associates and a long-term Boardmember of the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA). He worked with Underwriters Laboratories to develop a Zero Waste Standard for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Co-founder, past president and long term Board Member of the National Recycling Coalition, he currently serves as Lifetime Honorary Board Member and co-chair of the 2020 National Zero Waste Conference.  He is also Program Chair of the Grassroots Recycling Network  aka Zero Waste USA. A Certified Zero Emissions Research & Initiatives (ZERI) System Designer, in 2005 Mr. Liss went through extensive training with Gunter Pauli. He served on the Town Council in his hometown of Loomis, CA and was Mayor in 2010. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from Rutgers University and Bachelor in Civil Engineering from Tufts University

Monica Wilson GAIA 2010

Monica Wilson, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Berkeley, CA
Monica Wilson is Associate Director of GAIA’s U.S. office. She has worked with GAIA since 2002. In 2012 she was honored to be named by the California Resource Recovery Association as “Recycler of the Year” together with GAIA’s US & Canada Program.

Richard Anthony cropped

Richard Anthony, Richard Anthony Associates, CRRA, Zero Waste San Diego, USZWBC  and Zero Waste International Alliance, San Diego, CA
Richard V. Anthony began his career in Public Administration in 1971 as a manager of the California State University Long Beach Recycling Center. He received a MS in Public Administration in 1974. Mr. Anthony has worked his entire career in environmental program management positions. As a Manager he wrote and then implemented Solid Waste plans for Fresno (1979-87) and San Diego (1987-1998) Counties. He has participated in developing Zero Waste plans as a consultant since 1998. Richard Anthony is a founder and member of the Board of Directors of the California Resource Recovery Association, the Grassroots Recycling Network, the Zero Waste International Alliance, U.S. Zero Waste Business Council and Zero Waste San Diego.

Portia Sinnott, MS+, Northern California Recycling Association, and  Zero Waste Action – Sonoma County, Sebastopol, CA
A Zero Waste and data management consultant, Portia co-leads national and international expert teams working with the EPA, UN-Habitat and a wide variety of jurisdictions and businesses. Favorite projects include the USEPA Zero Waste Community Assessment Framework and other components of the EPA’s The Managing and Transforming Waste Streams. She serves as Program Director for Zero Waste USA and GrassRoots Recycling Network, Vice President and Editor of the Northern California Recycling Association and Co-Founder and Executive Director of LITE Initiatives – the Sonoma County sustainable practices group that operates Zero Waste Action – and Community Bikes. On behalf of all these groups, Portia is the convener of the Zero Waste Brain Trust, which collects data on Zero Waste initiatives and organizes small group brainstorms, large stakeholder meetings and projects focused on the transition to a world without waste.

Laura Anthony, Save The Albatross Coalition Program Manager

Chris Sparnicht, COOL Program Manager and Web ConsultantLaughter On Water  Athens, GA
Chris has been helping environmental and citizen-science nonprofits throughout the US and Canada for a couple decades with graphical, IT and website challenges. He has been helping manage GreenYes Google Group for about the same amount of time. He has degrees in biology, horticulture and landscape architecture. He has an interest in music and video production and enjoys taking photos of flowers are the local botanical garden.


Ruth Abbe, Rick Anthony, Gary Liss and Portia Sinnott (bios above)

Co- Instructors

Amanda Waddle, Zero Waste Gainesville, FL *
Christienne de Tournay Birkhahn, Berkeley Zero Waste Commission, CA *
Jeremy Drake, Strategy Zero Waste Solutions, Missoula, MT
Jamie Kaminski, Zero Waste Canada, BC

Amanda Waddle
Jeremy Drake
Christienne de Tournay Birkhahn
Jamie Kaminski