Waste Prevention Leaders

Contact Information
Solid Waste Division
Renton, WA 98057
Claudia and Edwin GillispieLindbergh High School Environmental Club President Sharon ChenLindbergh High School Environmental Club Secretary David XuLindbergh High School Environmental Club members David Xu and Sharon Chen

Waste Prevention Leaders are Renton community members who excel at preventing waste. Every few months, the Solid Waste Utility recognizes people who support their community through waste prevention, possibly by reusing materials creatively, advocating for a zero waste lifestyle, or composting with gusto. Learn more about our Waste Prevention Leaders by reading their profiles below.

Know someone who loves to reduce, reuse, repair, or recycle?  Nominate them as a Waste Prevention Leader!

Claudia and Edwin Gillispie - September 2018

Claudia and Edwin GillispieClaudia and Edwin Gillispie really know how to prevent waste. From saving leftover communion crackers for backyard birds to building tables from salvaged wood, this Renton Highlands couple makes waste prevention a daily, creative experience. As children of the Depression, they learned not to waste when they were young. In their retirement, they have continued to support community waste prevention by volunteering at Renton’s recycling collection events. For over ten years, they helped staff the plastics station, where they once encountered a resident with two plastic chairs that could not be accepted at the event. Instead of telling the owner to take them for disposal elsewhere, Claudia and Edwin asked to take the chairs home. 

Plastic lawn chairs

The two white chairs are now a fixture of their backyard, where they face a homemade fountain made out of repurposed and salvaged materials.

Here are more ways Claudia and Edwin prevent waste:

  • Use their wood chipper to turn downed branches into mulch
  • Leave grass clippings on the lawn
  • Compost their produce scraps in a backyard composter

We are honored to name Claudia and Edwin Renton’s first Waste Prevention Leaders, in recognition of their wholehearted efforts at preventing waste in our community.

Lindbergh High School Environmental Club - January 2019

Students have been lining up to visit Lindbergh High’s newest feature: a water bottle refill station. It was installed November 2018 after months of work by the school’s Environmental Club. Despite fundraising difficulties and installation delays, the refill station is now delivering water and changing behavior. Students are buying fewer bottled drinks from school vending machines and even talking about the refill station in conversation. Club treasurer Ithalia Muñoz described how “people talk about it…like ‘Let’s go get water here,’… which is cool ‘cause I’ve seen a line up to get water.”Environmental Club members David Xu and Sharon Chen

Not all club members were always concerned with the environment. Ithalia’s interest in conservation blossomed during a two-week trip in the Cascades with the YMCA Earth Service Corps last summer: “That’s when it really hit me, like I gotta start doing stuff because if I don’t who is, so that really inspired me.” Thalia used to take long showers and let the water run when doing the dishes, but now she teaches her little brother, who is on Tiffany Park Elementary’s Green Team, what to do.

Club vice-president Sam Hipol didn’t know much about waste prevention or energy conservation until club president Sharon Chen prompted him to join the club. After completing a community service project weeding invasive plants, his interest grew: “We were weeding and I thought ‘This is pretty fun,’ and the next day I see that the courtyard looks nicer, and I thought, ‘This is a club that I want to be a part of.’ Now I’m learning more about the projects that we can accomplish and integrate, like…energy conservation, and [we] could implement timed electronics and sensors to save energy.”Environmental Club president Sharon Chen uses water bottle refill station

For her part, club president Sharon Chen enjoys being a source of conservation knowledge for friends and family: “I think it’s interesting that some people, people at school and people at home, they start asking me whether something goes in the recycling bin or the garbage bin, and when they ask me and I actually know [I think] ‘Wow, I actually know stuff.’”

Up next for LHS’ Environmental Club is a move to the next level of King County’s Green Schools Program. To do so, club members will work on energy conservation projects and start food waste recycling at the school. Members also want to raise money to purchase two more bottle refill stations so that there is one on each school floor. In recognition of their work to prevent waste in our community, we are delighted to name Environmental Club members Sharon Chen, David Xu, Sam Hipol, and Ithalia Muñoz as Waste Prevention Leaders.

Environmental Club member David Xu

Barbara Segal - May 2019

Barbara Segal wants to make waste prevention normal. To do so, she has started a Facebook campaign where community members can showcase what they are doing to prevent waste and offer tips to others. So far, the page has 102 members, and anyone can join at facebook.com/groups/everydayconservationists.

This social media campaign is just part ofPicture of Barbara Segal Barbara’s work with community engagement around waste prevention. She also volunteered at the Renton Farmer’s Market, where she sewed T-shirts into reusable shopping bags for market goers, and reached out to local businesses to distribute surveys and posters about shopping bags. Barbara also did other online work to prevent waste, such as using her own Facebook page to generate conversations about waste prevention and creating an animated video about plastic bag use.

But Barbara also struggles with reducing waste, especially the packaging from her favorite snack—granola bars. The wrapping around them generates garbage, as do the bags that hold some of the salty snacks she likes. While Barbara is interested in making her own kale chips to alleviate some of this waste, she recognizes the difficulty of preventing food packaging waste.

We would like to thank Barbara, our newest Waste Prevention Leader, for her work at preventing waste in Renton—hip hip hurray!

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