Waste Prevention Leaders

Claudia and Edwin GillispieLindbergh High School Environmental Club members David Xu and Sharon ChenPhoto of Barbara SegalPhoto of Chris and Jan Devey in their homePhoto of Ms. Gross' Class with Councilmembers


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!

Chris and Jan Devey - June 2019

Chris and Jan Devey are Stop & Swap heroes. At last year’s event—their first ever—Chris and Jan helped a family that had recently moved to Renton to furnish their empty apartments. Noticing that Chris had a truck, someone asked him if he could help transport the furniture his family had collected at the event. Photo of Chris and Jan Devey in their homeChris and Jan agreed, and they ended up moving three to four full truckloads. “I was overwhelmed,” said Chris. “The family didn’t have anything. The apartment was empty. They had zero.” Chris even considered going home to get his Dodge Ram to help carry even more. By the end of the day, Chris and Jan had essentially furnished the family’s two apartments, all with items donated at Stop & Swap.

We are humbled by Chris and Jan’s selflessness in supporting new members of our community, and we are honored to name Chris and Jan Renton’s newest Waste Prevention Leaders. 

Ms. Gross' Math Class - November 2019

On November 20, seven students representing Ms. Gross’s Math Class at McKnight Middle School shared with city council their projects on making a positive environmental impact.  Through research, data collection, and mathematical calculation, students explored topics such as composting, plastic waste, plant-based eating, reducing garbage, and conserving water using soil moisture meters. Projects culminated in a presentation to an expert panel.

When students asked how the City might support reducing environmental impact, councilmembers applauded students’ interest and invited them to speak at a future council meeting to jumpstart policy conversations. Councilmembers also expressed the importance of young people taking an active role in the policy-making process and the impact it could have not only in Renton but also in the State Legislature.

We thank Ms. Gross and her math students for their efforts in preventing waste and look forward to seeing them at a council meeting.

Photo of Ms. Gross' Class with Councilmembers

City of Renton | All Rights Reserved | Powered by CivicLive | © 2020 Intrado Corporation. | Disclaimer