Curated Session: Resource Management and Waste Diversion

Food Waste: One of the World’s Dumbest Problems (2.5 CEUs)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
8:00 – 9:30
Room 310

Moderator: Susan Blachman, Northern California Recycling Association

Learn about solutions to reduce food waste, expand food donation and feed hungry people.

At this presentation, participants will savor tidbits about:

  • What’s happening in North America and the EU to manage food waste
  • How much edible food is being tossed
  • Challenges and opportunities of recovery and prevention
  • Model food recovery programs

Using these resources and links the presenters will share on the SWANA website, participants will be better able to reduce wasted food and support food recovery efforts in their communities.


Ruth Abbe, Principal, Abbe Associates, California

Ruth Abbe

Ruth Abbe is a Zero Waste practitioner with more than 25 years of experience in recycling and composting program and facility development and outreach and technical assistance. As the principal of Abbe & Associates LLC, she is working with municipalities across the United States to develop the social and physical infrastructure to achieve zero waste. She assisted in the development of the U.S. EPA’s new online planning tool Managing and Transforming Waste Streams, identifying more than 100 policies and programs to reduce the amount of waste disposed in landfills and promote waste prevention and materials reuse across waste generation sectors. She has expertise in organics and commercial technical assistance, facility and collection procurement, contract negotiation, program planning, financial analysis and stakeholder engagement. Ruth was a co-author of the Food Rescue Capacity Study for Santa Clara County, California, and is supporting the Northern California Recycling Association in developing a Food Waste Prevention gap study for Alameda County, California.

Lana Suarez, Associate Chief, Materials Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

Lana Suarez

Lana Suarez is the associate chief of the Materials Management Branch and lead for sustainable management of food efforts, under the Sustainable Materials Management Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ms. Suarez joined the agency in 2004. Previous to her present position, she supported “federal agencies meet sustainability” goals, coordinated federal partnerships for urban waters, assisted a program office director and reviewed pesticide labels. She served as an environmental education volunteer from 2000–2003 with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. She attended the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, and has a Bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and behavior.

Tamara Shulman, Team Lead, Solid Waste Planning, Tetra Tech, Canada

Tamara Shulman

Tamara Shulman is team lead for Tetra Tech’s solid waste planning team. She has 20 years of experience in waste reduction and diversion program planning, implementation and assessment, with expertise in organics management. Building from her decade of experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, Tamara returned to Metro Vancouver in 2008, where she has supported the development of organics management and waste reduction programs for public and private sector clients in western Canada and California. She recently has managed several food waste-related research projects, including for the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. These projects have addressed food waste at municipal, regional and provincial levels to quantify food waste loss, estimate organics generation at the processing level, and identify barriers and opportunities for waste reduction across food supply chain sectors.

Marie Mourad, Food Waste Researcher and Consultant, Sciences Po Paris - Center for the Sociology of Organizations, France

Marie Mourad

Marie Mourad is a researcher in sociology at Sciences Po, the Center for the Sociology of Organizations, Paris, working on a Ph.D. dissertation examining the food waste movements in the United States and France, based on ongoing research begun in 2013. Her work focuses on public policies, non-profit and private initiatives to reduce food waste in the two countries. In addition to her Ph.D., she has conducted research on food waste for the French Ministry of Agriculture, the French National Environmental Agency (ADEME) as well as for the Natural Resources Defense Council and Food Shift. She also has worked as a consultant for ADEME conducting a study on Zero Waste lifestyles among French households. She has a Master’s degree in business and management from HEC, Paris, and her work has been published in the Journal of Cleaner Production (English) and Gouvernement et Action Publique (French).