Tamara Shulman

Tamara Shulman

Tamara Shulman

Speaker | Tetra Tech

Vancouver, BC, Canada | 604.685.0275 | tamara.shulman@tetratech.com

Tamara Shulman is a solid waste planning Team Lead for Tetra Tech with over 20 years experience in zero waste planning. A decade ago, Ms. Shulman returned to Metro Vancouver from the San Francisco Bay where she continues to lead organics management initiatives in western Canada and California. She has presented in conferences across North America including with the Solid Waste Association of North America, WasteCon, Biocycle, the Canada Compost Council, the Recycling Council of BC, and the US Composting Council.

Presentation One: “Cultivating the New Normal to Capture Organics and Reduce Trash Tonnage: Commercial and Municipal Case Studies Demonstrating Success”

co-authors: Emily McGill

Session: “Campus Composting, Part 1: Rural, Urban and Beyond”

Time: Tuesday, January 29, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Summary: As diverting organics continues to mainstream, the regulatory and behaviour change tools needed to get organics systems in place and increase capture while minimizing contamination are distilling. This presentation will delve into specific commercial and residential organics management programs across Canada and beyond that are yielding measurable results.

Learn how prominent organizations in the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) sector are changing their waste management practices and benefiting from their new programs. Case studies will highlight key drivers and strategies for system and behaviour change. They will speak to how Vancouver’s International Airport andPort, a global hotel chain, and a large food manufacturer are taking steps to produce less waste and implement new programs to manage what’s left behind in a sustainable manner. Learn about the drivers that spurred these changes, the processes that were undertaken, the system assessments that were conducted, the processes that were updated and the new operating plans and schedules that were developed.

Municipalities across North America, including more than 50 municipalities across Canada have introduced green bin programs in recent years. In the presentation, we will review the many collection variables involved in program design and implementation: how materials are collected (food scraps and/or yard waste); pay-as-you-throw incentives and set out limits; frequency of collection across material streams; use of sensor technologies; measurement and enforcement; and behaviour change programs. We will also review a growing trend of every other week trash collection and how it consistently results in a 30 to 40% drop in trash tonnage and increased recycling rates within months of making the switch.

The presentation will conclude providing easily accessible, user-friendly tools for business technical assistance and summarizing key take aways for overcoming barriers and creating successful organics management programs.


Presentation Two: “Measure it to Manage It: Leveraging Waste Composition Studies and Related Analysis to Optimize Organics Management Programs”

co-authors: Emily McGill

Session: “Planning for Organics Recycling in Urban and Regional Settings”

Time: Wednesday, January 30, 8:45 AM – 10:15 AM

Summary: This presentation will delve into how waste composition study outcomes can go beyond providing a pie graph or two and provide substantive program assessment and analysis to optimize organics prevention and diversion efforts across sectors. Waste composition studies allow for comparison against historical data as well as other jurisdiction or business type. In conjunction with tonnage weights, they can be used to determine bylaw compliance, evaluate diversion potential, estimate disposal tonnages to inform processing needs over time, prevent food waste, and measure program results over time.

Tetra Tech is at the forefront of adapting food waste sorting methodology for a North American context and works with public and private sector entities to sort up to 11 food waste categories. These outcomes differentiate between avoidable and unavoidable food waste, basic food types, and can be further divided in a commercial context to show what food is wasted due to overproduction, spoilage, and other key variables.

Examples of specific uses of waste composition studies will be provided along with how the results influenced change related to increased organics capture and reduced contamination. As informed by the World Resource Institute’s Food Loss and Waste Accounting and Reporting Standard, other measurement tools to measure program success will also be highlighted including the use of visual audits, food waste diaries and tracking systems, and using proxy data to extrapolate and estimate food waste. Specific tools and key take aways will be made available at the conclusion of the presentation.