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xSymposium 2019 Presenters


CAPTAIN CHARLES MOORE – Founder, Algalita Marine Research Foundation Charles attended the University of California at San Diego where he majored in Chemistry and Spanish. He founded Algalita Marine Research Foundation and Long Beach Organic simultaneously in 1994.

On his Oceanographic Research Vessel Alguita, Charles found his true calling after a 1997 yacht race to Hawaii. On the return voyage, Captain Moore veered from the usual sea route and saw an ocean he had never known, where “there were shampoo caps and soap bottles and plastic bags and fishing floats as far as I could see.”

His 1999 study shocked the scientific world when it found six times more plastic fragments by weight in the surface waters of the central Pacific than the associated zooplankton. 

His work has been featured on Good Morning America, Late Night with David Letterman, Nightline, the Colbert Report, Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons documentary “Trashed,” and the National Geographic special “Strange Days on Planet Earth.” In 2013 he received and honorary Doctorate from Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia and in 2014 he received the Peter Benchley “Hero of the Seas” award designed by Wyland at the California Academy of Sciences Museum of Natural History in San Francisco.

Michael Wonsidler

Michael Wonsidler – is the Program Manager for the County of San Diego’s Solid Waste Planning & Recycling Section and responsible for achieving the Board of Supervisors 80% waste diversion goal by 2025 in the unincorporated areas of the County.

Through technical assistance and trainings, the program engages businesses, schools, residents and other partners to enhance waste prevention programs and improve resource efficiency. To help expand the regional processing infrastructure, he administers the North San Diego Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) program, which has awarded over $5M in low-interest loans for facilities processing plastics, tires, asphalt shingles, and compostable materials.
Michael has served as a member to SANDAG’s Integrated Waste Management Local Task Force Technical Advisory Committee, an advisor to the Citizens Advisory Committee, a member of the County of San Diego’s Live Well San Diego Food System Initiative, a Secretary of the San Diego Chapter of the California Resource Recovery Association, a chair of the San Diego Reuse and Repair Network and a member of the Zero Waste International Alliance.

Michael received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami, FL, completed graduate study in Community Economic Development at San Diego State University and received a Recycling and Resource Management Certification through the California Resource Recovery Association.

Katie Allen

Katie Allen
Executive Director – Algalita

Ryan McMullen

Ryan McMullen – Attended Rice University for undergrad and the Bren School at UCSB for Masters of Environmental Science & Mgmt. Started career in the university sustainability world at Rice Facilities & Engineering and then spent 13 years at Toyota doing corporate sustainability strategy. Now doing independent consulting around issues of sustainability strategy, zero waste, and lean thinking.

Ruth Abbe

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.

Surfriders – The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Our staff of over 50 people help support our chapter network in their campaigns, champion for policy and fight legal battles for our coasts, bring awareness to the issues facing our ocean, provide critical support for areas like accounting, technology, and HR, and raise money to make all of this happen. We have an appetite for adventure and we all share a common passion – we love and appreciate our ocean, waves and beaches.

CRRA – The California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA, founded 1974) is California’s statewide recycling association. It is the oldest and one of the largest non-profit recycling organizations in the United States. A 501(C)3 organization, CRRA is dedicated to achieving environmental sustainability in and beyond California through Zero Waste strategies including product stewardship, waste prevention, reuse, recycling and composting. CRRA’s members represent all aspects of California’s reduce-reuse-recycle-compost economy. Our members work for cities, counties, municipal districts, and businesses as well as hauling companies, material processors, non-profit organizations, state agencies, and allied professionals. Chelsey – City of San Diego

Chelsea Klaseus – Supervising Recycling Specialist at the City of San Diego