Zero Waste Alliance


About the Zero Waste Alliance



  • The mission of the Zero Waste Alliance is to support organizations in the creation of a more sustainable future.
  • Our objective is to provide improved profitability, competitiveness and environmental performance through the development and implementation of practices that lead to the reduction and elimination of waste and toxics.

The Zero Waste Alliance (ZWA) has been formed to promote the use of Zero Waste strategies.  Together with our Resource Network, we support the needs of businesses and organizations in the areas of Zero Waste strategy, education, and technical services.  ZWA uses the tools of industrial ecology, especially Life-Cycle Assessments, Design for the Environment, Green Chemistry, Full Cost Accounting, Product Stewardship, Waste Exchanges and Environmental Management Systems to assist businesses/organizations in their efforts to move from the greatly inefficient, costly, and environmentally destructive “take-make-waste” practices to becoming more efficient, competitive, profitable, and environmentally responsible using cyclical “Zero Waste” strategies.

The Zero Waste Alliance is a bridge between a business/organization’s needs and the capabilities available through universities, national labs, state, federal and local government resources and private consulting firms.  ZWA promotes and supports the concept of Zero Waste through education and supporting services.  Its approach is to prevent waste through the redesign of processes and products so they do not waste material, energy, or human resources by efficiently creating more profitable, competitive, and environmentally responsible products that have future applications at their life’s end.  

Zero Waste Alliance Organization

The Zero Waste Alliance is a program of the International Sustainable Development Foundation. It is made up of business, university, government and individual members dedicated to helping organizations obtain the competitive and environmental advantages available from Zero Waste strategies.  Figure 1 shows the relationships of the members.

Figure 1.  Zero Waste Alliance Resources Network

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Services of the Zero Waste Alliance

The Zero Waste Alliance, with the assistance of its members, provides a wide variety of services to organizations wishing to improve their efficiency and profitability through Zero Waste Strategies. 

Management support includes strategy development, planning and assistance and guidance in implementing Zero Waste programs. 

Training and education is provided on the background, tools, methods and concepts of Zero Waste and industrial ecology.

Technical services include hands-on assistance to identify better materials, processes or methods or the resources that can provide the

Training & Education

We provide training and education through workshops, conferences and custom training to organizations on the tools of Industrial Ecology with an emphasis on:

  • Science-based General Awareness
  • Life-cycle Assessments
  • Full Cost Accounting
  • Green Chemistry
  • Design for the Environment
  • Management Systems

Management Support

  • Preliminary assessment
  • Planning and implementing cost saving programs
  • Implementation of Environmental Management systems with integrating elements of sustainability
  • Implementation of Chemical Management Systems

Technical Services

  • Identification of more benign replacement of hazardous materials
  • Identification of energy and water saving strategies in commercial and industrial facility operations
  • Research on key topics of interest
  • Development of custom training programs
  • Resource clearing house, drawing upon universities, national labs and consulting firms to find solutions to challenging technical problems

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ZWA Core Capabilities

The core capabilities of the ZWA include management and strategy development, green chemistry, and energy efficiency. In addition, the alliance is able to assist in the solution of problems for organizations through its extensive resource network of universities, government labs, businesses and individuals.

ZWA Core Capabilities

Strategy & Management Chemistry Energy Resource Clearinghouse
  • Education
  • Business Strategy
  • Marketing Organization Change
  • Env. Mgmt. Systems
  • Life Cycle Analysis
  • Design for the Env.
  • Green Chemistry
  • Green Engineering
  • Environmental Eng.
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Green Building
  • Renewable Energy
  • Linking business problems with solutions

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Resources of the Zero Waste Alliance

The ZWA draws on both its internal capabilities and those of its Alliance members to bring resources to bear in the areas of core capability.

ZWA Resources

Strategy & Management Chemistry Energy Resource Clearinghouse
  • UO Business College
  • PSU Business School
  • Staff/Experienced Professionals
  • UO Green Chemistry Lab
  • PSU Environmental Sciences
  • OSU Chemical Engineering
  • Internal Resource
  • OSU Engineering
  • OSU Energy Assessments
  • Argonne National labs
  • Internal Resource
  • University Research
  • Federal Programs
  • National Labs
  • Consultants
  • Industry Associations
  • EPA Green Chemistry Program

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Benefits of the Zero Waste Alliance

The ZWA provides services and resources that benefit businesses, schools, communities, and the environment, resulting in a healthy environment, healthy communities, and economically healthy organizations.  Some specific benefits are:

  • A base of companies reaping the benefits of the Zero Waste strategy¾improved competitiveness, environmental performance, stability and morale.
  • The identification of opportunities for improvement such as new environmentally friendly products and more benign processes.
  • Identification of promising new technologies through researching solutions for the businesses being assisted.
  • Valuable case studies of strategy benefits based on the Zero Waste concept.
  • The development of models to assist other businesses and organizations in taking action to advance sustainable practices.
  • Benefits to faculty and students in universities from a ready source of relevant, real life business problems upon which to apply the principles and practices of industrial ecology. Students obtain the invaluable experience of working on relevant, real life technical and interdisciplinary problems while still in the university environment before entering the business world. Universities benefit from inter-organizational and interdisciplinary cooperation
  • Benefits to our future generations from a healthier environment.

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ZWA Staff

The ZWA Staff is comprised of a group of individuals with a diverse cross section of credentials who are responsible for management and delivery of the ZWA services. The ZWA Network is comprised of an extensive group of Zero Waste Alliance contacts that provide a broad scope of key resources. 

Dorothy Atwood, Management Systems Manager
Dorothy Atwood is a Zero Waste Alliance Environmental Management System Associate who has taken clients as diverse as forest products companies, steel foundries, fiber optics facilities, food processors, U.S. Defense Air and multinational consumer products companies from gap analysis to ISO 14000 conformant Environmental Management Systems.

Dorothy conducts Environmental Management Systems training for a wide range of industries, including wood products, metals manufacturing, transportation, electronics, and food products. Training covers all elements of the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard and includes hands-on implementation exercises and case studies.

Dorothy received both her bachelor's degree in geology and MS in Applied Hydrogeology from Stanford University.  

Pamela Brody-Heine, Product Stewardship Manager
Pamela Brody-Heine has over 20 years of experience in the environmental field. Pamela serves a broad range of clients including industry, government and non-profit organizations on topics such as product stewardship, chemical assessments and toxics reduction, waste reduction, pollution prevention, environmentally preferable purchasing and sustainability. Pamela is also an experienced facilitator specializing in multi-stakeholder dialogues.

Pamela has particular expertise in the in the electronics industry sector tracking state, federal and international existing laws, pending legislation and trends impacting electronics waste; assessing human health and environmental impacts from substances and materials; and evaluating electronics recycling infrastructure.
Pamela is an EPEAT Qualified Verifier for the Green Electronics Council (GEC) and often works on projects in collaboration with GEC.

Pamela received her Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado and is a Registered Professional Engineer (Civil and Environmental).

Darcy Hitchcock, Senior Associate
Darcy Hitchcock is a senior associate of the Zero Waste Alliance with over 25 years experience in organizational development and training. She specializes in the implementation of sustainable business practices. She co-designed and facilitates the Implementing Sustainability Professional Certificate Program at Portland State University.

Darcy has published several popular business books and is currently working on a book entitled The Business Guide to Sustainability: Management and Implementation for Businesses and Organizations, which will be published in 2006 by Earthscan. She has also published 15 how-to booklets called the Sustainability Series™. She acts as an advisor to the Oregon Sustainability Board and formerly was the president of the local chapter of Business for Social Responsibility.


Dave Kimball, Green Chemistry Research Associate
David Kimball is a Zero Waste Alliance Green Chemistry Research Associate.  He assists with the Chemical Assessment and Ranking System (CARS) program.  He researches the impacts of chemical products in the environment and assists with other chemistry related projects.  Dave has worked as a Laboratory Chemist and also as a Quality Control Chemist in manufacturing operations. 

Dave received his (edu) Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and has been pursuing his Master’s in Environmental Science and Engineering at the Oregon Graduate Institute  

Carson Maxted, Associate
Carson has experience in environmental risk assessment, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting, product stewardship, and electronics waste recycling. He is the Collection Coordinator for Oregon E-Cycles’ State Contractor Program (SCP), and ZWA’s representative for the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC).

He was also responsible for developing content for the technical portion of Smithfield Foods’ last three CSR Reports, generating copy, data management and graphics. He consulted for Washington’s Material Management and Financing Authority and with Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality to develop their respective statewide electronic waste management programs. While with Exponent, Inc., his work focused on the quantification of the environmental impacts of business operations and/or catastrophic events, communicating the risks they pose, and encouraging effective environmental action.

Carson received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Pomona College, and a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University.

PK Melethil, Technical Services Manager
P.K. Melethil is a scientist with an extensive record as a project manager, as an applied physical and analytical chemist, and over 30 years of experience in a diverse range of organizations. He is interested in integrative approaches to problem-solving and in building interfaces at the intersections of technology, environment, community, and health.

Mr. Melethil's experiences over the last 25 years include the following - in the electronic products industry as a Manufacturing Quality Engineer & Senior Analytical Chemist with broad responsibilities for product quality and hazards control in Manufacturing-Engineering; at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - a Department of Energy National Laboratory - as Project Manager and Senior Research Scientist with responsibilities for materials characterization, technology evaluation and implmentation; at the DOE Hanford site in Washington, on a broad range of characterization and environmental monitoring (RCRA, CERCLA, EHS) activities.

PK is also interested in improving health from a systems level perspective and practices Chinese medicine in Wilsonville, Oregon. In addition to a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree, he holds Master of Science degrees in Physical Chemistry and in Environmental Science. He has lived in the Northwest for over 30 years and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities.

Jeff Omelchuck, Senior Associate
Jeff Omelchuck is a Zero Waste Alliance Senior Associate who has led numerous public and industrial clients through EMS implementation and ISO 14001 certification. Some of his clients include the City of Eugene  Public Works, Wastewater Division; Freightliner Corporation; Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality; Hynix Semiconductor America.

Jeff is a Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) certified ISO 14001 Lead Auditor and ISO 9001 Auditor and performs EMS and QMS audits on a contract basis for 2 leading registrars. He is also a Senior Instructor for RAB accredited ISO 14001 and 9001 Lead Auditor training with AQS Management Systems, an RAB accredited training provider.

Jeff received his MS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University and his BS in IE from Montana State University.

Neha Patel, Associate
Neha Patel has over 12 years of experience working in the environmental field with private industry, academia, government and non-profits. Neha currently serves as a Work Group Process Manager for ZWA’s Outdoor Industry Association Eco Index project.

Neha worked for 8 years as the Program Director for the Oregon Center for Environmental Health’s (OCEH) Health Care Without Harm Campaign with measured reductions in mercury, PVC use and waste, and increased integration of green building techniques, environmentally preferable purchasing and sustainable food procurement within the hospital sector.

Neha has a successful track record of program /policy development and implementation with an emphasis in principles and practices of toxic reduction in the healthcare sector, local governments and personal use.

Neha received her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Master’s degree in Environmental Health Management with a focus on community health promotion and education from Oregon State University.

Anne Peters, Senior Associate
Anne Peters has been active in waste diversion, recycling and environmental compliance for over 30 years. She provides end-of-life analyses, technical analyses, facilitation, research, standards conformance assessment, project management, and policy work (compliance assurance & analyses). She specializes in working with stakeholders ‘around the table’ on finding solutions related to managing the hard-to-recycle category – sophisticated, engineered products/materials including electronics, carpet, batteries, mattresses, tires, building materials (construction & demolition wastes), nanotechnology, etc.

She has worked with private, public, and non-profit sector clients, including manufacturers, non-profits, recyclers, and federal, state and local government. Anne’s background is in waste and recycling planning and implementation, with a special focus on design-for-environment issues and an interest in the impact emerging materials will have on the recycling-reuse infrastructure, as well as public health and the environment. She served as adjunct professor in the University of Denver’s Environmental Management & Policy Master’s program for 9 years. Anne is an experienced facilitator specializing in multi-stakeholder decision processes.

She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from University of Santa Monica.

Wayne Rifer, Product Stewardship Manager
Wayne Rifer is a Zero Waste Alliance Product Stewardship Associate who has extensive experience working with public agency waste reduction and product stewardship.
Mr. Rifer has been an environmental professional for 25 years, working in government, industry and consulting. His work has addressed integrated solid waste management planning, environmental management systems, product stewardship and industrial ecology.  He was instrumental in the development of the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality Green Permits program and provides consultation to public agencies from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii. Wayne works on an ad hoc basis, chiefly with public agencies such as the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Green Permit Program to find innovative intersections between regulation and sustainability.

Wayne provides key subject matter expertise on product stewardship and waste management issues. He previously facilitated public agency and private participation through the Western Electronic Product Stewardship Initiative (WEPSI), a subset of the National Electronic Product Stewardship Initiative, of which he is a member. He is the Project Manager for the Zero Waste Alliance’s Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) project, a multi-stakeholder dialogue to design a product stewardship program for electronics equipment.  He is also a member of the NEPSI (National Electronic Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) national negotiating team organized by EPA that is working with the electronics industry and other interests to develop a product stewardship agreement.

As a Senior Fellow at Portland State University, Mr. Rifer developed an education and research program in Industrial Ecology as a joint offering of Environmental Sciences and the School of Business Administration.  He received an AT&T Industrial Ecology Fellowship to develop one course on the Principles of Industrial Ecology and a second course on Metrics and Measures for Sustainable Business.  These courses are being integrated into a new sustainability tract at Portland State.  

Lori Porter Stole, Sustainable Schools Manager
Lori has been involved with sustainability and related issues since 1995. Currently she manages the Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative (SOSI), and in 2005 was instrumental in defining it as a comprehensive statewide program. Her school sustainability journey began with Oregon's third largest district, Beaverton, where she's a parent. With a sustainability taskforce she designed a district sustainability program, with which she continues to be involved. Prior to her involvement with schools, she worked for several years with product stewardship solutions to the electronic waste problem, serving as staff to the Western Electronic Product Stewardship Initiative (WEPSI).

Lori has a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Washington and worked for over a decade in the semiconductor and plastics industries, in the US and in Germany. She's also a freelance musician and plays violin in several orchestras in Oregon. After working, climbing, kayaking and biking in various places around the world she came to Oregon in 1986. Her twins enter high school next year.

Marsha Willard, Senior Associate
Marsha is a Zero Waste Alliance senior associate specializing in multi-stakeholder facilitation. She helped the Unified Green Cleaning Alliance project members come to consensus around standards for sustainable cleaning products and is currently working with the Packaging Coalition. She co-designed and facilitates the Implementing Sustainability Professional Certificate Program at Portland State University and has authored several of the entries in the 15-set Sustainability Series™. She is also co-author of the chapter "Engaging Stakeholders" in the book Sustainability Science and Engineering: Defining Principles. Her facilitation skills have earned the respect of her clients in resolving long-standing disputes. Marsha is also a coach and presenter for the Oregon Natural Step Network and co-manages the Sustainable Frontiers program for Sustainable Northwest, providing customized sustainability-related study tours for people from around the world. As senior examiner for the Oregon Performance Excellence Award, Marsha has also developed expertise in quality audits and performance measurement.

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ZWA Network Members

Universities include Oregon State University College of Engineering providing sustainable engineering research and assistance, the University of Oregon’s Chemistry Department supplying expertise in green chemistry and possible green chemistry internships, and Portland State University providing expertise in Environmental Science and business strategy.

Government resources include the U.S. Department of Energy, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, the Green Chemistry Institute, the Oregon Energy Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Business resources include large firms such as CH2M Hill, Century West Engineering, and many smaller organizations such as Rifer Environmental and Green Building Services, Inc.Non-profit organizations include EcoTrust, The Oregon Natural Step Network,  Sustainable Northwest, the Pollution Prevention Resource Center, Bridges to Sustainability and many more.

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