Tell us about your background and how you got into this field.
Stacy Savage was born and raised in the Beaumont/Port Arthur area of Southeast Texas where her parents worked at oil refineries for 75 years, collectively. Her experience with air pollution and cancers in her family prompted her concern for the environment and her activities to protect the planet.
She has been a recycling advocate in Texas for over 15 years starting in 2003 as a grassroots, door-to-door organizer. She played a key role in passing 2 pieces of statewide legislation for free computer and TV takeback recycling and helped the City of Austin pass its business recycling ordinance, single-use bag policy, construction & demolition debris diversion standards, and curbside organics diversion for single-family homes.
In 2015, she co-founded Texas-based startup, Garbitrage Technologies™. Using sensors, AI, and blockchain, Garbitrage Technologies enhances the tracking of valuable discards, transparency around the disposition of those discards, and trust between customers and their haulers. As the “lowest hanging fruit” of any operational efficiency, this system will help make Zero Waste both politically and economically feasible.
Stacy lives in Austin with her husband and 2 fur babies, Hank & Willie.
In the next five years, what are the most important things to keep and eye on in your field? Why?
China has almost completely shut down any imports of recyclable and scrap materials from developed nations due to the high levels of contamination. Most shipments are being sent back to home ports for burning and burying because we have not addressed our own waste issues in the US and do not have the reuse, recycling, and composting infrastructure built out to tackle these material discards.
We have not invested in teaching each generation how to recycle properly and we have highly inconsistent messaging around waste diversion as standards differ from city to city and state to state.
A key piece of federal legislation has been filed by Rep. Keith Ellison that would prioritize zero waste as an economic driver for job creation, infrastructure projects, and mitigating climate impacts.
Who (person or company) do you feel is doing exciting stuff in your field? Why?
Ellen MacArthur Foundation is leading the global charge toward a Circular Economy.
The African Circular Economy Network is bringing leaders together across that continent to drive deep discussions, policy, and citizen actions around establishing a Circular Economy.
The 5 Gyres Institute is monitoring the floating plastic whirlpools in each of our oceans. Some are the size of Texas!!
How do you hope Tulip Conference will be better than your typical event/conference? Why?
Action items attendees can take home to put into practice
Fun events that highlight big problems and their solutions
Speakers not afraid to call out corporate culture and lax government regulations
Where demanding change is encouraged