The White Paper Pandemic Series - The Impact of COVID-19 on Plastic Waste Management in LA

Date: Thursday, April 29, 2021
Time: 4:00 pm 5:30 pm
Location: Zoom



The Impact of COVID-19 on Plastic Waste Management in LA


April 29, 2021

4:00-5:30 pm PST


Via Zoom

(link sent upon completion of registration)


Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly altered both plastic generation and plastic waste management systems. With increased demand for household products, takeout dining, and personal protective equipment, came increased generation of plastic, and particularly single-use plastic. Consequently, many of the existing environmental problems related to plastic generation, disposal, and management were exacerbated. Even before the pandemic, recycling systems and policies aimed at reducing plastic pollution were not enough to cull the ever increasing rate of plastic going into our environment and particularly our oceans. Though the pandemic intensified an already indisputable plastic waste crisis, it also proved our society is capable of monumental adaptation to benefit the health and wellbeing of our communities. Focusing on this potential bright side, our white paper explores innovative ways of reducing plastic waste in commercial buildings, the largest generation category of plastic waste in California. With many office workers telecommuting until a vaccine is fully distributed in mid-2021, building owners currently have a unique opportunity to update building technologies and policies to curtail commercial building plastic consumption long-term.

Join the Los Angeles Sustainability Executives Roundtable (LASER) and USGBC-LA for a panel discussion to dive deeper into the issue of plastic waste and commercial buildings in Los Angeles. The expert panel will be followed by breakout Q & A session.


About the Presenters


Frances Anderton

Frances Anderton covers Los Angeles design and architecture in print, radio, podcasts and public events. She is currently writing a book, “Common Ground: Multifamily Housing in Los Angeles,” for Angel City Press. She produced and co-hosted the radio series Wasted: Neat Solutions to the Dirty Problem of Waste. It recently aired on KCRW's Greater LA. For many years she hosted KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture radio show and before that Warren Olney’s current affairs shows Which Way, LA? And To The Point. Anderton also programs talks, exhibitions and events at Helms Bakery District. She previously curated the exhibition Sink Or Swim: Designing For a Sea Change, about resilient architecture, shown at the Annenberg Space for Photography. 



Bonny Bentzin
Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer

As Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer at UCLA, Bonny is a key member of the leadership team for sustainability at UCLA, helping manage sustainability across the university and working to foster partnerships among academic, research, and operational departments to create a world class living laboratory for sustainability. Prior to joining UCLA, Bonny was the Head of Sustainability and Project Integration for the Trust for Sustainable Development. She worked on Spirit Bay Developments, coordinating all sustainability aspects and planning key projects for a new town concept being developed in partnership with the Sc’ianew First Nation (Beecher Bay Band) near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. An experienced sustainability expert with a focus on developing and executing sustainability programs in the field of higher education and complex organizations, she has over 12 years of leadership, management, and consulting experience, both within largeā€scale organizations and as an outside consultant. Bonny began her career in higher education as the Assistant Director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives and the Director of University Sustainability Practices at Arizona State University. She was instrumental in designing the overarching vision and executing the campus sustainability strategy for the university. Her role as the founding Director of University Sustainability Practices included an expansive project portfolio spanning all area of operations for the university’s four campuses, as well as working on community engagement, organizational change management, and the academic and research missions for the institution. She then served as the Director of Sustainability for GreenerU, a greater Boston area consulting firm focusing on the higher-ed sector in New England.


Denise Braun

Principal and Founder - All About Waste

Denise Braun is a TRUE Advisor, GreenPoint Rater, LEED and WELL AP. She is also a Fitwel Ambassador and ENVISION SP. She brings over twenty years of experience in the sustainability field, working both in South America and the United States. She has worked in various capacities on over 170 LEED certification projects, many of which have achieved the highest level of certification - these projects include: 1st LEED project in Rio de Janeiro, the 1st LEED McDonalds in South America, 1st LEED world cup stadiums in South America, several commercial buildings, schools, fire stations, residential buildings, hospitals and other types of buildings. Denise is also working on over a dozen WELL certification projects. Denise has developed and analyzed technical waste management solutions for various enterprises: residential, commercial, stadiums, banks, offices, shopping centers, warehouses, hospitals and hotels. As the head of All About Waste, Denise has led her team in performing waste audits for over 37 million square feet of buildings in the US. Denise has presented at numerous lectures, workshops, and conferences, including MGBCE, ULI, GreenBuild International Expo & Conference, and other events. She has also been involved with numerous charitable causes related to the environment since 2001. Denise sits as a board member at the USGBC-LA and has been deeply involved with the USGBC National and with their TRUE zero waste certification. 

Denise and her team have been leading the zero waste certification for commercial buildings, including the 1st TRUE zero waste building in San Francisco. The 1st TRUE project in Los Angeles, and the 1st multi-tenant and residential building in the world to pursue the TRUE zero waste certification. Denise is also responsible for the 1st beta pilot construction site to pursue the TRUE zero waste certification. 


Alex Helou


Alex heads the Solid Resources Group that is responsible for managing solid waste for the entire City of Los Angeles, including collection, transport, and processing of source separated recyclables, green materials, and municipal solid waste from 750,000 residential customers. Alex leads a workforce of over 1,300 employees in five Divisions, with an annual operating budget of over $180 million. He is in charge of implementing many key solid waste management strategies to help the City of Los Angeles achieve Zero Waste by 2025, including the Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan and the Commercial Franchise System. The City has exceeded the 75% diversion rate and continues moving toward the zero waste goal. A 22-year veteran of the City of Los Angeles, Alex is a registered Chemical Engineer with a Master's degree in Environmental Engineering