California Appoints New Director Of CalRecycle

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Rachel Wagoner will lead California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

By Megan Smalley, WASTE TODAY

November 30, 2020

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has appointed Rachel Wagoner as the state’s new director of the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). 

According to a news release from CalRecycle, Wagoner has served as deputy legislative secretary in the Office of the Governor since 2019. Prior to that, she was chief consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality from 2009 to 2018, the research director at the University of Illinois’ Chicago School of Public Health from 2008 to 2009 and an advisor at the Department of Environment for the city of Chicago in 2008. She was also a consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality from 2007 to 2008, a consultant for the California State Committee on Health from 2004 to 2007, director of legislative affairs at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control from 2002 to 2004 and a consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Elections and Reapportionment from 2000 to 2002. 

CalRecycle’s director role has been empty since the start of the year. Scott Smithline, the previous director of CalRecycle, had resigned from that position at the end of 2019. His resignation was welcomed by Los Angeles-based Consumer Watchdog, which stated that his resignation was the “first step in overhauling the troubled agency in charge of the state’s failing bottle deposit system.” In 2019, rePlanet, the largest chain of centers in the state that offered redemptions for California Redemption Value (CRV) containers, closed, removing nearly 300 redemption centers. 

Nine other states have bottle-deposit programs, but most of those programs are managed by the beverage industry instead of the state government. According to a news item on Wagoner’s appointment from KOVR-TV, Sacramento, California, Wagoner has said California should consider transitioning to a system that offers an incentive for companies to design their products with recycling in mind.

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