Welcoming the New Board of Directors: Pioneering the Future of Recycling

July 8, 2024 / Comments Off on Welcoming the New Board of Directors: Pioneering the Future of Recycling


As we welcome the 2024-2025 fiscal year, we are excited to introduce new Board of Directors members for the foundation. Their diverse expertise and commitment to environmental stewardship will undoubtedly drive us toward achieving our mission of reducing waste, conserving resources, and promoting a circular economy.

A Visionary Leadership for a Sustainable Tomorrow

Our new members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from various sectors, including environmental management, sustainability coordination, and waste management. This interdisciplinary approach is crucial for addressing the multifaceted challenges of modern waste management and recycling. Each board member shares a common vision: to make recycling more efficient, accessible, and impactful.

Meet Our New Board Members:

  • Erica Helms, Environmental Services Manager
    Erica is the Environmental Services Manager for the Village of Oak Park, where she manages residential garbage, recycling, and compost programs, and coordinates forward-thinking projects and policies related to solid waste. Her previous roles at the Village include Farmers’ Market Manager and Sustainability Fellow. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from UNCW and a master’s degree in Environmental Planning and Policy from UIC. Erica began working in the solid waste sector as an intern at a small recycling company in 2009 and continued to manage waste diversion and cleanup programs at music festivals and other large outdoor events for 11 years. Highly driven and solution-oriented by nature, Erica has strong passions for community engagement, environmental stewardship, urban agriculture, and geology. Her favorite hobbies include reading, traveling, and beach combing, and she hopes to learn something new every day.
  • Rebecca Cottrell, Sustainability Coordinator
    Becca Cottrell serves as Sustainability Coordinator for Peoria County Government. The focus of her position is on internal energy efficiency projects, energy management, and solid waste management for the County. She led a team of county staff and community members to draft an internal sustainability plan for facilities and operations, managing all supporting energy efficiency and natural resource conservation projects, tracking and education, including the complete PV offset of two buildings later this year. Becca has written and received several competitive grants for energy efficiency improvements in County facilities, including the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG). In addition to her role as Sustainability Coordinator, she serves as the CPACE Coordinator, Co-chair of the Central Illinois Regional Food Council, and Solid Waste Coordinator, with duties similar to other IRF members, including recycling, composting, conducting special collections, and measuring results and overall reach of programs. Prior to this position, Becca worked in natural resource education for Illinois Parks.
  • Brian Zimmerman, Solid Waste Coordinator
    Brian is a Waste Management professional with 10 years of experience in the field. He received a Bachelor of Science in Waste Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, which introduced him to tackling waste problems. Since graduating, Brian has worked on waste-related issues in diverse applications and work environments. He has worked for Stericycle, helping healthcare systems manage wide-ranging waste streams in compliant and effective manners, and for the Solid Waste Agency of Central Ohio (SWACO), developing business waste diversion programming. He currently works at the City of Evanston, managing their external waste collection contracts and franchises and helping create educational outreach materials and programming to help the City progress in its waste-related goals.

The appointment of our new Board of Directors marks a pivotal moment in our organization’s journey. We are confident that their leadership will drive us toward greater success and deeper impact. As we embark on this new chapter, we invite all stakeholders, employees, partners, customers, and the community to join us in our mission. Together, we can build a more sustainable future, where recycling is not just a practice but a way of life.

We extend our heartfelt welcome to Erica Helms, Rebecca Cottrell, and Brian Zimmerman. Their expertise, passion, and dedication will be invaluable assets as we navigate the challenges and opportunities ahead. We look forward to working collaboratively to achieve our vision of a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable world.