Civicorps and Recology Offers New Hope for Workers in Oakland

Civicorps, a non-profit organization located in Oakland, offers job training and career counseling to participants of their Environmental Job Training Program.
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Published on KTVU.com on December 30, 2013 by Tom Vacar

William Montoya and Fua Fatai, clients of Oakland’s Civicorps, are learning the skills needed to recycle restaurant wastes.

The food waste they collect in Oakland, currently being composted – will soon go to the Eastbay Municipal Utilities District (MUD) Oakland sewage treatment plant.

“We realized that can recycle kind of these new urban wastes and do it in a way that provides us with renewable energy at the same time,” says Andrea Pook, Eastbay MUD Spokeswoman.

When those food scraps are digested, the methane gas that comes out of them goes into a turbine which can create enough power for 2500 homes.

“At the same time, we develop a product called bio-solid which is the digested solid material and that’s use for agricultural fertilizer as well as alternative cover at landfills,” said Jackie Kepke, Eastbay MUD’s Environmental Services Manager.

For Montoya and Fatai, it’s nothing less than life changing.

“I see this as a stepping stone, you know, and just opening up doors for me in the future. It’s exciting to know that I’m part of something big,” said Fatai.

“This program actually saved me from doing a lot of bad stuff. I focus on my future, my family, my son,” Montoya said.

Civicorps’ Bruce Groulx is proud of this program and these men.

“We take society’s waste, recycle it, as well as recycle young people’s lives,” he said.

They are lives ultimately recycled by the clients’ own self-worth.

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