Plastic Free July Webinar

Trash Talk! 

As part of “Plastic Free July”, Anacostia Riverkeeper hosted a webinar on the challenges related to waste reduction in Washington, DC with a specific focus on challenges related to plastic waste. Panelists discussed different types of legislation that could be used to reduce plastic waste such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) bills and bans on plastic. Audience members asked questions about what can be recycled in the District and about how they can reduce waste. 

The Anacostia Riverkeeper, Trey Sherard, moderated the discussion with panelists Julie Lawson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City, and Blake Adams, Manager of the Office of Waste Diversion at the Department of Public Works. 

About our Panelists:  

Blake Adams is a dedicated sustainability professional, Ward 6 resident, and serves the Department of Public Works as Manager of the Office of Waste Diversion (aka Zero Waste DC). The Office of Waste Diversion is tasked with helping the District achieve the Mayor’s Zero Waste goal of achieving 80% waste diversion from landfill and waste-to-energy (incineration). Since 2015, Mr. Adams and team have worked to establish a foundation for long-term success through technical research and planning, and policy and program development. To achieve zero waste in the District, Blake understands the importance of working collaboratively across sectors and stakeholder groups to identify solutions and his goal is to further elevate the topic of zero waste via the Zero Waste DC Plan (coming soon!). 

 Mr. Adams holds a M.Sc. in Environmental Science & Policy from the Johns Hopkins University and a BS in Environmental Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has earned the accreditation of Certified Public Manager (CPM), LEED AP+ ND, and Envision Sustainability Professional, and is also Lean Six Sigma certified. Blake acts as Chair of the Metropolitan Council of Governments Recycling Committee and sits on the Board of Directors for the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America. Reducing waste at the source is Blake’s favorite zero waste strategy and in his spare time he enjoys playing golf, attending live music, and running along the Anacostia.


Julie Lawson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City, is a skilled team builder and communicator with more than 15 years of experience as an entrepreneurial advocate, marketing professional, and project manager. She is recognized as an international expert on plastic pollution policy and behavior change, and is a respected leader in engaging diverse communities on the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. She developed multiple local, state, and national coalitions to pass cutting-edge legislation to protect neighborhoods and waterways, from the Anacostia River to the oceans. Her projects to reduce litter in Baltimore connected private, nonprofit, and government stakeholders from an array of environmental, economic development, public health, and political sectors. 

Before joining the Bowser Administration, Julie founded and served as Executive Director of Trash Free Maryland, a nonprofit organization working to reduce trash pollution through policy and behavior change. Prior to that, Julie was principal for Communication Visual, a graphic design and marketing studio specializing in public service communications.

Julie is passionate about restoring the Anacostia River so that it can be a full recreational, economic, and natural resource for all Washingtonians to enjoy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in linguistics from Haverford College and lives in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC, with her son Owen.