Brenda Platt is the co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.  She has worked 30 years fighting trash burners and promoting waste reduction, recycling and composting, particularly recycling-based jobs.  She currently directs ILSR’s Composting Makes $en$e and Composting for Community projects, which are advancing locally based composting in order to create jobs, enhance soils, sequester carbon, reduce waste, and build more resilient and healthy communities.

She is the author of several groundbreaking reports including Beyond 40 Percent: Record-Setting Recycling and Composting Programs and the U.S. EPA’s Cutting the Waste Stream in Half.  Her 2000 report for the GrassRoots Recycling Network, Wasting and Recycling in the United States 2000, includes a 10-page zero waste agenda for action.  Her 2003 report, Resources up in Flames outlined the economic pitfalls of incineration versus a zero waste approach. Her 2008 report, Stop Trashing the Climate, documents that aiming for zero waste is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective strategies available for combating climate change. In 2013 she released Pay Dirt: Composting in Maryland to Reduce Waste, Create Jobs & Protect the Bay. Her most recent reports – published in 2014 – are The State of Composting in the U.S.: What, Why, Where, & How, and Growing Local Fertility: A Guide to Community Composting.

She has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The George Washington University.  She is a trained composter and has been licensed in Maryland to operate commercial composting facilities.

Ms. Platt is a member of the US Composting Council and is a member of its Environmental and Legislative Affairs Committee.  She is a founding member of the GrassRoots Recycling Network and a past board member of the National Recycling Coalition and the Container Recycling Institute.  She founded and co-chairs the National Capital Region Organics Task Force.  She also co-leads a Young Activist Club in her community working to get styrofoam and other polystyrene out of schools and foodservice businesses.

Reach Brenda by email at