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Heidi Sanborn: Founding Executive Director


Heidi is the founding Director of both the California Product Stewardship Council and the National Stewardship Action Council. With over 32 years experience being a leader in the solid waste industry, Heidi is the nation's foremost expert on producer responsibility and product stewardship.


Heidi has worked as a consultant helping California local governments comply with waste management laws, as a regulator at CalRecycle where she was promoted to be the Policy Advisor to the Chair and led the charge to get the goal of zero waste using product stewardship into the strategic plan, and as an advocate.  She has led the way organizing local governments to advance for making the producers have a fair share of the responsibility for the end of life impacts and costs of their products which pushed the California legislature to pass more Extended Producer Responsibility legislation than in any other state including paint, mercury thermostats, pharmaceuticals and sharps, and packaging with SB 54 in 2022. She is not only an expert in policy, but in program implementation and regularly keynotes at national and international conferences.

In her personal time, Heidi is an elected Board Member representing Ward 7 on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Board. Ms Sanborn is a self-described “utility geek”.



  • Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award, National Recycling Coalition (2023)

  • Outstanding Public Agency Award, Solid Waste Association of North America (2022)

  • Lawrence Lecturer, Solid Waste Association of North America (2020)

  • Women Who Means Business, Sacramento Business Journal (2020) 

  • Outstanding Policy & Legislative Advancement Award, CalRecycle (2020)

  • Friend of Pharmacy, California Pharmacists Association (2018)

  • Environmental Excellence Award, Industrial Environmental Association (2016)

  • Outstanding Policy Achievement, North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (2015)

  • Distinguished Individual Achievement Award, Solid Waste Association of America (2015)

  • Outstanding Environmental Stewardship Award, Sacramento Environmental Commission (2015)

  • Unsung Hero Award, Solid Waste Association of America (2014)

  • Pollution Prevention Award of the Year, Nonprofit- Sacramento Area Business Council (2014)

  • Outstanding Policy/Legislative Advancement Award, CalRecycle (2012)

  • Climate Changer, Sacramento News and Review (2012)

  • Rick Best Environmental Advocacy Award, California Resource Recovery Association (2010)

  • Recycler of the Year, California Resource Recovery Association (2002)

  • Award of Appreciation, Regional Council of Rural Counties (1999)


  • Master of Public Administration, Non-Profit and Government Management, University of Southern California (2004)

  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, University of California, Davis (1992)


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