Urban Ore is a reuse and recycling enterprise based in Berkeley, CA that traces its origin to the tip face of the old Berkeley dump from where Urban Ore recovered its initial tools and capital as the basis for the multi million dollar enterprise operated by 65 workers and occupying a unique site on 3 acres in downtown Berkeley, CA. Urban Ore provides quality used building materials, household furnishing, with its 200,000 square foot warehouse for its immediate customers. It has also become a supply train for scores of additional reuse stores throughout the SF Bay Area.
Urban Ore is a private business with a track record of community service that dates to its origins. Van Deventer and Knapp lead the fight in the early l980s to keep garbage incineration out of the region. The Berkeley Burn Papers, l982, informed citizens and small businesses well beyond the Bay Area. Over 300 planned garbage incinerators were defeated by grass roots campaigns inspired by the work of urban Ore and neighboring recycling enterprise, Santa Rosa Community Recycling Center that produced Garbage Incineration the False Panacea.
Van Deventer and Knapp have also served as intellectual and policy leaders within the recycling and economic development movement from which the zero waste movement emerged in the l990s. Knapp travelled to Australia and brought back word of initial zero waste efforts in Canberra. Zero Wealth has become the new paradigm for grass roots citizen and small business activists.
Urban Ore developed the 12 category (and sub cluster) source separation system, which has become the basis for contemporary zero waste plans. Urban Ore participated in the first zero waste plan in the US, for Del Norte County, CA. Urban Ore graphics have been used in numerous plans for resource recovery facilities. Van Deventer and Knapp are at the center of policy discussions on Extended producer responsibility. They were principal contributors to the Berkeley Zero Waste Commission revised that self-serving EPR formula put forward by global corporations. The Berkeley City Council and the Global Recycling Council of the California Resource Recovery Association have adopted their principles of government control over EPR. Urban Ore published The EPR trilogy following a national conference on EPR held by the Illinois Recycling Association in 2012.
Urban Ore worked with ILSR to establish the Recycling Archives Project, now housed at the University of Illinois, Springfield.