Our Staff

Rhodes Yepsen 


Rhodes joined BPI in 2015, where he leads the organization’s efforts to promote the value of compostable products. Rhodes is passionate about systems-based solutions, where there is synergy in solving for food waste and packaging simultaneously -- addressing climate change, ecosystem impacts, and regenerative agriculture.  Previously he was on the Board of USCC, worked for biopolymer producer Novamont, and was a staff editor and writer at BioCycle magazine.  Rhodes lives in western NJ, where it is still the “Garden State,” and spends time backpacking and canoeing in the Adirondacks. His favorite author is Wendell Berry.

Wendell Simonson


Wendell is responsible for all aspects of the Marketing function at BPI, which means working on things like content development, communications strategy, brand management, and member engagement to name a few. Prior to joining BPI, Wendell ran Ellipsis Strategy, a Marketing Consulting business where BPI was an early client. Before starting Ellipsis, Wendell spent 10 years building the Marketing function at Eco-Products in Boulder, CO.  Wendell lives in the Colorado foothills, and loves mountain recreation of all kinds. His favorite author is Walt Whitman. 

Margaret Eldridge


Margaret manages the people and process behind BPI certifications. She joined BPI in 2020 as a project manager, bringing over two decades of recycling and waste reduction experience, most recently as the Executive Director of the Virginia Recycling Association.  When not working to save the planet, she enjoys being in the woods or on the water, music of all genres, growing food and native plants, and cooking and eating.  Mary Oliver is her favorite author.  

Alex Truelove


Alex joined BPI in 2022 as the organization’s legislation and advocacy manager, having previously directed U.S. PIRG’s (Public Interest Research Group) zero waste program. He remains passionate about waste reduction, public policy, and working with others to incrementally solve messy environmental problems. Alex has lived in Denver, Colorado since 2017, where he enjoys abandoning recipes in the kitchen, making music with others, and avoiding bears in the wilderness. His favorite author, at the moment, is Isaac Asimov.

Claire Dakhlia


Claire joined the Certification Team in 2020, excited to work towards a zero-waste future. She has a BA in Chemistry with a Sustainability Minor and a passion for making science accessible. Claire is currently based in Atlanta, GA, but plans to move around California, Tennessee, Maine, Massachusetts and Texas in 2021. In her free time, Claire loves to cook, bake, garden and make her own clothes. Her favorite author is Samin Nosrat.

Jana Pearce


Jana joined BPI in 2021 as part of BPI’s finance and administrative team. She was born and raised in Atlanta, “a city in a forest.” Her outdoor upbringing and B.S.F.R. in Fisheries and Wildlife lead to a desire to dedicate her career to uniting natural and human systems. Her previous work has been in the realm of education, outreach, and nonprofit management. She has enjoyed field work in coastal intertidal salt marshes, outreach for community-based water quality programs, and management of a local nature center and its community programs. The development of a children’s program on consumer science ignited a passion for waste management, which led her to BPI. In her time off she enjoys hiking with her tiny dog, birding, antiquing, and live music. Her favorite author is Patrick Rothfuss. 

Heather Fowler


Heather is a member of the BPI certification team, assisting companies throughout the certification and sublicense processes.  Prior to joining BPI at the beginning of 2020, she waded her way through higher education as an academic librarian and spent two years coaching the local YMCA swim team.  Heather lives in Southwest Georgia, enduring humid summers below the Gnat Line in exchange for close proximity to The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches. She enjoys fishing, kayaking, playing tennis, working out with her family, and backyard bird-watching with her cats.  Her favorite author (if she can only pick one) is Naomi Novik.

Kikku Zeiner-Fukushima


Kikku is passionate about science and sustainable development initiatives that support a shift to the circular economy and the design of environmentally-friendly materials. Prior to joining BPI, Kikku worked on the multidisciplinary field of Sustainability Management, Biodegradable Materials, and office operations in government institutions. Kikku has a Ph.D. in Materials Nanotechnology, an MBA in Sustainability Management, and a B.S. in Polymer Materials Science and Engineering. She lives in NYC and loves spending time with her family, being outdoors, and learning foreign languages. One of her favorite authors is Sheldon Kopp.

Jennifer Kurnit


Jenny joined the BPI certification team at the end of 2021. After spending the past decade working as a licensed veterinary technician and seeing firsthand the inherent waste that even a small and conscientious company produces, she decided that joining a field that works toward a circular economy and encourages corporate environmental responsibility was a critical next step. In her free time, Jenny enjoys the outdoors however she can get it, whether it’s running, hiking, or just walking around the neighborhood with her dog. She lives in Albany, NY which places her in between the Adirondacks and Catskills (with many local preserves even closer) – an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! During her non-active moments, she enjoys going to the movies, cooking, knitting the occasional scarf, and reading. One of her favorite authors is Jane Austen and she rereads, at minimum, one of her novels every year.

Gabrielle Sisson


Gabrielle joined BPI’s Certification Team in 2021 from Western New York and is passionate about working towards a sustainable future. Prior to BPI, Gabby earned her B.S. in Wildlife Science and her M.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology, contributing to her desire to conserve the natural world and wanting to work for BPI. She is a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator for NYS and is an avid outdoorsman. In her free time, you’ll find Gabby exploring nature, hunting, fishing, tending to her pets and plants, exercising, painting artwork, or playing music. Her favorite author is Delia Owens.

Sarah Roza


Sarah is excited to join the BPI team as a Project Manager to continue bridging the gap between manufacturers and consumers when it comes to compostable products. She got her start in the composting industry in Charleston, SC when she helped create the first residential pick-up program in the area with CompostNow. Today she lives in Virginia with her dog where she likes to hike, go to the beach, see live music, and go on road trips. One of her favorite authors is Glennon Doyle.

Peggy Whitney


Peggy joined BPI as the administrative assistant with the desire to contribute to a more sustainable world. Her passion for conservation and wildlife drove her to earn a B.S. in Animal Behavior and a M.S. in Biology. Before signing on with BPI, she worked for Colonial National Historical Park’s natural resources department and several offices at the College of William & Mary. When not working, you can usually find Peggy playing Ultimate Frisbee or engaging with the natural world, often by kayak or simply with a pair of binoculars in the back yard. Her favorite author is James A. Michener. 

BPI is a science-driven organization that supports a shift to the circular economy by promoting the production, use, and appropriate end of lives for materials and products that are designed to fully biodegrade in specific biologically active environments.

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