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  • Lars Lawson

Calvin Davidson: IRC Recycling Rock Star

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Celebrate the awesomeness of Calvin Davidson by making a donation to the IRC in his honor. Your tax-deductible contribution will help the IRC reach its 30th Anniversary fundraising campaign goal and helps fund our education and advocacy projects – and more

For over 30 years, Calvin Davidson has devoted his professional life to recycling, and he is currently serving as General Manager at Ray’s Trash Service based in Clayton, Indiana. His mom joked that as a kid he was drawn to those who rode on the back of garbage trucks. As an adult, he’s happy his job aligns with his environmentally-friendly values. He is a clean environment advocate and enjoys fishing and hiking whenever possible.

Davidson cleverly likens recycling to dieting. He says, “It’s relatively easy to shed the first ten pounds on a diet with a few tweaks to one’s diet and exercise level. It’s the next ten pounds where the real work begins. Recycling is the same.” Davidson is motivated to help everyone shed those first ten pounds, but gets the most joy from creating solutions for those harder next ten pounds. 

Some materials are readily recognized by many people as recyclable. With effective collection strategies and education, those materials are relatively easy to divert and recycle. But it’s the next level of less-recognizable recyclables that require extra diligence and creativity to extract from their journey to a landfill. This is where Davidson’s passion, relationships, and problem-solving expertise comes to the forefront.

Davidson is energized each day because his work pushes him to think outside traditional ways of doing things and to not be afraid to take chances exploring a new idea. He acknowledges those ideas aren’t always successful; but he relishes new challenges, talking with others about transforming potentially new and interesting incoming recyclables, and successfully sending them back into the circular economy, not the landfill.

In addition to processing 150 tons of recyclables per day from residential customers across Central Indiana, Ray’s also focuses on larger-scale construction and commercial recycling.  It leverages its nine MRFs (Material Recovery Facilities) to transform many incoming product types. For example, wooden pallets that can’t be repurposed to carry goods again are chipped down and provided to wood stove pellet makers. And in the hands of Ray’s, demolished building concrete gets pulverized and turned into aggregate stone for new uses.

Also, under Davidson’s leadership, Ray’s provides the important food waste transport link between many Indy area colleges and local composters. And in other situations, Ray’s takes in bulk quantities of expired human food products and scientifically converts them into animal feed that helps local farmers. Always thinking, always listening to others, and always working to find a winning solution – that’s Davidson.

Written by David Johnson 


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