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  • Lars Lawson

Paul Reed: IRC Recycling Rock Star

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Celebrate the awesomeness of Paul Reed 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

People keep Paul Reed going. The people who count on him to carry the torch in the name of recycling sustainability. The people from his community that share his hope, the hope that, “our part of the world is affected in a positive way.” 

For the majority of his time as Manager of Custodial and Special Services at Indiana State University, Reed has been involved in the recycling battle. Thirty of his 38 years to be exact. Reed never frowned upon recycling, but he never faced the task before it was introduced at the university. Despite this, when given the new responsibility to head Indiana State University’s recycling efforts, Reed called it a “blessing in disguise.”

The new recycling efforts started by Reed’s team didn’t just grow across campus borders, but also across its hometown of Terre Haute, IN. Word about the recycling program spread, and people from the town asked how they could get involved. Through the joint campus-community effort, Reed and his team have collected over 60 million pounds of materials over the past 30 years. The university hosts one of only two recycling collection locations in town, making its existence vital to the community.

His efforts didn’t just end at helping the community. He stretched to educate them as well. Reed has worked to educate all age groups on the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle). From presenting to elementary schools about recycling, to educating classrooms of college students, Reed’s impacts and inspiration know no bounds. 

He believes that this is the key to living sustainably: asking questions and getting educated about the aspects of sustainability of which you are unaware. Or as Reed likes to put it, “Don’t delay, get started today!”

Reed is an advocate for strong public education on current issues that impact recycling. He believes that building on small actions now will help positively impact the years ahead. 

“Without us doing something now, our future is going to look totally different than what it can look like if we take action,” he said. The people taking these actions, the ones invested in Reed’s work, will be the ones to carry his torch. 

Written by Lucy Mellen


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