Jackson Helps Yellow Jackets Go Green

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Amelia Pavlik
Institute Communications
404-385-4142

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For Cindy Jackson, recycling is much more than just tossing the occasional can or bottle in a bin — it’s a way of life.

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For Cindy Jackson, recycling is much more than just tossing the occasional can or bottle in a bin — it’s a way of life. 

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For Cindy Jackson, recycling is much more than just tossing the occasional can or bottle in a bin — it’s a way of life.           

Jackson, associate director of the Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling, has spent her 15 years at Georgia Tech developing programs to minimize waste when and wherever possible. 

“A lot of people don’t realize all of the recycling initiatives that we’ve created,” Jackson said. “Sure, we oversee the recycling in campus buildings, but we’ve also developed several other campus initiatives such as Game Day Recycling and the student move-in and move-out events that reduce the amount of waste that Tech puts in landfills.”

For example, the Game Day Recycling Program, launched in 2008, allows football fans to recycle plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminum cans at home football games and tailgates. 

“It’s amazing to know that we’ve diverted more than 76 tons of materials from the landfill through this program,” Jackson added. 

And when students move into their dorms each fall, Jackson’s office sets up temporary recycling sites throughout the residential areas to collect cardboard. During the 2011 move-in event, 14,535 pounds of cardboard were collected in one week. 

“When students move out of their dorm rooms at the end of spring, they leave behind thousands of pounds of food, clothes and other items they don’t need,” Jackson said. “We ensure that all mixed office paper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles are recycled and that other items are donated to local charities.” 

Recently, The Whistle had an opportunity to learn more about Jackson and her time at Tech.

How did you arrive at Tech?         
I earned a bachelor’s degree in horticulture, and after living in Hawaii for a bit, I ended up working for the City of Bedford, Va. I was the city horticulturist and executive director of the Keep Bedford Beautiful organization — and I was also the cemetery supervisor. Yes, I’ve run a backhoe and buried people. After that, I worked for Auburn University, in a role that was similar to what I do at Tech, until a colleague from Tech mentioned that I should apply for this job.

What is an average day like?      
I may have to negotiate the Institute’s solid waste contract or send someone to deal with a malfunctioning trash compactor at the Campus Recreation Center. I also do a lot of education and outreach by helping other university campuses with their recycling quandaries and organize events like Tech’s annual Earth Day celebration. 

What are three recycling facts that everyone on campus should be aware of?

  • The mixed office paper program is truly mixed. You can put magazines, newspaper, file folders, etc., in the container. (Staples don’t need to be removed.)  
  • If you are having a special event and want to provide recycling opportunities at the event, go online to www.recycle.gatech.edu to order containers.   
  • Our office picks up confidential or sensitive material and shreds and recycles it. Just box it up, tape it shut, mark it “confidential/sensitive” and call our office at 385-0088 for pickup.    

What is one piece of technology you could not live without?
My television. I love the Discovery Channel and Food Network — and just about any movie.

Which do you prefer: Facebook, Twitter or a world without social media?
A world without it. I’m a private person.  

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? 
Henry Kissinger, because I respect him. He has been a voice of reason.  

Where is your favorite place to eat lunch?
I like to eat at my desk, because I prefer to eat food that I’ve grown in my garden. So lunch typically includes zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant and other produce I’ve grown.

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cindy jackson, Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling
Status
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Aug 20, 2012 - 10:45am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:12pm