Team #1625 spoke with Mr. Stephen Herring, Marketing Recycling Coordinator from Republic Services. We had a few questions for him concerning recycling and his career.
Why did you choose recycling as a career?
I didn’t start out in the recycling field, basically, as a senior in College at Southeast Missouri State University I needed an internship to graduate and read about Republic Services’ internship program. Once I got the internship the field really made since to me and is something that will always be here. I chose the recycling field because it offers a sustainable career path with plenty of opportunity to move up.
How long have you worked in that field?
I am coming up on two years in January.
What kind of schooling and degree do you have?
I went to Parkway West High school and Southeast Missouri State University. I graduated with a bachelor in Corporate Communications with minors in Integrated Marketing communications and Marketing Management.
Did anyone help you in your career?
It always helps to have the support of my family and friends.
What kind of classes should I take to work as a Recycler?
A budding career path is in Sustainability. Many universities offer majors in sustainability which is a focus of many large businesses. Companies like Microsoft, Webster University, Wash U, and Amazon all have career paths involving sustainability.
How does your job help you with Social Skills?
I have to give presentations to the public, as well as employers.
Is there anything about your job that is difficult?
It's not too difficult because I enjoy teaching about recycling and giving presentations about recycling. But you do have to stand up in front of people and present the information. I also get to do neat things, like radio ads and commercials.
What is sustainability?
Something that will stay around forever; Recycling helps businesses become more sustainable.
How do you Recycle Plastics?
Plastics are collected by your local recycling hauler (republic Services) then taken to a MRF or Material Recovery Facility. That machine sorts out the materials into separate commodities. Once the plastic has been separated that material is shipped in bales (blocks weighing over 800lbs) Plastic pellets are made in Kansas City which are sold to businesses which make different supplies, such as, carpet lining.
How do you persuade people to Recycle?
We try to make recycling as easy as possible and as accessible as possible. We also try to educate people about recycling by "Did You Know" Recycling radio ads.
Cool Fact: You don't have to clean the containers before you put them in your recycling bin. Like a peanut butter jar - just use a knife and get the last of the peanut butter and put the jar in your recycling bin.
Do schools or other businesses get incentives to Recycle?
Not necessarily at this time. Dependent upon the material value, sometimes there are recycling incentives offered to schools and businesses.