Zero Waste Research at Higher Education

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Zero Waste Research at Higher Education 2016-06-20T11:45:04+00:00

5th Annual National Zero Waste Business Conference
Zero Waste Research at Higher Education
Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
3:15 pm to 4:30 pm


Panel Description: Colleges and universities have unique, even decisive, roles and responsibilities for managing materials sustainably. Higher ed’s research and education activity in particular, has great potential to advance Zero Waste. This session presents examples around the country and, with audience participation, will identify critical research and teaching needs for colleges and universities.


Mike Carey Bio PicMike Carey
began his career at Orange Coast College in 1985 as a Student Assistant with the campus Recycling Program and became the Recycling Coordinator in 1987. He has also obtained a LEED AP Credential. As a former California Resource Recovery Association board member, Mike has been at the forefront of environmental issues for several decades. Mike transitioned into OCC’s first Sustainability Coordinator and became instrumental in getting Campus leadership to embrace The Talloires Declaration and the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. Mike is also an Architecture instructor teaching Sustainability, Environmental Design and Resource Management.






(Photo by Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado)Jack DeBell has served the University of Colorado’s recycling program as a State employee for thirty years.  His accomplishments include teaching a certification and internship program for students interested in recycling careers, publishing a Decision Makers Guide to Recycling, and advancing C.U.’s Zero Waste plan.

With Mr. DeBell’s assistance, C.U. Recycling has gained widespread recognition from groups including the Colorado Association for Recycling, the EPA, the White House Task Force on Recycling, Dell Computer, the American Forest and Paper Association, and the Sierra Club.

He was recently elected to the National Recycling Coalition’s Board of Directors where he developed and currently manages their Campus Council.  This group enables new collaboration among higher education and the sustainable resource management industry through applied research, scholarships, training, and career placement.


Thomas VinsonThomas Vinson is the Senior Coordinator at Zero Waste Network. Zero Waste Network is a group of environmental professionals based in Texas who operate on a national level and work with federal, state, and local partners to provide training to business to reduce waste and make money by making operations more efficient. We train manufacturers, military, oil and gas, supply chain, operations that manage hazardous waste, hospitals and schools to analyze their operations and seize opportunities to make money and reduce waste.

Thomas Vinson, founder and Senior Coordinator of Zero Waste Network has worked for The University of Texas, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Mr. Vinson worked with a team in Saudi Arabian oil and gas facilities to implement an environmental management system (EMS). He also worked with a team in the Republic of Korea to initiate a Clean Production Program; this project involved on-site assessment and recommendations for over 30 facilities of all sizes.

Thomas has worked on projects that have helped companies identify ways to save over 1.5 million dollars, while reducing nearly 7 million tons of waste, three million gallons of water use, over a million kWh of electricity use and other reductions in pollution. He annually trains over 150 people, and speaks at workshops and trainings throughout the world.


Huls aProf Jon Michael Huls currently serves as Adjunct Professor at Santa Monica College (SMC), Department of Earth Sciences, teaching Zero Waste Communities (Recycling & Resource Management Certificate Course 3). He is the CEO of Huls Environmental Media for which he produces the Zero Waste eChannel and Zero Waste eAcademy. He is the Principal of Sustainable Environmental Management Co., an environmental consultancy founded in 1995. He is very active in environmental affairs as he was a co-founder of the California Resource Recovery Association in 1974, the oldest and most successful grassroots recycling organization in the United States. He was also a co-founding Board Director of the National Recycling Coalition in 1978. He is the creator of the gaming simulator, Recycle USA (which sold out in 1980 at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, and is currently out-of-print), and the sorting simulator, What’s Waste, What’s Not, both of which are used in the curriculum at SMC.


He has significant national and international experience in environmental and sustainable practices spanning 45 years, ranging from design and implementation of award-winning zero waste systems to innovative environmental outreach and training programs. He has assisted hundreds of local and state governments, Fortune 500 companies, and numerous prestigious agencies such as the Chemical Manufacturers’ Association, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the National Science Foundation, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the US Congress.