Meet Recycling & Organics Extraordinaire Gretchen C.

At Republic, We Work for Earth, and that means working for a cleaner, safer and healthier world where people thrive, not just for today, but for generations to come. One of our leading guardians of the environment is Recycling and Organics Coordinator Gretchen C. It is Gretchen’s mission to help others become better recyclers and make a difference in her New England community.

Gretchen started her career at Republic Services five years ago. Her role is all about education and relationship management in the field of sustainability, including recycling and composting. Her Zero Waste training helps customers understand state regulations regarding materials to be recycled rather than trashed, like paper and cardboard. She also uses this training to help employers avoid making waste in the first place by encouraging them to use things like bring-your-own coffee mugs instead of single use cups and reusable water bottles in lieu of plastic water bottles.

Gretchen’s great passion for protecting the planet came from a profound conversation she had with her daughter 14 years ago in which she realized she needed to take action to leave a planet worth having for the next generation. Since that conversation, she has made it her goal to expand her influence and educate others about how they can help. “Every time I talk to people, there is a ripple effect and that has enormous potential,” she explained. “Every phone call, school presentation, college lecture, conference is worth it.”

Gretchen’s Earth Day Every Day Tips

Here are Gretchen’s tips for composting and recycling:

  1. Keep your compost damp. For optimal composting, it’s important to keep your compost pile damp. Add one part food (fruit and vegetable scraps) to three parts leaves, wood chips or cardboard and stir occasionally.
  2. Don’t waste resources to save resources. When cleaning your empty recyclable containers, give a quick rinse and use a scrubbing brush.

Gretchen’s work in sustainability extends beyond her job at Republic Services. She volunteers in her community in a variety of ways, teaching classes, speaking at conferences, hosting a podcast and even presenting at colleges and universities – all in the name of recycling and sustainability. She also serves as the President of MassRecycle, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing recycling and waste reduction in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a member of the Environmental Business Council where she serves on their Solid Waste Committee.

On top of all of this, Gretchen co-founded a business in 2018 called GreenLabs Recycling to help recycle clean plastic in laboratories. GreenLabs’ business grew 500% from 2019-2020, and in 2020 the company collected 36,000 pounds of clean plastic even with labs closed for several months. Gretchen anticipates to doubling busines volume this year and is looking at other cities where this model might be helpful.

As we celebrate Earth Day this week on April 22, we are thrilled to highlight Gretchen’s hard work and strong commitment to educating and inspiring others to preserve and protect our planet.

“This planet is one big, closed ecosystem, and there is no such thing as throwing something away. It is still here with us, somewhere. We have a waste problem, and I believe in teaching people how to be part of the solution.” – Gretchen C.