Megan Anderson, nicknamed “Captain Planet” by her friends, unabashedly loves trash. In almost any other profession, this trait would be considered a little bizarre, but as the university’s new Waste Reduction and Recycling Manager, Anderson’s affinity for garbage is a great asset.

“The average American disposes of 4.5 pounds of trash a day. Trashing things has always been convenient, people just don’t have to think about it,” Anderson said. “There needs to be more education about trash. When you get rid of it, it doesn’t just disappear.”

The educational component of her work is a passion of Anderson’s. Before taking up the post at the university at the beginning of the semester, she spent several years traveling throughout Asia and Africa. In all the places she traveled, she made it a point to give back to the community through education appropriate to each locale – from teaching English in Japan to helping to educate locals about microfinance in Burma.

Anderson hopes to work through her new post to continue to educate those around her. She will work closely with the interns in the Office of Sustainability to promote and ensure the success of RecycleMania, an eight-week nationwide waste reduction and recycling competition that launches in February. Last year Wake Forest led the ACC in waste reduction – an honor Anderson will work to keep intact this year.

Anderson will also work to increase transparency of waste diversion and reduction efforts on campus. Anderson and the rest of the Facilities & Campus Services Staff work to reduce all sorts of waste by recycling basics like glass, plastic, paper and aluminum to recycling and repurposing light bulbs, batteries, furniture and yard waste.

“We are already doing a really great job, we want the university community to feel proud of what we’ve all accomplished,” Anderson said.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern