CNM Student Receives Award for Recycling Presentation

May 20, 2015 -- What started as casual research on recycling by Jami Watson with her nieces has transformed her into an award-winning community ambassador for environmental stewardship.
CNM Student Receives Award for Recycling Presentation

Jul 17, 2015

Watson, a Computer Information Systems major at Central New Mexico Community College, is the winner of the school’s first Recycling Education Expo. Waste Management recently presented her with a special award.

Her presentation explaining single stream recycling beat out 10 entries.

One of the misconceptions Watson wants to dispel is that recycling is difficult.  “It’s so easy,” says Watson. “We have single-stream recycling in most areas now and you can throw everything that’s recyclable in one container. They provide you with the bin and all you have to do is wheel it out. It’s that simple.”

As Watson learned more about recycling, she started educating her family. Before long, she was talking to neighbors. Because she lives in a remote area where recycling isn’t available, Watson and others in her community started a neighborhood recycling co-op, along with a composting pile and community straw-bale garden.

“It really brought our community together up here in Placitas,” Watson said.

Through the Recycling Education Expo at CNM, Watson had an opportunity to share her passion with fellow classmates. The Expo was a part of the school’s participation in RecycleMania – a national collegiate waste reduction and recycling competition. CNM was the winner of RecycleMania’s Case Study Competition and finished 26th overall out of 232 schools in 49 U.S. states and Canada.

Carson Bennett, an English instructor who also works on sustainability initiatives for CNM, coordinated the school’s RecycleMania participation.

“We went from zero percent recycling to nearly sixty percent in seven years with Waste Management as a partner,” says Bennett. “We’ve gone from zero interaction with students on waste mitigation to having it highlighted in 15 courses and offering Service Learning credit.”

Bennett hopes that like Watson, other students will use their newfound knowledge about recycling to reduce the amount of trash going to landfills on campus and at home.  

“It’s not our planet,” says Watson.  “It’s our children’s planet. And our children’s, children’s planet. Recycling is going to help us to make sure our resources last.”