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Ben Sparks Kicks of Sustainability Guest Speaker Series

O’Dowd’s 2016-17 Sustainability Guest Speaker Series was kicked off  during  Meeting Period (MP) on September 15, with Ben Sparks ’87 providing faculty and students insight on the world of recycling and waste. Ben is truly an expert in the waste industry, and is currently the Senior Consultant at Green Planet 21, a sustainable company specializing in recycling and zero-landfill. He also has years of senior level experience in other waste organizations, including being past president of the Board.

Ben discussed how recycling demonstrates the fundamental connection between matter, energy, and conservation. Throughout his talk students and teachers alike were invited to conceptualize just how much waste we produce locally and nationally. Ben also brought to life the interesting industrial recycling processes of various materials such as office paper, cardboard, plastics, and aluminum. The discussion included important “closed loop” brainstorming, showing the audience the creative ways in which businesses are recycling, reusing, and re-purposing. He also shared many fun facts along the way, for example: 1 ton of office paper saves 9 barrels of oil!

The semester will continue to feature a wealth of guest speakers, including O’Dowd alumni, parents, and greater Bay Area community members. All of Bishop O’Dowd community is invited to join us for these talks, which take place from 1:50 – 2:50 on the following dates: 9/22, 10/6, 11/17, and 12/1.


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