ASU student making a difference with new recycling program

The boxes Ahn placed last summer are expected to collect approximately 9720 gloves per week

Amid endless climate change and environmental debates, one Arizona State University undergrad is making a difference.

Junkee Justin Ahn, 23, is a junior majoring in sustainability. He is a sustainability intern for Kimberly-Clark Professional, and is helping lead a program that recycles Kimberly-Clark nitrile gloves.

When he noticed the company's recycling program, named RightCycle, he thought of all the gloves he's seen thrown away during his own lab courses.

Since almost every ASU student is required to take at least one lab, the university flies through thousands of gloves each year.

Hoping to expand the RightCycle program, Ahn began to place glove-collection boxes in labs across campus. Currently, he has test bins throughout the Tempe chemistry rooms.

There are currently 135 chemistry lab sessions per week on the Tempe campus, according to Ahn. A survey says each student uses about 1.5 pairs of gloves each session, and each lab averages about 24 students.

This means the boxes Ahn placed last summer are expected to collect approximately 9720 gloves per week.

"As the program expands, more students will become aware of such sustainable practice and will help ASU reach its sustainability goals," Ahn said.

Kimberly-Clark will use the collected gloves to create new plastic products, Ahn said. They are not currently available for sale.

One of the recycled-glove clips.

"Personally, I hope this will function as a driving force for ASU to implement programs and policies to recycle other materials such as solar panels," Ahn said.

Ahn said the best thing students can do to help is spread the word about the program. He also asks for anyone who knows of labs throwing away Kimberly-Clark gloves to contact him.

If you have any questions about the program, you can contact Ahn at [email protected]

Clip Photo and Feat Img.: Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Editor's Note: Edited for clarity

Arizona State University