Published: Sept. 15, 2018
Jack Debell and a lot of boxes

This fall, Jack DeBell leaves his current capacity as the CU Recycling Program Development Director at the CU Environmental Center after 33 years of service to the University. After a short break, he will return to campus in a part-time, post-retirement role focusing on a zero waste learning lab.

Jack has served the University of Colorado's recycling program as a State of Colorado employee since 1985. As a student before 1985, he worked for CU Recycling, applying his coursework to develop operational, managerial, and promotional aspects of the program.

"Jack has been the heart and soul of the Environmental Center's recycling efforts for decades. Jack lifted the entire recycling industry nationwide with his leadership on the CU campus, in the community, and globally. Anywhere I go, people come up to me and ask if I know Jack. Then they tell me a story of how he helped them, inspired them, worked with them, or just listened to them. His voice and his heart beat strong--and will continue to do so."   

- Dave Newport, Director, CU Environmental Center

His accomplishments include teaching a certification and internship program for students interested in recycling careers, publishing a Decision Makers Guide to Recycling, serving on the National Recycling Coalition's Board of Directors, and co-creating the College and University Recycling Council. He was recognized with the University's highest staff honor, the Robert Stearns Award, in 1997. 

With Jack's assistance, CU Recycling has gained widespread recognition from groups including the Colorado Association for Recycling, the EPA, the White House Task Force on Recycling, Dell Computer, the American Forest and Paper Association, and the Sierra Club. CU Recycling was founded by students in 1976 and has functioned as a student-administrative partnership between Facilites Management and the CU Student Government Environmental Center since 1991. 

"The CU Environmental Center has been a national leader on many things, including recycling, and Jack Debell has been there working in the trenches as a pioneer in campus recycling all across the USA.  Jack changed the dialogue between the University and the corporations wanting to sell it their goods and services by insisting on greener products and practices," says Eric Lombardi, who worked with Jack for years as the Executive Director of the Boulder Zero Waste non-profit Eco-Cycle.

Congratulations Jack - Thank you for your decades of service to CU Recycling!

Campus members, especially those who have worked with Jack, are cordially invited to wish him well in his retirement:

Jack DeBell's Retirement Celebration

Wednesday, October 10, 4-6pm 

UMC Room 235

RSVP and share memories