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Graduate student sees zero-waste plan in UF’s future

Ashpreet Kaur, a graduate student in interdisciplinary ecology, grew up in India and could not escape the litter that seemed to be everywhere. zero-waste

female college student standing at a wall

Ashpreet Kaur, doctoral student in interdisciplinary ecology. (Photo provided)

“It was all around my house and my parents had to clean that,” Kaur said. “People were not mindful of what they are doing, and I wanted to do something about the issue.”

Her doctoral research focuses on analyzing the challenges and opportunities for existing waste management practices to completely transition into zero-waste practice. Specifically, she wants to see a zero-waste plan for higher education in the United States, including at UF. Currently, she is researching universities that have a zero-waste plan in place.

“I completed a course this spring on how communities can develop a zero-waste plan and benefit from it,” Kaur said. “The City of Gainesville has a zero-waste plan and UF can benefit from those resources, which can help it achieve more in its sustainability plan.”

Part of the course involved developing a potential zero-waste plan for the City of Orlando. In addition to the certification from Zero Waste USA, Kaur is a certified waste management expert through the Ministry of Environment in India.

 

“The green skill development course taught me about waste management in India. We had lectures and site visits as the part of the course and had to submit reports on those site visits and pass the exam at the end,” Kaur said.

Kaur has been working in waste management for three years – learning and networking. She hopes to complete her Ph.D. in interdisciplinary ecology with a concentration in sociology. Then, she is ready to go global.

“I eventually want to work for United Nations,” Kaur said. “I have applied for an internship in the field of waste management with the UN.”