Recycle Utah’s new outreach director is able to put passion into play
While growing up in Portland, Oregon, recycling and sustainable living played a significant role in Haley Lebsack’s life.
Lebsack, who would sing songs about recycling as a kid, never considered her family’s lifestyle unique.
“It’s never been something that I thought was important,” she said. “It was just always something that we did. We recycled, we composted and we didn’t idle our car. That’s just how I grew up.”
Lebsack said her passion for recycling and conservation makes her new position as communications and development director of Recycle Utah a perfect fit. Her first day was Nov. 13. Lebsack replaced Molly Brooks, who was in the position for more than a year.
“This is exactly what I want to be doing,” she said. “I want to change people’s habits. I really believe that little actions make a big difference, negative or positive. If people change one thing it does make a difference, and I want to empower people to make those changes. It’s not about saying ‘We are doing stuff wrong.’ It’s about saying, ‘What can we fix?’”
Recycle Utah is considered to be one of the community’s leading sustainable partners. The organization says it prevents 200 tons of materials from being sent to the Summit County’s landfill each month. Recycle Utah also regularly provides hazardous waste collection options and reaches more than 3,000 students in Summit and Wasatch County through its environmental education programs.
Lebsack moved to Park City from Dallas in 2012 with her husband. As she became more acquainted with the community, she found a volunteer opportunity with Recycle Utah.
“My background is event planning and public relations,” she said. “I started volunteering and helping with the events. My running group also started doing some green challenges over the summer, which is when I started partnering with Carolyn Wawra (Recycle Utah’s executive director) to get information about what is recyclable curbside what is recyclable at the center.”
Lebsack’s new role, as she sees it, will consist of sharing the stories of those who help Recycle Utah continue operating, such as the staff that handle all the items the center takes in, and managing the five key fundraising events the organization hosts each year. She also highlighted Wawra’s efforts to secure a new space for Recycle Utah. She added, “We see more than 400 cars in here and we have surpassed our capacity.”
Wawra, who was hired in March to replace longtime director Insa Riepen, said Lebsack was selected for the position because of her fundraising background and previous involvement with Recycle Utah. She said Lebsack volunteered and attended almost all of Recycle Utah’s events, and her experience is “unmatched by the other candidates.”
“Haley lives out Recycle Utah’s mission statement – to empower people to lead sustainable lives – in her daily life,” she said. “She’s always encouraging her friends in the community to re-think how they do things, offering support or new ideas for green living. A lot of Recycle Utah’s staff likes to spend time outside camping, hiking or exercising and Haley fits right in with her love for running. We all are passionate about the work we do to protect our environment and water here in Park City.”
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Councilor Glenn Wright estimated that the ability to provide renewable energy sources for county power will cost the average Summit County resident $0.70 per year above current costs.