Summer 2022 Sustainability Fellow: Paul Lim

Laurelin Haas
Paul Slide 1

Partner: Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)

Project: Reducing Commercial Waste in Florida

Student: Paul Lim, First Year Graduate Student in Social Entrepreneurship

In Summer 2022, Paul worked with the Florida Department of Environment Protection’s (FDEP) Division of Waste Management to create a how-to guide for commercial businesses outlining how they could reduce their waste and increase their recycling.

Paul joined the Fellows program to expose himself to sustainability metrics and learn more about the implementation of policies that drive sustainability in businesses and communities.

Paul collaborated with Chris Perry, Jennifer Simmons, and other members of the FDEP team. Because commercial recycling is not mandated in Florida, FDEP found that many businesses were not aware of their options for waste management. Therefore, the team tasked Paul with creating content for their website to help Florida business owners learn more about recycling and waste reduction opportunities.

As a Sustainability Fellow, Paul collected data and research on commercial waste management practices and designed a flowchart that walks business owners through eight steps to start their own recycling program for their business. These steps included:

  1. Select a recycling champion in your office
  2. Conduct a waste audit
  3. Setup program
  4. Inform stakeholders
  5. Outreach and education
  6. Monitor and track program efforts
  7. Practice waste prevention
  8. Stay informed

For each step, Paul outlined specific actions that business owners could take and highlighted other online resources for further reading. Paul’s guide also identified which types of waste receptacles were necessary for many different types of business services, such as offices, restaurants, bars, spas, and gyms. He also included a “Resources and Links” section, which FDEP employees can continue to update as new information becomes available.

Overall, Paul learned that all recycling efforts follow the same core values, and that implementation can be tailored to suit the needs of different organizations.  

“I learned that there’s so many aspects of recycling,” said Paul. “It was a great learning opportunity to be exposed to these types of sustainability initiatives, and it was great being able to work with organizations such as FDEP. The Fellowship provided great professional networking and working relationships.”

The FDEP team was appreciative of how Paul had synthesized information into a coherent one-stop resource, and they plan to publish his work on their website. In addition, the team is excited to expand Paul’s guide for use in other education and outreach initiatives.

“We deal with this information every single day,” said Jennifer, “and he just took all of the things that we had in our heads and put it together into a really good resource for us. We’re really proud of Paul and the work he’s done.”

To learn more about the FDEP's Division of Waste Management, visit

To learn more about the Sustainability Fellows program, visit