Episode 16: One Lab’s Trash is Another Lab’s Treasure: Reducing Waste and Increasing Reuse at Northwestern University

Julie Cahillane  (left)  Garry Cooper  (right)

Julie Cahillane (left) Garry Cooper (right)

Julie Cahillane
Sustainability Associate Director
Northwestern University

Garry Cooper, PhD
Rheaply, Inc.

Host: Dave Karlsgodt
Principal, Fovea, LLC

Production Assistance:
Kaia Findlay and Animesh Bapat

Any kindergartener can recite the lesson that ‘sharing is caring.’ For youngsters, this just means it’s nice to let someone else play with their favorite toy. But for Garry Cooper, sharing plays a crucial role in caring for the planet and finding solutions for waste reduction and efficient resource use.

Inspired by the copious amounts of wasted lab equipment he encountered as a Ph.D. student, Cooper founded Rheaply, Inc., a startup that now helps universities and other institutions across the world reuse and recycle by sharing unused and unwanted lab equipment with other labs. From glassware to antibodies, you’ll learn some of the logistics behind trading world class research equipment all with a focus on sustainability.

The success of Rheaply, Inc.’s pilot at Northwestern University is framed by Julie Cahillane, Sustainability Associate Director at Northwestern University. Her breakdown of the waste produced by research institutions showcases the important role of sustainability in labs across the nation. She’ll go into what it takes to institutionalize sustainability at the university level and teach you how your institution can empower people like Garry Cooper on your campus.

Episode 1: Rachel Chadderdon Bair - at the intersection of food, healthcare, economy and environment

Rachel Chadderdon Bair, Photo credit: Jacqueline Luttrell

Rachel Chadderdon Bair, Photo credit: Jacqueline Luttrell

Guest: Rachel Chadderdon Bair, Director for Sustainable and Innovative Food Systems, Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Kalamazoo, MI

Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC, Seattle, WA

Co-Host: Greg Farley, Professor of Biological Science and Director of the Chesapeake College Center for Leadership in Environmental Education, Wye Mills, MD

Production Assistance:
Kristen Thompson


What happens when a community college, a hospital, a mental health care service, and a city government convene around one idea? This episode, Dave Karlsgodt and co-host Greg Farley sit down with the Director for Sustainable and Innovative Food Systems at Kalamazoo College, Rachel Chadderon Bair, who is working at the center of just such a collaboration. 

Rachel is helping build a program at Kalamazoo’s Bronson Healthy Living Campus that’s aimed at helping the next generation of workers in the food system to understand the nexus of food, health, the economy, sustainability, and community. Her ultimate goal? A complete remodeling of the food system in southwest Michigan. For now, though, she’s focused on bringing more stability to the program and developing projects over the next five years that maximize collaborations between local farmers, the school, and the hospital. Rachel describes her successes and challenges thus far, answers questions about course transferability, funding, institutional constraints, business practices, and the challenges of running a farm without consistent care over weekends and holidays. At the heart of all this is the question: what does it take to change a food system?


Episode Transcript:

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Episode 1: Rachel Chadderdon Bair - at the Intersection of Food, Healthcare, Economy, and Environment - Transcript