It’s More Than a Job

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For Sue Garrett, It’s About New Ideas


Sue Garrett has never been afraid of hard work. Or new ideas.

Thirteen years ago, Garrett saw an opportunity to reduce waste and save her department money by recycling scrap metal from UT Chattanooga. She knew how valuable it was since her family had recycled it for extra income when she was a child.

Garrett approached facility services about renting a metal dumpster in 1998 but was told that the dumpster wouldn’t be able to pay for itself.

Unable to watch the metal go to waste, she started setting scrap metal aside and taking it apart until she finally convinced facilities to start hauling it off.

“I’m not a wasteful person,” Garrett said. “Growing up, we didn’t have the stuff that other people had, so you learned to respect what you had more.”

More than a decade later, the scrap metal she identifies brings thousands of dollars in returns to the facilities department.

“Last year alone, we did over $10,000 in scrap metal,” Garrett said. “It could have been going to a dumpster.”

Instead, the money from the scrap metal goes back into the facilities account.

Plastic and aluminum recycling has also been added to her program.

Garrett sees only a bright future for the program and hopes that UTC will hire someone to manage and grow her scrap metal and recycling efforts.

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