Meet the Mason Nation: Kevin Brim


Kevin Brim

Job: Recycle/Waste Management Supervisor, Facilities Management

Kevin Brim, recycle/waste supervisor, stands in the recycling yard on a sunny day
Kevin Brim leads the recycle/waste management team in Facilities Management as they help foster a culture of sustainability at Mason. Photo by Ron Aira/Office of University Branding

Can I recycle this? At some point, anyone who has approached a recycling bin (or set of bins) with good intentions has asked this question, either aloud or in their mind.

Helping the community understand the parameters of recycling and composting is one of the biggest challenges in recycling and waste management, according to Kevin Brim, supervisor in Facilities Management at George Mason University. “It can be confusing trying to decide what is recycling, trash, or compostable,” said Brim.

His team is working hard to change that.

Keeping it clean. Putting the wrong items in a recycle or compost bin can lead to contamination of waste streams. Brim and his colleagues in Facilities Management are making it easier for the George Mason community to recycle, compost, and properly dispose of items.

Waste no time. Brim knows he is part of something impactful, and interacting with the George Mason community is what he likes best about his job. “I’ve been at Mason for 18 years, and I learn something new every day,” Brim said.

Protecting the Earth isn’t a one-person job. Waste diversion efforts stretch across the university and rely on the involvement of many units—and the actions of individuals. Mason Facilities, University Sustainability, Mason Dining, and others are working to help George Mason reach its Zero Waste goal: diverting 90% or more of all waste items away from the trash through reuse, recycling, and composting.

Learning the ins and outs. Brim’s first job in George Mason Facilities was as a quality assurance inspector for the university’s housekeeping contract. Brim moved to the waste/recycle team in 2011, learning every aspect of the operation from the ground up. That knowledge and experience led him to his current role as the supervisor of that team.

Spreading the word. Brim takes pride in his team and how they help foster a culture of sustainability at Mason. “I ensure my team knows just as much as I do about waste and recycling here at Mason,” Brim said. His team’s interactions with others on campus help inform the community about the proper disposal of different items, protecting Mason’s recycling and composting streams.

It all comes back to serving George Mason students, according to Brim. “Students are the reason we are here, so they’re our target audience,” said Brim. “I’m always interested in hearing their input on what we can do better, or what they would like to see.”

Harnessing the sun. Expanded composting access is part of a long-term strategy to improve George Mason’s waste diversion rate. Brim’s team recently installed new Bigbelly zero waste stations on the Fairfax and Mason Square campuses, some of which include solar-powered, waste compacting compost bins. Brim’s team plans to install more Bigbelly stations, expanding their availability across all of Mason’s Virginia campuses.

Saving the scraps. Composting efforts will also increase in campus dining locations. “Mason Facilities is looking to expand our composting programs with all food vendors on campus, with a main focus on behind-the-scenes food waste,” Brim said. These composting streams are often easier to control, ensuring a clean composting product.

The glass is half full. This spring, George Mason launched a glass recycling program, with purple recycling trailers parked on the Fairfax Campus. Brim says the glass recycling program has expanded to collect glass bottles at catered events on campus.

“We will continue to divert as much away from landfill and incinerator as we can,” Brim said.

Reduce, reuse . . . relax. Outside work, Brim spends time with his wife of 33 years (his high school sweetheart), three adult children, five grandkids, and two dogs. “They all keep me pretty busy,” he said. Relaxing in the backyard tops the list, too. “It’s the little things in life,” Brim said.

Can I recycle this? Check out this guide to the university-wide waste streams at Mason.

Find out more ways to make a sustainable impact at Mason.