Recycling Research Foundation names 2018 national scholarship winner

Recycling Research Foundation names 2018 national scholarship winner

University of Michigan student Kyle Syndergaard focusing studies on material efficiency.

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November 27, 2018
Edited by Kelly Maile

The Recycling Research Foundation (RRF), a nonprofit associated with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, has announced Kyle Syndergaard as the recipient of its 2018 national scholarship.

The scholarship awards $5,000 to an individual seeking a graduate degree in a field that supports the scrap processing and recycling industry, according to a recent news release.

“He is someone who at a very early age recognized the environmental and economic benefits of recycling and developed a passion for it,” says Robin Wiener, ISRI president. “This passion drove him to study and seek a career in material efficiency, of which recycling plays a large role.”

A native of Pocatello, Idaho, Syndergaard attended Brigham Young University where he studied mechanical engineering. After graduation, he pursued a short career in the agricultural equipment business.

Seeing a need for more efficient ways to reduce and recycle the amount of scrap produced during product manufacturing, Syndergaard left his job and returned to school at the University of Michigan to research material efficiency or "how to reduce the amount of material we use to provide goods and services."

“I hope to one day be involved in large-scale projects or policy changes which can shape the future of recycling in the U.S. and across the world, but I recognize that even with the research I'm performing my knowledge and practical experience is limited,” Syndergaard says. “Because of that, I feel it's important for me to spend some time in industry, preferably working for a U.S. based manufacturer so I can help to approach these problems on the smaller scale of an individual company.”

He adds, “I will hopefully expand my influence through promotions and leadership roles before eventually leaving to perform work at a larger scale, potentially at the national or global level.”

Syndergaard and his wife, Christina, have two children.

Over the last 10 years, RRF has offered scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students. Since 2002, the foundation has awarded more than $1.3 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 students and has overseen much needed research into the science and technology involved with recycling.