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A Lifetime in Waste: Carl Apicella on the Importance of Giving Back to the Industry

As we continue to navigate the early months of 2024, embracing new beginnings and continuing commitments, Carl Apicella offers his children a challenge different from the norm: pick a charity to support. In doing so, he’s continuing a family tradition, specifically the spirit of his mother who gave countless hours doing charitable, nonprofit, and volunteer work. Aside from that tradition, it’s a window into the character of a man who’s dedicated his life to an industry often overlooked.

The waste and recycling industry, with its complexities and challenges, has greatly benefitted from the passion and expertise of professionals like Carl. A lifelong industry veteran, his imprint extends far beyond seasonal philanthropy into the core of environmental responsibility and innovation. The industry has seen significant growth and challenges over the years, but one consistent theme in its evolution has been the dedication and support of its professionals like Carl, a lifelong industry veteran and a significant benefactor to the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF).

Carl’s journey in the industry began early. Starting as a consultant, his career trajectory saw him working with international giants like BFI and managing some of the largest landfills, such as the West New Territories Landfill (WENT) in Nim Wan, Tuen Mun. Over time, he transitioned from consultancy to owning and running a company specializing in landfill services. Reflecting on his company’s success after its sale in 2012, Carl says, “I’ve been incredibly blessed, and I was looking for some way to give back to the industry, and the scholarship made perfect sense, and EREF made perfect sense.”

His connection to EREF began almost two decades ago. Recognizing its role in bolstering the industry, Carl’s admiration for EREF’s efforts in education and industry research is evident. He’s passionate about investing in environmental education and research, emphasizing the need for technically oriented professionals to handle the evolving challenges in the industry. However, this wasn’t just about recognizing challenges but also providing solutions. To ensure continued innovation in the sector, Carl first endowed a master’s level scholar and recently chose to increase his support to fund a PhD candidate, ensuring there are experts in the field of sustainable resource management. This funding aims to help students achieve their academic goals and enter the industry well-equipped to address its complexities, like the ever-increasing size of landfills, changing waste characteristics, and the growing need for a more circular economy.

Carl is a familiar face at EREF’s key events like the Fall Classic and Charitable Auction (held at Waste Expo). His regular attendance at these events goes beyond just socializing; it reflects his true support for the foundation’s goals of advancing education and innovation in the waste industry. His engagement helps fuel the foundation’s progress and plays a role in preparing a new wave of industry professionals ready to address the changing needs of waste management.

This career journey from the streets of Hong Kong to executive boardrooms showcases the diverse aspects of the waste and recycling sector. His dedication is not just about giving back to an industry that has been central to his life, but also actively contributing to a more sustainable future. In a world where environmental concerns are at the forefront of global conversations, individuals like Carl Apicella exemplify the confluence of business success and environmental responsibility. They’re a reminder that one can thrive while making a difference and that, often, the two are intrinsically linked.

by Stephen Aber

About EREF

EREF is a 501(c)3 class charity that advances scientific research and creates educational pathways that enable innovation in sustainable waste management practices. For complete information on EREF-funded research, its scholarship program, and how to donate to this great cause, visit erefdn.org.

Media Contact:

Stephen Aber
Communications Manager
Email: saber@erefdn.org