How to Build a Business and Save the Planet

Laurel Kleiber Harrop ’10 runs an award-winning recycling company she founded to keep hundreds of thousand of pounds of waste out of landfills, including some that’s toxic.

The business administration alumna’s company, Laurel Environmental Group, oversees the streetlamp recycling program for PG&E’s entire 70,000 square-mile service territory and also works with Caltrans to recycle its lights along California highways.

“As PG&E converts its outdated streetlamps to more efficient LEDs, we’re managing the process of dismantling and recycling approximately 180,000 streetlights for them,” Harrop says. “More than 95 percent of each fixture is recycled as scrap metal, plastic, and glass.”

A few internal components and the light bulbs, containing a small amount of mercury, are all that remain in the end — those go to the dump or a hazardous waste facility, respectively.