Captain Tearable debuts at Scripps

Jessica NgGuest Contributor

Disclaimer: Many a tearable pun was made in the making of this campaign.

The students of the Scripps Recycling Committee are thrilled to introduce Captain Tearable! She’s a Scripps superhero who separates her “tearable” recycling (cardboard and paper) from the rest of her “comingled” recycling. This way, Maintenance can bale the tearable recycling, reducing its volume, the number of times it has to be picked up, and subsequently transportation energy and emissions. Scripps also gets to spend the proceeds on sustainability programs, such as composting, sustainable building, and making tearable recycling even better!

The four of us in the Committee have been involved in various sustainability initiatives during our time at Scripps, including Environmental Club, the Sustainability Committee, SAS Sustainability Chair, and LEED advocacy. We were eager to help Niel Erickson, director of the Maintenance Department, implement a campus-wide tearable recycling program when he approached the Sustainability Committee looking for student volunteers. In February, 2013, we did a photoshoot with the new tearable recycling bins and publicized the informational picture that appears at the bottom of the Captain Tearable poster.

But two months after our first campaign, we realized a tearable truth: students weren’t putting their cardboard in the proper bins. Some were, of course, but a lot of cardboard--the biggest component of recycling by volume--was still ending up in the bright blue comingled bins instead of the dark blue tearable bins. The cardboard couldn’t be compacted, so the comingled recycling still had to be picked up nearly as much as before. What’s an environmentalist to do?

Captain Tearable to the rescue! Combining our love of fun, photography, and sustainability, we came up with this Scripps superhero to put a fun face and a tearable pun to paper and cardboard recycling.Then we sent Captain Tearable’s photos to Communications and Marketing, who put together an eyecatching poster to highlight the subtle benefits of tearable recycling.

We’ve had a fantastic time creating Captain Tearable, and we hope she’ll make tearable recycling an exciting and integral part of life at Scripps. Happy recycling!

Lots of love from Lauren Mitten, Jessica Ng, Lucia Nunez, and Mieke Ruina, your favorite Scripps Recycling Committee.

For more information, contact the SAS Sustainability Chair at