Meghan Vidakovic Realizes Lifelong Dream at ReCollect
From researching the latest waste-related news and legislation to reaching out to potential customers to offer ReCollect resources and support, Meghan Vidakovic’s quest to help people across North America recycle better never ends.
Since she was little, Meghan knew she wanted to work in the waste industry. ReCollect, in particular, was always in the back of her mind. Her father worked in the waste industry, she says, repairing garbage trucks and such. She used to ride with him on service calls, visiting landfills and more.
“That’s how it started,” she says, of her career aspirations.
Seeing all of that trash was a catalyst for her. She thought, “How is there so much garbage? How can there be this much stuff in the landfill?”
She quickly transitioned from shock to brainstorming a plan of action. “We need to do something,” she remembers thinking. “People need to learn how to properly manage their garbage.” Before she knew it, she had started on the path that would eventually lead her to ReCollect, she says. Those experiences truly “shaped and contributed to the work that I’m doing now.”
In seventh grade, she started a milk carton recycling program at her school. “We couldn’t recycle milk cartons, for some reason,” she says. Her dad, who was working for a waste hauler at the time, would visit the school at the end of every week to gather the milk cartons she had collected.
“I was always really proud of that,” she says, applauding “seventh-grade Meghan.”
Then, around 2017, Meghan’s dad crossed paths with ReCollect Customer Success Manager Kelly Millman at a waste conference in Las Vegas. He learned about the organization and its work providing municipalities and organizations with digital tools to help the people they serve recycle better.
After he returned from the conference, Meghan says her dad told her all about ReCollect and how well it aligned with her values. The more she learned about ReCollect and its mission, the more she hoped to work there some day.
She always kept ReCollect in mind as she went off to university. She graduated from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. Then, she continued her education at Niagara College Canada, and earned a degree in environmental management before doing some communications work for a couple of nonprofits and later, taking an internship in waste management.
“That really gave me a glimpse into the world of municipal waste management,” she says.
Together, all of those experiences “really prepared me for my work at ReCollect.”
In August 2021, she joined the ReCollect team as a Waste Reduction and Recycling Specialist. Since then, her work at ReCollect has been exciting and challenging.
“I just love learning new things all the time,” she says, adding that she is fascinated by the waste industry. There are innumerable opportunities to learn about the industry, the challenges we face, and how we’re solving those challenges.
“I talk to people from all over North America, which is really awesome,” she says. “it’s just interesting to see how everyone kind of has the same challenges even though we’re all so different and far apart, and it’s nice to kind of see that ReCollect is kind of the thread that connects everyone together to solve those challenges.”
That sense of community is one of the many things Meghan loves about her job. Her favorite part about her work is “getting to work with awesome, like-minded people,” she says. “Everyone’s just so collaborative, and we’re all working together with the same kind of goal of making the world a better place and helping out people with their recycling. It’s awesome.”
Meghan enjoys being a recycling resource for the masses, she says, adding that everyone at ReCollect genuinely cares about customer success. In addition to the digital tools ReCollect offers, Meghan says she also appreciates the resources and content ReCollect provides for free.
“(We) just want to put that information out there,” and see it help people improve recycling education, waste management programs and more, she says — for ReCollect customers especially, but even for people who aren’t.
When she isn’t hard at work, Meghan can be found reading fantasy and young-adult fiction, hiking around Niagara, or hitting up farmers markets.
“This is really where I want to be.”
6 Fast Facts about Meghan
What is Meghan listening to? My musical taste has not changed since high school, so I listen to a lot of Green Day, Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, All Time Low.
Fun fact: I’m actually in Linkin Park’s Top 1% of listeners on Spotify.
If you were a hot sauce, what level would you rate yourself and why? After some deliberation I settled on a 5. In day-to-day life, I’m pretty mild. I’m not quick to anger. But when it comes to things such as environmental issues or women’s rights and things that I’m really passionate about? I can definitely get fired up pretty quickly.
What gets you through a hard work day? I really wanted to work in the waste industry (and work for ReCollect). Just knowing that my 12-year-old self would be just so thrilled that I have this job and I’m doing what I’m doing…This is where I wanted to be for so long.
People on planet earth should: Always be kind.
The world could do without: Greed.