Owner and CEO
Green Girl Recycling
Location: Longmont, Colorado
*Second Year Honoree*
Bridget Johnson sees the numbers and knows Colorado has a long way to go with regard to recycling. She cites a report that showed in 2021 Colorado ranked among the 20 worst states for recycling and compost diversion, at about 15% diversion overall. But Johnson isn’t dissuaded from her mission.
“I see it as a challenge,” the owner and CEO of Green Girl Recycling said. “How can we help more people in Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties think and be a little greener each day? I have a plan ... and it’s big.”
Johnson was named a titan in 2021 and then spent the year building on her already strong leadership skills. She set a goal to read one leadership and business culture book per month. “I know in my gut it helped foster not only personal growth, I see it playing out in my companies. I learned that I still need to work on quicker kind-candor when an employee is not meeting my expectations and that my empathy for employees in hard times has helped me retain staff where I have seen other companies having a hard time with retention,” she said.
In the last year, Green Girl Recycling upgraded its recycling fleet by adding a new box truck, which has helped double the ability to haul electronics. The company partnered with the city of Longmont and ran its fall e-waste and paper-shredding roundup. It upgraded its website to allow Covid-safe scheduling for warehouse drop-offs and helped more than 1,000 homes in two weeks divert more than 148 tons of electronics from the landfill. Green Girl also tripled its eBay sales in 2021.
Most important of all, Johnson said, her company hit a financial goal she had set 22 years earlier when she started picking up recycling, and she achieved a realization that one can make a difference and make money at the same time.
“I remember someone I greatly admired stating, ‘No one ever gets into the recycling space to make money, they do it because it’s just the right thing to do.’ I think I took that advice a little too close to heart and never really focused 100% on the money goals,” Johnson said. “I thought helping people and making a difference in the environment should be my top priorities. The truth is, by aligning with like-minded business owners and learning it actually is OK to decide to make money in the recycling space, it helps me make a bigger impact and difference faster.
“This was not only an accomplishment but life lesson I hope to share with other business owners in the future. You can make a difference and money at the same time. You can honestly make a bigger impact overall when finances aren’t a limiting factor. Success in the environmental space is not greedy, it’s GREEN at its core, and it is beautiful. I’m going to tear into 2022 and look forward to hitting even bigger goals this year.”
"You can make a difference and money at the same time."