With a few (magic) tricks up his sleeve, CJ May has been recycling Yale’s tons (and tons) of waste and castoffs — mattresses, furniture, clothes and the like — since 1989. Sadly, as described in a swan song profile in the New Haven Independent, his reign as the salvage king is coming to an end. With budget cuts and staff reductions hitting hard and campus-wide, May’s been laid off and will be out the door come July.
May’s a familiar face around New Haven—known to leap tall buildings and disappear 133 mattresses in a single bound (check out the article for how he pulled that one off at semester’s end). He’s ever present at City Hall when recycling is on the agenda, almost always sporting an orange vest, and—of course—consistently ready with a magic trick or two to capture even the greatest sustainability skeptic’s attention. His levitating water bottle trick is always a crowd-pleaser: if you can track him down before he leaves, he’ll no doubt be happy to oblige. As he explains in the article, “there’s magic in everything—cans, bottles, mattresses—anyone who recycles is seeing that magic in the material and making it happen again and again and again.”
Magic aside, May will be missed. But Independent writer Melissa Bailey reports that Yale’s Office of Sustainability says his departure is by no means the end of recycling at Yale. Check out the full article here for a rundown of the incredible—now institutionalized—campus-wide programs May sprouted and nurtured during his 22-year tenure at Yale.