Recycling Center hits brakes on gas vehicles, adds electric car

What sophomore Recycling Center employee Matt Boehm drives at work is not your typical company car. Instead, it is a mega-electric, eco-friendly vehicle.

“It’s just a nice small size, and you can get to places you normally wouldn’t be able to get to with the pick-up truck or the cube truck,” Boehm said.

Paul Hietpas, assistant coordinator of the Recycling and Receiving Physical Plant, said the new environmentally-sound vehicle is used for transferring products delivered to the university.

“We do also use it for light recycling tasks like changing all the external containers,” Hietpas said.

The vehicle was brought to campus thanks to an allotment from the campus sustainability fund.

“The students and I felt that it was silly that we were using a gas vehicle to pick up recycling when there are so many different options out there,” Hietpas said.

Boehm said he uses the car for work on a weekly basis.

“[The car] serves a good purpose for us. It makes things more convenient,” Boehm said.

Hietpas said he hopes that the use of this clean-energy alternative will reflect the values of St. Thomas.

“I think it’s really a symbol of the university’s path toward a more sustainable environment here,” Hietpas said.

Caroline Rode can be reached at