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A Tribute to Steve Thompson a True Leader

We are saddened to report Steve Thompson died suddenly last week. Steve was a recycling champion, a mentor to many, a member of our family for more than a decade as Executive Director, and an intensely valued friend to the industry. Steve held a vision for improved recycling and his leadership, through good times and bad, cannot be overstated. We will miss his wisdom, his friendship, his humor, and his love for life.

A Letter from Keefe:

Steve Thompson was fond of reminding us that, “A rising tide floats all boats.”  He was an early champion of packaging materials and organizations collaborating to drive smart solutions for recycling. In hindsight, I think it was more than that. In many ways, Steve was the one who raised up the rest of us. He brought a spark and an inspired challenge to each of his relationships – warm, smart, and startlingly articulate. He helped unlock doors in individual thinking, and in our industry.

Since his retirement, I’ve sure missed seeing my buddy Steve at meetings. He was always one who I tried to sit next to because not only did I learn something, I had a lot of fun. Since his retirement, the Steve-void has been clearly noticeable. I’ve tried to fill that void with boisterous phone conversations (but he was always brief on the phone!), visiting with him and his beautifully creative wife Lauren at their home, and recently getting him back on the team to help us on a challenging project. Each day, we at The Recycling Partnership are very honored to continue Steve’s commitment to building strong solutions to recycling’s challenges. But we’re even more privileged to uphold his spirit of loving life, doing good work… and being a stickler for steadfast data.

In his obituary, his family asked that in lieu of flowers, we all just doing something kind. I can’t think of a better way to honor our friend than by each of us doing something that floats the boats of the people, and the planet.

Keefe Harrison
Executive Director