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Meet Our New Recycling Program Manager, Justine Abbo!

When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Justine had no idea. From a young age, her career choice tests came back with no concrete answers, pulling equal interest from arts, sciences and humanities. Distraughtly, she sat down with her father, who posed the question, “well, what don’t you wanna be?” with which she answered “a garbage man”. 

Justine marching with others at the Oakland County Climate Rally, holding a sign that addresses climate change denial

While there are linear career paths, Justine’s is more reminiscent of the city of Detroit’s street map; it branches out into a diverse array, but all roads lead back to the center. Justine has been a director of a student-led nonprofit, invented a product called Scrunchie Shot, and dabbled in marketing. Yet throughout her career, Justine has always returned to sustainability.

Justine attended the University of Michigan where she earned a Bachelors in Fine Arts with a focus in Industrial Design and a Minor in Entrepreneurship. For Justine, design was about more than aesthetics, it was a catalyst to addressing problems with creative solutions. By use of second-hand materials, Justine prototyped consumer products for all types of bodies. Her favorite design was a weighted pencil holder for people with muscular dystrophy. She chopped and melted plastic from old containers into injection molds to do so. (Don’t try this at home.) She continued discovering themes of accessibility and sustainability throughout her designs, centering her senior thesis around optimizing life cycle assessments of consumer products, working with bamboo.

Outside of class, Justine made continuous efforts to connect her passion for accessibility and creativity to communities in Detroit. As a first-semester freshman, she joined Seven Mile, a student-led nonprofit organization that provides supplemental fine arts education to Detroit youth. Her favorite project was teaching students how to weave secondhand fabric into blankets. By her senior year, Justine led Seven Mile Arts as a co-director and sat on the executive board of the program.

Upon graduating college amidst a pandemic, Justine obtained her TRUE Zero Waste Advisor certification that she will ultimately put to the test at Green Living Science. She was a fellow at The Ripple Center, a program for environmental and social impact entrepreneurs, where she built a business plan to help restaurants in Detroit achieve zero waste, finding passion in empowering small businesses through environmental education.

Justine imagines a world where circularity is at the forefront of the economy. She dreams to one day rent out and turn in reusable cups at coffee shops, and hopes someone invents paper towel that is actually recyclable. Justine is excited to work with Green Living Science and the city of Detroit to achieve zero waste… so that no one has to be a garbage man.

Justine is happy to connect and may be reached at

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