Toy Andrews

Toy Andrews Profile Picture
Home Department:

Mentor / Lab:
Dr. Randy Rapp

Specific Research Area / Project:
Sustainable Disaster Waste Management "Opportunities from Disaster: The Case for Improved Resource Reclamation Practices"

Research Profile:

Following a disaster and after all of the immediate lifesaving efforts are done, the next step of the returning to normal life begins with debris removal. This debris has, up until now, always been labeled as a waste and is lost to the landfill costing communities three times: land use, ecologically, and economically. Through my research in sustainable disaster waste management, I will engage with contracted clean-up businesses and government contracting officials to uncover the drivers of their metrics of success. Using a grounded theory approach, the research is intended to take earlier efforts of pilot programs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and codify them into the new paradigm of resource reclamation as the standard business model.

With the ever-increasing frequency of natural disasters, construction demand for raw materials to rebuild each time and landfill demands will reach a point where the costs are untenable. In the construction industry, reusing materials is an emerging trend as businesses see the investments into the circular economy good for profits AND good for the environment. By bringing a massive amount of materials into the reuse market after a disaster, the opportunities going forward can not only dial down the impact of raw material extraction, but also dial up the motivations of construction companies to design, build, and reuse with this in mind. Once the policy matches the intention of companies to make a good choice, other areas in legislation, protocols, and rules can model the same framework to do good for everyone involved.

Toy Andrews Research Picture

About Me:

After seeing my hometown constantly being hit by hurricanes and watching my old friends from the area dealing with the after effects of a storm, I knew I wanted to be part of the disaster preparedness and response arms. While serving the US Navy in Bahrain, I found this program of the Purdue Military Research Initiative (PMRI) and knew this was the way I could contribute further to the field and when I found out about ESE and their mission, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

My experience as the lone, military gwith a family of three in tow into a young group of like-minded problem solvers across the spectrum of degrees and backgrounds. One example of how these 'wicked problem' problem solvers came together was in a heated debate topic on social justice in the developing world as part of the colloquium class. We combined our experiences of engineering, agriculture, political science, and technology to develop an excellent policy solution. I actively seek out this mixed point-of-view approach to all of my research going forward.

With my doctorate in hand and after retiring from the military in the coming years, I want to use my degree knowledge in the planning aspects of readiness and response for a disaster in my state while serving as a consultant for businesses to implement the circular economy into their disaster planning. I may not save the world, but on my small-scale farm, I want to further demonstrate these integrated principles to my kids and schools around the area with hands-on workshops and application.


  • Supports the Purdue Veterans Support Center. Active participant in the Farmers Veteran Coalition, Indiana AgVets, and the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.

Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 170 | 155  S. Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114 | 765-494-2600

© Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by The Purdue University Graduate School

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact The Purdue University Graduate School.