American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists (AAEES) presents an interactive session with “live chat” capability. The session is open to environmental engineering and science professionals across all sectors and career stages. Our objective is to offer special insights on leading-edge solutions for graduate and undergraduate students and early to mid-career environmental professionals considering specialty certification.
AAEES Board Certified Individuals: Attend this event and earn 1.5 PDHs towards your PDH requirements for maintaining your specialty certification.
Plastics have always had a rocky reputation. Fifty years ago, the Kinks sang “Plastic Man” as a paean to their superficiality. Now they are blamed for a wide array of problems ranging from marine debris, environmental injustice, negative health impacts, and fraudulent recycling. Yet their use has transformed the products we use in our daily life and what we do with those products when we are through with them. In 1960, plastics were less than half of a percent of America’s trash. Today, they are one-eighth of the garbage we generate. Their impact is significant.
This webinar will look at the rise of plastics in our waste. It will examine the collection, disposal (whether energy recovery or landfill), and recycling along with the extent to which plastics have led to less waste to manage. This webinar will teach you more about plastics’ pervasiveness in our society and how we can best manage their afterlife.
About the Presenters
Bob Gardner holds B.S. and M.E. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Virginia. He is a Senior Vice President of SCS Engineers and has been with the firm since 1980. He serves on the firm’s Board of Directors and oversees SCS’s nationwide solid waste management practice. His expertise is in solid waste management and environmental engineering. He provides consulting and engineering services to municipal and private clients throughout the United States and abroad. Bob is involved with the Environmental Research and Education Foundation Research Council. He is a past Director of the Solid Waste Association of North Americas Landfill Management.
Chaz Miller is a fifty-year veteran of the waste and recycling industry. He was part of EPA’s original Resource Recovery program, is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Recycling Coalition, chaired the Aiming for Zero Waste Task Force in his home county in Maryland and writes an award-winning column for Waste360 magazine.
So the last ten months have been different, to say the least. As many of you know, normally I’m traveling somewhere every week. Such has not been the case since February/March when I last traveled to San Diego and Reston. I’ve only traveled by car to two places since the pandemic began. I have not worked in an office since February. Within one week of all the shelter in place orders issued in California, SCS Engineers transitioned its entire office workforce to working from home. Our Field Staff and other essential workers continue performing services outside of the office and with PPE and social distancing.
I have never really perceived the stress of traveling all the time, but being home has been relaxing and therapeutic in a way. I eat lunch almost every day with Carole, my wife. We often watch something educational during lunch or just talk. I’ve been able to watch the sunrise almost every day. I observe the daily ebb and flow of life from my “home office,” which faces the front of my house. From there, I keep tabs on all things solid waste throughout SCS and the country. I watch my neighbors walk their dogs and stroll together, and the hordes of kids on their bicycles flying around the neighborhood.
I have walked almost 3 miles every day for the last six months, enjoying the morning solitude, quietness, and seasons’ changing. I’ve watched all kinds of YouTube videos, mostly woodworking, and taught myself how to use Fusion 360.which is a 3D AutoCad program from AutoDesk.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of time after work and on weekends in my woodshop. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this diversion. I’ve designed and built several fairly ambitious projects, the biggest ones being a set of workshop cabinets (tops and bottoms) with 20 drawers, cabinets for my daughter and son-in-law, a large mobile workbench for my woodshop, a bunk bed for my grandkids, and a new desk that I’m finishing now. I’ve learned that Amazon is a dangerous thing because it makes it way too easy to buy new tools and gadgets to support my woodworking habit. I’ve had fun talking with other SCSers and clients who share a passion for woodworking as well.
We were fortunate to have my daughter Christine, her husband Chris, and three of my grandchildren (Frankie, Robert, and George) with us this summer for nearly a month, which was fun and chaotic. We miss our West Coast contingent, Paul (my son), Lindsay (daughter-in-law), Austin, and Julia (our two other grandchildren). They moved to Bellevue, Washington, right at the beginning of the pandemic, where my son took a job with Amazon as an optical-mechanical engineer. Since March, we haven’t seen them in person; however, we do FaceTime with them almost every day.
I’ve learned to wear a mask, keep six feet of separation, use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Talk, LifeSize, and Webex. We continue to keep work, family, and friends together using these tools, which has been good.
This whole situation does wear on me from time to time, but I keep telling myself, this is just like walking those three miles each day, one foot after the other. There are so many people struggling now; my situation is blessed. My family, SCS, and my friends are doing everything we can to ease their burden. Hopefully, the end of this pandemic is in sight. Until then, we find ways to manage, help others, and stepping out of our normal routines helps us grow.
Bob Gardner, Sr. VP SCS Engineers
The American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) recently nominated and confirmed Robert Gardner as the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Trustee to the Board. His term began January 1, 2019, and extends until December 31, 2021.
Mr. Gardner is a Senior Vice President of SCS Engineers and leads SCS’s solid waste management practice, including landfill engineering, landfill gas management, solid waste studies, landfill environmental systems, liquids management, operation and maintenance, and construction.
Mr. Gardner is also SCS’s National Expert on Solid Waste Collection and Routing, supporting municipalities and businesses nationwide to continue or expand their sustainable recycling-reuse programs despite international export restrictions and market fluctuation.
AAEES, a not-for-profit organization serves to protect public health and the environment by recognizing leadership and excellence through accredited Board Certification of Environmental Engineers and Scientists and with professional development opportunities. Mr. Gardner’s expertise supports multiple programs in the solid waste management industry, which have a profound positive impact on the environment, climate change, and human health.
Mr. Gardner is a Professional Engineer in thirteen states and Puerto Rico. He is an AAEES Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) in Solid Waste Management. In addition to serving the AAEES, Gardner is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Solid Waste Association of North America, National Society of Professional Engineers, National Waste and Recycling Association, and the Environmental Education and Research Foundation.