Tag Archives: sustainability

2020 A&WMA Annual Conference

June 29, 2020

Meet SCS Engineers professionals at Air & Waste Management Association’s 113th Annual Conference and Exhibition – “ACE 2020 Gateway to Innovation”, June 29 – July 2 in San Francisco.  Several of our professionals will deliver technical presentations, and SCS will also have a booth.

Environmental leadership will be the foundation of ACE 2020, embracing innovation and forward-looking vision to address the challenges posed by climate change, sustainability, and mitigation of environmental impacts while accommodating growth.

Technical program highlights 

“Strategies for Climate Change Planning and Adaptation for Waste Management Facilities”
Jacob Shepherd is a Senior Project Professional specializing in air compliance and reporting within EPA Region III. He is experienced in environmental engineering, air compliance, renewable energy, landfill and landfill gas engineering, and environmental services throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and is a Professional Engineer licensed in Virginia.

“Uncertainty EPA has Created with New NSPS XXX and Cf Rules”
Gabrielle Fourie Stephens has 13 years of experience in environmental consulting, all with SCS. She has been involved in numerous projects related to air permitting and compliance with solid waste regulations, including landfill gas (LFG) surface and perimeter monitoring, LFG assessment, and perimeter probe design and installation.

“Air and Waste Issues in the Agricultural Industry”
Ryan Christman is a Project Professional with SCS Engineers specializing in air compliance and reporting. He is experienced in environmental engineering, air compliance, air emissions calculations, environmental management information systems (EMIS), and landfill gas engineering services.

Jeff Marshall is a Vice President of SCS Engineers, Environmental Services Practice Leader for SCS offices in the Mid-Atlantic region, and our National Expert in Innovative Technologies. His over 35 years of experience include a diversified background in project engineering and management, with emphasis on environmental chemistry and human health risk issues.

“Multidisciplinary Strategies for Greenhouse Gas Reductions”
Cassandra Drotman Farrant is experienced in environmental consulting, specializing in environmental assessment and greenhouse gas (GHG) verification. She has participated in many GHG verification projects throughout the U.S. and has completed approximately 70 Phase I Environmental Assessments (ESAs) in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Over 35 panels featuring experts who will discuss the latest issues in technology and regulation including:

  • ​Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
  • Fenceline Air Monitoring Data
  • Mobile Mapping in Air Quality Assessment
  • Carbon Offsets/Cap-and-trade
  • VOC Emission Controls
  • New Source Review
  • BACT
  • EPA Priorities 2020-2021
  • Air Permitting, Legislation, and Policy Development

The conference will feature over 50 sessions, organized into 17 tracks on the latest environmental topics, including:

  • Air Quality
  • Regulatory and Legal
  • Health and Environmental Effects
  • Transportation
  • Waste Management
  • Sustainability

Click for more information and to register



Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

Tennessee Environmental Network Show of the South (TENSOS), Chattanooga CANCELED UNTIL 2021

May 13, 2020

The 2020 Conference has been canceled. The dates for 2021 will be announced soon.

Meet SCS Engineers professionals at the Tennessee Environmental Network Show of the South (TENSOS) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 13-15.

The conference features eight breakout sessions covering a wealth of topics including sustainability in the recycling industry, climate change solutions, beneficial reuse, brownfields, solid waste management, air quality updates, PFAS, site closure, water regulations, recovered materials, resource conservation, stormwater management, NSPS landfills, vapor intrusion, CWD, emerging contaminants, nuclear waste, asbestos, hazardous waste, air dispersion modeling, CCR pond closures, and much more!

The TENSOS conference and exhibition is the largest, most comprehensive and diverse environmental education opportunity in Tennessee, and will be attended by over 1,000 Local, State, and Federal Government Officials, Business and Industry Leaders, Attorneys, Consultants, Engineers, Developers, Land Owners, Architects, Agribusiness Leaders, Energy Experts, Water Planning Districts, Universities, Public Health Officials, Solid Waste, Enviro-Tech, and Recycling Experts, and many, many others with a strong interest in environmental activities in Tennessee and the Southeast region.

The long-running Environmental Show of the South was known across the region for providing high quality technical education at an affordable cost. The conference connected the regulated community with government and other professionals in a meaningful way that improved environmental compliance throughout Tennessee. While the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) is no longer managing this event, it nevertheless is playing an active role in developing the agenda for this year’s conference.

Click for more information and to register



Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

EREF Celebrates 25 Years of Industry Research and Education

October 18, 2019

This week the solid waste industry is celebrating 25 years of valuable research, inspiration, and support of solid waste professionals provided by the Environmental Research & Education Foundation. On Tuesday, industry leaders met to recognize EREF’s impact on the solid waste industry and acknowledge the role stakeholders play supporting the Foundation and sharing the resulting research.

EREF is a trusted source of data-driven, empirical science for the betterment of solid waste management and policy informing industry, federal and state agencies, academics, and the public. The foundation is also a resource for students and young professionals in the solid waste industry, by providing scholarships, internships, and MSW eTextbook programs. These programs inspire young professionals and ultimately add to EREF’s research and the industry as a whole.

EREF receives funding and participation from companies such as SCS Engineers to continue new research and scholarship programs such as the Robert P. Stearns Master’s Scholarship. The foundation is remarkably successful in producing unbiased reports, which translate ideas and data into action for sustainable waste management practices.

Thank you and congratulations from your colleagues at SCS Engineers for 25 years of scientific research and educational initiatives for the benefit of our industry and the communities we serve.





Posted by Diane Samuels at 9:28 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

SCS Advice From the Field: How to Plan for Success and Become a Sustainable School

May 23, 2018

Setting up a school zero waste program takes time, patience, excellent collaboration and communication, and a team that wants to achieve the same goal of zero waste. Tracie Bills recommends a realistic approach in her article. She provides examples and describes how a consulting firms, such as SCS Engineers, assist schools without materials management programs to launch zero waste programs.

Building a successful program does not happen overnight, but you can do it!

Read the article.


Tracie Onstad Bills is  SCS Engineers Northern California Director of Sustainable Materials Management. She has over 20 years of materials management experience, including working for a hauler, a county government, and a nonprofit, and over 12 years of experience with materials management consulting firms. She has provided commercial sector materials flow assessments; organics processing research and analysis; waste characterization studies; and recycling, organics, and waste management technical assistance to government agencies, schools, multi-family dwellings, and businesses. Ms. Bills has an environmental science degree from San Jose State and is an instructor for the SWANA Zero Waste certification program.





Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:03 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

How’d they do it? Decentralized Urban Composting

January 9, 2018

The NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse is a program funded by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), which features a community composting facility, located under the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, New York.  The compost facility is part of a community-scale composting network. The finished compost is used in community gardens, street trees, and other public greening projects.

Global Green just published the design-build strategy used in this successful program. The full report covers the following topics:

  • Site design and layout
  • Feedstock mixing
  • Covered ASP system
  • Turned windrows and screening
  • Monitoring
  • Working surfaces
  • Grading and stormwater management
  • Contact water management
  • Electric utility service

Read the full report here or on the SCS website.



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:01 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

SCS Sustainability Corner: Repurpose, Reuse, Upcycle

June 23, 2017

Everyone knows about recycling, especially if you work at SCS.  Many times, there are different ways that you can reuse those items for something else before, or instead of, getting rid of them.  Today, we are sharing easy zero waste tips to repurpose items you have around your house, rather than just tossing them in the recycle bin:

  • Magazines
    Roll up a couple of these and stick one into each of your calf- or knee-high boots so the footwear will keep its shape and save room in your closet.
  • Empty Paper Towel Rolls
    Flatten it, and use it to sheathe a knife kept in a drawer. Bonus health and safety points!
  • Small Glass Food Jars
    These make perfect see-through storage vessels for nails, screws, bolts, safety pins, paper clips, change… even small earrings or spare buttons.
  • Old Shower Curtains
    Stash one in your car’s trunk to line it when carrying potentially messy paints, plants, or picnic and beach gear during the summer.
  • Used Coffee Grounds
    Spread them over flower beds of acid-craving plants like azaleas or rhododendrons in your garden.
  • Plastic Tubs
    Keep the containers from your favorite yogurt, margarine, peanut butter, etc. so they can be rinsed and reused as a travel dish for pets, craft supply storage, or for storing leftovers and bringing your lunch to the office, instead of purchasing additional plastic storage containers.
  • Gallon Milk Jugs
    Cut off the top with a utility knife just above the handle and use as a scoop for kitty litter, bird seed, potting soil, etc.
  • Foam Packing Peanuts
    Put some in the bases of potted plants to help drainage.
  • Plastic Mesh Produce Bags
    Turn it into a no-scratch scrubber for a gunky pot or pan. Ball up the bag, scour, then throw the whole mess away.
  • Silica Gel Packets
    These can be used to keep moisture away from so many things. Put them in your car’s storage compartments to avoid mildew, in your toolbox to prevent tools from rusting, on windowsills in the kitchen to banish condensation, inside the drawer with your silver or jewelry box to slow down tarnishing, tuck a few into your luggage, boxes of holiday decorations, or in the box with your family photos to protect them from humidity and mildew.

Author: Jennifer Mancini


Zero Waste Services



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

SCS Sustainability Corner: Spring Cleaning!

June 7, 2017

The SCS Sustainability Committee has been monitoring processes within our offices to encourage recycling and sustainable behavior, seeking to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and align our company’s operations with our values.

Recently, the committee has been discussing ways that we can reach even further in our efforts and we thought we could use our blog to reach out to all of you and offer tips to encourage more sustainable practices you can use at home.  I would like to introduce you to a new section of our SCS Blog we are calling the Sustainability Corner!

We begin with Spring Cleaning!

Swap Household Cleaners – Switching to green cleaners reduces air pollution both indoors and out, minimizing exposure to asthma and allergy triggers, as well as chemicals that can be harmful to your health and have a lasting effect on the environment. Bonus wellness points!  Look for plant-based products from companies that have a complete list of ingredients on their labels.

Here is a list of commercially available products that you can easily find at stores like Target or Home Depot: http://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/natural-eco-friendly-cleaning-products-for-the-conscious-home

Make Your Own Cleaners – With just a few inexpensive ingredients, you can easily make your own natural cleaning products that will be safer for your children and pets:

  • All-Purpose Natural Household Cleaner
    In a spray bottle, mix 9 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. You can add a few drops of dish soap, as well. Add essential oils if you’d like to minimize the strong smell of the vinegar. Melaleuca oil or lavender can be used as a cleansing, deodorizing, and purifying agent.
  • Glass and Mirrors
    The windows in your home can be effectively cleaned with 4 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with a half-gallon of water. Other effective cleaners for glass and mirrors are rubbing alcohol and witch hazel.
  • Bare Floors
    Mix one cup vinegar with one gallon of warm water and use it to mop ceramic tile, linoleum, vinyl, or wood floors. There is no need to rinse afterward either, which saves time and water.  If it looks dull after cleaning, simply mop over it with club soda!
  • Bug Spray and Pesticide
    Prevention is your best bet to control pests. Keeping your kitchen crumb-free and sealing any holes in the walls or cracks in the foundation means you won’t have to use harmful chemicals in your home.  If you do require pest control, a solution of peppermint oil and warm water is a deterrent to mice, roaches, flies and fleas.
  • Microwave
    Fill a bowl with water and place it in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. The steam from the water will loosen any food particles. Spray with the all-purpose cleaner recipe above and wipe down. For deodorizing, mix 1/4 cup of baking soda in a bottle of water, shake well until dissolved, and spray the entire surface allowing it to sit for several minutes before wiping clean.
  • Stove and Oven
    Sprinkle baking soda over charred food and scrub with a wet rag. For stubborn areas, spray the all-purpose natural household cleaner above over the baking soda and allow it to sit for several minutes before resuming scouring.
  • Toilets
    The seat and outside of the toilet can be cleaned with the all-purpose spray recipe. Pour a half cup of baking soda in the toilet bowl, allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes, then spray with the all-purpose vinegar solution above and scrub with a toilet brush. For really dirty toilets, use up to 100% white vinegar.
  • Vinyl
    Dipping a cloth in lemon juice and rubbing it onto the stained area can remove stains on vinyl items such as recliners or tile flooring.
  • Furniture Polishing
    Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice and apply it to your furniture using a soft cloth. When a hot serving dish or glass of water has marred the surface of a wood table, you can get rid of the mark by making a thin paste of salad oil or lemon oil and salt.  Wipe the paste on, and then lightly buff the area as you wipe it off with a soft cloth.
  • Metal Work
    Restore shine to tarnished copper or brass without any damage by making a paste of equal parts salt, vinegar, and flour. Rub the paste onto the brass or copper item with a soft cloth, let it dry, and wipe off the paste with a clean, soft cloth.


Author: Jennifer Mancini


Sustainability Services at SCS




Posted by Diane Samuels at 4:41 pm
Tag Archives: sustainability

EREF Awards Twelve Master’s and Doctoral Scholarships, Including the Robert P. Stearns – SCS Engineers Master’s Scholar 2016

October 26, 2016

Last week the Board of Directors of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) awarded the most scholarships in its history to Masters and Doctoral students across the United States and Canada.

Congratulations to each of the twelve recipients including Caroline Larose at the University of Michigan.


Caroline Larose, recipient of the 2016 Robert P. Stearns/SCS Engineers Scholarship from EREF for her analysis of urban waste programs to promote and practice sustainability.
Caroline Larose, recipient of the 2016 Robert P. Stearns/SCS Engineers Scholarship from EREF for her analysis of urban waste programs to promote and practice sustainability.

Caroline Larose was awarded the Robert P. Stearns – SCS Engineers Master’s Scholar this year. Her project, “Material Flows: Strategies to Reduce Ann Arbor’s Municipal Solid Waste and Improve Diversion,” consists of a comprehensive benchmarking analysis of urban waste programs and a review of city stakeholders to distill a set of MSW management, education, and awareness best practices. Following her research, Caroline plans to draft recommendations for the City, which will include updated MSW goals and an action plan to improve diversion and reduce waste creation.

About Caroline Larose

Caroline chose to go back to school to further her pursuit of making cities more sustainable. She identified solid waste as her primary research focus and has worked towards her idea of eliminating waste as a concept. Caroline is now in her third year as a dual MBA/MS student at the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan.

Caroline works to promote waste reduction and diversion on campus and throughout the Ann Arbor community by advising the implementation of campus-wide composting and uniform bin signage, as well as by organizing events such as the first Ross School of Business Waste Audit & Education Day and annual clothing swaps. Caroline, a member of the University-wide Student Sustainability Initiative board, has served as the VP of Sustainability for the Ross Net Impact chapter for 2-years. As a result of her leadership on campus, Caroline was selected to join the Ann Arbor Resource Management Team, advising the City of Ann Arbor on how to reduce its solid waste and improve diversion.

Posted by Diane Samuels at 3:00 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

How Does a Community get to Zero Waste in the 21st Century?

April 21, 2016

Zero Waste does not mean “zero trash”, but rather a “Zero Waste” of resources.


By Michelle Leonard, Solid Waste Planning and Recycling; Sustainability
National Expert

The term describes the desired end-state and a call-to-action rethinking what we regard as trash as potentially valuable resources. The overall goal of zero waste planning is to establish the goal of diverting at least 90 percent of the waste generated by all sources from a landfill.
Zero Waste is to:

  • Reduce our excess consumption.
  • Minimize any unnecessary waste.
  • Encourage recycling to the maximum extent possible.
  • Ensure that the products we use are made to be reused, repaired, or recycled back into nature or back into the marketplace.

Communities across North America have embraced the concept of Zero Waste, some by adopting a Zero Waste goal or policy, and others by completing a Zero Waste Plan. The plan includes implementing zero waste programs and infrastructure in a manner most sustainable for the community. Many communities establish a long-term goal of Zero Waste by setting interim goals to achieve and benchmark measuring progress. Goals may be quantified over years, by percentages, or by environmental factors relevant to your community.

There are several factors critical to sustainable Zero Waste programs.

Phasing in programs encourages acceptance of new policies, programs, and facilities, and the behavior modifications that come with them. Instead of continuing to focus on results at the end of the process, we find ways to fulfill the equation “waste = resource” within our industrial and societal systems. This mindset change helps to lead us to more systems that eliminate wastes to the environment, avoiding systematic deterioration of the environment. These systems are modeled by nature as the most efficient, less costly, and most profitable ways to move toward Zero Waste.

Programs that contribute to Zero Waste include upstream policies and programs. Over 71% of the waste generated happens before products and materials enter our homes, offices, schools and institutions. Upstream policies and programs aim to reduce the volume and toxicity of discarded products and materials and promote low-impact or reduced consumption lifestyles.

Producer Responsibility is an upstream activity, including advocacy at the state level and implementation of local ordinances for hard to handle materials, such as pharmaceuticals, sharps, batteries, CFLs. Local jurisdictions can support state legislation for Extended Producer Responsibility for materials such as carpet paint, etc.
Downstream programs aim to ensure the highest and best use of products and packaging at the end of their useful lives. They establish a hierarchy of:

  • Reusing products and packaging, retaining their original form and function.
  • Recycling materials that are not reduced or reused.
  • Composting materials that are not recycled.

Managing these materials will most likely require a combination of facilities which may include:

  • Material Recovery Facilities
  • Composting Facilities
  • Resource Recovery Parks
  • Construction & Demolition Debris Processing Facilities
  • Alternatives Technologies

The issue of how Waste to Energy fits into a Zero Waste system has been a hotly debated topic at many Zero Waste conferences, workshops, and planning sessions. The Zero Waste International Alliance includes in its definition “no burning or burying”. However, even the most aggressive, advanced Zero Waste system will still have some residual materials, and these materials will need to be managed. Some cities that have adopted Zero Waste plans and/or policies include waste to energy in their strategic plans. These cities recognize that Zero Waste policies and programs will achieve a high diversion rate, but they also acknowledge that a portion of the waste stream residuals will need to be disposed or processed. For these cities, waste to energy, or another alternative technology facility will fill that need, and will further reduce the use of landfill disposal.

Contact Michelle Leonard

Learn more about Sustainable Materials Management


Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: sustainability

Minimize Contamination in Recycling

January 25, 2016


by Tracie Onstad Bills, Northern California Director, Sustainable Materials Management at SCS Engineers

For many years source separation was the primary method for recycling. However, technology has changed how recyclables are collected and processed. China, the largest importer of materials for recycling now strictly enforces regulations on importing contaminated materials for recycling into the country. China’s Operation Green Fence puts restrictions on what material China will accept, rejecting materials that don’t meet higher standards of cleanliness; that means rejected materials get buried in a landfill instead of being recycled.

Regardless of the type of recycling program, the biggest challenge here at home is now minimizing contaminated recycling material. Communities are struggling to meet diversion goals and provide materials to local recyclers that are free of common contaminants such as liquids left in containers or motor oil. My SCS team has assisted communities in the last few years to address contamination issues and I’d like to share what works best to kick start addressing the issue at home.

Recycling Assessments: Conduct a visual and physical characterization study to identify contamination levels using one of these two methods for the evaluation:

  • Recycling Routes: Material from front, side, and rear-load trucks are assessed to determine which routes and days of the week contain the largest volume of contamination. This information is used to target geographic areas for implementation of behavior change programs.
  • Recycling Containers: Material from compactor, roll-off, front-load containers or carts are assessed to identify which customers have severe contamination. This information is used to target customers who need additional assistance to clean up their recycling.

Recycling Technical Assistance: Meet with local businesses and perform a walk-through of their facility to collect baseline waste assessment and material collection infrastructure information. This information can then be used to provide customized recycling and composting recommendations, and implementation support such as employee training sessions, providing signage and collateral, referrals, and multi-lingual outreach services.

Review and Analysis of Community Recycling Programs: Review and analyze your recycling program. An environmental engineer can provide recommendations and assessments on how a recycling program can be enhanced to reduce the quantity of contaminated materials. Services typically include everything from examining outreach materials to the flow of the recycling from generation to transport to processing.

Planning and Implementation of Behavior Change Programs: There is value in providing comprehensive programs and explicit outreach materials for increasing the probability of cleaner recycling. Behavior change programs focus on planning and implementing programs that identify key triggers to encourage action in the community. These programs help communicate the importance and value of specific activities to the community and cross any age and cultural barriers.

Contamination is a global problem and is challenging, but there are steps to minimize the problem in your community.

Tracie Bills
Tracie Bills, SCS Engineers

About Tracie Onstad Bills
Tracie Onstad Bills has been in the Environmental and Resource Material Management Field for over 20 years. Her expertise revolves around commercial recycling technical assistance, environmental purchasing, large venue and event zero waste programs, research and sustainability planning, garbage hauler franchise compliance and review, construction and demolition program / ordinance analysis and writing, climate inventory compilation, research and feasibility studies to help clients with comprehensive waste prevention and zero waste programs. Ms. Bills has a BA in Environmental Science from San Jose State University, is a CRRA Board member and belongs to the SWANA Gold Rush Chapter, National Recycling Coalition and the Northern California Recycling Association. Contact Tracie here.

Learn more on the SCS service pages and read  SCS project case studies from across the nation to help fine tune your program:

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
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