Cutting food loss and waste is widely recognized as one of the most powerful levers we have to address climate change and preserve our natural resources. In the United States alone, surplus food accounts for 4% of our greenhouse gas emissions, 14% of all freshwater use, and 18% of all cropland use. We’re wasting precious resources to produce and ship food only to have it end up in a landfill or rot in a field. [ReFED]
These are key action areas where the food system can focus its efforts over the next decade to prevent, rescue, and recycle food at risk of becoming waste. Strengthening food rescue and recycling anything remaining into compost or anaerobic digestion facilities creates beneficial by-products.
The USDA offers grants of up to $300,000 to composting and food waste reduction pilot projects benefiting community food waste and production programs.
Eligible projects can be in rural, urban, and suburban communities. The application deadline is fast approaching on September 1, 2022. USDA anticipates making selections by October 30, 2022, and executing the grant awards by February 8, 2023.
Visit SCS Engineers to learn more about this grant opportunity, check program qualifications, and sign up for free consulting supporting communities interested in this unique USDA grant program.
In this Waste Advantage article, sustainable materials management expert Ryan Duckett discusses how this critical infrastructure helps manage discarded materials properly, keeping communities cleaner and safer.
Finding staff and personnel, equipment, and materials transportation costs can strain localities’ limited budgets when designing these Convenience Centers. Duckett’s holistic planning approach can sustain a community’s infrastructure investment for decades.
For comprehensive solid waste and recycling advice, visit:
The Food DROP and RecycleSmart case studies in this EM article illustrate the successful collaboration between local governments and stakeholders in food recovery. In both cases, local government staff invested time to understand the barriers and benefits of different aspects of recovery. The resulting recovery programs provide local benefits by supporting the community and the collective benefit of reducing the amount of food waste sent to landfills in California.
As environmental professionals, we believe that positions us as key collaborators for these recovery programs across the country, whether helping businesses overcome the barriers and participate in food donation programs or to support the capacity expansion of recovery organizations and services. We encourage you to learn more about the food recovery organizations and services in your community and start a conversation about how to best support their work.
Start by reading the article, Collaboration Is the Key to Successful Edible Food Recovery, for advice from these SCS Engineers environmental professionals.
Visit SCS Engineers at Booth 202 at SWANA’s SOAR 2022 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, March 21-24, 2022.
“SOAR” stands for Sustainability, Operations, Action, Resources, and it is SWANA’s new conference to provide technical solutions for resource management. It is built on the essence of SWANApalooza, and is driving the power and connection of the solid waste community. SOAR brings together professionals and experts from ALL disciplines of the resource management community, offering technical education, networking events, peer-to-peer learning, and actionable, fact-based solutions.
Several SCS Engineers professionals are presenting at the SOAR 2022 Conference, including:
Tom Lock and Robert Butler are speaking at the Joint Meeting of the Landfill Gas & Biogas Field Practices and Extraction & Control Committees, Monday March 21, 2:00 – 3:00 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Carlo Lebron is the Director of SWANA’s Landfill Gas & Biogas Technical Division on Monday, March 21, 4:00 – 5:00 pm. The group will be meeting during the conference and all are welcome to attend.
SCS Energy’s Jeff Pierce is speaking about “Conversion of Biogas Power to Renewable Natural Gas – Flip or Flop”, on Tuesday, March 22, 2:00 – 2:45 pm
James Law, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM How to Get Involved With ISWA’s Global Initiative on Closing Dumpsites?
Global solid waste generation is postulated to increase from 2.01 billion metric tonnes (Mt) in 2016 to 2.59 billion Mt in 2030 and to a high of 3.4 billion Mt in 2050. Almost 50 percent of this waste is food waste, especially in low-income economy countries. However, if one looks at the waste management options, only eight percent of the total waste is disposed of into sanitary landfills (without gas collection), while almost 40 percent is still disposed into dumpsites. The ISWA’s Working Group on Landfill (WGL) formalized the Task Force on Closing Dumpsites (TFCD) in 2018. The primary goal of the TFCD is to present cost savings and environmental benefits related to transitioning from dumps to engineered sanitary landfills, and in particular to encourage more municipalities in the developing countries, that currently heavily rely on open dumps for disposal of their waste, to participate in this initiative. The secondary goal is to promote the closing of the world’s 50 largest dumpsites, which were identified by ISWA in 2014, by bringing public and private stakeholders and financial institutions together so that dumpsite closure can become a reality. It is time to spark the interest of all solid waste professionals and other stakeholders and investors to engage and to respond to call in contributing their knowledge and interest in this important global initiative to address climate change, to improve the health of the people living on or around the dumpsites as well as the environment they live in and beyond.
Michelle Leonard is speaking on “Organics Diversion California Style” on Wednesday, March 23, 9:00 – 9:45 am
Robert Butler, on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM Landfill Gas Field Practices and Procedures Manuel revised for the Safety and Wellbeing of our Industry Partners
The Landfill Gas Field Practices and Procedures Manuel is a compilation of current practices and procedures relating to the control, recovery and utilization of landfill gas, prepared by seasoned professionals in both private and public solid waste industries. The manual serves as a guide resource for current Health and Safety, Landfill Gas Monitoring, Sampling and Analysis, and Equipment Procedures as well as valuable website resources at your fingertips. The manual is a must-have for all “Solid Waste” Professionals.
Anastasia Welch is presenting “Tales from the Landfill” on Wednesday, March 23, 4:00 – 4:45 pm
David Hostetter and Brett Heist (not pictured), on Thursday, March 24, 2022, 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM Technologies to Reduce Landfill Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a hot-button topic within the landfill industry and society as a whole. Landfills naturally generate GHGs in the form of landfill gas (LFG) and generally collect these gasses and will often use them for beneficial end uses. However, even at world-class landfills, GHGs are emitted through things like gaps in LFG collection system coverage, insufficient cover, blown traps, piping leaks, malfunctioning equipment, etc. We have successfully used several different technologies to help identify and reduce GHG emissions. We will share our thoughts and experiences on how different technologies can be deployed at landfills to help identify, quantify, and reduce GHG emissions.
SCS Regional Manager, Ron Wilks and SCS Field Services Bill Dillon will be trainers at the 3-day Training Center sessions, March 21-23.
SOAR is an important event for Sustainable Materials Management, Collection, Logistics & Transportation, Landfill Gas & Biogas, Landfill Management, Waste Conversion & Energy Recovery, and Public Education & Marketing professionals.
The former General Manager of the Monterey Regional Waste Management District and current Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Vice President, Tim Flanagan, is now a Project Director with SCS Engineers in Pleasanton, California. Flanagan is putting his three decades of recycling and solid waste expertise to work for the firm’s clients.
Flanagan is well known in the waste industry and continues making significant contributions in North America and globally. He’s accomplished many successful waste diversion and recycling programs and sustainable facilities. He played a key role in developing a pilot anaerobic digestion facility, which processes food waste and other organics into energy. This facility was the first in California to process organics from the municipal solid waste stream.
He is the Past Director of SWANA’s Recycling and Special Waste Technical Division and presently the Vice President of the SWANA International Board. In that capacity, he plays an integral role in developing the Association’s new strategic plan and participating in identifying, selecting, and prioritizing the plan goals and strategies. Flanagan is also a past Gold Rush Chapter president, where he spearheaded efforts to team with the California Resource Recovery Association for the very successful Zero Waste Certification training program.
Flanagan’s public sector experience started in the City of Palo Alto and with the County of Santa Clara before he moved into the private sector. He was Waste Management’s Western Region Director of Recycling overseeing a thirteen-state network of MRFs and material sales and District Manager of collection, recycling, and transfer station operations covering northern and southern California for seventeen years.
In 2015, the Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD) appointed him as General Manager following his ten years as the Assistant General Manager. During his tenure, Flanagan oversaw $50 million of facilities expansion and development in materials recovery facility recycling and composting operations, equipment maintenance, household hazardous waste, engineering, and landfill site operations. MRWMD, a leader in effective solid waste management and resource recovery, has been recognized by SWANA as one of the “Best Solid Waste Systems in North America.” In 2016, SWANA’s Sustainable Material Management division recognized Flanagan with its “Distinguished Individual Achievement” Award.
In 2021, Flanagan initiated the partnership with the Veteran’s Transition Center of Monterey County with The Last Chance Mercantile. This public/non-profit partnership that Flanagan helped create has the benefit of providing stable jobs for veterans in transition and the reuse of recovered items instead of landfilling. The store offers an extensive inventory of unique items ranging from books to boats, scrap lumber to furniture, and clothing to household treasures. It’s been selected by the Monterey County Weekly Readers Poll as the “Best Eco-Friendly Business in Monterey County” for many years.
Michelle Leonard, SCS’s senior vice president leading its sustainable materials management practice, has this to say, “Tim is a collaborator, a mentor, a motivator. He embodies the spirit of resource recovery in all he has accomplished and his industry contributions. It is our pleasure and honor to welcome him to SCS Engineers.”
As noted in Waste360, SWANA’s recent report, “Reducing Contamination in Curbside Recycling Programs,” shows stubborn resistance to recycling even after an intense education and enforcement campaign in two towns. A bit more than one-quarter of the households simply didn’t seem to care. While the solid waste industry finds that hard to comprehend, we’re always looking for solutions, and we don’t give up.
Here’s a simple set of recommendations from Consumer Reports published in September for using less plastic. After all, if you don’t recycle, at least try to use less plastic! Most of the recommendations will save you a lot of money and are easy to do, some of which you’re probably already doing.
Thanks to Consumer Reports for its outstanding article that we share with you here.
In October, Republic Services’ Otay Compost Facility at the Chula Vista, California, Otay Landfill opened for business. The compost facility helps communities in San Diego County meet the requirements of California’s SB1383 law mandating the diversion of organic waste from landfills.
The composting facility designed by SCS Engineers in collaboration with Sustainable Generation operates completely off the grid using solar energy. It is the first fully solar-powered compost facility in the state and can process 100 tons of organics per day, with plans to double capacity by year-end.
Both organics recycling and reuse leaders, Republic Services hired SCS Engineers to design the Otay Compost Facility. The design uses renewable energy to run 100 percent of the composting operations at the site. The facility design includes using technologies to speed the maturation rates and reduce excessive odors. Blowers to aerate the organic material, oxygen and temperature sensors, and advanced compost cover technology produce a high-quality product.
“Republic’s taken the goals of SB 1383, to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants further. They’re running a sustainable facility that enables residents, businesses, and government to easily reuse and recycle more within a smaller carbon footprint than ever expected,” says Vidhya Viswanathan, engineer and project director.
As California collects and recycles organic materials from homes and businesses, local governments will use the products made from recycled organic material for compost and mulch. Recycling organic waste into compost creates a nutrient-rich soil amendment, preserving natural resources and reducing water consumption working within a circular economy. This California jurisdiction is ready for the SB1383 deadline on January 1, 2022.
“Republic Services supports California’s effort to divert food and yard waste from landfills to facilities such as this one,” said Chris Seney, Republic’s director of organics operations. “We’re grateful to SCS for their partnership in helping us bring this facility, co-located at an active landfill, to reality.”
Please watch the YouTube video to see the facility and learn more about its environmental value.
SCS Engineers is proud of helping our municipal and private clients bring the most value to their environmental solutions and communities. To learn more about SCS Engineers, view our 50th-anniversary video.
FREE LIVE WEBINAR & Q/A – NOW ON-DEMAND
This educational, non-commercial webinar with a Q&A forum throughout is free and open to all who want to learn more about waste characterization to support waste management operations. We recommend this month’s discussion for solid waste operators and facility supervisors, landfill owners, environmental engineers, agency personnel, and those interested in reuse, recycling, and contamination challenges.
To effectively design and monitor a solid waste program, it’s necessary to assess disposal practices and understand the content of the waste stream. Waste characterization studies supply this necessary information. Data gathered during waste sampling can present a complete picture of disposal, which is useful for:
Not just for landfills anymore, these studies are helping Material Recovery Facilities, collection programs for food recovery, organics management, and composting work more efficiently. Together our panel will discuss how states, municipalities, and regions are experiencing some surprising results and how they get the most out of every study.
This SCS panel includes guest speakers to provide a fuller perspective on how states and municipalities use the data to accomplish their solid waste management goals.
Tim Flanagan, General Manager of the MRWMD, manages a large team of professional, technical, and operations personnel who embody their mission of turning waste into resources joins us. He was also the Western Region Director of Recycling for Waste Management, overseeing its 13 states network of MRFs and material sales.
Casey Lamensky has been with the DNR’s waste and materials management program since 2013. As the Solid Waste Coordinator, she works with initiatives to divert waste from landfill disposal and regulations for alternative management facilities such as composting, woodburning, household recyclables processing, and demolition waste recycling operations.
Meet Stacey Demers, a LEED® Accredited Professional and SCS’s National Expert on solid waste composition studies, with Betsy Powers, PE, SCS’s Civil and Environmental Engineer, supporting the recent study published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Revenue from the Fall Classic goes to their mission, funding scholarships for students and solid waste research to advance sustainable waste management.
Please join us in sponsoring or attending this fantastic networking event for a good cause.
Visit the EREF event page to learn more about the event and safety measures in place!
The Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference will host an in-person conference October 4-6, 2021, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex. A slate of diverse speakers, a large exhibit hall, and some fun networking opportunities are on tap for this event including SCS’s own women in waste management.
SMM – Vision for Iowa Project Update
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 8:00 AM)
Michelle Leonard’s first presentation will provide an update on the Sustainable Materials Management Vision for the Iowa Phase II project, including work completed to date, and the plans and process for the project over the next 18 months.
Food Recycling and Rescue in LA County
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 9:50 AM)
Michelle Leonard’s second presentation will provide attendees with detailed information on food donation and recycling. Details include how the programs were envisioned, the planning process undertaken by the County, the program results, and the County’s next steps. She will present details on the County’s, private business, and haulers’ roles and responsibilities, and will offer suggestions for how other communities can implement a successful food donation program.
Strategically Planning an Alternative Cover
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 4:15 PM)
Anastasia Welch presents how alternative covers come in many varieties and may be appropriate for an individual site based on a number of design criteria, performance standards, and material availability considerations. Apart from technical engineering issues, long-term financial and maintenance requirements are also considered. And most importantly, how does termination of post-closure care work with an alternative cover?
Anastasia’s presentation will bring current a summary of evapotranspiration and synthetic turf cover systems and the main permitting and design considerations of each. The second portion of her presentation will explore how the financial assurance, post-closure care, and post-closure termination aspects of landfill management are impacted by these two alternative cover systems.