Tag Archives: zero waste

WasteExpo 2020, New Orleans

May 4, 2020

Meet SCS Professionals, visit our booth, get inspired, and find the answers to your waste & recycling challenges at WasteExpo, May 4-7 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Enjoy an interactive conference program, see over 600 exhibitors, and network with 14, 500 of the best and brightest in the industry.  WasteExpo 2020 will feature more educational sessions than ever before!  Conference sessions will include presentations on the following topics:

Alternative Fuel Fleets
Anaerobic Digestion Technologies
Case Studies of Anaerobic Digestion, Biogas and Biofuel Production
Circular Economy & Sustainability Initiatives
Composting Infrastructure Development
Construction and Demolition Trends
Contract Negotiation and Municipal Bids
Drones, Robotics & Artificial Intelligence
Food Waste Prevention, Reduction & Recovery
Hard to Recycle Items
Leachate Management Technologies
MRF Operations
Municipal Recycling Issues
Organics Waste Processing
Organics Waste Reduction & Diversion
Single Use Plastics
Technology and Food Waste Reduction
The Status of Recycling & National SWORD
Trends in Landfill Management
Waste Conversion Technologies
Wasted Food Policy and Management
Zero Waste Initiatives
and More!

The WasteExpo Spotlight Sessions are some of the most attended sessions at WasteExpo – because these insight-packed sessions allow attendees to explore top industry trends for free!

Nothing Wasted! is an open forum for new ideas. Hear inspired talks from a wide array of thought leaders and visionaries. In each session, you’ll hear from three to four thought leaders, visionaries, seekers and seers—who’ll share impactful, inspirational, influential, or even provocative ideas. You’ll walk away with powerful ideas and perspectives that will make you a more thoughtful and creative problem-solver on the job.

Check back often as the conference takes shape. More details to come!

Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

SWANA WASTECON 2019 – Phoenix

October 21, 2019

Meet lots of SCS Professionals at SWANA Wastecon 2019, October 21-24, at the Phoenix Convention Center.  Visit us in Booth 501 right at the main entrance!

This year’s conference is themed “Pathway to Innovation” and will feature interactive activities, tools and resources for solid waste leaders to explore the most important issues and find innovative and sustainable solutions for our environmental challenges.

Numerous SCS Professionals will deliver presentations and participate in panel discussions, including:

Bob Gardner will moderate in the discussion on #4 Mixed Waste Processing Facility Design and Operation

Michelle Leonard and Vita Quinn will present on merging Solid Waste Planing with Financial Forecasting

Pat Sullivan is making two presentations

Alex Stege will discuss the California’s Organic Waste Disposal changes

Lisa Coehlo and Manny Hernandez are participating in a communications panel discussion

Wastecon is one of the preeminent conferences bringing together thousands of solid waste and sustainability industry professionals. Conversations and presentations will focus on the future of our communities and how to lead the inevitable changes that we will face in the coming years

More conference details coming soon!

Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

Americans use 500 million straws a day; enough to fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times in a year!

August 30, 2019

Even the smallest change can make a big difference.


SCS is reaching out by providing regular tips to encourage more sustainable practices you can use at work and at home.

Do you really need to use a drinking straw? With most beverages, probably not! Make this one change and help America reduce the amount of plastic going into our landfills.



  • Use a straw only when you must
  • If you must, use a paper straw or a reusable metal straw
  • If ordering a drink, tell your server “no straw, please”
  • Encourage your family and friends to make the change too.

Click to learn more about Sustainable Materials Management.



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

SWANA Northwest Regional Symposium 2019

April 30, 2019

The SWANA Pacific Chapter – BC & Yukon, is hosting their 34th annual Northwest Regional Symposium at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, April 30 through May 2, 2019.

With a theme of Make it Happen – Make it Matter!, the symposium is designed to explore the  many changes our industry is undergoing in solid waste management systems and how materials are collected and managed, and figure out how we move forward into the future.

SCS professionals, Ray Huff and Tracie Bills, will be presenters.  Ray will discuss “Landfill Gas Wellfield Analysis”  at Session 5B, and Tracie will discuss “Methods to Achieve 0.5% Contamination in Organics” at Session 7A.

Symposium topics will include:

  • Recycling in the Age of China’s National Sword Policy
  • Solid Waste Management Systems & Zero Waste
  • Deconstructing Demolition Waste
  • Landfill Leachate and Stormwater Management
  • Materials Spotlight: Clothing, Event and Industrial Wastes
  • Optimizing Landfill Gas Collections & Beneficial Use
  • Organics Management
  • And Much More!

Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

NCRA Recycling Update 2019

March 19, 2019

Meet SCS Engineers professionals, including Tracie Bills, Leslie Lukacs, Michelle Hoffman, and Lisa Coelho, at the Recycling Update conference  — THE event of the season for Northern California resource management professionals. Part of the Northern California Recycling Association’s (NCRA) “Zero Waste Week”, RU features 25 experts speaking on the spectrum of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot, as well as numerous networking opportunities, a delicious Zero Waste lunch, and plenty of ideas to bring home to your community!

Often referred to as conference “speed dating,” speakers have only 10 minutes (plus a few minutes of Q&A) to let you know about the latest and greatest in waste reduction, high diversion, and Zero Waste. Attendees include municipal staff, service providers, consultants and activists as well as local, regional and state policy-makers and members of the media covering Sustainability, Zero Waste, Reuse, Recycling, Composting and Product Stewardship.

Posted by Laura Dorn at 8:00 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

Surviving the Chinese Sword – APWA Webinar – March 2019

March 14, 2019

During this session, participants will be provided with an update on the Chinese Sword, presented with case studies on how municipalities have offset higher recycling processing fees by decreasing collection costs through technology and routing efficiency, and strategies to reduce contamination in recyclables.


After attending this session, participants will be better able to:

  • Explain the benefits of automation in solid waste
  • Recognize how automation can improve safety
  • Identify strategies to reduce contamination in recyclables

This program is sponsored by the APWA Solid Waste Committee and is free to APWA members; non-members may participate for a fee.






Posted by Diane Samuels at 11:00 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

Zero Waste: How to Plan Sustainable School Waste Programs

June 26, 2018

Many schools and school districts are prioritizing a shift toward zero waste and sustainability. However, learning to manage material resources on-site in a more sustainable manner presents operational and monetary challenges. Learn the benefits and steps to plan a financially sustainable program from Tracie Bills of SCS Engineers.

Tracie creates realistic approaches which allow for flexibility while maneuvering the unique challenges that occur. She takes you step-by-step through building a successful program and refers to established efforts such as in the City of San Jose that already have established zero waste programs in their schools.

Read the article by clicking here.

Posted by Diane Samuels at 10:25 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

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: zero waste

Open up possibilities for new recyclable commodities markets

February 5, 2018

The recent headlines about new contamination standards limiting solid waste recycled materials entering China are likely to impact your local recycling program. Contaminated waste is the pizza box with cheese stuck to the top and the unwanted crust, or glittery holiday cards with foil that contaminates them for recycling. That is why local recycling programs encourage you to sort more, to separate contaminated waste from that which can be processed.

Many communities cannot afford to adapt their infrastructure to meet new contamination standards established by China. That means more sorting and rinsing at home and at work, or your local program cannot recycle the waste; at least not in the short term. China is not accepting most of it anymore.

Since landfilling the waste is not an economical long-term solution or environmentally friendly, waste management teams across the country are working together to address the challenges created by China’s ban, to meet their established recycling goals, and to be good stewards of our environment.

The challenge is to rethink existing programs using best practices and strategies that address community concerns and move us toward higher diversion goals. Here are various resources by industry leaders that your community is probably already looking into, as follows:

Education and Training

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA)  Zero Waste Principles & Practices Certification Course, promotes the integration of zero waste principles into existing management systems, practices, and policies. The goal is to move local systems toward developing and achieving community-specific zero waste goals.

The Zero Waste Principles & Practices certification course benefits municipal recycling and solid waste professionals, private and public sector policy makers, and sustainability advocates who are looking to write a Zero Waste plan or learn more about components to incorporate in their current program.

The certification course contains 10 modules covering areas of public policy, programs, technology, and measurement, with lessons that include collection options, managing organics, contracts, and financing.


Waste Characterization Studies Jump-Start Diversion Conversations

Statistics and other findings help local governments get ideas for boosting their diversion programs and outcomes. At the same time, these studies open up possibilities for new commodities markets, or expanding existing ones. Changing your program can add flexibility to help balance when commodity markets fluctuate and they can also create jobs. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources conducted such as study and identified a missed opportunity for compostable materials which they are addressing now.


Smart Technology Increases MRF Diversion Up to 80%

A new kind of facility is emerging in the U.S. in response to economic drivers, commodity prices, and social concerns about recycling. Many communities cannot afford to build out their existing infrastructure, but together they can employ newer technologies that can sort and recycle more diverse materials while producing a cleaner end product that is then sold to become useful again.

Some of these groups are using public-private partnerships to build facilities that accommodate our desires to recycle and will recycle more types of materials including that cheesy pizza box and organic materials such as restaurant food waste, without an extraordinary amount of effort by consumers.

Advanced Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) feature a high degree of separation, recovery, and monetization of commodity products and employ additional processes for generating clean cellulose, engineered fuels, and biogas from traditionally non-recyclable materials. The facility discussed here could provide a solution to large urban areas and a collection of smaller programs too. It does take planning, technologies, and due diligence to build a sustainable program and economically feasible facilities, operations, and markets.

How does the facility work?

Paper, corrugated cardboard, plastics, ferrous and non-ferrous metals are separated using automated bulk separation equipment. Uncontaminated materials go for recycling. Contaminated materials receive pulping and washing treatments. Organic materials such as food, yard waste, and wood waste also go through the same processes. The outputs are reused to create new products, as described below:

  • Recyclables are sent to create new metal, paper, cardboard, or plastic products.
  • Cellulose (mixed paper) is sent to create new paper products or used as Engineered Fuel.
  • Engineered Fuel, made from plastic film and paper too contaminated for recycling, is processed into briquette to be used in boilers.
  • Biogas, produced from the residual wash water sent to an Anaerobic Digestion system, helps power the facility.
  • Residuals make up the 20% of recyclables that cannot be processed into fuel or new products. A portion of the residuals is used as alternative daily cover at landfills, and the balance goes into the landfill.


Visit our Solid Waste Planning page to learn more, or use the links in each section to read articles about each best practice or facility. Click here for SWANA’s certification information.



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: zero waste

Reducing Groundwater Monitoring at Closed Landfills

February 1, 2018

Hundreds of closed landfills in Wisconsin are required to perform groundwater monitoring and reporting. Typically, the frequency of monitoring, size of the monitoring well arrays, and the list of required parameters, was established many years ago as part of the landfill operating permit or closure plan approval. There is a potential to reduce, or terminate landfill monitoring when groundwater quality improvements are documented. WDNR guidance entitled “Reducing or Terminating Groundwater Monitoring at Solid Waste Landfills,” (PUB-WA 1013) provides instructions for requesting reductions to monitoring requirements.

Learn about new revisions to the WDNR guidance, developed with input from the WDNR’s Waste and Materials Management Study Group, which are intended to improve both the range of options for monitoring reductions and the process for requesting reductions. In addition to providing procedures for reduction in monitoring frequency, new revisions to the guidance include procedures for requesting reductions to the required number of monitoring wells and parameters. The revised guidance also provides instructions for communicating monitoring reduction requests to the WDNR review hydrogeologists.

See event details here



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
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