Waste management specialists plan, implement, and coordinate comprehensive waste management systems that are designed to maximize waste prevention, reuse, and recycling opportunities. They can be involved in all stages of a project, for example establishing a company's waste management goals and objectives, working with employees to help implement waste management policies, and evaluating the success of management plans. Waste management specialists play a key role in minimizing the impact of waste and protecting the environment.
At a glance
Imagine you are giving a presentation to plant managers and senior executives of a large oil and gas company. You are a waste management specialist and this company has hired your firm to develop a comprehensive waste management plan for its entire operation. This oil and gas company wants to improve its reputation and demonstrate its commitment to environmental protection and conservation. It has chosen your firm because it knows you have the experience and expertise to clean up its operations.
As a waste management specialist, you have been preparing waste management strategies and leading teams of consultants, engineers, and processing experts for years. For this project, you start by conducting a waste audit of the company, including interviewing staff, reviewing records, and visiting field operations to determine the different types and quantities of waste produced. You also review the company's current waste handling, storage, and disposal policies for both hazardous and non-hazardous waste to make certain it's in compliance with applicable regulations.
Once the audit is complete, you and your team will evaluate the results and research methods for improving current policies. You will look at options for new waste management equipment and determine specifications for collecting and processing specific wastes. You will consult with the company's suppliers to find products that can be disposed of more economically or arrange with suppliers to handle wastes from their own products as they are delivered. Your team will also look into waste generation streams and where the waste is coming from as a means of identifying opportunities to reduce waste generation and finding ways to reuse and recycle what would otherwise be thrown away.
Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a waste management specialist:
- Plan and coordinate various waste management and recycling projects.
- Identify and quantify wastes.
- Coordinate the documentation required to label, move, track, and report waste and waste initiatives.
- Evaluate waste management options and apply a waste hierarchy model in order to reduce, reuse, recycle, recover, and dispose of waste material.
- Conduct research and analytical studies on a variety of waste management programs and issues.
- Investigate the life expectancy of consumable products and recommend options for more economical and environmentally friendly materials or processes.
- Work with company personnel in developing an appropriate and user-friendly waste management system.
- Assist in budget preparation and administration, including determining financial methods, procedures, and costs pertaining to environmental compliance and waste management services.
- Stay informed with respect to waste management regulations and ensure regulations are being adhered to.
- Provide waste management training to clients and staff.
- Participate in auditing processes, including approvals, water monitoring reports, engineering designs, and contingency planning.