Invited Session: Resource Management & Waste Diversion

How does a Waste Characterization Study help with Future Planning? (1 CEU)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
9:00 – 10:00
Room 315

Moderator: Bradley Kelley, Senior Project Engineer, Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc., Virginia

Waste Characterization studies are an integral and valuable tool for the management of waste and recyclables, and many jurisdictions know that they need to have these studies conducted. However, many leaders are unclear as to what valuable information can be gleaned from these studies and how this information can help a municipality make informed decisions regarding the management of waste and recyclables in the future. This panel brings together three solid waste directors that have recently had detailed waste composition studies performed. Jeff Smithberger oversaw the recent waste study that focused on the recyclables still in the waste and also studied the statistical differences (if any) between the recyclables in the waste and the every-other-week collections of recyclables. Keith Howard oversaw the waste characterization study that looked at commercial and multifamily streams as well as recycling and is using this information to plan for the necessary infrastructure needed by the County in the next two decades. Robert Watts oversaw a two season waste study that gave them valuable information about what was still being landfilled and is utilizing this information to shape regulations going forward. Bradley Kelley, team lead for all of these studies will moderate.

Everyone knows that waste characterization studies are necessary, but what good do they do? And how is the information best used? This panel consists of municipal directors that have recently utilized waste characterizations to verify current statistics, plan for future infrastructure, and manage regulations. This interactive panel will allow the attendees to understand what is important with characterization studies, and how these directors use the information they gain to make better and more informed decisions. Questions and interactions with the panel will be encouraged.


Jeffrey Smithberger, Director of Solid Waste Management, LUESA Mecklenburg County Government, North Carolina

Jeffrey Smithberger

Jeffrey Smithberger has more than 30 years of experience in management and leadership of complex solid waste management systems. He works as the director of solid waste for Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He previously worked as the chief of solid waste in Harford County, Maryland, as well as a director of solid waste in Fairfax County, Virginia, where he retired from after 28 years of service. He is well versed in working with industry on the complexities of solid waste management and seeking local ordinances that increase recycling and sustainability, but are also workable in the community. Mr. Smithberger has both an engineering and business background from Virginia Tech, where he attended and graduated.

Bob Watts, S.C., BCEEM, Executive Director, Chester County, PA Solid Waste Authority

Robert Watts

Bob Watts has been the executive director of the Chester County Solid Waste Authority (CCSWA) for 18 years. CCSWA operates a landfill and a residential recycling drop-off center in southeastern Pennsylvania. Mr. Watts received a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Utah State University. He serves as a past director of the SWANA Landfill Gas and Biogas Technical Division. As a member of SWANA’s International Board, he is on the Planning Committee. He is also the Landfill Management Technical Division Chair of the Awards Committee and sits on SWANA’s Infrastructure Subcommittee.