For Immediate Release
April 3, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

WORKS! Conference Collects Innovative Ideas for Managing Kansas' Waste

Environmental Steward Award, Hall of Fame Inductee Presented

Topeka, Kan.—The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s 18th annual WORKS! Conference wrapped up last week, and officials here who attended the event are encouraged by the number of innovative organizations in Kansas serving as models for other groups looking to implement similar processes to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. The event was held in Dodge City at the Magouirk Conference Center from March 27 to 29 and was attended by more than 230 people—public and private waste managers, facilities operators, consultants and elected officials.

“There are many ways to manage waste other than disposal in landfills, and this conference was a way for organizations to highlight those operations and make themselves available to others interested in applying the same principles and processes,” said Bill Bider, Director of KDHE’s Bureau of Waste Management.

The WORKS! Conference included presentations and workshops on composting, recycling, household hazardous waste collection and energy recovery from wastes. This year’s conference opened with special presentations by two nationally recognized waste management experts: Jerry Powell, President of Resource Recycling, Inc. in Portland, Ore., which publishes three industry magazines; and Jeremy O’Brien, the Director of Applied Research at the Solid Waste Management Association of North America in Silver Springs, Md.  “We were pleased to have Jerry and Jeremy address the group and challenge our Kansas facility operators during the opening plenary session,” said Bider.  “It was also good to hear both men compliment Kansas on the success of our voluntary waste reduction efforts over the past 15 years.”  Bider said Kansas had, for the first time, exceeded one million tons of municipal solid waste recycled in 2011 for a recycling rate of 31 percent.

National Beef’s Bud Ludwig provided an overview of the company’s corporate sustainability philosophy including a review of energy recovery from wastes, composting of packing plant animal waste, recycling and energy conservation.

During the closing plenary session, Dr. Robert Moser, Secretary of KDHE and State Health Officer, presented the Kansas Environmental Steward Award to University of Kansas junior Nick Benson for his environmental accomplishments on the campus of KU. A student of environmental studies, Benson is the vice president of the student group Environs, vice chair of the Student Environmental Advisory Board and serves on the Sustainability Advisory Board for the City of Lawrence. He is also a crew leader with KU Recycling.

Dr. Moser introduced Bill Eberle as the 2012 Kansas Solid Waste Hall of Fame Inductee. As Emeritus Associate Professor in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University, Eberle has retired from K-State but is still working as a private consultant in his own company, Terrenew Consulting. He was honored for his work to help the State of Kansas initiate community composting programs for yard waste and provide technical training to facility operators. Eberle’s influence played a major part in the development of well over 100 community compost operations in Kansas. Composting in Kansas has grown from virtually nothing in the early 1990s to over 100,000 tons per year today, and “Bill has played a big part in this impressive growth and success,” said Moser.

“I would like to encourage Kansans to continue the excellent progress in waste reduction and to further develop energy recovery projects utilizing the plentiful resources in our organics rich state,” said Moser. Next year’s conference is slated for March 26-28 at the Manhattan Conference Center in Manhattan, Kan.

Other 2012 conference highlights within each technical track included:

Energy Recovery from Waste

Recycling

Composting

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)

Enclosed: Photos of award winners Nick Benson and Bill Eberle.