To continue advancements in solid waste management, Iowa legislature passed House File 2570 which allows solid waste planning agencies to be designated as environmental management systems (EMS), an alternative approach to waste diversion.
In order to create a successful, state-wide EMS program, Gresham Smith was selected by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to lead six pilot agencies in the implementation of an EMS. These EMS programs included activities to reduce solid waste, enhance environmental benefits, promote sustainable resource use, increase operational and management efficiency and effectiveness, decrease risk and liability, and commit to continuous improvement.
With our guidance, the six EMS pilot solid waste agencies worked toward the development and implementation of a customized EMS. Each solid waste management agency documented progress in six areas of interest: greenhouse gases, water quality, recycling, environmental education, household hazardous waste and yard waste.
Our assistance provided to each pilot included guidance in developing the EMS framework, quarterly training workshops that provided an open forum for peer-to-peer learning, monthly conference calls for one-on-one support and feedback, site visits for first-hand experience and interaction with the staff, technical assistance as needed by the pilots and document reviews.
The individual improvements achieved from the pilot solid waste agencies were significant, and due to the pilot program’s great success, Gresham Smith continues to assist the DNR in training additional agencies in EMS development.