Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 19, 2022
Ken is a long-term member of our club, having joined in 1999 and has served in any different positions within the club over the years. He is probably best known to most of us for his corny jokes. This week he gave us a short talk on what he did for a living for most of his life.  Ken owns and operates two companies, Environmental Disposal Systems and Bullseye Marketing. Ken told us that he started out in retail sales, where he learned the ropes of customer service and how to sell just about anything. He then went on to work in the hazardous waste industry, at a time when WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) was just being introduced to the workplace. This is a system that requires all workplaces to educate their workers in the proper handling and disposal of any hazardous materials they may encounter. It also requires a lot of record keeping to be able to prove this has been done.
Ken soon saw an opportunity to set up his own company helping others identify and properly dispose of hazardous materials in a cost-effective manner, while still having all of the proper paperwork in place. He also realized that there were ways to reduce the cost of disposal by processing the waste to remove the small amount of truly hazardous from the bulk of material that could be recycled or resold. This reduces the cost of hazardous disposal substantially. An example that he gave is a mixture of oil, water and metal shavings. The shavings can be separated out leaving behind the oil and water, which can be easily disposed if they show no signs of other contamination once tested. He also said that often hazardous materials can be removed from large amounts of liquid by the use of special flocculents, leaving only a small amount of flocculent material that needs to be disposed as hazardous waste. He said that there are two ways these materials are disposed of in Alberta, one is by burning, in a special hazardous waste facility, the other is by pumping them into a deep well several kilometers down in the earth.
Ken’s ability to sort out the various types of waste, identify them, properly handle them and then know what to do with them has served him well. His many contacts within the industry also help a great deal. His knowledge of the many different companies in Alberta that process, test and dispose of different types of hazardous waste is quite specialized. He also has a special talent (patience and perseverance) for the reams of paperwork involved in this type of work. This is needed as many companies request a ‘death certificate’ for their waste once it has finally been properly disposed.
We would like to thank Ken for this very interesting glimpse into the world of hazardous waste.