Becoming a Waste Manager

Or a “waste management professional”, if you prefer. A formal educational background might include biology, industrial engineering, civil engineering, or industrial hygiene.


College degrees
Industrial engineering
Civil engineering
Chemical engineering
Industrial hygiene?

Continuing Education

It’s a scam

Sources of information:

There really aren’t any scientific journals you need to read.

There are trade magazines. You might find some of their articles interesting, but it’’s doubtful they will help you on the job. Tese magazines give industry news and maybe trends (to the extent that the journalists can figure them out) and legal changes (to the extent the journalists can identify the effects of laws and regulations.)

Publications from vendors. Vendors have always been and still are a source of information for the working engineer.. They are self-serving, of course, but with a critical eye you can sort out the good stuff. These publications may be printed or in an email or on the web.

Government regulatory agency websites provide a wealth of good information. The problem is that you don’t know when the websites cange, so you don’t know when to check them or what has changed, unless you watch the website of interest closely. We have a list of resources.

The waste world changes slowly, so once you get a handle on your waste management situation, the main challenge is mainly execution. For most managers, the variation is mainly in the type of waste. The thing they talk about is incoming waste, not change in storage, treatment, or disposal.

Questions and Answers

Do I have to be good at math?

No. Addiction and subtraction most of what you need, Spreadsheets - either old fashioned analogue ones of computer ones (Excel, Tableau, Google Sheets) take you a long way toward track of waste generation and storage,

You could use statistical control and assessment methods that some factories and warehouses use. For a large operation that might be worth the effort. But for most facilities that produce medical waste - even large hospitals - can probably get away without this.

It’s embarrassing to say I work with medical waste.

It should not be. If you spin it right and hype it up right, you might make waste management seem like a calling or holy mission. You are protecting people and the environment from harm. You are responsibly managing a waste that was created of necessity - the necessity being the treatment of patients or research into health and medicine.

Isn’t medical waste management like mortuary work?

They have some overlap, but not really. Mortuaries and funeral homes produce medial waste as a consequence of their activities, but for them it is an unfortunate part of what they do. Their main job is to prepare bodies for viewings,funerals, burial, and cremation. Your job as a waste manager is to reduce the quantity of waste created and to store it safely and to treat it appropriately and to dispose of it in a responsible manner.