Waste360 recently had the opportunity to catch up with Harvey Gershman, President of Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc., a Fairfax, Va.-based firm that consults public- and private sector organizations on optimal solutions for solid-waste-management challenges.
Harvey will be speaking at the Summit, in Friday’s session on “Conversion Technologies.”
Please enjoy this sneak peek into what promises to be a great discussion!
Waste360: What can participants expect from your Conversions Technologies session at the Waste360 Recycling Summit?
Harvey Gershman: My presentation will give participants insight into the fast-growing technology changes occurring in the industry. I will review the status of conversion technologies; what they do, who provides them—and the status of the new ones being built, under development, and operating. I will also share the importance of mixed waste processing as part of these offerings as well as key factors to consider when implementing them as part of a local integrated solid waste management system.
Waste360: Could you pinpoint a few concrete takeaways attendees will be able to implement right away in the real world?
Harvey Gershman: I’m hopeful that once attendees hear the presentation, they will begin thinking about the economics and efficiencies of their entire system rather than simply comparing conversion technologies to landfill disposal. Incorporating the cost of the collection infrastructure that brings the waste/recyclables for processing conversion can be a game changer.
Waste360: Gershman, Brickner & Bratton has been delivering sustainable solutions to complex waste and recycling issues for more than 30 years. What positive changes have you seen in the industry during this time?
Harvey Gershman: So much has happened to move us away from simply throwing resources away. Across the U.S. some 40% of MSW is recycled/recovered/utilized for its fuel value. The services, financings, contracts, etc. that stand behind those sustainable solutions and systems were very challenging to plan, implement and keep operating. We have seen project financings used, enterprise fund solid waste systems set up by local governments, and full service contracting (many with private ownership structures); taking control of the collection marketplace and services underpin these sustainable programs. We are very proud to see our solutions still working for our clients.
Waste360: With the cost and state of recycling being so top of mind these days, do you think your session can help attendees with education or advice around that?
Harvey Gershman: Yes. Recent newspaper articles highlighted that recycling has become such a part of managing our resources that some people are losing sight of the fact that recycling is a part of the whole system of managing waste – which has a cost. My presentation will talk about how more materials may be recovered from the system and how to extract value; I will highlight the recent work we completed for the American Chemistry Council on mixed waste processing.
Waste360: How did you get into this industry and why?
Harvey Gershman: Earth Day 1970 first inspired my career to focus on helping do better things with waste. I had a design project in my senior year of mechanical engineering undergraduate work, and it won a national award. I thought then that there would always be waste and there had to be better things to do with it than dump it on the ground or burn it in an uncontrolled manner. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to help many do better things with their waste over my 40+ years in this industry.
It is so fitting how your interest in this industry began Earth Day, Harvey! We look forward to great insights from your 40+ years of experience.