US Ecology: The Workhorse Of The Green Movement

US Ecology

What happens to your old batteries when you toss them out? Assuming you attempt to dispose of them properly rather than sending them to the landfill with your regular garbage, you might not actually know their fate.

Many of the products in your home qualify as hazardous waste. The average household generates more than 20 pounds of hazardous waste per year. Products like motor oil, fluorescent light bulbs, and certain electronics should never be tossed into your regular waste bins. In fact, it may even be a crime!

US Ecology
In 2020, Boise Fire responded to a trash trailer fire at Republic Services that was caused by the improper disposal of a lithium-ion battery.

That’s because they have the potential to cause harm to the local environment, poison our water sources, or start fires. So what are you supposed to do with your hazardous waste? Get it into the hands of US Ecology, one of the top waste disposal companies on the globe, headquartered right here in Idaho.

At a glance, most people would guess that US Ecology is a government program that has something to do with the environment. (Or is that just me?) I spoke with Adam Hudgins, their director of talent acquisition (and retired Army veteran), to get set straight.

“We do the hard work that lies behind the face of the green movement.” –Adam Hudgins

With 70 years of experience, US Ecology is the leading environmental solutions provider for treatment, disposal, and recycling of all kinds of waste for government and business entities across the nation. In addition to managing waste, they are a top-tier emergency response service and offer a wide array of field services.

If you don’t know exactly what’s in that glowing toxic sludge you need to dispose of, chemists at US Ecology will figure it out so they can determine how to dispose of it properly. Even if you do know what’s in your hazardous waste, they are going to test it anyway just to be sure, and then use SCIENCE to render it chemically inert (if possible).

US Ecology’s service is comprehensive. Transportation? Whether it’s small lab packs or bulk materials over rail, they can do it. They have significant experience with DOT requirements for radioactive material and transporting difficult waste streams. Documentation? US Ecology loves documentation and will handle all necessary permits, loading and supervision, packaging, manifesting, and tracking.

All Roads Lead to US Ecology

The full scope of what they do cannot be captured in this article. What you should know is that US Ecology does the challenging, complex work that keeps you and me safe while also protecting our environment.

Nearly any industry you can think of encounters waste management or environmental problems that this green movement powerhouse can solve. Most of what US Ecology does involves waste solutions, recycling, and field services.

Waste Solutions

Your household hazardous waste (HHW) may not seem like much, but as a group we generate tens of millions of pounds of HHW every year. If we don’t all do our part to dispose of such waste properly, our beautiful state could quickly lose its natural luster.

US Ecology probably won’t be making home visits to pick up your recycling or used motor oil. But as the leading provider of environmental services for commercial and government industries, the odds are good that the local services that are helping you out will turn over your HHW to the experts at US Ecology.

Household Hazardous Waste

When it comes to your HHW, you have several options to help you dispose of it safely. Even if you can’t take it to a US Ecology site directly, there are plenty of ways to get your HHW safely disposed of.

  1. Take it to a designated HHW collection site for free. For our convenience, these sites are all over the place, though they are usually only open one day per month. Some sites might be limited to certain types of waste, such as heavy metals or prescription medications.
  2. Drop off your hazardous waste at a landfill or transfer station. These will have designated collection areas for various types of HHW.
  3. The Homebound Service assists elderly or physically challenged residents who are unable to transport their HHW to an established collection site and do not have readily available assistance from others. The Homebound Service offers convenient at-home pickup of HHW.

Commercial/Industrial Waste

Just like you, the hardware store needs to safely dispose of unsafe materials such as returned or expired paint. Likewise, your vehicle service stations, pharmacies, and manufacturing plants all have a plethora of products and chemicals they need to address. No matter the scale, US Ecology can handle it all and minimize the footprint left on our environment.

Recycling

US Ecology’s network of facilities and service centers provides recycling services for everything from organic waste to universal waste (like bulbs and batteries), electronics, and more! They are the first and only company in the U.S. offering Aerosol Recycling Technology (ART) for aerosol waste. ART produces recyclable metal and reusable fuels, and it’s landfill-free with zero emissions.

People throw away over $10 billion of precious metals every year as electronic waste. US Ecology’s metals recovery service reclaims valuable metals that otherwise would have hit the landfill.

Field Services

US Ecology does more than help you dispose of dangerous industrial chemicals. Their field services offer safe logistics and response solutions directly where they’re needed, including specialty waste packaging, collection, transportation, and total waste management.

When disaster strikes, governments and businesses around the world call in the cavalry by way of a US Ecology emergency response team. Whether it’s a hurricane, a train derailment, or a deadly disease outbreak, they are the boots on the ground protecting human health and the environment. As I write this, they have 1,100 people in the field cleaning up a burst oil pipeline in California.

Creating a Sustainable Environment

The team of 3,400 professionals at US Ecology is what the military would call “squared away.” They are organized, efficient, and do everything by the book. They can help any industry develop safe and compliant solutions to manage their particular environmental risks.

Most of us might not notice the understated benefits that services like US Ecology provide us every day. Without them, generators of hazardous or industrial wastes couldn’t comply with government regulations and couldn’t operate. More importantly, their work is what allows us to go day-to-day without worrying too much about the impact we have on the environment.

We can all do better, be greener, and make more environmentally friendly choices. While we figure out the little things that we can do, US Ecology is there to handle the big things. They protect us, they protect our wildlife, and they protect our future.