For recent graduates, what's next could be a career within the hazardous waste management field
June marks the end of the school year, and for some, celebrating graduation. Then comes the inevitable question - what’s next? For people who care about the environment and human health, opportunities await within the hazardous waste management field!
Many exciting and unique career paths exist within hazardous waste management service areas: collections, policy, and prevention. But don’t just take it from us – take it from the amazing people who work every day to protect King County’s land, waterways, wildlife, and communities from exposure to hazardous materials.
Collection services allow King County residents and businesses to safely dispose of hazardous waste, protecting our communities and creating a healthier future for the region. The Haz Waste Program collections team helped customers safely dispose of nearly 3 million pounds of hazardous waste in 2020!
Julie Mitchell manages hazardous waste collection sites in King County, including the Wastemobile traveling collection site. Julie supports team members and leads strategic planning to ensure collection sites function smoothly.
Nick Saelee also works in collections as a program manager for the North Seattle haz waste collection site. Nick recognizes the importance of his work, sharing, “Safe haz waste disposal is important now and in the long term. We do it for future generations. I want my kids to be safe and live in a clean environment when they grow up.”
Our Residential and Business Services teams offer education, assistance, and incentives to help reduce exposure to hazardous materials where people live and work. Prevention services work closely with community members, business owners, and workers to build awareness about hazardous materials and what resources are available to keep people safe.
Mohamed Ali manages the lead poisoning prevention program, which helped 174 families exposed to lead make their homes safer in 2020. Prevention services focus on building trust and relationships with communities so they can make informed decisions about exposure to hazardous products and substances.
The Haz Waste Policy Team works to improve policies and regulations that impact the creation, use, and management of hazardous products. Many policy efforts focus on product stewardship programs, which require producers of a product to take responsibility for minimizing its environmental impact throughout its lifecycle – from design to disposal. The Policy Team works with partners in government as well as local, regional, and national groups to achieve important changes in policy.
Ashley Evans is a Policy Liaison who promotes systemic changes in the production, use, and disposal of hazardous materials. She helped pass a bill that created a statewide program that makes it easier to recycle paint.
So… what’s next?
If you are interested in protecting the environment, working with community members, leading projects, and contributing to a healthier future for our region, a career in hazardous waste management might be for you!
Explore more about the work of the Haz Waste Program’s work in Policy, Prevention, and Collections. New job opportunities are posted on the King County jobs website.
Whatever is next for you – we hope you’ll stay in touch!