Courtney Scott, HHW Program Manager, Wins 2024 NBBJ Forty Under 40

Read more at the North Bay Business Journal

April 17, 2024

“I’m passionate about protecting the environment and wildlife and love the fact that I get to do that every day at work with like-minded women at Zero Waste Sonoma. I also enjoy exploring all of our county’s beautiful parks with my husband and two dogs. For our 10th wedding anniversary this year we plan to walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.”

Courtney Scott is responsible for hazardous and e-waste programs including contract management, specialty regulation compliance, state-mandated reporting, grant management and event coordination. This year the job also includes sponsoring state legislation (the Marine Flare Producer Responsibility Act), a capital improvement project and a pilot solar panel collection program.

“The best part of being under 40 has been watching the waste industry change. When I started in 2011, what we did was strictly operational. The new generation has embraced the idea that waste is a sustainability issue and this focus has already made a positive impact on the environment,” she said.

As a woman, launching her career in a male-dominated industry while in her 20s was the worst thing. It was a constant battle to be taken seriously, Scott said.

Her greatest professional accomplishment was being involved in purchasing the agency’s first-ever property that will become Household Hazardous Waste’s new facility.

Her greatest challenge is keeping up with waste procedures for new products.

“It took me about three years to figure out how we should properly dispose of vape pens that contain several hazardous classes that should be handled differently. Hazardous waste companies did not want to touch them, and others did not meet our sustainability standards. We now have a solution, but it would be nice if the manufacturers of these items were required to plan for, manage and pay for the disposal of their own hazardous waste,” Scott said.

At the state and national level, she is a fellow of the Leadership Institute for Just and Resilient Communities, a board member in the Pacific Chapter for the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association as well as a technical adviser to the California Resource Recovery Association’s HHW Technical Council.

Best advice: “Change starts at the local level. Never feel like working at the local government level you are too small to make a difference.”

By Gary Quackenbush