Systech Environmental Corporation
Erica Hawk • 800-888-8011 ext. 3113
Founded in 1969 by a group of engineers,
Systech Environmental Corporation (SEC) began as a consulting company.
In 1979, SEC opened its first hazardous fuel quality waste operation
in Paulding, Ohio where the waste was used to fuel a General Portland
SEC’s corporate website defines
the company as “the link between companies that produce or consolidate
fuel quality waste and/or byproducts and our cement kiln partners
that use these wastes in place of fossil fuels.” Cement is made
by heating raw materials to about 2,700 degrees in a rotary kiln,
and those kilns are ideal for burning both hazardous and nonhazardous
Now, the General Portland facility
where SEC got its start is owned by Lafarge, a cement and construction
materials manufacturer, and in 1986, SEC became a wholly owned
subsidiary of Lafarge. In 1990, Erica Hawk joined the company as
a corporate marketing specialist. She offered her insights into
the company’s operations.
Hawk said, “From 1979 to the late
1990s, Systech’s hazardous waste business had the most growth.
In the early 1990s, the nonhaz business began and is now the sector
where we have the most growth and the most potential for growth.”
While the engineers who started
the company have since retired, they still play a role in the company
as members of SEC’s board of directors. The company now has 114
employees in the United States and Canada.
Hawk said, “We have five main business
lines, four of which supply our partner cement manufacturing facilities
with alternate fuel, which they use in place of fossil fuels” such
as oil, coke and coal.
The fifth business line supplies
raw material substitutes to the cement plants. The substitutes
replace the limestone, shale, alumina and silica in the cement.
SEC is active in finding the raw material substitutes at two of
the Lafarge locations, while Lafarge manages this function at many
of the other United States and Canadian plants.
The entire process, called co-processing,
uses the byproducts of one industry to make the products of another.
Two of the company’s locations use
both hazardous and nonhazardous fuel quality waste in the form
of liquid, sludge or suspendable solids. During each of the past
three years, SEC processed an average of 46 million gallons of
fuel quality waste at these locations. Common fuel quality waste
includes paint, solvents, diesel fuel, grease and oil, paint thinner,
ink, carbon and petroleum refinery waste.
Seven of the locations use scrap
tires. One ton of tires, approximately 100 auto tires, produces
the energy equivalent of 2,500 pounds of coal.
Six of the locations can use nonhazardous
byproducts, including alternate solid fuels such as paper, plastic,
rubber and textiles, and seven can use nonhazardous used oil. “All
the material we receive has BTU value,” Hawk said, “and is used
on site at our cement partner’s manufacturing locations.”
Hawk said that the company draws
material from a wide variety of sources to supply its four business
lines. “We cover most industries,” she said. “…chemical, paint/coating,
refining, automotive, packaging. A wide range of manufacturers,
As far as the future, Hawk said,
“As the general interest in sustainability grows within manufacturing
industries, we see growth potential in all our business lines.
We use these materials, recover their energy value and help make
a product, so after either reducing, reusing or recycling, our
service is a greener option than some other disposal methods.”
Hawk said that one business challenge
is that being green is not always easy for a customer. “In the
nonhaz sector, a lot depends on a customer’s commitment to sustainability
and a willingness to do what it takes to use a greener disposal
option.” She also said that customers recognize SEC’s “customer
focus and willingness to work with our customers to find solutions.”
Along with challenges come opportunities.
Hawk said that she enjoys the fact that the business “constantly
changes, and there are always new areas to develop.”