MSW Management Magazine


  • Email This Post Email This Post

SWANA Establishes New Recycling Task Force to Provide Guidance and Leadership to the Industry

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has established a new Recycling Task Force, created to provide guidance to members, industry stakeholders, state/provincial and local governments, and elected officials, concerning the challenges facing recycling programs in the United States and Canada.

With China’s waste ban already in place and the 0.5 percent contamination standard taking effect on March 1, SWANA’s Recycling Task Force will develop and support strategies for ensuring the continuation of sustainable recycling programs throughout North America.

Managing municipal solid waste is more than landfilling: publicity, education, engineering, long-term planning, and landfill gas waste-to-energy are specialties needed in today’s complex environment. We’ve created a handy infographic featuring 6 tips to improve landfill management and achieve excellence in operations.  6 Tips for Excellence in Landfill Operations. Download it now!
China’s waste import restrictions have created issues at North America recycling facilities who historically have relied on shipping recycling bales overseas; plastics and cardboard are being stockpiled in warehouses or sent to landfills until a solution is found for processing them at home.

“SWANA’s Recycling Task Force will reduce dependency on minimal end markets by creating strategies, developing infrastructures and marketing SWANA’s commitment to sustainable recycling programs in North America,” said Kim Braun, Environmental Programs and Operations Manager for Culver City, California, who will serve on the Task Force. “Although we may feel some pressure now, the future holds so much opportunity—jobs, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, invention of the newest technologies and the creation of new sustainable markets, all of which the Recycling Task Force will support.”

SWANA’s Recycling Task Force will include representatives from SWANA’s Technical Divisions, SWANA’s International Board, local government officials, private sector Materials Recovery Facility owners, and equipment manufacturers.

Recycling Task Force Members:

  • Kim Braun – Culver City, California, and past SWANA Sustainable Materials Management Technical Division Director
  • Ashley Davis – CP Group
  • Terry Schneider – CP Global
  • Stacey Demers – SCS Engineers and current SWANA Sustainable Materials Management Technical Division Director
  • Will Flower – Winter Brothers and member of SWANA’s International Board
  • Pete Keller – Republic Services
  • Nadine Kerr – City of Toronto
  • Al Lynch – Canadian Representative to SWANA’s Executive Committee
  • Chaz Miller
  • Scott Mouw – The Recycling Partnership
  • Scott Pasternak – Burns & McDonnel and SWANA’s Planning and Management Technical Division Director
  • Susan Robinson – Waste Management
  • Susan Moulton – Waste Management
  • Marc Rogoff – Geosynthec Consultants and SWANA’s Technical Division Executive Committee Representative
  • Robert Smouse – City of Fort Worth and SWANA’s Planning and Management Technical Division Vice Director
  • Jake Westerhof – Canadian Fibers, Ontario
  • Mary Wittry – Carroll City, Iowa
With China setting its new contamination standard for imports to 0.5 percent, the industry will be searching for ways to reduce contamination at North American facilities.

“The leaders who will serve on this Task Force have expertise in all elements of recycling in North America,” said David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “By tapping their expertise and working with all our industry partners, we will be able to take the appropriate steps to protect and enhance recycling programs in the United States and Canada.

“Now that China’s waste import restrictions have taken effect, reducing contamination will be an obvious focus; however, the Task Force will also evaluate strategies for increasing demand for recycled material, and educate elected officials about the job growth opportunities associated with improving domestic recycling operations to meet this challenge,” added Biderman.

SWANA submitted comments to the World Trade Organization in August 2017 and December 2017, sent a letter to state agencies, has met with government and private sector stakeholders in both the United States and Canada, and is now creating the Recycling Task Force to continue providing leadership and expertise to help address the current disruption in the marketplace.

Managing municipal solid waste is more than landfilling: publicity, education, engineering, long-term planning, and landfill gas waste-to-energy are specialties needed in today’s complex environment. We’ve created a handy infographic featuring 6 tips to improve landfill management and achieve excellence in operations. 6 Tips for Excellence in Landfill Operations. Download it now!  

SWANA Announces 2018 Technical Division Award Winners

From Left to Right: Pete Carrico (SWANA Landfill Gas and Biogas Division Awards Committee co-chair,) David Biderman (SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO,) Tom Bilgri (receiving the Landfill Gas and Biogas Distinguished Individual Achievement Award,) Mike Michels (presenter of the DIAA award,) Jeff Murray (SWANA’s International President)

SWANA is proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Technical Division Awards, presented to SWANA members for outstanding professional achievements in solid waste industry sectors. Awards were presented on March 6, 2018, at the Opening Ceremony of SWANApalooza in Denver, Colorado.

“SWANA’s Technical Division Awards showcase the innovative and important contributions these individuals have made to their field, and the solid waste industry as a whole,” said David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO. “From adopting new technologies, to developing unique planning strategies, to creating advanced program awareness, these professionals have demonstrated truly admirable work.”

Marc Rogoff received the very first Distinguished Individual Achievement Award (DIAA) from SWANA’s Collection and Transfer Technical Division. Rogoff has been involved with SWANA since its early origins and was recognized for his support of integrated solid waste management planning, specifically his rate study work helping communities understand the financial requirements of maintaining their solid waste systems.

David Penoyer III formally accepts his award at SWANApalooza as a Landfill Gas and Biogas Hall of Flame Inductee.

Tom Bilgri received the Landfill Gas and Biogas (LGB) Technical Division DIAA Award for overseeing the technical approaches and methodologies associated with the evaluation and design of some of the most complex landfill gas collection and control systems and beneficial-use facilities across North America.

“The DIAA is the most prestigious award offered by the LGB Division, and Tom Bilgri is a very deserving winner,” said Patrick Sullivan, Past Division Director of SWANA’s LGB Technical Division. “Tom’s career reflects a strong commitment to the solid waste industry as a consulting engineer originally with EMCON, and now with Cornerstone; at the same time, Tom has been a major contributor to SWANA, specifically through the LGB Division where Tom has had a long tenure and served in various leadership roles, which continue today.”

SWANA’s Past-President, Michelle Leonard, and other SWANApalooza attendees celebrate their colleagues on their awards and outstanding work.

The Landfill Gas and Biogas Technical Division recognized two Hall of Flame inductees, this year adding Jim Bier and David Penoyer to the list of honorees. Bier worked to increase the knowledge base of the landfill gas and biogas industry, expand the opportunities for renewable fuels and electrical production, and educate the public on the benefits of landfill gas utilization, bringing gas treatment and renewable natural gas development to the forefront of the industry. Penoyer has been recognized as a landfill gas expert for years and has used this expertise to standardize, develop, and revolutionize system metrics, design, quality, and implementation on a wide scale during his time at both SCS Engineers and Republic Services.

Finally, the Landfill Gas and Biogas Technical Division offered the Eternal Flame Award, an In Memoriam recognition, to an industry member who has passed away. The 2018 Eternal Flame Award honors the career of Tudor Williams for his work developing landfill gas engine technology in the 1970s and engaging in transformational landfill gas-to-energy development from the 1980s through his death on December 7, 2016.

YP Spotlight

The SWANA Young Professionals (YP) group continues to grow and expand across the country. SWANA YP members have been busy this past year speaking at SWANA events, leading teams, mentoring students and making strides in every aspect of the industry. With more than 1,000 YPs, their accomplishments are certainly something to be very proud of. Meet the latest SWANA YP of the Month: TIFFANY DUNN.

Tiffany Dunn started at Saline County Regional Solid Waste District five years ago and immediately hit the ground running. During her time at Saline County, she graduated from college and worked her way up to Executive Director.

Executive Director at Saline County Regional Solid Waste District

Recently, Tiffany graduated from the Leadership Saline County program where she worked with her class to host a “Feed the Dream” cookout to benefit the Arkansas Dream Center’s effort to bring their Adopt a Block program to Saline County. She is currently enrolled in the Keep America Beautiful Certification program and on track to graduate at their next conference.

In Saline County, Tiffany helped develop the YEA! Team program in all 25 Saline County schools, where students oversee their school’s recycling program, participate in the county’s largest recycling fashion show, implement recycling education in their classrooms, and volunteer in the community on beautification and litter pick-ups. In 2015, the YEA! Team program received SWANA’s Unsung Hero Award.

“Regarding the push to cleaner communities and recycling education in Saline County, I would tell you that my biggest accomplishment is getting the kids involved,” said Dunn. The YEA! Team program has helped youth from the elementary to high school level, and through Tiffany’s active role, participating youth view her as a leader and role model.

Since joining the Board for Keep Bryant Beautiful, Tiffany has organized and coordinated every Great American and Great Arkansas Clean-Up. She has helped develop a Saline County Serve Day, an effort in conjunction with Benton Matters where volunteers pick up litter and execute beautification projects. Based on Tiffany’s impressive work with Keep Bryant Beautiful, she was selected by the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission to be recognized as one of 25 exceptional individuals for their 25th “Greeniversary.”

Tiffany has been active in the SWANA Arkansas Chapter for several years. The YP group has connected her to like-minded professionals in the solid waste and recycling industry, as well as connected her with a network of expert individuals in related fields.

Tiffany helps with recycling education initiatives
at local schools.

“I would highly encourage professionals to join the SWANA YP group; it will allow you to meet others in your industry, provide opportunities for you to gain a leading edge in your career, and grow as an individual by providing mentors and webinars in areas that are specific to you,” said Dunn.

Are you a Young Professional who wants to share your accomplishments with fellow SWANA members? Or do you know an exceptional YP SWANA member who is 35 years of age or younger and working in the solid waste industry?

Please send YP nominations or ­submissions to Shelby Truxon, ­Membership Program Manager, at [email protected]

SWANA’s Young Professional Group recently hit over 1,000 members!
This group hosts networking events, coordinates volunteer opportunities, and meets at the local and national level to nurture and ensure the success of the future of the solid waste industry. To learn more about SWANA’s YP Group, please visit!

Sound Ideas in Waste Management


WASTECON, SWANA’s largest annual conference, will bring together thousands of solid waste and recycling professionals from across the globe to convene in Nashville, Tennessee, for “Sound Ideas” in waste management, to discuss, problem-solve, and find solutions for the most pressing issues facing the industry today. Experts and prominent industry thought-leaders will speak on a variety of conference topics that guide the event programming.

SWANApalooza’s engaging speakers discuss the most pressing solid waste and recycling industry issues, fostering information-sharing and
discussion among attendees.

The Internet of Things and Innovation: For years, solid waste and recycling has focused on integrating new technologies into the workflow and using big data to automate and streamline processes. In Nashville, attendees will explore innovative technology adoption and investment to see what it could mean for the future of the industry.

Global and International Waste: Issues all over the world are making waves in waste management, from China’s waste import restrictions affecting global recycling, to the growing marine litter emergency, to wide-scale discussions on circular economy implementation. The industry is seeing now, more than ever, that we are all connected by these issues and they should be solved together.

Photos courtesy of LCSWMA
WASTECON’s keynote presentations are always a highlight of the event, featuring prominent industry leaders and innovators.

Rural Issues: Food waste has been at the forefront of industry discussion, prompting research into how we can eliminate waste from the farm-level all the way to the consumer, recognizing that solutions such as organics collection, public and private partnerships, and new legislation could vary by community.

SWANA’s conferences consistently emphasize networking and problem-solving with professionals across all industry-areas.



The Value of Communication: Public education efforts for recycling and solid waste programs aren’t new to the industry, but with contamination as a renewed focus, educating communities will be essential. Attendees will explore best practices in using public relations and integrated communication efforts to increase public participation, with a focus on measuring success by the numbers.

Human Resource Trends: With rapid change in any industry comes immense changes in the workforce. Job creation, evolving job roles, and diversity issues are all prevalent for solid waste and recycling’s human resources and must be addressed to keep the industry growing.

SWANA’s International Solid Waste Design Competition offers students the chance to be recognized for producing creative solutions to solid waste, recycling, and environmental issues.

WASTECON 2018 will also feature a SWANA and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) joint Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) Summit, a Safety Summit, SWANA’s International Training Center, and the International Solid Waste Design Competition. SWANA and ISRI’s MRF Summit will highlight best practices and the changing atmosphere of the recycling industry. The Safety Summit will bring together professionals to discuss workplace case studies and current safety statistics, and above all, to promote safety in all industry areas. SWANA’s International Training Center will feature two- and three-day training courses in landfill, zero waste, collection, and more, allowing professionals to become SWANA Certified in their area of work. The International Solid Waste Design Competition poses a “real-world” problem to undergraduate and graduate students who submit projects and present their solutions to a judging panel of solid waste and recycling professionals at WASTECON.

Nashville, or “Music City,” will offer entertainment and fun for WASTECON 2018.

Serving as a backdrop for the event, Nashville, or “Music City,” as it is often called, will offer exciting attractions from live entertainment at the Grand Ole Opry, to visiting Centennial Park, to eating top-notch Southern cuisine. WASTECON 2018 is a must-attend event for all professionals—not only in the solid waste and recycling industry, but also those interested in the environment as a whole. Waste-related issues affect all areas of the environment, and this conference will work to promote sustainable solid waste management on a global scale for the health of our environment and world population.

For more information on WASTECON 2018, please visit


New Report Finds European Mechanical Biological Treatment Systems Provide Valuable Lessons to North America


A new report issued by the Solid Waste Association of North America’s (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF) presents valuable lessons that can be learned from the implementation and operation of Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facilities in Europe.

The report was developed in response to the growing interest in the implementation of zero waste systems in North America, as many zero waste systems will utilize some type of MBT facility to process waste that is not recovered through recycling programs. Later this year, the first MBT facility in the eastern United States will open in West Virginia.

“This report should serve as a valuable resource to the growing number of communities that are considering or implementing additional mixed waste processing systems in North America,” stated Jeremy O’Brien, P.E., SWANA’s Director of Applied Research. “These communities can benefit from the experiences and lessons learned from MBT facilities in Europe over the last 25 years.”

MBT facilities combine mechanical waste sorting with a biological treatment process such as composting and/or anaerobic digestion. These systems are used to recover additional materials for recycling and/or energy recovery as well as to stabilize the waste.

“One of the important lessons learned is that the compost produced from MBT systems is generally of poor quality and can’t be used for agricultural applications,” said O’Brien. “Also, the diversion rates have been on the order of 20 percent without energy recovery.”

MBT systems have been implemented in Europe to meet the requirements of the 1999 European Union Landfill Directive, which requires waste to be treated so that it is biologically stable before being disposed
in landfills.

“There is definitely a potential for MBT facilities to take off in North America, especially as communities look for alternative ways to increase their diversion rates and to stabilize their waste before landfill disposal,” said O’Brien.

The full report, “Mechanical Biological Treatment of Residual Waste – Lessons from Europe,” is currently only available to SWANA ARF subscribers. SWANA members receive free access to ARF industry reports one year after publication.

SWANA’s Applied Research Foundation supports SWANA’s mission of advancing the practice by conducting collectively-funded research on pressing solid waste issues that are identified and selected by the Foundation’s subscribers. Subscribers provide penny per ton contributions—based on the amount of waste that they manage—to support and participate in the Foundation’s research activities on an annual basis. For more information, visit

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *