There is strength in numbers. This sentiment is at the heart of many military strategies. It’s seen in nature. Political strength is often measured in the number of supporters.
And so it is that the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has surpassed the 10,000 member mark. In its recent announcement SWANA said, “Since its inception in 1961, SWANA has quickly grown and broadened its membership of public sector and private sector municipal solid waste management professionals. This milestone marks a more than 22 percent membership growth since 2015.”
For a number of years membership had been hovering around the 8,000 mark. Then in 2015, the Board of Directors developed and enacted a strategic plan to grow membership. It included a new focus on safety and being more industry focused in their messaging and communication.
David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO, tells me, “On one hand, it’s just a number…but on the other hand, continued and accelerated growth shows that the organization has become a leading voice and advocate in the solid waste and recycling industries globally.”
He says that while membership has reached this milestone, SWANA’s focus remains on making cogent arguments to federal, state, and local agencies that further the goals of its members. In reaching 10,000 members, Biderman credited a team effort by the International Board of Directors, the chapters, the technical divisions, and the staff in executing the strategic plan. He adds that the founding members from more than fifty years ago would be extremely proud of the size and scope of the organization they started.
“We are excited to welcome our 10,000th member of SWANA, and would like to congratulate our chapters, technical divisions, staff, and leadership for developing the training, education, and networking opportunities that so many in our industry value,” said Jeffrey Murray, P.E., SWANA’s International President. “As our SWANA community continues to grow, our technical policies, advocacy efforts, safety programs, and training initiatives will be supported by a stronger industry voice.”
“We are proud to represent a diverse group of professionals from across North America,” said Darryl Walter, SWANA’s Director of Membership. “SWANA thrives on a healthy and engaged membership and we look forward to working together to pave the future of solid waste and recycling.”
SWANA membership includes participation in one of 45 chapters across North America where members can connect and exchange information and ideas about solid waste industry trends, events, and best practices. Chapter involvement gives members an invaluable tool for staying on top of all local regulation changes and technology advances, in addition to training, networking, and leadership opportunities.
In just the few years I’ve been editing MSW Management, SWANA’s official professional journal, it’s been impressive to see the gains it’s made in safety, advocacy, and organizing its young professionals.
A choir is louder when it has more voices. The bigger SWANA gets, the better it’s getting at tuning those voices into a harmonious platform.