Collaboration on Research & Data Aggregation in Waste Industry : SWANA & the EREF Join Forces in Work on Recycling Rate Debate

SWANA EREF waste recycling recycling rate safety

In the US the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) have teamed up to conduct collaborative projects data aggregation and fundraising, as well as other areas.

The two organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will enable EREF and SWANA’s Applied Research Foundation (ARF) to support and complement each other's efforts, with ARF focusing on applied research and its application to today's solid waste management issues and EREF's focus on more basic research conducted by some of the nation's top universities.

The MOU outlines the intent to conduct various collaborative efforts, including: Data aggregation and similar applied research efforts of mutual interest, joint fundraising activities to fund research efforts, increased collaboration regarding industry education and enhancing the awareness of both organisations.

“SWANA has a long history of serving the waste industry, including strong ties with municipalities, while EREF is one of the primary sources of research and education relating to sustainable waste management practices,” explained EREF president and CEO Bryan Staley, Ph.D., P.E. “This MOU provides unique opportunities for both organisations to serve the industry in a more unified way.”

David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO added: “The formal collaboration between EREF and SWANA will enhance the scope, credibility and influence of both of our organisations.

“Our missions complement each other and we look forward to a strong working relationship. In particular, I am excited about the opportunity to jointly perform research on safety issues and leachate management,” he added.

Informing the Recycling Rate Debate

SWANA said that the research and data analysis capabilities that EREF brings to the relationship have already provided support to its Planning & Management Technical Division by informing the discussion on SWANA development of a policy related to calculating diversion/recycling rates.

This effort was highlighted in a recent session entitled ‘The Elephant in the Room: Calculating a Waste Diversion Rate’ at WASTECON 2016. It included, along with EREF, representatives from the U.S. EPA and Burns & McDonnell.

During the presentation EREF highlighted the latest research from its Data & Policy Program, and used a facility-based approach in each state to investigate and compare policy-derived recycling rates versus recyclable tonnages managed by MRFs and aggregator-type facilities.

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