- The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on a range of projects together.
- This will include data aggregation, applied research of mutual interest, joint fundraising for research and collaboration on industry education.
- EREF has supported SWANA's Planning & Management Technical Division in the past on work around calculating diversion rates which was presented at WASTECON earlier this year.
Both organizations have been very active on providing new data and perspectives to the industry in recent years. This combination between more academic research and day-to-day industry knowledge has promising potential.
So far this year, SWANA's Applied Research Foundation has released reports on the need for more food waste processing capacity and the potential for more metal recovery from residual combustion ash. The food waste research in particular lines up with work EREF has been doing on a national level and its new SCrAP project to better quantify school waste.
As shown by EREF's recently released "Municipal Solid Waste Management in the U.S." report, there is still a lack of clarity when it comes to some federal data. The top-down calculation method used by the Environmental Protection Agency may not be getting the full picture and state data can be hard to compare. More standardized information is needed to better understand how waste management systems are operating between states, what is working and how they can be improved.