- A consortium of experts, stakeholders, policymakers and municipal leaders will come together to form a recycling task force, the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) announced Feb. 14. Members of the task force will include representatives from SWANA's technical divisions, its international board, local government officials, MRF owners and equipment manufacturers.
- SWANA established the task force to help provide guidance to interested parties concerning the market disruption and challenges that recycling programs face in the United States and Canada.
- "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," Kim Braun, environmental programs & operations manager for Culver City, CA, who will serve on the task force, said in a statement.
The task force will begin taking next steps soon, according to SWANA CEO David Biderman. He told Waste Dive in an email that a number of members would be at SWANApalooza in Denver, "And we will likely have a discussion there about initial steps."
"This has been in development for several weeks," Biderman wrote. "My recent trips to SWANA chapter meetings and other industry events have confirmed the need for SWANA to continue to demonstrate leadership on this important issue."
SWANA and other trade organizations, including the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries and the National Waste & Recycling Association, have been vocal and active in the months since Chinese officials announced the import ban and contamination restrictions would be coming. The National Recycling Coalition will also be hosting a series of regional market workshops this year, with the first scheduled for April in Oregon.
As difficult conditions continue in the U.S. recycling market, it appears that the trade groups — especially SWANA, with this task force initiative — are shifting from attempts at prevention to mitigation.
Common suggestions so far have been to focus on reducing contamination as much as possible at MRFs, and on teaching residents about why their recycling may be changing and on the importance of keeping their recyclables clean. Recently, the Waste Management Sustainability Forum included a "reality check" on recycling, with some saying haulers and recyclers should put a "moratorium" on collecting new material in light of new market realities.