The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that 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 organizations. The MOU 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.

“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,” said EREF President and CEO Bryan Staley, Ph.D., P.E. “This MOU provides unique opportunities for both organizations to serve the industry in a more unified way.”

“The formal collaboration between EREF and SWANA will enhance the scope, credibility and influence of both of our organizations,” said David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “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.”

The research and data analysis expertise that EREF brings to the relationship have already provided support to SWANA’s 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 session entitled “The Elephant in the Room: Calculating a Waste Diversion Rate” at WASTECON® 2016, which included, along with EREF, representatives from the U.S. EPA and Burns & McDonnell. During this presentation EREF highlighted the latest research from its Data & Policy Program, which 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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