There’s a growing momentum in the waste and recycling industry that SWANA has taken ahold of and run with full force – how the industry changing and what does it mean for professionals and how can they get involved. It is a dynamic and transitional time and includes the growth of SWANA’s collaboration with organizations like EPA, OSHA and others to educate people about safety, recycling and working with policymakers on legislation that will benefit the future of the industry. SWANA is the go to organization for educational topics in the industry and advocates for this ongoing change.
On Tuesday, attendees had the chance to listen to 3 great sessions in one when the day kicked off with SWANA’s CEO and Executive Director, David Biderman giving the annual SWANA membership update. With 2,700 new members added since last year, SWANA now numbers close to 11,000 members and is still going strong. This includes 300 new members in the last month alone and 1,000 new members in the YP group. In addition, he mentioned that the international board was streamlined from a board of 70 to 21 members, making it a more effective organization. SWANA is also expanding geographically with a chapter in the pacific basin, the 46th chapter, and a new chapter in Michigan (the 47th chapter). SWANA is currently working on 3 safety initiatives: 1) safety pledge, 2) outreach events and 3) the alliance with OSHA to provide resources and training and help the industry’s safety performance. Biderman vowed to continue to make SWANA the leading association in the industry.
Dr. Kathryn Sandoe went over some exercises in the SWANA playbook and what people wanted to accomplish on day two of the show. Then Dr. Terri Pipe led off the session series with a talk on mindfulness and high-performance leadership, emphasizing on signs of stress and what you could do to alleviate the situation through balance and recognizing the signals. Next, Zachary Bennett from the Phoenix OSHA office talked about safety, industry incidents and what tools OSHA had that companies could advantage of, including consultation services that help with onsite visits and any other questions organizations may have about compliance. Tom Parker, Chair of the safety committee and Biderman handed out a few safety awards that recognized excellence in safety leadership, while Kathryn Salyer covered the changing infrastructure of recycling in the U.S., believing it was still strong but would take work to rebuild. She covered U.S. recycling action areas: 1) education/outreach, 2) infrastructure, 3) enhance measurement, 4) strengthen secondary markets, and 5) consistent messages on the private level. Finally, she shared what themes the EPA was going to be concentrating on during America Recycles Week (November 15) and encouraged people to get involved, starting with their local level government. Harvey Gershmann, Founder and Owner of GBB, topped off the morning sessions as this year’s Lawrence Lecturer. After thanking his mentors and colleagues over the years, he talked about his early years in the industry and the path that brought him to where he is today. He spoke about how collection has changed and gave advice to those young up and coming professionals to read everything they can and to get involved in organizations like SWANA. Finally, he called out the need for legislation and interactive strategic planning.
Once attendees left the morning sessions, they headed over to the exhibit hall where they were treated to not only the latest in industry innovations, but certain exhibitors presented catalyst sessions on the show floor, where they had a chance to share quick best practices on the company’s expertise as well as solutions to common FAQs or issues. In the afternoon, after the hall hours, attendees broke off into individual sessions focuses on safety, finance, labor and union issues, leadership, and more. We are looking forward to seeing what today holds at WASTECON 2019!