SOAR took place from March 21 – 24 in Kansas City, MO.

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) kicked off the first ever SOAR spring technical conference on March 21 in Kansas City, MO. The conference, which took place over four days in the City of Fountains, was a bustling center of actionable educational content and networking opportunities for the hundreds of attendees. SOAR was a huge success, in large part thanks to the Missouri and Kansas SWANA Chapters who helped host the event.

SOAR is a new SWANA conference, building off its successor, SWANApalooza. Like SWANApalooza, the content focused on providing technical solutions to attendees across the solid waste and resource management community. After all, SOAR stands for Sustainability, Operations, Action, and Resources. Among the wide variety of professionals in attendance were individuals from local governments, solid waste service providers, consultants, and manufacturers. Attendees specialized in landfill gas and biogas, landfill management, waste conversion and energy recovery, collection, and sustainable materials management.

SWANA’s Technical Divisions designed the innovative program, resulting in insightful and role-specific content that provided solutions that could be immediately put to work in facilities. Areas of focus ranged from using automation to improve hauler retention to successfully navigating the environmental justice process. Remediation of leachate and addressing labor shortages were also major topics on the agenda.

Bringing Focus to Critical Themes Influencing Solid Waste
The keynote, “Bringing Focus to Critical Themes Influencing Solid Waste,” was presented by Wall Street veteran sell-side analyst Michael E. Hoffman. In his influential address he discussed the current state of industry trends. He then gave his view of critical themes that he believes will impact what happens in solid waste over the next five to 10 years.




Exclusive Focus on PFAS
SOAR featured a six-part PFAS seminar that explored the biggest challenges facing MSW facilities. During the seminar, participants had the chance to learn the basics of PFAS and common sources. Subject matter experts then led several deep-dive sessions into landfill liquids management, composition, and a variety of treatment technologies. The seminar also highlighted some non-PFAS, emerging compounds that may present further challenges to solid waste manage in the near future.

SWANA Recognizes Industry Leaders
During the SOAR Opening Ceremonies, SWANA’s Technical Divisions recognized members and organizations for their professional achievements and excellence in their field:
1. Risa Weinberger, Risa Weinberger & Associates, received the Sustainable Materials Management Technical Division Distinguished Individual Achievement Award
2. Ramona Simpson, Town of Queen Creek, AZ, won the Communication, Education, and Marketing Technical Division Distinguished Individual Achievement Award
3. Nexus Circular won the Waste Conversion and Energy Recovery Technical Division Facility Excellence Award
4. The Landfill Gas and Biogas Technical Division honored six legendary members with its Eternal Flame Award. This posthumous award is given to honor the memory of members that made a significant contribution to the landfill gas and biogas industry. Those honored included:
• Ray Nardelli, LFG Specialties
• Vince Little, American Environmental Group
• Bill Lee, Lee Supply
• Dr. Robert Schoenberger, Chester County Solid Waste Authority, PA
• Rod Weitkamp, Republic Services
• Scott Fowler, Progressive Waste Solutions

Education Outside the Convention Center
As part of SOAR’s pioneering program, attendees were given the opportunity to get outside the convention center and tour the HAMM Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Lawrence, KS.

Attendees learned that the facility contains a state-of-the-art system designed to process 10 tons of single stream recycling material per hour. As participants walked along the platforms, operators explained the equipment selection and how the layout was designed to maximize not only efficiency, but also safety.

Attendees got to see the circular economy in action on the Boulevard Brewery tour. The presentation was provided by Ripple Glass, a glass recovery and recycling company started by Boulevard Brewery’s founder to create a circular economy and has expanded to service a five-state area. After a ride on the Kansas City Streetcar, attendees were treated to a private tour of Boulevard Brewery, a zero-waste to landfill facility and the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest.


SOAR Sponsors and the Exhibit Hall
The exhibit hall was packed at SOAR with more than 60 vendors in attendance. The exhibit hall reception was an especially well-attended networking event. SWANA would like to thank all the SOAR 2022 sponsors who helped make the conference possible, including Tetra Tech, Rochem Americas, Interra Global, Aclarity, and New Gen Strategies & Solutions.



Don’t Miss the 60th Anniversary of WASTECON®!
WASTECON® has been re-imagined to help public sector solid waste leaders and their teams plan sustainable futures for their
communities. This new focus is on communities and developing sustainable plans highlights the critical need for public-private partnerships. The WASTECON® education experience is specifically curated to provide leadership and management education through a solid waste lens. What you will experience is unlike any other event in the industry, with can’t-miss plenary experiences and participatory, transformational learning experiences to increased sharing amongst your peers. All of this is designed for municipalities and solid waste organizations to optimize their training budgets for their leadership teambuilding and education. Make plans to join us in San Diego, CA from December 5 – 8, 2022. | WA
For more information, visit