Held from September 17 – 22, NAHMMA’s annual event brings together attendees for networking, training, and fun.
By Kenneth Miller



Welcome to NAHMMA Corner! NAHMMA will be holding its 38th Annual Conference in Tempe, AZ at the Tempe Mission Palms from September 17 – 22, 2023, and we want to share with you some of the exciting networking, training, and transformative energy that will occur during the conference.

Who is NAHMMA?
First though, a little background on NAHMMA, in case you are just hearing about us. NAHMMA was established in 1993 and operates as a volunteer-run, non-profit organization, committed to pollution prevention, product stewardship, and the safe and effective handling of hazardous materials from households and small businesses. Collectively, NAHMMA includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands. NAHMMA supports its members with exclusive training opportunities, relevant industry news, and access to a diverse and experienced multi-national network of people involved in the hazardous waste management industry.

Our 15-member association Board of Directors currently includes representatives from the U.S. and Canada. In addition, the association currently maintains nine active committees to help provide guidance to the overall association:
• Affiliations Committee
• Awards
• Chapters and Membership
• Communications
• Conference Steering
• Executive Board
• Policy
• Sponsorship
• Training

There are also 10 regional chapters, each with their own chapter leadership boards. The Chapter structure provides regional direction and control over decisions and resources to provide networking, professional development, and focused member services for the benefit of members within the Chapter boundary.

Come for the Training, Tours, Networking, and Presentations
Once again this year, the annual conference will unofficially kick off with trainings on Sunday and tours on Monday before the official start on Tuesday, September 19 with our opening Keynote. This year we are pleased to have Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council and the Stewardship Action Foundation as our Keynote Speaker.

Transform: “Paving the Way for EPR for all Household Hazardous Waste”
For the last 17 years, the U.S. has seen many states adopt individual EPR programs for a variety of HHW products including mercury thermostats and lamps, medicines and needles, paint, and more. However, many countries have a broader array of HHW products covered by EPR programs. British Columbia for example has gasoline, used oil and filters, antifreeze, aerosol paints, and even smoke and CO alarms. So why hasn’t the U.S. moved faster to get more HHW products, which are dangerous to workers and very costly to handle, under EPR? And what do those of us who work in HHW want to see happen regarding policy in the U.S.? Heidi will share her vision of what we can do to remove the cost of all toxic products from local governments in the U.S. and will share her plan on how to achieve that goal.

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council
Heidi has been a leader in the solid waste industry for 32 years, focused on source reduction and implementation of cost-effective projects that support a circular economy. She is an internationally recognized thought leader and advocate for producer responsibility and truth in labeling. Heidi has been the founding Director of three successful non-profit organizations including the California Product Stewardship Council, the National Stewardship Action Council, and the Stewardship Action Foundation.
Throughout her career, Heidi has focused on hazardous materials and hard-to-handle products, such as mercury containing products, thermostats and lamps, batteries, solar panels, medications and needles, carpet, mattresses, and electric vehicle batteries. Heidi’s ability to both educate legislators, as well as her innate skill at collaboration, negotiation, and strategy, was integral in passing these bills.

Train: “Professional Development for Professionals, by Professionals”
We have all heard it before, “A well trained staff is key to delivering effective, efficient service”. At NAHMMA, our trainers have the field experience necessary to engage and educate the attendees in a fun and exciting classroom format. Our trainees have said that “Explosive and highly reactive chemical training was very informative. I enjoyed the conversations during the class and all the real-life situations we were shown in pictures. Even though the class was geared more towards the HHWs, other fields, such as mine with enforcement could completely relate. Thank you!”. This year NAHMMA is planning to offer the following trainings in Tempe during the conference:
• Updated 24-Hour HAZWOPER/VSQG
• Identifications of Unknowns
• Explosive and Highly Reactive Chemicals
• Chemistry for Non-Chemists
• 8-Hour HAZWOPER Refresher

We are also looking at additional training offerings from our catalog, so be sure to check our Conference Event page frequently or reach out if there is a particular training you are hoping to take while in Tempe.

Network: “Connect and Build Relationships, Both a Professional and Personal Level”
The Annual NAHMMA Conference offers numerous opportunities to network with fellow attendees. This year, attendees will have the opportunity to tour three local facilities:
1. City of Tempe – Household Products Collection Center
2. Town of Gilbert – Household Hazardous Waste Facility
3. City of Mesa – Household Hazardous Materials Facility

Attendees touring the Boulder Colorado Facility.

The facility tours and the annual membership mixer, which occur on Monday, September 18, offer a great opportunity for attendees to get a jump start on networking. While the tours have limited capacity, the membership mixer is open to all attendees and is a chance to meet up with current connections and make new ones.


Attendees enjoying a planned afterhours networking dinner in Maine.

As previously mentioned, things officially begin on Tuesday morning with the opening Keynote. From there it is off to the races, both figuratively and literally. Our sessions committee has put together an amazing program for our attendees covering everything from extended producer responsibility, to facility operations, environmental regulations, and so much more.

No NAHMMA conference would be complete without the annual NAHMMA HHW Olympics. All attendees are invited to create teams of four to compete in a series of HHM themed events including barrel rolling, the barrel dolly slalom, and more. As a two-time medalist, I can tell you the competition is fierce (some teams train months in advance), yet fun. There is always some good-natured heckling and encouragement among the participants.


Attendees participating in past NAHMMA Olympics Events

All the networking, training, and transformative energy of our conference could not happen without all our conference vendors, sponsors, and attendees. All attendees will have the opportunity to visit with vendors and sponsors during the vendor reception and in between the trainings, the sessions, the keynotes.

I look forward to seeing you at what multiple attendees have called the “Best Conference Ever!” in Tempe, AZ from September 17 – 22, 2023. | WA

Kenneth Miller currently serves as on the NAHMMA Board of Directors as Board President. He is the current Solid Waste Agency Administrator at the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA). In addition to his involvement with NAHMMA, Ken is also a member of several other professional organizations, including SWANA, the Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operator (ISOSWO – Board Member), the Iowa Recycling Association (IRA), the U.S. Composting Council, and the Iowa Composting Council (Board Member). He can be reached at (563) 581-2874, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.NAHMMA.org