Solid Waste Association of North America

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For nearly 50 years, The Solid Waste Association of North America, (SWANA) has been a professional association in the solid waste management field. SWANA's mission is "to advance the practice of environmentally and economically sound management of municipal solid waste." SWANA serves over 7,700 members and thousands more industry professionals with technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses. Solid waste consists of everyday items that could be thrown away or recycled such as bottles, cans, newspapers, computers, furniture, food, and appliances.


SWANA is organized into seven technical divisions. These technical divisions provide members with the most convenient methods to keep track of hot topics, connect with experts, and shape the future of solid waste management. Access to each division's electronic forum and email-based community encourages networking across the United States and Canada, allowing members not only to access resources and get answers to questions.

  • Technical Divisions
    • Collection & Transfer — As the largest single budget item in solid waste management, collection and transfer deals primarily with efficiency and reliability. Key issues in the field include route design, innovative technologies, health & safety, and contracting & franchising.
    • Communication, Education & Marketing — The communication, education, and marketing division seeks to enhance the way solid waste organizations interact with their surrounding communities.
    • Landfill Gas — Recognized as the premier authority on issues surrounding landfill gas recovery, control, management, utilization, system design, operation, and maintenance, this technical division promotes the use of landfill gas as a sustainable and renewable energy source.
    • Landfill Management — This division's wide-reaching technical focus helps provide practical solutions to the multitude of issues and challenges concerning the planning, design, construction, closure, and post-closure care of today's landfills.
    • Planning & Management — This division focuses on developing innovative solutions to the most pressing questions and challenges faced by today’s solid waste decision-makers, and provides subscribers with the information they need to stay on the cutting-edge of the solid waste field.
    • Recycling & Special waste — This division's mission to balance environmental sustainability and the economic feasibility of minimizing municipal solid waste disposal is reflected throughout the Division’s many events, activities and focused technical content.
    • Waste-to-Energy — This division's mission is to ensure that this technology, and other emerging waste combustion technologies, are recognized for what they are—some of the cleanest and most responsible forms of waste management
  • Chapters: SWANA offers forty-five local chapters in which attendees can participate in forums, training sessions, local legislation, and networking.


SWANA is committed to advancing the field, members' careers, community, and lives. Thousands are trained in today's trends and tomorrow's emerging technologies.

Innovation and Communication[edit]

SWANA's research and development efforts provide training, and educational programs offered by SWANA. At the forefront of this effort is SWANA's Applied Research Foundation, a subscriber-based group that has redefined the concept of collective research.

  • Advocacy: SWANA is an advocacy association that identifies sound solid waste management policies while implementing strategies to advance these positions.
  • Journal & Newsletters: SWANA members receive updates of today’s trends and tomorrow’s emerging technologies in the monthly journal MSW Management, in addition to a monthly newsletter: MSW Solutions.


SWANA hosts WASTECON which is the main conference in the solid waste field in North America. This is the only conference run by and for solid waste professionals in Northern America.


Each year SWANA recognizes a selected few who have excelled in terms of commitment, achievements, and contributions.

  • Excellence Awards — This program recognizes outstanding solid waste programs and facilities that advance the practice of environmentally and economically sound solid waste management through their commitment to utilizing effective technologies and processes in system design and operations, advancing worker and community health and safety, and implementing successful public education and outreach programs.
  • Professional Achievement Awards — These awards recognize valuable, and distinguished, contributions to the Association, the individual's employing organization, and the general public.
  • Scholarships — In order to prepare the next generation for the environmentally and economically sound practice of solid waste, SWANA has developed several scholarship and internship programs over the years for students studying in fields related to solid waste management.

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