In 1961 a small group of local government solid waste program supervisors in the Los Angeles basin formed the Governmental Refuse Collection and Disposal Association (GRCDA) to provide a means for solid waste professionals to share information and promote training.
By 1978 GRCDA had grown to about 900 members in 10 chapters in various western states and parts of Canada and hired its first Executive Director, Lanny Hickman. July 1st of that year, GRCDA established its first permanent office at 16th & K. Street NW, Washington, D.C. In the summer of 1981, GRCDA moved their offices to Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. In 1992 GRCDA changed its name to the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) to reflect how the field had broadened from refuse collection and disposal to all aspects of municipal solid waste management. When Lanny Hickman retired in 1996, John H. Skinner, Ph.D., was selected as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer. In 2015, Dr. Skinner retired and David Biderman was selected as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer.
Having grown and broadened its membership of public sector and private sector municipal solid waste management professionals, SWANA is now the largest member based solid waste association in the world with 45 Chapters, in the U.S, Canada and the Caribbean and over 10,000 members. SWANA is the U.S. and Canadian National Member of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), and participates and supports ISWA events and programs.
SWANA’s prominent and nationally acclaimed technical conferences and training programs cover all aspects of integrated municipal solid waste management, and the Association is a major policy and technical representative of solid waste management practitioners, executives, companies and government organizations.