WASTECON® 2019 Conference Topics
SWANA seeks proposals that illustrate innovative ideas and successes on the following topics:
Innovation in Management Techniques
More often than not, a modern waste management facility is a complex of multiple operations that requires an understanding of planning, budgeting, the changing workforce, employee management, data analysis, purchasing and evaluation of research into new technology. What tools are most effective in management of an up-to-date solid waste system?
Innovation in Developing a Circular Economy
This business strategy is about developing ways to address the best use of waste as a resource, while building a value chain of materials within a community through partnerships between organizations in government and the private sector. How has your community unlocked the opportunities of this strategy and built a sustainable economy that generates jobs and reduces waste disposal costs? What creative partnerships have evolved through this effort?
Innovation in Safety
In the U.S., the waste and recycling is the fifth deadliest profession on OSHA’s list, and all aspects of solid waste management face significant health and safety challenges. From collections, to working the landfill face, to handling materials in a MRF, distractions are everywhere in these complex environments. Consistent training is needed and a permanent change to the work culture is necessary. What has been your greatest success in reducing accidents?
Innovation in Communication
Communication and education are keys to helping people understand their community’s waste disposal options and to develop good purchasing and disposal habits. How do you use storytelling, social media and other modern techniques to achieve the goals you defined for community participation? What communication innovations have been most effective in your outreach and education efforts? How did you measure success?
Innovation in the 3Rs
With the upheaval in commodity markets caused by several countries (not just China) no longer taking recyclables from North America, what are the big ideas for waste reduction and reuse, as well as developing new options for materials headed for recycling?
Innovation in Marine Litter Programs
Plastic disposal is an international problem. The enormous ocean gyres contain plastic from around the world. These visible materials are just the “tip of the iceberg.” Deep below the surface are much more microplastic pollutants. Responses to reduce or stop plastic pollution include manufacturing changes, extended producer responsibility, innovative ways to capture plastic before it gets into waterways, new uses for used plastic, banning certain forms of plastics (straws, shopping bags), and much more. What are the newest innovations and successes in plastic reduction and reuse? Which are working best?
Innovation in International Waste Management
How can experiences and lessons learned with new technologies and systems used in other countries provide insights into new ways of doing things in the U.S. and Canada?
Innovation in Recycling Programs and Operations
Single-stream recycling programs collect a variety of materials. As companies change packaging content and consumers continue to put new things into the stream (“wishcycling”), recycling operations started years ago may no longer meet the needs of their communities. Investment is needed to retrofit hundreds of existing MRFs with upgraded systems that take into account the changing waste stream. Educating residents about how contamination in recycling adversely impacts the sustainability of the recycling system has become a central focus. What are the challenges — managerial, financial and technical — that MRF owners face in keeping up, and who are the leaders our industry looks to for examples of success?