Who We Are

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 8,300 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses. For more information, visit SWANA.org.

Mission Statement

SWANA is an organization of professionals committed to advancing solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research.

Core Purpose

To advance the responsible management of solid waste as a resource.

Core Values

SWANA is committed to:
  • Education: opportunities for training, certification and research
  • Advocacy: support of responsible and practical environmental initiatives
  • Collaboration: networking and partnerships
  • Respect: encouragement of diverse ideas and opinions
Guiding Principles

Local government is responsible for municipal solid waste management, but not necessarily the ownership and/or operation of municipal solid waste management systems.

Origin of SWANA

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. In the summer of 1981, GRCDA moved their offices to Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC,  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.

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 8,000 members.

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.