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Who We Are

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 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.

SWANA is now the largest member based solid waste association in the world with 47 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.

SWANA’s Tax Status

SWANA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization incorporated in California and operating with headquarters in Maryland. SWANA’s mission is to advance the industry from solid waste management to resource management through an emphasis on education, advocacy and research, which qualifies donors to be eligible to deduct contributions to SWANA under the exempt purposes of IRS Code Section 501(c)3. SWANA is also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, legacies, devises, transfers, or gifts under IRC Sections 2055, 2106, and 2522.


Our Initiatives

Our History

SWANA has a long and storied history. Here are some key highlights. 

  • 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.

  • SWANA recognized as organization of the year by Waste Dive.