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Lizzie Torres, SWDC Emerging Leader/Rising Star

April 15, 2021

Lizzie Torres Cruz

Each year, teams of students from universities all over the globe come together for SWANA’s International Solid Waste Design Competition (SWDC), a student team competition to solve “real world” problems faced by solid waste professionals. Let’s hear from Lizzie Torres Cruz as the 2021 recipient of the Emerging Leader/Rising Star Award!

"The SWANA Design Competition was an opportunity to put into practice my knowledge and experience gained through university courses and previous job experiences. However, it also prompted me to research extensively to understand as much as possible the situation in the Bakoteh Dumpsite, The Gambia to be able to come up with an appropriate solution. I also found myself researching what had been done in previous dumpsite closures, what local technologies were used in nearby countries and learned about emerging technologies in landfill management. It was exciting to know that maybe what we proposed could be used in real life to help the people in Kanifing and that it could help them have a healthier and safer environment to live in. This is what fueled us to provide a solution that we considered would be locally appropriate, long-term viable and that could prevent further disturbance to the surrounding community.

"This competition helped me grow as a young professional and it was a stepping stone to other opportunities in the solid waste management field. I am honored to be this year's Emerging Leader/Rising Star award recipient and I will strive to keep working and learning to achieve our vision of an Earth where no waste exists and where we all can enjoy an environment with clean air, earth, seas, and soils."


Lizzie Torres Cruz is a SENACYT scholar from Panama studying Environmental Engineering in the joint program by the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC) and the University of Northern British Columbia (Prince George, BC) in Canada. As a Co-op student, Lizzie will be working with the City of Abbotsford in the Solid Waste and Environment Department for the summer of 2021, and she will be completing her studies in December 2021. She is looking forward to gaining experience and specializing in the sustainable waste management field. She also enjoys learning from her SWANA peers and participating in SWANA events to further her understanding of how we can better manage and utilize waste.


Visit for more information on this year’s winners and access to student resumes for recruitment.

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