September 14, 2022
The SWANA Young Professionals (YP) group continues to grow and expand across the country. SWANA YP members have been busy this past year speaking at SWANA events, leading teams, mentoring students, and making strides in every aspect of the industry. Let’s get to know some of these upcoming industry leaders!
Rachel Musetti has had a passion for community involvement and leadership for as long as she can remember. As a sophomore in college, she canvassed door-to-door, educating residents on environmental justice and health issues associated with plastic waste. By engaging residents, encouraging letter writing campaigns, and raising over $7,000 in funds, she helped incentivize New Jersey’s state legislature to pass bans on single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food serviceware and phased-out paper bags at large grocery stores. The bill was passed in 2020.
While studying Environmental Science and Sustainability Sciences at Emory University, Rachel worked for the school’s sustainability office to lead the Zero Waste Ambassadors, a group of 150 student, staff, and faculty volunteers, to champion waste efforts in the Emory community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she restructured the program to create a strong virtual presence through weekly blog posts and monthly Q&A videos called “Trash Talks.”
As the Recycling and Zero Waste Education Coordinator for Metro Waste Services in Nashville, Rachel developed and led Nashville’s first Zero Waste Leadership Program to educate and cultivate community leaders on the issues of solid waste management and Nashville’s Zero Waste Master Plan. The month-long course features tours of a transfer station, MRF, and Tennessee’s only industrial composting facility so residents can see firsthand how intricate resource management is. The mission of the program is to create a network of involved residents who will take this information back to their communities to inspire waste reduction habits. Also in Nashville, she’s developed and coordinated multi-faceted education and outreach programs to help Nashvillians reduce waste, recycle right, and compost correctly through webinars, educational resources, and community events. Rachel worked to develop Metro Nashville’s first Recycling and Best Practices Guide specifically for event planners. This document compiled waste diversion strategies, tips, and waste hauler information to make sustainability more accessible for community organizers.
However, Rachel recalls, one of her favorite long-term projects at Zero Waste Nashville was internal. Following the adage of “practice what you preach,” the organization was able to launch composting collection services and increase recycling throughout five Metro Water facilities. With these increased services meant developing waste signs to be used across Metro facilities and creating and leading employee waste sorting trainings. Zero Waste Nashville even started vermicomposting (composting with worms) at work. Rachel says, “It’s been really great to see how interested and excited everyone is to divert their waste.”
Rachel initially joined SWANA to network and grow among other young professionals in the solid waste industry. Through the training courses, webinars, and technical divisions, she’s been able to connect with Master Recyclers across the continent who helped her develop Nashville’s Zero Waste Leadership Training Program. Rachel is also Zero Waste Principles and Practices Certified. On her YP membership, Rachel says, "SWANA’s YP group has introduced me to so many talented professionals who have helped me grow in my field. As I continue to explore SWANA and all it has to offer, I hope to join the MentorMatch program next cycle to continue to learn from those before me."
Click Here to apply or nominate someone to be featured in the next YP Spotlight!
Visit swana.org/YP411 to learn more about the group and become a YP member at the special discounted rate for full access to mentors, job openings, discounted webinars, and more! Or sign-up for SWANA’s YP Community forum for FREE to engage in industry discussions and receive updates on all things “YP”.