The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) announced today the development of a briefing for elected officials on emerging waste management technology. This brief, entitled “Effective Responses to Emerging Waste Management Technology Proposals,” was developed to provide municipal leaders with the process and resources necessary to make informed decisions when considering unsolicited proposals, unfamiliar technologies or both.

The brief includes a checklist to assist decision-makers in their evaluation of opportunities that utilize emerging waste technologies or that use existing management technology in new applications as part of an environmental services program. This document will help elected officials identify and understand the associated risks and challenges of the new waste management options.

“Even when officials are familiar with a proposed waste-related technology, project development, siting, permitting and implementation remain complex and require them to be diligent in reviewing unexpected or unsolicited proposals,” said David Biderman, Executive Director and CEO at SWANA. “What we’ve put together helps make this complex process easier to navigate.”

Through this communication to municipal officials, NWRA and SWANA provide insight on the types of proposed waste solutions being offered to cities and counties across the United States and Canada, while helping to guide officials through the steps they should take to make appropriate decisions for the communities they serve. The two Associations advise that among the processing systems receiving heightened attention in the industry are:

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Mixed waste processing
  • Transesterification
  • Gasification
  • Pyrolysis with outputs like syngas (synthesis gas), Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), biochar, and a variety of liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel

“NWRA and SWANA support the development of technologies, consistent with the US EPA Waste Management Hierarchy and similar requirements in other countries, intended to minimize the final disposal of solid waste,” said Anne Germain, Director of Technology at NWRA. “Many of these technologies advance that goal and offer environmental and economic opportunities for communities. However, we warn that the accompanying risk should not be disregarded.“ Considering that these approaches to managing solid waste, like most others, are complex and often require a large capital investment, NWRA and SWANA agree it is important for decision-makers to ask thoughtful questions and to perform a thorough evaluation of the proposed transaction and processing systems.

The brief and the checklist are available for download at no cost at