NSWMA Says Members Fully Support 'Zero Waste'

Date: April 22, 2010

Source: The National Solid Wastes Management Association

On Earth Day, Solid Waste Companies Pledge Support for Zero Waste

  • New Technology Will Help Reach Goal

The nation's solid waste companies said today that they fully support state and local initiatives to reach "zero waste," and will continue to invest in technology to reach that goal.

"Americans have already witnessed a transformation in how we deal with our trash," said Bruce J. Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSMWA), which represents the for-profit solid waste sector in the United States. "We still generate a significant amount of municipal solid waste – EPA estimates almost 250 million tons in the last year alone. But we are sending several million fewer tons to disposal than we did 20 years ago."

Parker attributed the decrease to the growth of municipal recycling and composting programs and the increasing use of waste-based energy projects, largely made possible through innovative technologies developed by solid waste companies.

"Solid waste companies are an important partner in zero waste efforts," Parker said. "Zero waste doesn't mean ‘no trash,' but rather, continuing to find economically achievable ways to treat as much waste as possible as a resource. It means diverting more of the waste stream away from disposal to be recycled or turned into a clean, renewable source of energy. Trash haulers and other solid waste processors will still be needed to make it work."

In a newly released position paper (www.environmentalistseveryday.org/zerowaste), the NSWMA acknowledges that "America is transitioning slowly but surely to a zero waste society," and says the industry is "stepping forward to facilitate a discussion among the public, waste collection service providers, customers, manufacturers, government and consumers on how we can collectively work toward zero waste."

"It is important to recognize that the transition to zero waste will not be easy or quick," said Parker. "It took almost twenty years to double the recycling rate, from 16.2 percent of municipal solid waste in 1990, to 33.2 percent in 2008. To boost these numbers even further, we will need to continue to expand recycling programs, invest in properly built and permitted processing facilities and cut down on packaging and other waste at the source."

For an interview with Bruce Parker about zero waste or other solid waste issues, contact Thom Metzger at (202) 364-3751 or tmetzger@envasns.org.

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