The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is the largest association for waste professionals in the world, and although headquartered in the United States, has deep roots within the waste sector in Canada. Our Canadian chapters, with nearly 1,000 members, represent all of the provinces and territories of Canada, and work with their respective governments to shape policy and legislation, and provide training programs, information on industry trends, and frequent safety tips, to members.

Canadian chapters play a significant role in the professional development of waste management leaders. Promoting environmentally sound, fiscally prudent, and effective waste management techniques is accomplished by providing frequent training programs and educational support. SWANA maintains a large technical data base and network to support the many needs of the industry, including research. Continuing education is fostered through the many international conferences and educational programs offered by SWANA. Many Canadian chapter members and waste facilities/programs have won prestigious international awards recognizing their achievements and excellence.

The Northern Lights Chapter, representing Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, is SWANA’s largest chapter in Canada. The Northern Lights Chapter has taken a leading role ensuring the proper operation of landfill sites in Alberta and Manitoba by maintaining the required provincial certification training programs for landfill managers.

The Atlantic Chapter is a long-time supporter of the circular economy and the efforts of the Nova Scotia government to divert as much waste as possible from landfills. Nova Scotia has the oldest centralized composting systems in North America (1994) and was the first province to achieve a 50% diversion rate (2000). The Atlantic Chapter has also taken the lead providing examples of effective programs and encouraging changes in existing programs.

Waste industry professionals from Canada and the US will have the opportunity to learn what’s new in our industry and the circular economy in March 2018 at the Canadian Waste Resource Symposium, hosted by SWANA’s Quebec Chapter. The conference will include an assembly of waste management experts from around Canada to educate and explain the latest developments in each province and territory. 

The Ontario Chapter recently submitted comments to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on a proposed policy addressing food and other organic waste in Ontario. The inclusion of organics into an extended producer responsibility program may help the Province achieve the full impacts of the quest to divert organics from traditional disposal facilities.

The BC/Yukon Chapter frequently highlights success stories achieved by its members and is very active in bringing the sector together through conferences and seminars to promote the unique waste-related experiences and needs of the northwest. They are also actively developing effective programs to the many Indigenous Nations, who have perhaps the closest ties to the land, and the most to gain from the implementation of an effective circular economy.

SWANA’s vision is to be the leader in helping the waste sector reinvent itself, and its purpose is to advance the responsible management of solid waste as a resource.  We are working with the National Zero Waste Council, and recently launched a new Zero Waste certification course. Closing the waste loop and moving towards the circular economy model are key elements of our vision. Throughout Canada, SWANA members and chapters are moving smartly towards achieving those objectives.