Same As It Ever Was

This is the time of the year when I normally gaze into the World Wastes 3D crystal ball and predict the future.

Actually, I usually pour myself a nice shot of my favorite single malt Scotch and stare at the crystal whiskey glass.

My guesses for 1994 begin with the changes to the top two waste industry associations. One year ago I wrote about the internal challenges to the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), the nation's largest private contractor association.

It seemed obvious that significant changes were headed their way and just this week, the NSWMA announced that they have restructured "to give members more direct decision making and better positioning for long term growth."

As a result, the association has created an umbrella organization, named the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) with three affiliated associations: the National Solid Wastes Management Association, the Hazardous Waste Management Association (HWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC).

Each association has its own board of governors while the 50 member board of the old NSWMA has been pared down to seven for the EIA.

It is my understanding that the EIA is seeking a top administrator, much like the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), the nation's largest waste industry association. They even have a few more years, since their director has announced his departure for the middle of the decade.

Like EIA, SWANA is being challenged by its membership. The first signs appeared a couple of years ago when they changed their name from the Governmental Refuse Collection and Disposal Association. This was coupled with a change in the dues structure. And from what I gather, there is a healthy debate internally as to the future direction of the association.

The bottom line is that both major waste industry associations are in a transitional period, and I think that speaks for the industry itself.

Landfill owners and operators have a better idea of the challenges ahead since Subtitle D was released. Haulers and transporters will have a better idea of their futures once the Supreme Court decides early this year on the flow control challenge.

The hazardous wastes part of our industry, which always seemed to be somewhere in a confused state of development, is still there. And waste-to-energy is still waiting in the wings for its deserved recognition as a viable disposal option.

So, what's the future hold, oh wise Scotch glass?

Better times are coming in 1994. Why? Because what you do for a living cannot be stopped. Trash is still piling up out there, and sooner or later someone is going to notice.