EIA: Golden Garbage

The NSWMA hits the half-century mark.

On May 23, the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) observed a milestone anniversary. On that day in 1962, a group of regional solid waste associations came together to form the first national association representing the private sector solid waste industry. This new group was called the National Council of Refuse Disposal Trade Associations (NCRDTA). Years later, NCRDTA officially became NSWMA and grew to represent solid waste services companies operating in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

When it was formed, NCRDTA included the Chicago and Suburban Association, the Coordinating Council of Waste Collection and Disposal Associations of California, and the Detachable Container Association. Environmental Industry Associations (EIA) Hall of Fame member Dean Buntrock, who later would head Waste Management Inc., was elected as NCRDTA’s founding president. Buntrock, Marshall Rabins (another EIA Hall of Famer) and Harold Van der Molen each provided $5,000 to launch the association.

NCRDTA’s first board of directors included Buntrock, Rabins and Van der Molen, as well as Henry Hoekstra, William Ohanesian and Albert Shayne. (Ohanesian and Shayne also are EIA Hall of Fame members). Soon after it was created, the NCRDTA leaders hired Larry Hogan Associates, a public relations and association management firm in Chicago, to manage the group.

On Jan. 12, 1968, the group moved to Washington, was formerly chartered as NSWMA and hired its first full-time staff. Later that year, the group held the first International Refuse Equipment Show and Congress in Chicago. (This event later became WasteExpo.) That first show included 60 exhibitors, had expenses of about $20,000 and netted revenues of about $44,000 for organizers.

From its earliest years, NSWMA provided members with advocacy to federal and state policymakers and the media, educational opportunities, research and a variety of networking opportunities at meetings and events. NSWMA members have included large publicly-traded companies and small and large privately-owned companies, all of which promote the management of waste in a manner that is environmentally responsible, efficient, profitable and ethical, while benefiting the public and protecting employees.

“We’re proud of the success that our association has had during the last half century in helping America’s solid waste services and recycling industry grow into a $60 billion industry,” stated Bruce J. Parker, retiring EIA president and CEO and the executive vice president of NSWMA, acknowledging this notable moment in the history of the solid waste industry.

Parker continued, “NSWMA members continue to provide essential, technologically innovative and environmentally-responsive waste services to the communities that they serve. I am optimistic that NSWMA and WASTEC will continue to support our members as they find beneficial uses for waste, such as the production of renewable fuels.”

Sharon Kneiss, incoming EIA president and CEO, added, “The legacy that was created during the first 50 years of EIA is incredible. Our founders built a sound organizational framework that has served our industry well. The association has evolved to better serve the needs of a growing and technologically advancing industry. I look forward to carrying on the EIA legacy in a way that supports members and also promotes and builds a greater understanding of the important benefits of this industry, not only keeping American communities healthy and clean, but also increasing resource recovery and producing energy and other benefits.”

NSWMA – a sub-association of EIA – represents for-profit companies in North America that provide solid waste collection, recycling and disposal services, healthcare waste management, or provide professional and consulting services to the waste services industry. For information about NSWMA, visit www.nswma.org.


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