USA map-green

Catching Up on What the NWRA Has Been Up To

In a new column, the NWRA will provide monthly updates impacting the waste and recycling industry.

Each week, I communicate with NWRA boards, committees and leaderships to keep them in the loop on what we are pursuing and achieving to benefit our industry. I’m pleased to have this opportunity in Waste360 to offer you a monthly snapshot of this effort.

Each month I will share with you the main issues impacting our industry and what NWRA is doing about them. I’ll also tell you about interesting new programs and campaigns we spearhead such as our Safety Professional Development Series (hitting Boston August 17th and Chicago in late September), our Safety Stand Down Series (with the next one coming up August 22-26) and much more.

Government Affairs

The U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce reported the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, HR 5587. The bill is designed to modify and update federal support of state and local career and technical education. When signed into law, the bill will empower state and local education leaders to properly align career training and vocational education with in-demand jobs that are available in each community.

NWRA has been working with the sponsors of the legislation, Congressman Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA), and other members of the committee to insure that the bill addresses the shortage of qualified drivers, mechanics and welders in the waste and recycling industry. We will continue to work with congressional staff to insure that training programs are developed at the local level to address specific industry shortages where they occur. The bill will go to the House floor in September.

Also, on Capitol Hill, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing on the “Damaging Repercussions” of the Department of Labor’s new overtime rule on small employers and their employees. The Final Rule substantially raises the minimum salary level requirement for executive, administrative, and professional employees to $47,476 per year from its current level of $23,660 per year. Beginning December 1, 2016, salaried employees who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act wage and hour provisions will be will be eligible for overtime if their annual salary is over $47,476.

NWRA will be providing a brief guidance document on the new rule to all members in the next few weeks.

Chapter Activities

Midwest: The Kentucky chapter continues with work to address Louisville Metro’s 90 percent diversion recycling goals and solid waste policies. Members are also in discussions concerning TNORM levels and disposal safeguards that will be presented to a state task force this week.

Sunbelt: The South Carolina legislative committee continues its efforts to oppose a solid waste district from utilizing its tax-advantaged status to compete unfairly with private industry and a local school system bypassing its standard bidding process to award a collection contract to the solid waste district.

Northeast: The New York state chapter won an extension for the filing of comments on proposed revisions to the omnibus Part 360 solid waste and recycling regulations. The New York state chapter’s success with SDTGA legislation continued with the state assembly passing the measure without any dissenting votes. The chapter will continue its work with legislative leaders and will work with the governor who will address the bill when the legislature transmits it to him later this summer.

Safety and the NYC Chapter

We enjoyed great success at the NYC Safety Symposium that NWRA held last month in collaboration with SWANA and The Action Environmental Group. All materials from the symposium were uploaded to the NWRA website for all members and friends of the industry to use.

More than 100 individuals representing 67 companies and municipalities attended the symposium. As a result of these efforts, the NWRA NYC chapter has spearheaded quarterly meetings with the NYC Department of Sanitation to continue open dialogue around issues that impact both public and private sector waste and recycling.


In preparation for the August 22-26 Safety Stand Down on Back to School safety, Tony Hargis has convened a team of NWRA Safety Committee leaders to help build out the learning and development aspects of the program. The leaders will provide content, develop and review content, obtain and provide Stand Down testimonials, cascade communications to partner companies and other industry partners and associations, be available to media outlets for stand down interviews.

 We are pleased to present the NWRA Professional Development Series event, which is being hosted by E L Harvey in Westborough, Mass. on August 17th.

The event will be a lunch and learn and will present attendees with “5 Safety and Compliance Topics Employers Need to Know”, which includes: OSHA Compliance, DOT Compliance, Safety Culture, Employee Engagement, Using technology to manage risk.

This pre-lunch session will be followed by a roundtable discussion that will identify how NWRA’s can support the needs of attendees and enable NWRA to successfully deliver on our three-year strategic safety initiatives. The planning process has begun to deliver the 2nd Professional Development Series event in Chicago area the last week of September, hosted by Republic Services.


Planning for the Recycling Summit is ramping up, with 18 confirmed sessions. The Waste360 Recycling Summit will take place September 19-21, 2016 at the Austin Hyatt Regency Hotel – Austin, Texas. At this event, NWRA will present its 2016 Recycling Awards.


Increasingly, established waste and recycling companies as well as new companies with innovative technologies and products serving our market are joining NWRA. Several new members joined NWRA around WasteExpo because they see the value in what membership in the association offers them.

In August, we will be offering a webinar for our members to review the variety of member savings programs and services that we offer so they can take advantage of these programs to help their bottom line. We are also seeing increased interest and participation in our Women's Council and Future Industry Leaders Alliance (FILA), and we encourage the employees of our member companies to get involved in these organizations for personal and professional development, as well as the networking opportunities these groups offer to build strong relationships across our industry. 

I encourage you to learn more about these items by visiting or our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds. It’s my pleasure to keep you informed about how NWRA is making our industry safer, smarter and stronger.

Sharon Kneiss is president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.