The idea seemed simple: Identify the next generation of leaders in the waste and recycling space.
Ask for nominations. Review the results. Come up with a list of 40 pros in the space who are shaping the future of the industry.
Other publications do 40 Under 40s all the time. How hard could it be? If anything, we were worried that we’d get enough nominations to create a credible list—one that would inspire enough people to submit for future lists.
Little did we know what kind of response we would receive. The results were overwhelming. We got more than 300 nominations— the vast majority of them high quality. We had not only enough nominations for one list of 40, but for several.
The challenge became not to just come up with a list, but to narrow it down. It was a grueling process, with many rounds of reviewing submissions. We read through the submissions again and again. We winnowed the list down. We ranked the submissions. Then we re-ranked them. Then we ranked them one more time.
We looked for balance. We wanted all facets of the industry represented. We wanted people with different experiences and disparate entry points into the industry. We wanted diversity. You’ll find pros on this list that are second- or third-generation haulers. You’ll find others that started their careers in other fields entirely and only found their way to waste and recycling more recently.
In the end, we’ve come up with a list that we’re quite proud of and that we hope you’ll find inspiring.
This year’s 40 Under 40 winners work across every part of the waste and recycling industry imaginable. The public sector is represented, as are haulers. We have pros working on the cutting edges when it comes to processing organics or development technology. There are composters, recycling pros and product suppliers.
And they all have one thing in common: They are looking to help chart the course for the waste and recycling industry in the years to come. They’re building new businesses. They are solving problems. They are wrestling with the big challenges and finding the new opportunities.
There definitely were tough calls. There were nominations that just missed the cut. We easily could have made a list of 40 different submissions and had it be just as impressive. But the most exciting part of this is that we get to do it all again in 2017. So if you missed out on this year’s list, don’t be too upset. We’ll be calling for new nominations very soon.
In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll be posting longer interviews and profiles of each of the winners. So you’ll get a chance to know them better as the year rolls on.
Methodology: Waste360 solicited nominations through email campaigns, newsletter ads and promotions on our website. Nominees had to be 40 or younger as of March 1, 2016. Nominations were submitted via an online form. Candidates could nominate themselves or be nominated by third parties. Waste360 received nearly 300 nominations. The Waste360 team then evaluated the nominations and consulted with an external advisor to select the finalists and winners.