The National Waste & Recycling Association and Solid Waste Association of North America (collectively “NWRA”) issued a document titled:

Briefing for Elected Officials – Effective Reponses to Emerging Waste Management Technology Proposals (“Briefing Paper”)

The organizations state that they support the development of new facilities and new technologies for managing municipal solid waste (especially when those technologies return a resource). They cite such efforts as offering the potential for:

  • Increased waste diversion
  • Revenue
  • Jobs

Nevertheless, NWRA notes that the implementation of such projects could be complex and risky. As a result, they offer the Briefing Paper as an opportunity to leverage “lessons learned from both successful and unsuccessful projects across North America.”

The Briefing Paper includes a checklist that is cited as potentially assisting decision-makers in their evaluation of opportunities that utilize emerging waste technologies or that use existing management technology in new applications as part of an environmental services program. The goal was stated to be the assistance of elected officials in identifying and understanding the associated risks and challenges of new waste management options. The processing systems that are characterized as receiving “heightened attention” in the industry are:

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Mixed waste processing
  • Transesterification
  • Gasification
  • Pyrolysis with outputs like syngas (synthesis gas),Renewable Natural Gas, biochar, and a variety of liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel

A copy of the Briefing Paper and checklist can be downloaded here.