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Mission & History

The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association representing private-sector U.S. waste and recycling companies, as well as the manufacturers and service providers that do business with those companies.

Our Mission

Association members operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our members consist of large publicly-traded companies and both small and large privately-owned companies, all of which support the organization’s mission to be:

The leading organization providing leadership, advocacy, research, education and safety expertise to promote the North American waste and recycling industries, serve as their voice and create a climate where members prosper and provide safe, economically sustainable and environmentally sound services.

Association History

In May 1962, our association was launched. It was formed as the National Council of Refuse Disposal Trade Associations and was first managed by an association management firm in Chicago. In January 1968, the group moved to Washington, DC, was formerly chartered as the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and hired its first three full-time staff, including Executive Director Harold Gershowitz. In 1973, Eugene J. Wingerter, who had been NSWMA's technical director, succeeded Gershowitz.

In 1993, as part of a a major reorganization, the Waste and Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC) was formed, and both NSWMA and WASTEC became quasi-independent trade associations under the umbrella of the Environmental Industry Associations (EIA). Wingerter served as NSWMA's Executive Director until the reorganization and then served as the President and CEO of EIA. When Wingerter departed EIA in April 1994, Allen “Mike” Frischkorn Jr., became the president and CEO of EIA.

In February 1997, Bruce J. Parker became the acting president and CEO of EIA and the executive vice president of NSWMA. He formally took over the position of president and CEO of EIA and the executive vice president of NSWMA later that year. Parker retired in May 2012.

Sharon H. Kneiss became the new president and CEO of EIA in June 2012. During her first year leading the group, Kneiss oversaw a strategic planning effort, in which the EIA leadership moved to reorganize the group, merging EIA, NSWMA, and WASTEC into a single entity with a single name. This process was completed in November 2013, when the EIA Board of Trustees adopted new bylaws for the merged group and renamed the merged association the National Waste & Recycling Association. Kneiss left the Association in November 2016.

Dr. Darrell K. Smith was named as the association's new President & CEO in July 2017. Dr. Smith arrived at a time when the industry faces numerous challenges relative to public policy and community relations. His skill sets include public policy advocacy for heavy industry, grassroots activation, trade association management and growth, public relations, and a technical background in safety and environmental processes. His unique qualifications, coupled with past employment in the waste industry, positions him to drive industry successes in partnership with the communities that so heavily rely on efficient waste management services.