Rooting for the Trash Team

Colene Carter
Technical Services Program Manager
APWA Kansas City office

The Solid Waste Management Committee is made up of public works professionals from across the country. All of them have substantial experience in the solid waste field. But as anyone in the solid waste field knows, sometimes experience just makes your job more frustrating.

You know the ins and outs of garbage. You know that collection is most efficient when it's carried out by a single collection service with a topnotch fleet, delivering waste to a central disposal point. Now, how do you cope with knowing that you will never, ever, have that?

You may have multiple private haulers operating in your city. The nearest landfill may be three counties away. You may have residents who refuse to give up twice-a-week pickup even though you know you could service the city better at once a week. You may have your own fleet of ancient packer trucks that spend more time in the shop than hauling trash. Your drivers may idle in line at the transfer station longer than it actually takes them to run their route. And, to top it all off, the amount of trash keeps going up, up, up.

Solid waste management is a little like cleaning up after a toddler or patching streets that people keep insisting on driving over. Your job is never finished. It's a careful game of just keeping up. Of course, it's a game that lots of other people are playing too. So, when you need to ask someone else for some new plays or you just need to crow over a victory, that's when you should track down the Solid Waste Management Committee. They do their best to monitor the infoNOW Environment Community at, sharing links to articles of interest and answering questions if they can. They also share information by writing articles for the APWA Reporter and putting together sessions for Congress.

The committee tries to keep up with all of the latest information on landfill technology, routing, recycling, composting, collection methods, incineration, household hazardous waste, electronic waste, storm debris, waste reduction, etc. They assist with reviews and responses to proposed legislation and may even be called upon to speak at congressional briefings. The committee prepares and reviews position statements for APWA on a variety of issues. They are currently working on a new position statement regarding electronic waste.

More information on the Solid Waste Management Committee can be found on APWA's website by clicking on "Technical Committees" and choosing "Solid Waste Management." You can find meeting summaries, position papers and contact information.

The members of the Solid Waste Management Technical Committee are: Roger Flint, Chair, City of Spokane, WA; Jose Gamboa, City of Santa Cruz, CA; Keith Howard, Municipality of Anchorage, AK; Keith Hunke, City of Bismarck, ND; Rick Person, City of St. Paul, MN; and Marc Rogoff, SCS Engineers, Tampa, FL. The At-Large Director is George Crombie who serves as Board Liaison to the committee, and the Staff Liaison is Colene Carter.

Colene Carter can be reached at (816) 595-5221 or