The U.S. Agency for International Development's Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program, which aims to improve waste management in developing countries and reduce ocean plastic leakage, will be getting help from the Solid Waste Association of North America.
SWANA, based in Silver Spring, Md., will be providing technical help to USAID staff as well as industry and governments in targeted countries under a formal partnership between the two groups, SWANA said in an August 15 statement.
The Clean Cities program is one of the larger U.S. government efforts to reduce plastic pollution in rapidly urbanizing countries and has also focused on how solid waste is impacting climate change.
SWANA is an association of more than 10,000 people working in public and private waste management.
"We think that SWANA and our members can supplement the resources that CCBO [Clean Cities, Blue Ocean] is already bringing to help reduce plastic pollution and build more modern solid waste and recycling infrastructure in developing countries," said David Biderman, executive director and CEO of SWANA.
USAID officials have previously appealed to the plastics industry, seeking industry assistance for their $48 million Clean Cities effort to mitigate ocean plastic and boost waste management.
Biderman said the memorandum of understanding his group has with USAID follows on a memorandum with the Inter-American Development Bank last year and training programs with landfill operators in Chile and Columbia.
The collaboration will expand SWANA's training programs and provide its members with commercial opportunities.
At the moment, the effort does not have a specific project. But the partners do plan to focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.
"We have an opportunity to provide that expertise overseas at a time when it's desperately needed to combat climate change and marine litter," Biderman said. "And that's why SWANA is doing this. There's no time to waste."