SOAR 2024: Advancing Solid Waste and Resource Management in Phoenix

SOAR 2024: Advancing Solid Waste and Resource Management in Phoenix

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) hosted its highly anticipated event, SOAR, held in Phoenix, Arizona from April 15–18, 2024.

The technical conference reflected SWANA’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and the pursuit of sustainable waste and resource management solutions. Attendees experienced a comprehensive lineup of presentations, educational sessions,
networking opportunities, experiential learning tours, and an exhibit hall showcasing the latest technologies and services in the field.

“SOAR 2024 was a very impactful experience,” said Amy Lestition Burke, Executive Director & CEO at SWANA. “The high level of engagement, insightful discussions, and innovative solutions showcased at SOAR underscores its success in driving
positive change within our industry.” 

The Opening Keynote & Award Ceremony began with a meaningful land acknowledgment by SWANA President, Art Mercer, recognizing the ancestral lands of the O’odham and Piipaash tribes. Arizona is home to 22 tribal nations, and we were privileged
to celebrate this rich heritage with two special guests who performed a traditional hoop dance.

To address the continual need to advance sustainability at local, national, and global levels, SWANA brought together regional leaders in circularity for the keynote presentation, “Innovative Circular Economy Solutions Through Partnerships and Technology.”
These experts shared how the Phoenix region is at the forefront of sustainability with innovative approaches, embracing technology and forging partnerships to accelerate resource management. Attendees gained insights from diverse perspectives on collaborative
efforts involving the public sector, industry partners, universities, and stakeholders to unlock new opportunities.

Sessions dedicated to composting, anaerobic digestion, and food waste reduction strategies drew interest from SOAR attendees. Experts shared best practices, case studies, and success stories, highlighting the economic and environmental benefits of organic
waste diversion initiatives.

“From thought-provoking keynote presentations to fruitful networking opportunities, this event epitomized collaboration, innovation, and progress,” Lestition Burke said. 

The conference highlighted technological advancements shaping the future of solid waste and resource management. From digitalization and data analytics to robotics and automation, sessions delved into the transformative impact of technology on optimizing
waste collection, processing, and recycling operations. Attendees gained valuable insights into implementing cutting-edge solutions to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and minimize environmental impact.

SOAR 2024 also provided a platform for meaningful networking and collaboration among industry professionals, government officials, academics, and representatives from the private sector. Participants exchanged ideas, forged partnerships, and explored
potential collaborations aimed at driving innovation and advancing sustainable practices in solid waste and resource management.

In addition to educational sessions and networking opportunities, SOAR 2024 featured an expansive exhibit hall showcasing a wide range of products, services, and technologies from leading companies and organizations in the solid waste management sector.
Exhibitors included energy companies, water companies, scientific companies and organizations, and more. They presented on a wide variety of topics, such as solutions for PFAS treatment and solar panel recycling. Attendees had the chance to explore
the latest innovations, connect with industry suppliers, and discover new solutions to address their specific needs and challenges.

SOAR 2024 provided a valuable forum for industry professionals to engage in meaningful discussions, exchange knowledge and expertise, and chart the course for the future of solid waste and resource management.

“The success of SOAR 2024 reflects the dedication and passion of our community to address the pressing challenges facing solid waste and resource management. I am proud to say that this conference has set a new standard for excellence in advancing
sustainable practices in our field, and we look forward to building on this momentum,” Lestition Burke said. 

As the industry evolves and adapts to new challenges, SWANA plays a crucial role in fostering collaboration, driving innovation, and advancing sustainable practices to create a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient future for generations to come.