Who We Are

Click below to watch a video to learn more about EREF’s mission and see how we are advancing scientific research and creating educational pathways that enable innovation in sustainable waste management practices.

On April 18, 1994 at O’Hare Airport, the first formal board meeting of the foundation was held. In attendance were: Lonnie Poole (Waste Industries), Patrick Banfield (Banfield and Associates), Gene Wingerter (National Solid Waste Management Association), Bob Duncan (J.C. Duncan Companies), Izzie Abrams (Dual Removal Systems, Ltd.), Whit Hudson (Hudson Management Company) and Lee Brandsma (Groot Industries).

They created what was then called the National Solid Waste Management Association Foundation because they accepted the premise that research by the waste industry was so small that it was judged to be insignificant; and to fill the information gap, these early leaders designed the foundation which would serve as a subsidiary and resource for NSWMA and, later, the Environmental Industry Associations.

This changed in 1998 when the board of directors voted to make the foundation independent of the trade association and renamed it the Environmental Research and Education Foundation. Its mission: to develop and evaluate new approaches to manage municipal solid waste and to provide scholarships to America’s brightest and best.

Our Mission

To advance scientific research and create educational pathways that enable innovation in sustainable waste management practices.

Our Vision

To light the way towards a more circular economy.

Strategic Objectives

  • Unbiased, scientific reports and analysis on waste management practices
  • Scholarships for high potential graduate students and internships for highly qualified undergraduate students
  • Targeted research to expand industry knowledge and understanding of the waste stream from generation to final disposition
  • Improved public understanding of solid waste stream and sustainable solid waste management practices
  • Increasing industry knowledge through educational programs