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Who are we? First and foremost, we’re passionate. Our staff and board comprise professionals from many industries and walks of life who share a common goal: a more sustainable and circular world.


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


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

 Strategic Research Priorities

EREF has established three key research priorities. The decision comes in response to the urgent need for innovative solutions and a deeper understanding of these pressing environmental challenges. The three selected areas represent some of the most significant issues affecting resource management and the environment today. This decision places EREF’s strategic direction at the intersection of sustainability and circularity.

EREF’s Origin Story

On April 18, 1994, at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, the first formal board meeting of the foundation was held. Due to an absence of research by the waste industry, early leaders established the National Solid Waste Management Association to fill the information gap. Four years later, the board voted to make the Environmental Education & Education Foundation an independent 501c3 with a mission to develop and evaluate new approaches to manage municipal solid waste and to provide scholarships to America’s brightest and best.

The Environmental Research and Education Foundation is an independent charity as defined by IRS code, Section 501(c)(3). Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.