In January, the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) began a series of virtual conversations with solid waste industry leaders and experts, called Science Sessions. Approximately an hour long, these science-based conversations are intended to provide a rich forum for sharing ideas and exploring important solutions to new and ongoing challenges. But how did they come about? EREF’s President & CEO, Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, shares the origins of the series in this Q&A.
What prompted you to come up with the idea of Science Sessions?
BRYAN: There is a big gap right now with reliable, accurate and science-based content around waste and environmental sustainability issues. A lot of the existing content out there tends to present information that has been covered substantially or is broad and non-technical. Many of the issues facing society, the waste field and improving sustainability require technical, science-based solutions. These solutions need to be shared to foster meaningful impact.
How does it fit in with the Foundation’s mission?
BRYAN: EREF is the primary organization that advances the science of sustainable waste management efforts. Given its role as a non-advocacy, unbiased research foundation, there is no organization better suited to educate the public and waste management-related fields on what is happening on critical issues and what the state of science is on these issues.
You decided to start the Science Sessions with a series of webinars on PFAS. Why?
BRYAN: PFAS is one of the fastest evolving and impactful issues of our day. It cuts across our entire society and has the potential to have significant impacts on how waste is managed.
What do you hope people will learn or gain from each Session?
BRYAN: Our hope is to summarize technical content and share it in a way that is understandable to all and that allows folks to see the tangible, real value that science can bring to the table to create solutions.