SWEEP (the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol) is a comprehensive performance standard focused on sustainable materials management policies and activities of municipalities and waste industry companies.
SWEEP is timely given the waste industry crisis precipitated by China. With the collapse of global recycling markets, we need to broaden and reframe the sustainability discussion around waste beyond the waste diversion metric. In addition, we need a framework for building 21st century waste management infrastructure, including expanded programs and education focused on the ‘Reduce’ and ‘Reuse’ legs of the 3-Rs tripod.
Three SWEEP Committees comprised of industry experts and supported by environmental and engineering graduate and undergraduate students at Wake Forest, Cornell and Colgate, have been working for 2 years to develop a draft set of standards for municipalities & campuses and industry.
The first SWEEP standard released for comment is the Municipal Standard, which was published December 17th, 2019. The complementary Industry Standard will follow early next year.
SWEEP is following the national consensus standard development process for leadership standards from ANSI. Key elements of the consensus process include:
- Release of the public comment draft standard for public comment
- a. Standard was posted December 17th on the SWEEP website.
- Public comments will be accepted through the beginning of March.
- There are 2 methods of commenting on SWEEP:
- Download full standard and submit written comments to: [email protected]
- Use the online comment portal at https://sweepstandard.org/category/municipal/municommentportal/
2. National Public Meeting:
- This meeting will be held at the GW University at the Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington DC on February 12th, 2019.
- This live and online meeting will review and incorporate comments made during the comment period, as well as discuss and receive new comments.
- Once the comments have been incorporated, the “Ballot Draft” of SWEEP will be released publicly for voting on adoption or change by the Consensus Body.
3. During this process, SWEEP will form the National Consensus Committee (NCC) the “Consensus Body” of stakeholders, which is a membership group that votes to approve or amend the SWEEP Standard. You can sign up for the National Consensus Committee here:
- The National Consensus Committee is open to all interested parties.
- Trade association views and participation is allowed and encouraged, but trade association comments must be presented through a member of the trade association, rather than trade association staff.
- ONLY members of the NCC can vote on the Ballot Draft of SWEEP
- People who sign up for the SWEEP website automatically become members of the NCC. Membership in the National Consensus Committee will be open until the Ballot Draft is posted.
4. The Ballot Draft standard will be posted for approval after meeting comments are incorporated.
- There will be at least a 30-day voting period.
5. Members of the NCC (and only members of the NCC) will be able to
- Approve with comments
- Disapprove with comments
6. The SWEEP Steering Committee will evaluate comments for applicability and resolve negative comments.
- If resolution of accepted comments involves a substantive change to the standard, SWEEP will hold another meeting to present the substantive changes and re-ballot the standard to the Consensus Body
Once approved by the NCC, the national consensus SWEEP 1.0 Pilot Standard will be tested in up to 30 municipalities and waste management companies for 12 to 18 months and modifications will be made to the standard based on this experience.
SWEEP is seeking statements of interest for the Pilot program from municipalities (small, medium and large) and waste management companies, ranging from haulers and individual MRF operators to vertically integrated companies. Please write to [email protected]
We are looking for up to 15 municipalities/campuses:
- 3 campuses (University or Military Base)
- 4 small municipalities (population < 25,000)
- 4 – 6 medium municipalities (population between 25,000 and 250,000)
- 2 – 4 large municipalities (population >250,000)
and up to 15 companies:
- 2 – 5 small companies (revenues <$2.5 million)
- 2 – 5 medium companies (revenues $2.5 – $25 million)
- 4 – 9 large companies (revenues > $25 million)
During the Pilot, SWEEP will be developing a Certification Manual, tools and calculators to facilitate the certification process, based on the real-world needs of the pilot participants.
After the Pilot, the SWEEP 2.0 standard will be released for review and balloting using the same process as for the 1.0 Pilot standard. SWEEP 2.0 will be open to all municipalities and companies for certification.