Local executives named SWANA Ohio Executives of the Year

The Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the Solid Waste District Association of North America (SWANA) has named two local sustainability managers 2014 executives of the year.

SWANA Ohio Executives of the Year 2014

SWANA Ohio Executives of the Year 2014


Diane Bickett, Executive Director , Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District: 2014 Professional of the Year

A member of the Solid Waste District since its formation in 1995, Deputy Director of the Solid Waste District 1998–2009, and Executive Director since 2009, Diane Bickett numbers among her accomplishments:

  • Her role in the formation of the Cuyahoga County Paper Marketing Cooperative.
  • Her leadership in establishing the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District’s Household Hazardous Waste Collection, now Ohio’s largest HHW collection.
  • Opening of the District’s Special Waste Convenience Center, in 2011, providing Cuyahoga County communities a 5 days/week drop-off for HHW, and earning recognition for the District in 2012 as Solid Waste Operator of the Year.

The full text of Diane’s award recognition can be found on the SWANA Ohio Buckeye Chapter website.

Nancy Hughes, Cleveland Metroparks Sustainability Manager: Solid Waste Operator of the Year

As Sustainability Manager of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Nancy Hughes is responsible for:

  • Management of the zoo’s on-site composting program, which processes the facility’s annual production of 4,000 cubic yards of manure from elephants and other large herbivores and incorporates other vegetative material to produce sweet-smelling compost used throughout the zoo’s many gardens.
  • Management of recycling programs used for zoo operations and supporting vendors, including computer equipment, aluminum cans, pallets, paper and cardboard, florescent bulbs, inkjet cartridges, cell phones, etc.
  • Development and management of the zoo’s comprehensive education and awareness program for schools, businesses, organizations, and other zoos.

Through Nancy’s influence, the zoo’s Master Plan includes a sustainability goal, and, as a founding member of ZeroWaste NEO, she continues to promote the principles of Zero Waste throughout the community.

The full text of Nancy’s award recognition can be found on the SWANA Ohio Buckeye Chapter website.

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After a challenging year, Keep It Out of the Landfill is back at work.

I last posted to Keep It Out of the Landfill on October 28 of last year. At that time, I was nearing the end of an eighteen-week cycle of chemotherapy, subsequent to cancer surgery in April and May of 2014.

Pink Ribbon

photo credit: Messer Woland

Not to worry: the surgeries had gone well, chemo was, except for a serious lack of energy, relatively trouble-free, and follow-up scans were clear. By early December, I was looking forward to radiation therapy (“looking forward” in the sense of “let’s get past this”) and the return of my hair, and hoping to resume a normal writing schedule within a few more weeks.

But life had other plans for me. On December 16, I broke my left hip. (Again, not to panic: a hemi hip replacement the following day, therapy beginning the day after, and discharge to a rehab facility on December 21 quickly dispelled my initial fear that I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.) After about three weeks in rehab, I came home, ambulatory and able (thanks to some outstanding physical and occupational therapists) to live my life — if, for now, a little more slowly than before.

While all this has taken time, I am now getting back to one of the driving passions of my life: Keep It Out of the Landfill. And I’ve realized that I need to narrow my focus: the universe of solid waste management is too large for me to address with the resources at my disposal.

So while my blog will continue to discuss various aspects of solid waste management, future posts will largely concentrate on the issues about which I have the strongest feelings: food waste and extended producer responsibility.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll explain how those two issues fit into the solid waste management universe and why I chose to focus on them. Meanwhile, treasure every moment of your life. And every day, aim for zero solid waste: Keep It Out of the Landfill.