Budget reductions end UW-Extension Solid Waste and Recycling Education Program

The loss of state funding for Extension Recycling Education brings to an end the Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center’s work on Recycling and Solid Waste issues. It has been my pleasure to serve as SHWEC’s Recycling Specialist for nearly 12 years and as its Director for the past five years. I want to thank our current state specialists Laurie Case, Sherrie Gruder, David Liebl and Jonathan Rivin for their contributions to the work of the center. I also want to thank our two current support staff Suzanne Rybeck and Susie Seraphine for their efforts behind the scenes helping staff put together great programs, publications and websites.

SHWEC throughout its history has played the important role of assisting local units of government, businesses and manufactures to reduce waste generation and to find markets for the waste materials they did generate, often matching waste materials with recyclers looking to utilize the materials as feedstocks in a manufacturing process. Through relationships, networks, market directories and market price surveys staff made connections that have persisted and provided environmental and economic benefits across the state. The need for this work continues today as challenges persist for materials such as agricultural plastics and glass.

There are also many across the state who were introduced to SHWEC through one of our composting programs. Whether it at a program to train the operators of large scale composting operations or at a Master Composter training program attendees learned more about the composting process and used what they learned to transform waste materials into valuable soil amendments. This work has continued as interest grows in diverting food waste to compost sites.

The impact of the our work can be found in this SHWEC Overview as well is our final Annual Activity Report (2014).


Joe Van Rossum, SHWEC Director



There will be a continuation of SHWEC’s Pollution Prevention work led by David Liebl. Resources related to pollution prevention topics can be found here: shwec.engr.wisc.edu.

Sherrie Gruder will continue her efforts related to community energy planning, sustainable community development and green building.