"Waste Cowboys": ISWA-SWIS Winter School, a Guest Post

Written by Nina Tsydenova– University of Oldenburg, Germany


Nina Tsydenova, graduated in Sustainability Economics and Management (MA) in Germany. She wrote her Master thesis focusing on funding possibilities of waste treatment AD plants through glean carbon mechanisms.


Being the scholar of Konrad Adenauer Foundation she is currently writing her PhD thesis comparing different waste management scenarios for developing countries.

5 Feb 2018 -

The course began with intensive discussions and meeting some familiar faces like Dr. Sofia Ghanimeh, who I already had met at ISWA’s Study Tour in Austria and Theresa Choi, who I knew from the ISWA Young Professionals Group.


In the following days, I had the opportunity to learn more about waste management practices from some of the region’s leading experts. Topics included bioreactor landfilling, landfill mining with both practical and theoretical elements. The course was focused on the landfilling technologies and gave us a chance to learn from the practitioners and get our hands on the landfill equipment such as grinders and loaders. This on-site aspect made the winter school unique and engaging.


During the two-week training course, we visited the landfills of Irving and Grand Prairie, where we learnt how the working face, landfill gas and leachate collection systems were functioning. We also got the change to visit an MRF plant at North Texas Recycling Complex, where China’s ban on recyclables was at the heart of the discussion. Under the supervision of Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability (SWIS) of University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) we conducted a detailed waste composition analysis. I want to stress the efforts of the group leaders, who helped the participants with the presentations and were incredibly engaging both on the learning and social side. Special thanks to Dr. Hossain, the founder of SWIS, who has brought such a wonderful team together! The whole event including the cultural trip to Firth Worth and Dallas was perfectly organized.


The course gave me a clear perception of what sustainable landfilling should be. While sustainable waste management targets the lowest as possible disposal rate, landfilling remains an unavoidable step in the waste management hierarchy and needs to be done in a proper way. The programme made a significant contribution to my knowledge and pushed me to undertake further research in leachate and landfill gas generation. The Winter School is a model on educating and uniting waste professionals and future professionals from around the globe.


Aside from being exposed to state-of-the-art technologies, the winter school was an incredible opportunity to network with professionals and students from 21 countries. I am sure we will continue our collaboration and meet each other at further waste-related events.


I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship for the winter school, for this I would like to thank the sponsors for making it possible. Opportunity. This was my first time in the USA and I am happy that the first state I visited was Texas. All the participants came back home as waste cowgirls and cowboys.

Further Information:

The ISWA-SWIS Winter School on Solid Waste Management - LANDFILL & LANDFILL MINING was held in the Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability (SWIS) at University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). The course was organised and led by Dr. Sahadat Hossain.


Nina received a scholarship for the 2018 Winter School through an essay competition. If you are inspired by Nina’s experiences, keep your eyes out for the next competition which will be announced later this year giving people from all across the world the opportunity to win a scholarship to the exciting two-week school. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive the announcement in your inbox:


Like the Winter School, the five day Study Tour for Collection, Sorting, and Recycling programme offers in-depth-seminars and practical technical site visits – check out the programme here

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