Solid Waste Advisory Committee

The Purpose of SWAC

Seattle Public Utilities' Solid Waste Advisory Committee (SWAC) is an advisory body mandated by RCW 70A.205.110 to provide recommendations and informed advice to the Utility regarding solid waste management issues.

What does SWAC do?

SWAC members work with SPU’s Solid Waste team to provide recommendations, feedback, and share community insights into programs, policies, and outreach objectives around recycling, compost, garbage, and waste prevention. SWAC members also assist in the review of programs and policies concerning solid waste handling and disposal. In addition, members review and comments upon proposed plans, rules, policies, or ordinances prior to their adoption. SWAC members bring expertise from their communities and organizations, with different professional and life experiences, to ensure SPU can make Seattle the best place to live for everyone. SWAC members also actively partner to uphold our commitments to Our City Values and Social Justice.

What are SWAC’s responsibilities?

  • Represent community and organizational interests in making solid waste recommendations
  • Write letters and statements to support SPU’s goals, such as moving toward Zero Waste  
  • Comment on the Solid Waste Comprehensive Plan and Annual Waste Prevention & Recycling Report
  • Review solid waste programs and policies for customer impact
  • Work collaboratively with other members of differing viewpoints
  • Attend monthly meetings and participate in group conversations on solid waste topics

How do I become a member of SWAC?

Each spring and/or as members term off SWAC, we will hold an open recruitment process to fill vacant seats. More information about the recruitment process is outlined in the SWAC Charter. In order to apply for SWAC you must live or work in the city of Seattle. Other qualifications might include:

  • Interest in SPU’s solid waste services, policies, and programs
  • Ability to represent community interests in recommendations
  • Experience collaborating with teams
  • Desire to improve government services through lived (e.g., BIPOC, low/fixed income) and/or professional expertise.

Can I attend a SWAC meeting as a guest?

Yes, and we welcome you to do so. Guests are encouraged to attend meetings to listen to members conversation and there may be opportunities to participate in discuss as well. Our meetings are currently being held virtual through WebEx, which you can attend on a computer or via phone. To be added to our notification list, please email Katie Lynd at

Committee Members

Terms & Charter

Committee members are appointed for a two-year term, with approval by the SPU General Manager. Members can serve up to four years before reapplying. More details on terms and committee operation is available in the SWAC Charter.

Nico Onoda-McGuire, Co-Chair

Photo Nico Onoda-McGuire
Nico Onoda-McGuire

Nico currently works as a program manager at local nonprofit, Seattle Good Business Network, managing their Sustainable Business & Circular Economy Program and Youth Workforce Programming. Her work involves connecting local businesses to accessible and affordable tools and tactics to reduce their environmental impact and increasing meaningful career and learning pathways for local underserved youth. Some of her newer projects support circular economy initiatives that are geared towards transitioning our current linear economy to a more socially and environmentally regenerative one. Her work and commitment to SWAC is founded on her passion for sustainable and equitable urban growth.

Dirk Wassink, Co-Chair

Photo Dirk Wassink
Dirk Wassink

Dirk has served as a member of SWAC since May 2018. He brings over twenty years of experience in the reuse and recycling industries and is currently president of SODO-based Second Use Building Materials, a reuse business which salvages building materials from remodels and demolitions and sells them at two stores.

Alessandra Pistoia

Photo Alessandra Pistoia
Alessandra Pistoia

Alessandra served as the 2019 SWAC Vice-Chair. She currently works at Microsoft's Corporate Sustainability team as their first Waste and Circular Economy Program Manager.



Kelsie Blanthorn, Secretary

Photo K Blanthorn
K Blanthorn

Kelsie works for Seattle Housing Authority as a Sustainability Analyst. In her role, she focuses on gathering and analyzing waste data from tenants. She utilizes this information to develop outreach plans for residents and to provide technical assistance to property management.

Rachtha Danh

Photo Rachtha Danh
Rachtha Danh

Rachtha comes from a big refugee family, all of whom live and work in Washington State. He works for the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority and has been a resident of the neighborhood for 5 years; working there off and on for about 10 years.

Adam Maurer

Photo Adam Maurer
Adam Maurer

Adam lives in White Center and works on Capitol Hill as District Sustainability Coordinator for Seattle Colleges). He has been working to advance sustainability within higher education for over five years. He moved to Seattle in spring 2016 and is excited to become more involved in the environmental and social justice work in the PNW. Adam was SWAC secretary in 2018.

Elizabeth Szorad

Photo Liz Szorad
Liz Szorad

Elizabeth Szorad works for Recology King County as the Waste Zero Manager. In her role at Recology, she manages education and outreach programs in communities throughout the Puget Sound area as well as a team of outreach staff.

In addition, she develops and implements innovative waste reduction programs for residential, multifamily and commercial customers, delivering educational presentations and providing technical assistance to businesses, schools, community associations and organizations. She has been with Recology for over 7 years specializing in behavior change programs. She earned her BA in Environmental Studies and minors in Law, Societies & Justice and Human Rights from the University of Washington.

Brie Kuhn

Photo Brie Kuhn
Brie Kuhn

Brie lives in Capitol Hill and works as a Business Development Manager with Wastexperts, Inc where she works directly with multi family dwellings to meet sustainability goals for solid waste. She attended Antioch University where we received her undergrad degree in Leadership and Sustainable Business. She dedicates her work to educating and engaging others on sustainable initiatives to create systematic change.

Joel Dashnaw

Photo Joel Dashnaw
Joel Dashnaw

Joel has worked in the waste management industry for five years, in Boston and Seattle, and has experience with the business and operations of commercial waste collection. He currently works for Republic Services as an Account Manager, where he assists businesses and institutions with their recycling programs.



This committee usually meets every 1st Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. SWAC does not typically meet in the month of July. These meetings are open to the public and have web-link and call-in options. To join a SWAC meeting, please contact Katie Lynd to get on our notification list.

For more past meeting information, visit the Meeting Archive page.