About us

Women in Solid Waste & Recycling (WISR) is a non-profit and the first of its kind networking and professional development organization for all women in the solid-waste and recycling industry.

The Industry

The waste and recycling industry has grown and evolved significantly since the early days of the twentieth century and while more women are coming into the industry, more needs to be done to both attract women into the industry and to equip them to take on leadership positions. This organization, founded by industry experts Rachel Oster & Erin Merrill was created to ensure women have the tools and support they need to be successful leaders in the industry.

Our Vision

Empower women with the tools and support they need to be successful leaders, thereby diversifying the decision-makers in the waste and recycling industry.

Our Mission

To diversify the decision makers in the waste and recycling industry by empowering women to take on leadership roles through networking, professional development, and training.

Our Founders

Rachel Oster

Rachel Oster is an enthusiastic, well rounded and experienced professional in the solid waste and recycling industry. She specializes in the development and operation of solid waste infrastructure including compost facilities, landfill operations, and material recovery facilities. Rachel began her career in the industry as a Government and external affairs professional. In this capacity, she developed authentic and time-tested relationships with elected officials and bureaucrats alike at the State and local levels. Ensuring “win, win” results has secured Rachel’s reputation as someone who communicates effectively and delivers on promises.

Most recently, Rachel acted as the Vice President of Central California operations at Recology. Her responsibilities included overseeing the profitable operation of several post collection facilities. Recology’s collection contracts in Central California were also included in Rachel’s territory. In 2011, Rachel was appointed to serve on the State Fertilizer Inspection Advisory Board by the Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross and was re-appointed for a three-year term in 2012. While serving on this Board, Rachel assisted in the development of the State’s certification program for organic fertilizers.

Erin Merrill

Erin brings creativity, strategy and thoroughness to the table with an excellent record in permitting complicated development projects. Erin specializes in overseeing and managing the many moving parts of commercial infrastructure projects with an unparalleled attention to detail. After having worked in multiple law firms, Erin began her career in permitting and development while seeking alternative applications of her Juris Doctor degree. Following law school, she worked as a Land Use Manager for a consulting firm that managed the permitting process for the construction and operation of wireless telecommunication antenna infrastructure for large telecommunications throughout Northern California and Nevada.

In May 2007, Erin joined Recology and throughout her nearly 10 year career there, built an excellent team that specialized in project management. Erin’s team represented Recology, and oversaw the entitlement processes for new construction of company infrastructure and modifications to existing facilities throughout California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Projects include due diligence and feasibility on new business; regulatory review of new and existing regulations; permits for land use, solid waste, air and water board for landfills, recycling centers, transfer stations, material recovery facilities, truck yards and compost facilities; and environmental review (CEQA, NEPA, SEPA).

Now Is Your Time

Become a WISR member and enjoy our networking events and webinars.

Become A Member