To Help Attendees Decide which sessions best suit their tastes, the WasteExpo Conference has been organized into a number of tracks. Each track features a combination of sessions addressing both perennial and cutting edge waste industry issues.
Recycling: This year's recycling sessions will focus on new markets, current trends and market predictions. E-waste has become an important topic, yet at the state and federal levels, decision-makers still are unsure about what role they should play in managing material.
Similarly, a number of states have passed bottle bills. One session surveys how these laws will impact curbside recycling programs. Another session will examine how some cities are experimenting with food waste recycling programs. And WasteExpo would not be complete without the recycling roundtable, where recycling experts will discuss recent trends and their first-hand experiences.
Professional Development: This track emphasizes management skills, from developing managers within your operation to avoiding the pitfalls of bad management. New this year is a look at the changing workplace and how to address the cultural differences and language barriers posed by an increasingly Latino workforce.
Financial Planning: Whether you already have some degree of coverage or are purchasing insurance for the first time, liability insurance is a must. On the financial planning track, you will learn what to look for in a policy. Long-term investment requires a similar acumen. New to WasteExpo this year is a session discussing how private equity investment should play a growing role in your firm's financial planning.
Labor and Employment: Two sessions in this track were added to address current trends in the waste industry. The first prepares your firm for dealing with modern-day unions. The second takes on changes in immigration, wage and work hour laws as well as techniques for satisfying often-conflicting requirements.
Technology and Collection and Disposal: WasteExpo always has highlighted the newest and most promising technology, but organizers wanted to take a slightly different approach this year. With climate change on everyone's mind, sessions will approach the topic from an economic angle, examining the extraction of landfill gas as a viable renewable energy source and business model, and some of the practical aspects of converting your fleet to alternative fuels. Also emphasizing economics are sessions covering innovative permanent facility structures, the latest in tracking and communication systems, and new automated collection equipment. Truck fires from causes other than hot loads will be discussed through a panel of safety experts, while a session on railroad transfer stations will look at the legal loopholes that allow these unregulated facilities to thrive.
Community Relations: Zero waste goals have been touted as a solution to climate change. In this track, the zero waste concept will be examined from all angles, including the role of waste companies, what generators are doing, and what programs already exist in some cities and counties. Public image will be addressed in two different sessions; one looking at what some companies are doing to burnish their image and a longer, interactive seminar on dealing with community opposition.
Safety: This track includes best practices and a discussion of technology that can help improve safety, from immediate feedback systems to simulator training.
Laws and Regulations: This track features a debate on the pros and cons of flow control. Elsewhere, experts will discuss nanotechnology, aluminum dross, and radioactive materials and their impacts on the waste industry.
Special sessions: Each year, WasteExpo offers two day-long workshops. This year, one will address landfill operations for managers, while the other covers route auditing and positive profits.
There will be three boxed lunches this year. Speakers include a former Harley-Davidson executive and expert on non-traditional communication and customer relations; two industry safety experts on a national campaign to address struck-by accidents; and one of the industry's most dynamic speakers on leadership, pride and passion in your job. WasteExpo also will offer a breakfast forum featuring a presentation on the history of the garbage truck.
Alice Jacobsohn is director, education at EIA/NSWMA/WASTEC. E-mail her at [email protected].