This year's Waste Expo Educational Program is packed with practical, business and industry issues as well as several new topics.
This year's Recycling track will examine markets. Some sessions will focus on increasing business in existing markets, while others will examine unique business practices or struggling markets. For example, on Mon., May 7, experts on glass, steel and paper will offer their views on how to take advantage of commodity markets. This will be followed by a session looking at problems in plastics markets, including tips on ensuring sufficient quantities of useable product, and a session on solutions to separating C&D materials for recycling.
Later on Monday, there will be a session on how to invigorate recycling using incentive programs and partnerships. Tues., May 8, will feature a roundtable discussion on the business of recycling and how to respond to requests for service.
Finally, on Wed., May 9, a breakfast forum will look at e-waste from three perspectives. A panel of state regulators will discuss how their states are implementing e-waste recycling. A second panel, comprised of recycling industry professionals, will talk about handling e-waste in the field. The third panel will feature electronics producers.
Business and Employment
On Monday and Tuesday, the Business and Employment track will focus on increasing profitability, avoiding the pitfalls of background checks, retaining well-qualified employees and enforcing company policies. This track will also interest those deciding whether to lease or purchase equipment and what to do with end-of-life fleet assets.
Monday also will feature a special session with Hall of Famer Andy Crawford discussing how to achieve business success. A second session on Wednesday will look at Wall Street and how the industry is viewed in financial markets.
A new session on Wednesday will feature corporate customers, such as Wal-Mart, detailing waste services they will require in the future. This is a rare opportunity for attendees to make direct contact with decision-makers.
Laws and Regulations
On Monday, attendees will hear what's new in noise reduction efforts and learn how to effectively address complaints. Another session will discuss the latest industry successes in protecting against hauler displacement. The transfer stations session will get into the nuts and bolts of building a station, including economic considerations, planning and design, and community involvement.
A new topic will aid companies looking to build an Internet presence by explaining the range of potential resources and demonstrating the best uses of the Web.
Collection & Disposal
On Wednesday, the Collection and Disposal track will update attendees on pending flow control cases. Another session will cover GPS and other tracking device options, and whether they will become required.
This track will look at new approaches to safety, such as people-based programs, and review new safety standards. There will also be a session for managers involved in employee safety training and a traditional favorite where attendees will observe a roadside inspection conducted on the show floor.
The new Industry Challenges track will address energy issues, markets for residual wastes, preparing for unusual waste streams (such as materials contaminated by bird flu) and preventing needle stick injuries to workers. These issues may not be on the minds of companies focused on daily operations, but managers should be prepared.
Two workshops and a seminar will be offered this year. Monday's workshop is on landfill operations for managers, while Tuesday's will focus on pricing commercial services. The Wednesday seminar will examine fleet management and increasing profitability.
Boxed lunches are available on all three days of the program, with topics covering diesel fuel and emissions, new educational tools on safety for supervisors, and current challenges in union organizing.
Alice Jacobsohn is director of public affairs and education at the Environmental Industry Associations. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.