The ninth annual Global Waste Management Symposium was the largest to date, with more than 800 attendees connecting, sharing and learning in Palm Springs, Calif.

Stefanie Valentic, Editorial Director

February 28, 2024

2 Min Read
Stefanie Valentic

The ninth annual Global Waste Management Symposium was the largest to date, with more than 800 attendees connecting, sharing and learning in Palm Springs, Calif.

Throughout the event, attendees gave and participated in detailed discussions backed by science-based research about the latest topics affecting the waste and recycling industry, including landfill emissions, PFAS, and anaerobic digestion.

Here are some insights from the second day of presentations:

On Emerging Contaminants:
Samuel Nicolai, vice president of Engineering & Compliance, Casella Waste: "The one thing I will tell you is that you better have a set of state regulators who know what they're doing because you need their back. You need a regulator who's going to stand up and say, 'Yeah, we know how to handle this. We're going to come up with an approved plan. We're going to help them manage this.'

There are places I think that if we put away some detectors and had a hit, that would be a state of emergency.' It would be full-scale panic because we'd have people say, 'oh my goodness, we're taking radioactive waste.' But for states with good programs and solid programs, protections are certainly coming through."

On Infrastructure:
Tom Koutroulis, Director, Orange County Waste & Recycling: "When these landfills were built we did not have neighbors. And guess what we have today. Neighbors and lots of them....When we talk about the challenges and getting infrastructure, we have to take into consideration our community and our neighbors, and that's one thing we work on is being a good neighbor."

On Lithium-ion Battery Recycling Challenges:
Sam Dietrich, CEO, Prairie Robotics: "The tricky thing with lithium-ion batteries is they come in so many shapes and sizes. AI is a visual-based system. To identify lithium-ion batteries, we have to train the system to identify cell phones, laptops, and even birthday cards now - it's insane."

About the Author(s)

Stefanie Valentic

Editorial Director, Waste360

Stefanie Valentic is the editorial director of Waste360. She can be reached at [email protected].

 

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