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It’s been more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced industry conferences to go virtual, and WasteExpo—the largest solid waste, recycling and organics industry conference and trade show—will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) June 28-30 after being held virtually in 2020.

“For more than 50 years, WasteExpo has provided the industry with comradery, opportunity, technology and the most comprehensive education program, and this year will be no different, except for some added health and safety measures,” says Liz Bothwell, head of content and marketing for Waste360, the Connecticut-based organizer of the event. “The WasteExpo team is thrilled to bring this community back together live in Las Vegas in June.”

Returning Safely

To address potential COVID-19 concerns, Informa, WasteExpo’s parent company, says it has adopted the AllSecure Plan to ensure the highest level of safety, hygiene, cleanliness and operational effectiveness for all the event’s exhibitors, attendees and speakers, as well as press who are covering the convention. This plan is founded on 10 commitments in the areas of cleaning and hygiene, physical distancing and protection and detection.

According to WasteExpo organizers, the AllSecure standards were developed with meeting industry associations The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, the Association of Event Organizers and Society of Independent Show Organizers; event organizers Informa, Reed Exhibitions and Clarion; and a range of event venues and suppliers with input from health, government and local authorities.

“Our attendees, exhibitors and sponsors should feel confident that WasteExpo will be a safe environment,” Bothwell says.

In addition to the safety protocols in place, the LVCC has been awarded the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR facility accreditation by ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association. The GBAC program is considered the gold standard for safe facilities and was designed to control the risks associated with infectious agents, including COVID-19.

WasteExpo also will feature daily temperature screenings, face mask requirements, physical distancing, contactless registration, enhanced cleaning and more.

“We have an outstanding program planned, and we are thrilled to bring our community back together in person in Las Vegas this summer,” says Marc Acampora, Waste360 vice president. “Guided by a detailed set of measures known as AllSecure, WasteExpo aims to deliver the highest levels of hygiene and safety at the event.”

Event highlights

With more than 600 exhibitors and 14,500 anticipated attendees, according to Waste360, those participating in WasteExpo 2021 can expect a comprehensive education program, including trending and timely topics.

This year’s conference features multiple tracks for attendees to choose from, including Operations, Fleet and Safety; Recycling and Landfill; Business Insights and Policy; Technology and Innovation; and more.

With technology and innovation as the underlying themes of this year’s WasteExpo, Bothwell says attendees can expect a conference program that dives deep into recycling/landfill, fleet management/collection, organics, safety, food recovery and more.

The Spotlight Sessions are scheduled to make a comeback, kicking off with a one-on-one “fireside chat” between Worthing Jackman, president and CEO of Waste Connections, The Woodlands, Texas, and Darrell Smith, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Arlington, Virginia. The two discuss leadership, business insights and industry issues.

Adam Minter also returns with a WasteExpo Spotlight Session that offers a deep dive into how the world of reuse is being transformed by one of the oldest retail models—the used car lot. During his presentation, Broken Phones and Used Cars: The Future of Recycling and Reuse Becomes the Past, Minter plans to lay out how some of the world’s biggest retailers are nudging consumers into rethinking waste and recycling and setting up new forms of competition for traditional recyclers.

Other sessions include The Waste & Recycling Industry Employment Outlook and Opportunities & Challenges of Refuse Fleet Electrification – What We’ve Learned.

Additional discussions that WasteExpo attendees can look forward to include Rising Leaders Talk Trash, where 2021 Waste360 40 Under 40 award winners and rising leaders share their perspectives on where the waste industry is headed, and the People’s Choice Session – Legislative Updates by Region, which covers “Move Over” laws, climate change, recycling, extended producer responsibility legislation, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, cannabis waste and more.

Industry insights

For more insights into the business of waste and recycling, WasteExpo has brought back its co-located conferences.

The Waste360/Stifel Investor Summit offers a full day of learning and analysis from investors and leaders from the top public and private companies.

Meanwhile, the half-day Business Leadership Forum, hosted by Comerica Bank, is designed for small and midsized environmental services companies looking for business and financial strategies beyond day-to-day operations.

For attendees looking to learn the latest techniques regarding food waste, the Food Recovery Forum features presentations from experts in the field. According to the event’s organizers, these industry leaders plan to share strategies to help attendees develop a more sustainable food system and how data can be used to drive food waste reduction.

The newest addition to WasteExpo’s co-located conferences is Waste360 Sustainability Talks, which feature frank discussions on plastics, packaging, food waste and other environmental challenges.

WasteExpo is organized in partnership with the NWRA and Stu Buckner, president of Buckner Environmental Associates LLC of East Islip, New York.

“Technology and innovation will be front-and-center throughout the event, and hundreds of exhibitors will be ready to help attendees find the latest solutions,” Bothwell says.

Whether attendees are from the private sector; a small, medium or large public sector waste management company; organics management or food waste management company; or a manufacturer or supplier from the U.S. or abroad, Bothwell says this year’s WasteExpo brings the entire industry together under one roof again.

She concludes, “There’s no other event that brings the waste, recycling and organics community together like WasteExpo, and this year will truly be a reunion.”

The author is assistant editor of Waste Today, a sister publication to Recycling Today. She can be contacted via email at hrischar@gie.net.