Keep learning, that’s about all I can really say.” Those words of advice came from a retiree I was interviewing who had spent more than three decades with the same company researching and testing recycling equipment and technologies.
His comment was a reply to my question about what advice he would offer to a younger person who was just now entering the field in which he had worked from the mid-1960s to the late 1990s.
If someone with a breadth and depth of knowledge built up during nearly 35 years of painstaking research work advises that there is always more to learn, it is probably wise to heed that advice.
Recyclers have no shortage of avenues to pursue when seeking to learn more, and I like to think the magazines, e-newsletters, websites and conferences managed by the Recycling Today Media Group are among those avenues worth traveling.
One of the other premium learning opportunities each year takes place April 6-10 in Las Vegas in the form of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) 2014 Convention & Exposition (www.isriconvention.org).
For readers who might be newer to the industry or who haven’t yet invested the time to check out an ISRI convention, among the topics and industry sectors in which knowledge can be absorbed during this five-day span are:
- Ferrous and nonferrous scrap recycling;
- Paper, plastic and tire recycling;
- Electronics recycling and certification;
- Workplace safety;
- International trading and global opportunities;
- Human resources and other management topics; and
- Materials handling and processing techniques and technologies.
The ISRI Convention & Exposition means different things to different long-time attendees. Some pursue new trading contacts vigorously, others look forward to seeing friends within the industry once each year and yet others most enjoy walking through the exhibit hall to see new or modified products.
In my line of work, I get to enjoy each of those aspects of the convention as well as one other critical one: attending and taking notes during some of the many sessions and workshops organized by ISRI.
Processors and traders alike can benefit from attending sessions and workshops, where they can follow the advice from the retired researcher to keep learning—no matter how much they think they already know.