Upping the ante

Features - WasteExpo Preview

WasteExpo 2016 takes its game to new levels June 6-9 in Las Vegas with a greater emphasis on education.

March 8, 2016

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The municipal recycling business has been challenging over the last year as down markets affect profit margins. Recycling operations are looking for the most efficient ways capture the most value from the materials they haul and process.

Las Vegas is an apropos setting for WasteExpo 2016 in this high-stakes market. Thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors will be hedging their bets at the Las Vegas Convention Center, June 6-9, hoping to find a nugget of information, a customer or a piece of equipment that will give them a competitive edge.

Penton’s Waste360, New York City, and the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA), Washington, have teamed up once again to organize WasteExpo 2016. This is the second consecutive year the event is being held in Las Vegas.

Jessica Mayorga, NWRA senior director of communications and marketing, says the schedule calls for the event to be held in Las Vegas for two consecutive years before it heads to New Orleans in 2017. The cycle will repeat starting in 2018. She says these are the cities where participation has been highest.

“In partnership with Penton and Waste360, it is our goal to maximize the involvement of companies and individuals in our industry at this event to learn, connect and continue to enhance and innovate,” Mayorga says.


Mayorga notes the expo floor, open June 7, 8 and 9, always is exciting as it provides opportunities to learn about the newest advancements in technology and equipment. But what really stands out this year, she says, is “what’s happening above and around the expo hall.” She refers to the educational offerings.

“We are proud to deliver the top experts to share their knowledge and experience to the benefit of participants on subjects such as truck safety, the future of organics, new trends and issues in health care waste, keeping up with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines that most impact the industry, understanding and incorporating ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards, recruitment retention for waste and recycling talent and much more,” she says. “With three days of thought-provoking and engaging sessions (June, 6, 7 and 8), participants will walk away with a vast array of new information that will help them grow and improve their businesses.”

Mayorga says the educational programming will be better than ever before. “We are really excited about how our education programming is really being stepped up a couple of notches—our speakers are going to be amazing and are really going to create some animated conversations about issues that we are all concerned about: implications of commodity pricing on recycling; new mandates and solutions when it comes to organics processing; federal regulations governing landfills; temporary workers; safety (truly a top priority for our industry) and so much more.”

WasteExpo 2015 also took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center, drawing 12,000 attendees who took advantage of the educational sessions and exhibit hall.


The NWRA hosts its annual awards breakfast Tuesday, June 7, from 7:30 to 9:30. The awards recognize accomplishments of public and private sector waste and recycling companies and people in areas such as education, recycling, safety and sustainability.

Driver of the Year and the NWRA Hall of Fame awards are highly sought honors. The Driver of the Year Award, “honors those drivers who operate their trucks in a safe and responsible manner, have outstanding performance records, and whose contributions have enhanced the overall safety and image of the solid waste industry. This competition is a great way to recognize your best and safest drivers,” according to NWRA.

The Hall of Fame “recognizes leaders in the waste and recycling industry who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to the industry and their communities and have been actively engaged in the business for at least 25 years,” the organization says.

NWRA receives more than 900 applications for just nine awards. “Our awards are so important to the industry,” NWRA President and CEO Sharon Kneiss says.


Education and networking opportunities abound at WasteExpo. When asked for the top reasons professionals in the waste and recycling industry should consider attending WasteExpo, Mayorga replies, “To stay ahead of the ever-changing waste and recycling game. This is the best place to learn, network, share and enjoy. This event offers a plethora of new and valuable experiences that you can’t afford to miss.”

The author is an editor with the Recycling Today Media Group and can be reached at ksmith@gie.net.