Viva Conventions

Features - Scrap Industry News

The ISRI Annual Convention and WasteExpo head to Vegas the first week of April.

March 23, 2006

Vegas is never quiet, but the first week of April is going to be particularly busy for Sin City as two of the largest trade shows in the recycling and solid waste industries converge on the strip practically simultaneously.

First up is "Imperatives," the 2006 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) Annual Convention, which will be April 2-6 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

Waste Expo begins two days later, the conference portion running April 4-6, with exhibits scheduled April 5-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Between the two conventions, that’s some 30 hours of recycling-related educational programming and nearly 600 equipment exhibits to explore in six days.

IMPERATIVES. This year’s ISRI Convention will focus on three topics the association has identified as imperatives to success in the scrap business: quality, safety and standards.

At almost 20 percent larger than last year’s show, "this is the largest expo trade show we’ve ever had," says Chuck Carr, ISRI’s vice president of communications.

As always, the ISRI Convention is a balance between exhibits, educational programming, committee meetings, commodity spotlights and networking opportunities. This year, the education workshops are organized in tracks that are divided by topic area.

In years past, programming tracks have been divided by job function, such as CEO, operations, human resources, etc., says Carr. However, "so much of what we do in the industry is done by everyone," he says, leading the conference organizers to categorize the sessions by topic area in 2006.

An entire track is devoted to electronics recycling this year, which includes five workshops covering topics like exporting electronic scrap, plant design for electronics recycling and legislative and regulatory issues specific to E-recyclers.

Electronics recyclers also have the option of registering for ISRI’s Electronics Recycling Business Summit, where they will have access to the electronics track and a few other programming options. The goal of the summit is to introduce electronics recyclers to ISRI on a smaller scale and give them a forum to explore the latest policies, issues and technology in the industry.

The standards track includes four workshops devoted to the ISRI-designed RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard) program. ISRI conventions have included RIOS-related material for the past three years, says Carr, but this year, the event’s organizers want to offer more detailed information. This series of workshops is designed not only to introduce recyclers to the concept of RIOS, but also to offer assistance to those who are ready to implement it. "We expect RIOS to become the industry’s standard operating procedure," Carr says. "That may take a year, or five years, but those who begin the steps today to become RIOS-certified now will be ahead of the curve."

In addition to the industry-specific programming, attendees can also attend several general information sessions. Prof. Alan Dershowitz, attorney and Harvard Law School professor, will speak on the role of ethics in a changing world at the Chair’s Breakfast April 4.

At the President’s Breakfast on April 5, CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod will lead a roundtable discussion on workplace safety. Audience polling will allow attendees to participate in this session and guide the discussion.

Mark Russell will speak at the final general session on April 6. At this session ISRI will also present its first Design for Recycling award, which honors a company or individual who has worked to enhance the recyclability of a product. Carr says at least a dozen entities are in the running.

In addition to the programming, the convention’s organizers expect more than 150 exhibitors to be on hand, offering attendees the latest in products and services for the scrap industry.

The conference also offers a First Timer’s Orientation, a session specifically designed to allow first-time attendees to meet one another and to learn how to get the most out of the convention experience.

Carr says Mandalay Bay is a perfect setting for the convention, which is shaping up to be the largest one yet. "This facility is ideal—it is as large as most municipal convention centers in the country," he says. "You never have to go outdoors. You could do everything in the hotel complex if you wanted to."

More information and registration details for Imperatives: the 2006 ISRI Convention & Exposition are available at the show’s Web site,

WASTE EXPO. WasteExpo is expecting to attract its usual 11,000 to 12,000 total attendees (including exhibitors and press) at the Las Vegas Convention Center, according to Rita Ugianskis-Fishman, group show director.

New Orleans was the original host city for WasteExpo 2006, but Hurricane Katrina forced the show to relocate, bringing it back to Las Vegas for the second year in a row.

The show is a target for the public and private sectors of the solid waste and recycling industries, so the educational programming includes tracks that should appeal to professionals from both sectors.

Higher Education

In addition to a series of workshops , the educational programming at WasteExpo is divided into four tracks: Business Operations, Technical Information, Safety and Municipal. There will also be a series of workshops, as well.

Some highlights from the Technical track include:

E-Waste: Recycling and Collection

Recycling Contracts

Transfer Stations 101

Managing Solid Waste Facilities to Control Nuisances

Single Stream Recycling

C&D Processing

Using Route Optimization and GPS Technology

Waste from Space

Highlights from the Business Operations track include:

How to Hire and Keep Good Employees

Dealing with Unions

Emerging Technologies: Alternatives to Landfills and Incineration

10 Secrets to Increase Your Profitability

Dealing with the Media

Management 101: From the Back of the Truck to the Front Office

WasteExpo is April 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

More information, including up-to-date information on the conference schedule, is at

The educational programming for WasteExpo is divided into several tracks, including Business Operations, Technical Information, Safety and Municipal. The conference also offers several workshops.

Reflecting the growing impact of the public sector on the show, WasteExpo is offering an entire track devoted to programming meant to appeal to municipal employees for the first time this year. The track includes sessions on topics such as privatization, bidding on municipal contracts and other municipal contract issues.

"The majority of our program deals with issues both sectors confront," says Ugianskis-Fishman. The new municipal-oriented program track gives those attendees a unique forum distinct from the rest of the show to discuss particular issues facing them, she says.

Rescheduling the show in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been a huge challenge for WasteExpo’s organizers. As a result, much of the programming is tentative as of February, Ugianskis-Fishman says. She encourages attendees to keep checking the show’s Web site ( for the most up-to-date information.

The severe hurricane season of 2005 has also had an impact on the programming for WasteExpo. The show is offering two hurricane-related workshops: one on emergency planning and another titled "The Aftermath: Katrina Cleanup Operations."

In spite of relocating, Ugianskis-Fishman says she still expects WasteExpo to attract its average 425 exhibitors to the Las Vegas show—perhaps even more.

Ugianskis-Fishman says the show will be divided on two levels again, with most of the registration and show administration upstairs and the majority of exhibits on the lower level.

More information on WasteExpo, including a complete list of exhibitors and registration information is available at

The author is associate editor of Recycling Today and can be reached at