Clash of the Titans – The Waste & Recycling Industry’s Two Big Events

BLOG: To Understand, You’ve Got to be There

Waste Management World’s Collection & Handling Chief Editor introduces the March/April issue of the supplement, with a heads-up on WasteExpo and IFAT…

The live demonstration arena at IFAT 2016

Image © Alex Schelbert / Messe München

Waste Management World’s Collection & Handling Chief Editor introduces the March/April issue of the supplement, with a heads-up on WasteExpo and IFAT…

If you’ve only just realised that there are TWO major waste and recycling exhibitions taking place this year, and are wondering if you should attend one, the other, or both, to be honest you have left things a bit late!

‘IFAT’ which takes place in Munich, Germany, between the 14th and 18th of May is now so large and extensive, you can forget about visiting the event for just one day.

If you have not booked your travel and accommo- dation by the time you read this, you may have problems finding somewhere to stay – and you’ll have to put up with the inevitable high prices of... Well, just about everything. When there’s a major event on in a place like Munich everything costs more – except the excellent public transport system.

And if you haven’t got around to making plans for WasteExpo in Las Vegas yet? Then you’ve really left things late – it’s on between April 23rd to 26th! But if it’s any consolation, you’re in good company – at the time of writing this, I haven’t made my final travel plans either!
This year is the fifty-year anniversary of the event, I’m told – which, in terms of American industrial history is doubly significant.

Leaving aside the history, the panic of not having booked-up stuff you should have thought of six months ago and the current hassle of getting through every day (or is it just me who suffers those problems?), what does our industry have to look forward to, looking ahead?

You might think – as I once did – that with the coming of the Internet age, getting the information you need in order to make an informed decision, would 12 become easier, rather than more difficult, as seems to be the case. It starts with corporate telephone systems – these days it’s almost impossible to get through
to the people you need to speak to without having to fit your enquirey into
the menu of an automated “Press one for Sales, two for marketin ...” phone system.

What if your enquiry doesn’t fit the options on the pre-determined menu? Such things can waste hours. And when you do finally get through? I finally managed to get hold of a technical manager at a vehicle manufacturer's
the other day.

After explaining what I was hoping to do and the information I would need in order to do it, I noticed things had gone a bit quiet on the other
end of the phone. “Could you put all that in an email?” he replied. Why?

My point? Trade shows are a vital part of our industry and if we don't use them, we’ll lose them. Never mind the fact that in most tradeshow venues around the world, the catering is awful. Never mind the outrageous hotel prices – we need ‘face-to-face’ meetings with manufacturers, designers and end-users to power innovation and help reduce mankind’s impact on the environment

Trust me, you can watch as many corporate videos and ‘virtual’ simulations 22 as you want – you will never understand how a piece of equipment works until
you can see it working in real life. But even more important, surely we must retain the importance of ‘face-to-face’ communication?

Sorry, but I have to go now – I’ve got some tickets to book...