WasteExpo venue

WasteExpo 2020: Here’s the Lowdown

July 20, 2020
COVID-19 forced the annual waste and recycling extravaganza to cancel for the first time in its history, but it has been resurrected as a digital event for 2020. Here’s everything attendees have to look forward to.

Following the lead of countless other live events this year, the WasteExpo 2020 trade show was forced to cancel on account of the coronavirus. It had been originally scheduled to take place in New Orleans during May, then was bumped to August. Now, with the pandemic showing no signs of waning, it is going to be “reimagined” as a totally online event taking place Sept. 14-17.

This is the first time in the event’s 50-plus year history it has been forced to cancel, but management says it will return next year to Las Vegas on April 26-29. We talked with Liz Bothwell, director of content & marketing at Informa (WasteExpo’s corporate parent), to get an idea of what this reimagining might include.

Machine Design: Can you describe what WasteExpo will be like this year? How will you entice people to visit via computer? What will you offer the audience?

Liz Bothwell: We’re taking the experience of WasteExpo—the largest waste and recycling event in North America—and delivering it as WasteExpo Together Online. It  brings the same high-quality education sessions you would experience live at WasteExpo but from the comfort of your own home or office.

The digital conference program is free and it’s a huge value. It boasts more than 20 sessions where attendees will learn from the experts, connect with industry leaders, and meet with sponsors online. 2020 is a unique time in the world, and for our industry, so we’ve pivoted to offer an online experience that’s worthy of the WasteExpo name. So, there will be timely content and a safe place to learn and do business online for personal connection, discover new innovations and [gain insight into] product development.

Attendees will find exceptional content; leading waste, recycling and organics industry experts and some surprises along the way. In addition to the conference program, you’ll have access to podcasts, Coffee Talks, webinars and research, and—of course—some fun.

MD: Will the show be truly “virtual”? If so, where will the exhibitors be?

LB: The online show offers several sponsorship packages so exhibitors who would have had their brand displayed at the show for 14,500-plus attendees to see can now reach even more potential buyers online. With varying opportunity levels, sponsor packages can include a resource center, digital advertisement opportunities, logo placement and more.

The resource center for each company lets them feature information and product promotion materials. They can also interact with attendees throughout the event. It’s a different kind of year, and we’re adjusting accordingly to make it a great experience for attendees and sponsors alike.

MD: Will there be conferences? If so, do you have a list (titles, topics and times)? Will you use several web sites/channels to webcast more than one conference at a time?

LB: Yes, there will be 20-plus conference sessions, including a morning keynote speaker and several session choices covering a variety of topics. The conference schedule is posted online and there is no registration fee. You can check out the entire agenda at https://www.wasteexpo.com/en/home.html.

MD: Who are the keynote speakers and their topics? When will they speak?

LB: There will be a keynote session to kick off each day of WasteExpo, starting on Mon., Sept. 14, with the CEO Keynote Interview: A one-on-one chat with Patrick Dovigi, founder and CEO of GFL Environmental. It will be moderated by Darrell Smith, president and CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Association, our conference partner.

Other keynote sessions include “Feet on the Street Atlanta – The Recycling Partnership’s Case Study on Citywide Contamination Reduction”; Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet, will discuss “Stuff: The Hidden Borderland of Waste and Recycling”; and “Plugging Into Opportunities in Refuse Fleet Electrification.”

MD: Any other show-related events in the planning?

LB: Yes, three of our co-located events held during WasteExpo are also transitioning to an online format. Registration for each is open, but there is a separate fee. The Waste360/Stifel Investor Summit will be Mon., Aug. 10. The Waste360 Business Leadership Forum hosted by Comerica Bank will be Mon., Sept. 14. And the Food Recovery Forum will be Tuesday, Sept. 15.

MD: What would you want to tell potential attendees about the event? What can they look forward to? What benefits can they expect to get?

LB: It’s WasteExpo Reimagined. No need to book a flight or hotel—we’re coming to you! The digital conference sessions will deliver the same high-quality content from industry experts, wherever you are, for free. Between the speakers and the sponsors’ resource centers, people who sign up for WasteExpo Together Online will still be able to connect with industry leaders who are looking to answer your questions and provide solutions. Attendees will be able to contact each other and sponsors within the platform and make connections.

But we know nothing beats in-person events. So next year’s WasteExpo really will be the reunion of the waste and recycling industries, making WasteExpo 2021 in Las Vegas something special.

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