11 industry conferences you won't want to miss in 2017

The beginning of a new year means many opportunities for the industry; new goals, new challenges and, of course, new conferences and events to attend.

While it may be close to impossible to experience all of the educational sessions, exhibit halls and networking opportunities the industry has to offer in 2017, Waste Dive has compiled a list of the most highly-anticipated shows across North America. Be sure to block schedules, book flights and prepare for a full year of developments and innovations.

Waste Management Association of BC Annual Conference

Date: Jan. 19
Location: Surrey, British Columbia

The WMBAC's 6th annual conference, hosted at the Sheraton Guilford Conference Center & Hotel, will have a circular economy focus with the intention of bringing together industry professionals "to help businesses and municipalities meet their waste diversion targets."

The agenda — comprised of sessions on extended producer responsibility (EPR), the economics of waste, product bans, organics diversion and other various topics — includes social breaks and trade exhibits for optimized networking opportunities. Professionals from Canadian organizations including the BC Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, WorkSafeBC, NWRA are among those expected to attend.

US Composting Council Annual Conference

Date: Jan. 23-26
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Touted as the world's largest composting conference for the organics management industry, this show will celebrate 25 years of compost use, compost production, organics collection and other related topics. The schedule — filled with opportunities for educational sessions, networking receptions and celebrations — includes equipment shows and demonstrations at local sites, such as the Lopez Canyon Compost Facility. 

Caterpillar, Waste Management, John Deere, Recology, Kimberly-Clark, BioCycle and dozens of other sponsors will be represented to help support the show.


2017 NWRA Industry Conference

Date: Feb. 27-March 1
Location: Ponte Vedra, FL

This 3-day conference is "where the business of our industry gets done," according to the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA). The event, held at oceanfront Ponte Vedra Spa & Resort, has a heavy focus on safety and will include ANSI meetings, safety sessions, industry committee meetings and networking opportunities. 

In addition to the informational sessions, NWRA will host its annual golf outing, offering an opportunity for networking and off-season tee time.  

Plastics Recycling 2017

Date: March 6-8
Location: New Orleans, LA

Plastics Recycling's 12th annual conference, held once again in New Orleans, is the "focal point for the increasingly complex and international plastics recycling industry," according to the conference website. The event is expected to attract more than 200 companies as well as influential industry groups such as The Recycling Partnership, ISRI, The Closed Loop Fund and American Chemistry Council.

The conference — which will include informational sessions and Q&As with industry executives — aims to appeal to employees of all sectors involved with plastics recycling including waste haulers, resin producers, film manufacturers, retailers, brand owners and government officials. 

Kristin Musulin

Southeast Recycling Conference & Trade Show

Date: March 12-15
Location: Destin, FL

SERC, which is now celebrating 30 years of "business networking for the recycling industry," is hosting its annual event at the Hilton San Destin Golf Resort & Spa. Session topics range from "Top Challenges Facing MRF Operators" to "What To Do With IT" and will include industry insight from leading organizations such as EREF, SCS Engineers and CP Group.

In addition to sessions and cultivation workshops, SERC will host a 30th Anniversary Casino Night Party as well as golf tournament. 


​Date: March 27-30
Location: Reno, NV

SWANApalooza, an annual event that focuses on industry training, is back with three main technical sessions: Road to Zero Waste Conference, 21st Annual Landfill Symposium, and 40th Annual Landfill Gas & Biogas Symposium. The event is also offering an option for "All Conference Access," which will allow attendees to sit in on all three of the sessions to increase educational opportunities. 

According to SWANA CEO David Biderman, the association's Safety Summit — usually held at WASTECON — will be held at SWANApalooza this year, which will offer a new experience to attendees who do not regularly attend WASTECON. Additionally, Recology President and CEO Mike Sangiacomo is the event's keynote speaker.

Session from SWANApalooza 2016
Kristin Musulin

ISRI 2017 Convention & Exposition

Date: April 22-27
Location: New Orleans, LA

"Networking is the single most important reason people come to an ISRI Convention," according to the event's website. ISRI highlights networking opportunities this year with 15 specified conference tracks and new commodity-specific networking events for ferrous and nonferrous metal experts. Additionally, there will be a Young Executive Networking event and a special networking reception for plastic, paper, tire and rubber recycling experts.

Amy Herman, founder of The Art of Perception, and Mike Rowe, dubbed as the "dirtiest man on TV" thanks to his hit show Dirty Jobs, are featured speakers. Adam Minter, David Borsuk, Judy Ferraro and others will also offer industry insight. 


​Date: May 8-11
Location: New Orleans, LA

WasteExpo, one of the industry's largest conferences, will return in 2017 with opportunities for leaders to learn more about technology, collections, fleet management, organics and other topics.

The agenda for this year's event is still in the works, but WasteExpo is anticipating 13,000 industry experts in attendance, alongside of more than 600 vendors who will offer solutions to industry challenges. According to its website, the 2017 expo will include a Food Recovery Forum that will be "bigger and better than ever." 

WasteExpo 2016
 2016Kristin Musulin

NRRA Recycling Conference & Expo

Date: May 22-23
Location: Manchester, NH

The Northeast Resource Recovery Association's 36th annual event will be held at The Radisson with a theme of "Back to the Future for Recycling." While details have yet to be released, NRRA has announced Casella Waste Management CEO John Casella as the keynote speaker to offer his insight from 40 years of experience in sustainable materials management. 

NRRA notes some of the issues that will be addressed are "producer responsibility initiatives, organics and composting, new technologies for MSW and recyclables" and others.

Resource Recycling Conference

Date: Aug. 28-30
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Resource Recycling's 7th annual event will explore the challenges of dirty MRFs, commodities markets, balances between the business and sustainability of recycling, community connection and many other key elements of the recycling industry. Additionally, the conference will offer a separate MRF track of educational sessions for the first time ever.

Resource Recycling anticipates more than 400 industry professionals at the event, representing more than 100 companies such as Advanced Disposal, Covanta, Dow Chemical, Starbucks and Novelis. In addition to the educational sessions, the conference will also offer workshops on food recovery, zero waste training and various other topics.

ISWA World Congress/WASTECON 2017

Date: Sept. 25-27
Location: Baltimore, MD

In a unique combination of events, SWANA's annual WASTECON will be co-located with the International Solid Waste Association's World Congress in 2017 in an effort to bring together industry leaders from around the globe. While details about the event are in the works, David Biderman is anticipating more than 1,000 international attendees and multiple panels of CEOs and sanitation department leaders to offer analysis and solutions of common industry challenges. Additionally, the event will include a gala networking event and facility tours that will take attendees to facilities in locations from Baltimore to New York. 

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Filed Under: Corporate News
Top image credit: Food Dive