Waste 2021 – the industry’s leading waste management conference – is returning to Opal Cove Resort this May.
In mid-March 2020, the Coffs Waste Conference team had to cancel the face-to-face version of the Waste 2020 Conference, and in its place a series of webinars were held over a 14-week period.
While 2020 will go down as a challenge for most, the waste and resource recovery industry had to keep forging ahead, with waste still needing to be collected and processed.
“Many of the big issues have not disappeared, and importantly now, we are having to rebuild our resource recovery capability within Australia,” Greg Freeman, Coffs Waste Conference Convenor, says.
“We need to look inward for opportunities, but outward for our learning to support this rebuilding effort.”
According to Freeman, many lessons have been learned by the challenges faced during 2020.
“We all had to embrace technology quickly and the webinars we held in place of Waste 2020 were a great example of co-ordination and co-operation,” he says.
“Between ourselves and the staff at WMRR, particularly Gayle Sloan and Justine Foster, we managed to co-ordinate more than 40 presenters and had over 1200 participants over a 14-week period.”
Freeman adds that there was an enormous amount of goodwill to keep the show on the road, and for that the Coffs Waste Conference team are very grateful.
“Sure, we all missed the face-to-face learning and networking, but we made the most of our situation and continued to learn and share knowledge. This is what strengthens our industry – pulling together in the face of adversity,” he says.
The industry is now looking forward to the Waste 2021 Conference.
Although delegate numbers will have to be limited and social distancing precautions followed, Freeman explains that his team are working hard to make sure the event will still be successful.
“We will be running a hybrid event, where there will be face-to-face presentations and interaction with exhibitors, but we will also have an innovative livestream event that will be packaged up to be good value for money for those who cannot attend the conference,” he says.
“What we learned from our Waste 2020 webinar series is that there are a large number of people who are happy to attend online from their home or office, as long as we make the interaction between the presenters and participants a two-way affair.”
Many of the conference’s sponsors and exhibitors elected to roll over their financial commitment from Waste 2020 to Waste 2021, which Freeman says the Coffs Waste Conference team really appreciated.
“We aim to pay back this support by holding the best event possible,” he says.
“Hopefully if COVID restrictions can be eased a bit further we can fit some more people onsite.”
The Waste 2021 team are currently sifting through more than 150 submissions and expressions of interest for speaking at the conference.
“It will be tough this year as we will have to limit the onsite presentations, but hopefully there will be some additional online opportunities, so all the knowledge and innovative ideas over the last year can be shared,” Freeman says.
The Waste 2021 Conference will play its role in bringing industry players back together in person and online so it can continue to lead Australia in the resource recovery and industry development fields.
“There is so much goodwill and optimism in our waste industry that we need to harness and forge ahead for the development of Australian society more broadly,” Freeman says.
“We have also been fortunate enough to have been listed on the schedule of approved events on the Austrade Program website, as part of the Australian Business Events Grant Program.”
This means eligible businesses can apply for funding under the Business Events Grants Program to cover up to 50 per cent of the costs of participating in Waste 2021.
“This is a great initiative enabling some of our business participants and exhibitors to offset some of their costs,” Freeman says.
To register click here.