Companies Tout New Trends and Technologies at 2011 WasteExpo

From the giant waste trucks touting clean burning natural gas to the miniature recycling bins designed for condos, apartments or dormitories, WasteExpo 2011 has something for everyone. The show, which bills itself as the largest event in North America serving the $75 billion solid waste and recycling industry, takes place May 10 to 12 at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

I spent the first day of exhibits browsing the hall, featuring close to 600 exhibitors, and speaking with company representatives about their latest trends and technologies.

One consistently crowded booth belonged to Pellenc Selective Technologies, a French-based company that specializes in the automatic sorting of household and industrial waste. On display was the company’s optical scanner, demonstrating its unique ability to precisely identify and sort plastics by type. Communications Manager Florence Aliberti explained that the scanner has a 90 percent accuracy rate, and Pellenc is one of only five companies in the world with such a product.

McNeilus highlighted its compressed natural gas, new automated trucks and new control systems. Nearby, Waste Management displayed its Bagster product, which is designed for waste removal when a dumpster is too big or unnecessary.

Zero Waste Energy Systems told me they recently purchased the intellectual property for compaction technology and have moved manufacturing to North America. In an era where jobs are constantly moving overseas, this is a big deal because it brings jobs to the United States and Canada, explained Bruce Coxhead, co-founder, president and COO. The company also emphasized its new modular anaerobic digestion system, which allows smaller firms to make use of the system.

John Greenway, Northwest USA regional manager at Busch Systems, a provider of recycling and waste bins, told me about the push toward the recycling of paper coffee cups and the company’s new coffee cup container. According to the company, 65 percent of Americans drink coffee, and it is estimated that 250 coffee cups per year are thrown away per person. That equates to 58 billion discarded coffee cups. The container, made from 100 percent recyclable plastic, has three divisions; one for the liquid waste, one for coffee cups and one for plastic lids and stir sticks, eliminating the problem of mixing paper cups and plastic lids together.

According to WasteExpo organizers, the exhibit floor featured 575 exhibitors, including 175 new companies. More than 90 categories of products and services were featured, including balers; business services; compactors; computer software; containers; fleet safety; hazardous waste equipment and services; hydraulic components; landfill equipment and services; loaders; material handling; medical and infectious waste; odor control equipment; recycling equipment and companies; recycling systems; refuse and recycling equipment; refuse truck bodies and chassis; safety equipment; shredders; tires; trailers; transportation management logistics; truck equipment; waste services companies; waste-to-energy products and services; and wireless communications.

T. Boone Pickens, founder and CEO of BP Capital, gave the keynote address Wednesday morning, titled “Solving Our Costly and Dangerous Dependence on OPEC Oil.” A comprehensive educational program comprised of 40 conference sessions and workshops.

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