As we begin our countdown to RWM 2015, Chris Oldfield, managing director of industrial shredder manufacturer UNTHA UK, considers the reasons why so many British businesses flock to this highly-acclaimed recycling and waste management event…
Yet again RWM 2015 promises to be an exciting exhibition. The three days will no doubt pass by in a complete whirlwind of technological innovations, industry debate, legislative updates and circular thinking. And I hope every attendee – whether a delegate or exhibitor – will leave with new ideas to progress their own resource agenda.
But something that is becoming increasingly apparent with every recycling and waste management event that comes and goes, is that there are a variety of reasons why people take time out of their busy schedules to attend such shows and conferences.
Quite rightly, a number are genuinely striving to heighten their environmental commitment, mindful that it is their inherent duty to “do their bit” to protect the world in which we live. The EU’s recycling targets are not going to disappear after all, and we don’t have a limitless supply of raw materials.
Many savvy businesses also realise that by demonstrating a clearer “eco” conscience, they may strengthen their marketplace differential too, which will do no harm when it comes to engaging with new and existing customers.
The search for increasingly closed loop working practices no doubt fuels the visit for other RWM delegates. Why? Because the design and execution of circular models doesn’t just make for the more efficient, ethical and environmentally sound utilisation of materials – it also strengthens organisations’ supply chains and gives them greater resource security.
The Fear Factor!
There’s the fear factor as well. With legislation continually evolving, businesses are keen to ensure they’re compliant. Nobody wants to risk a fine of up to £500,000 for breach of the Data Protection Act, when it comes to the handling and destruction of confidential waste for instance. And look at the introduction of TEEP and the confusion that has caused in the UK’s different sovereign states. With so much uncertainty, people look to events such as RWM to further their learning in an attempt to stay on the right side of the law.
And, of course, with so many people in one place, RWM provides a great place to network with like-minded peers, potential partners, prospects and suppliers. It’s even a handy spot to look out for future talent – an important factor that should not be overlooked, given the inevitable skills shortage our continually expanding sector perhaps inevitably faces.
Perhaps all of these reasons are fairly obvious. In fact, if you’re thinking of heading to RWM, one or two of these comments will no doubt resonate with you. But something we haven’t mentioned is that an event like RWM can also help strengthen the commercial success of your organisation. Whether it’s because you’re looking for new machinery, trying to secure new customers, reduce your energy consumption or make more efficient re-use of the materials your business “consumes”, a large proportion of visitors will only do so if there is a business case for doing so. And this isn’t something to be embarrassed of – profit is not a dirty word.
If we weren’t in business, and we didn’t strive to be more successful, we wouldn’t be able to continually innovate. We wouldn’t be able to offer more job opportunities in the sector. We wouldn’t be able to achieve the ongoing national recycling and waste management progress that the UK has so much to be proud of.
Yes, some organisations can make decisions purely on the basis of altruistic reasoning. But others cannot. Some companies are only able (and perhaps willing) to adopt more environmentally sound practices if it means they are financially better off.
We shouldn’t be afraid of stressing the commercial advantages of smarter thinking in this respect. In fact if we were all more inclined to talk about the benefits in pounds and pence, perhaps more businesses would sit up and pay attention to the opportunities available. This approach may even work wonders with the Government too!
Cost savings will be a significant theme for UNTHA UK in Hall 5, Stand R20-S21. Visitors will be able to use UNTHA’s on-stand calculator, for example, to work out how much they can save per tonne, in their waste and alternative fuel production plants, with the help of the XR waste shredder. To speak to Chris Oldfield at the show, or to meet one of the team’s WtE or recycling experts, please pop along.
Chris Oldfield is an ambassador for RWM in partnership with CIWM