CHICAGO (June 9, 9:25 a.m. EDT) — Susie Harpham and Robert Render have been working to ensure that when exhibitors think NPE 2003, they also think of what they plan to do with scrap.
Harpham, president of Eco Educators Inc. and Render, president of Maine Plastics Inc., are going to be double-teaming the recycling effort at this year's NPE show, June 23-27 in Chicago, as the two firms again were chosen as official co-recyclers at McCormick Place.
Lost amid the rumble of machinery and the touting of new products is the recycling aspect of NPE. That oversight had negative consequences for some exhibitors in 2000 as, for example, some booths were not designed with scrap in mind.
Harpham and Render have been stressing the recycling program to the companies that will be involved and will stay in contact with them throughout the show. By keeping in touch with exhibitors before and during the event, they are better able to mold the recycling program to fit individual needs.
“That leads to better booth planning,” Render said. “Scrap sometimes wasn't accounted for last time and it often led to them making decisions where the scrap wasn't recycled or they made a more expensive option than not being involved in the program.”
During the show in 2000, North Chicago, Ill.-based Maine Plastics and Eco Educators of Columbus, Ohio, teamed up to collect 378,840 pounds of material, which was shipped to Maine Plastics' 200,000-square-foot processing plant.
The decision to keep the same firms involved was a simple one, said Jordan Morgenstern, vice president of trade shows for the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. in Washington.
“They did such a good job and they were more than willing to do it again,” Morgenstern said.
Render said that he hoped that his company's performance in 2000 would lead to it getting the call to participate again in 2003.
“I think we did a really good job for them,” he said. “It was ours to lose.”
Eco Educators is an environmental education company that has been working with NPE since 1991, Harpham said. She said Eco Educators is present at some other trade shows, “but nothing like NPE.”
The firm's presence at McCormick Place started when someone at SPI noticed news clips mentioning they had helped with the Super Bowl's recycling program, Harpham said. SPI then called to ask if the firm wanted to assist with recycling at NPE.
The phone call from SPI came in March the year of the show.
“Short notice,” as Harpham described it. “They said, 'If you can do the Super Bowl, you can do us — and you've got two months to do it!' ” she recalled.
Eco Educators has evolved since that first “rough” NPE, Harpham said.
“We know now we've got to go in early and work with the individual exhibitors because no two exhibitors are alike,” she said.
Render echoed that sentiment as he said the communication for this show's recycling plan, including the news release about it, has been done earlier. He said his company was present at a January pre-show exhibitors' seminar in Chicago, something they were not involved with in 2000.
Render said Maine Plastics was not involved in pre-show recycling in 2000, but will be at this year's show.
“With the initial testing these companies were doing as they were starting up, a lot of that scrap was thrown away,” he said.
During the show, Maine Plastics' staff primarily will be out on the loading docks putting the individual types of plastics into their correct containers. The four people being sent by Eco Educators, Harpham said, will be on the floor of the show helping the exhibitors with recycling troubleshooting along with some of the staff from Maine Plastics.
Render said six to 10 people will be sent from Maine Plastics depending on volume. Because of the company's proximity to Chicago, more staff easily can be sent to McCormick Place if needed, he said.
Maine Plastics also will be using a new type of container, essentially totes, at NPE that can be used to carry small molded parts, Render said.
“It'll be easier for workers to roll them out to the docks,” he said.
Maine Plastics has an annual recycling volume of 50 million pounds and has sales of $12 million, Render said.
The budget for this year's program will be “about the same” as in 2000, Morgenstern said. In 2000, SPI budgeted to spend about 20 percent more on recycling than it did in 1997. Specific numbers were not disclosed.