Robert Render expects the exhibitors' demonstrations at this year's NPE show to create fewer pounds of scrap material than at the last show in 2006.
But the waste still needs to be discarded somehow, and his company, Maine Plastics Inc. (Booth S16142), will again organize removal and recycling efforts inside McCormick Place convention center.
Zion, Ill.-based Maine Plastics has been the official NPE recycler since the 2000 show. According to the company's Web site, NPE2006 produced 400,000 pounds of scrap in 41/2 days; about 90 percent of show material was recycled.
This year, Maine Plastics expects the volume to be lower, but the recycling rate to be higher.
I think [waste] will be less than it was, because exhibitors won't run as many machines [in order to] reduce their costs, Render said, predicting only 125,000 to 200,000 pounds of scrap will be generated.
Render's goal is not how many pounds of scrap he'll collect it's what percentage gets recycled. He expects that the NPE2009 team will capture a higher scrap percentage, including a much better percentage of pre-show material, than in past years.
The challenge is breaking bad habits, Render said. People think it's easier to throw things in the trash, but it doesn't cost a nickel more to be in the recycling program.
Maine Plastics will partner with Eco Educator Inc., a Dublin, Ohio, environmental training firm, and Freeman Co., a Dallas-based general contracting company that helps organize trade shows.
This year, the recycling crew will be able to start earlier, with collection beginning on the Thursday before NPE.
Render, president of Maine Plastics, credited Freeman for being flexible in order to accomplish such a large task.
It's our responsibility to get 100 percent of scrap produced, said Susie Harpham, president of Eco Educator. She has seen an increase in the number of pounds recycled each year since 2000 and attributes the success to the help and support of exhibitors.
Harpham said the biggest challenge is getting all exhibitors to register for the program: We have to be on our toes before the show opens; then it [the recycling operation] is like a little machine, and all goes well.
Pre-show collection is improving and with the help of Freeman, porters will be working to retrieve the unused scrap that is produced as exhibitors begin to set up and test their equipment. Harpham said workers will visit each building prior to the show opening and stop by each booth to help educate and register companies. The process will continue until the first day of the show to ensure mass participation.
Recycling bins, provided by Cascade Engineering Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., will be located at many booths and various places throughout the show. Harpham said all porters and Teamsters in the program will be in orange shirts and can assist anyone with removal and questions for the duration of NPE.
Recycled material will be sorted on site and then moved to Maine Plastics' facility in Zion for processing.
John Postelnik, national account manager for Freeman, said that during the three days before the show his company will provide 30 porters and two forklifts in each building to make sure items are properly discarded. During NPE, there will be 20 porters and a Teamster to remove plastic scrap. Crews also will be available to assist after the show.
Before NPE opens, recycling teams will ask exhibitors if they plan to leave containers behind to be recycled. If [exhibitors] want to ship it back to their company, we won't touch it, Harpham said.
Both Render and Harpham said the recycling effort at this year's NPE will be the best organized yet.
I've been in the business since 1982, and I feel vindicated about companies going green and understanding and participating in recycling, Harpham said.
Recycling scrap from exhibits is only part of the equation: NPE2009 also has a system in place for the public to recycle items like plastic bottles. McCormick Place will have more waste and recycling containers set out for NPE.