Conference Program Overview

WasteExpo’s conference program is your professional development opportunity of the year! The education and training that you’ll receive is guaranteed to sharpen your skills to help you do your job better. WasteExpo’s conference program is unparalleled.

The WasteExpo Spotlight Sessions are some of the most attended sessions at WasteExpo – why, you may ask? Because of the insight-packed sessions that allow attendees to explore top industry trends for FREE!

CEO Interview: One-on-one Chat with Worthing Jackman, President & CEO, Waste Connections

Join Worthing Jackman President and CEO of Waste Connections, for a fireside chat with Darrell Smith, President and CEO of NWRA. The two will discuss leadership, business insights, industry issues and much more. Jackman, who has been a part of Waste Connections since its inception in 1997 as its investment banker, was named CEO of the company in July 2019. Attendees will hear first-hand from Jackman about his rise to CEO of the third-largest waste management company in the U.S., where we stand as an industry
and where we might be headed in the future. 

The Waste & Recycling Industry Employment Outlook

The National Waste & Recycling Association Women’s Council leverages unique access to bring together the industry’s most influential human resource leaders. Hear their collective knowledge and learn what challenges and opportunities may arise on issues such as talent acquisition, workforce development and employee retention. Attendees will have the chance to engage with this expert panel.

Moderated by: Kathy Trent, Co-Chair Professional Development NWRA Women’s
Council; Sr. Public Affairs, Waste Management, OH

Eric Bostian
Rumpke Waste Services

Genevieve Dembrowski
Republic Services

Carrie Miller
WCA America

Melkeya McDuffie
Waste Management

Amanda Mickelson
Oshkosh Corporation (McNeilus)

Jennifer Testa, J.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Environmental Solutions Group

Feet on the Street Atlanta—The Recycling Partnership’s Case Study on Citywide Contamination Reduction 

Feet on the Street was originally launched as a pilot program by The Recycling Partnership (TRP) in part to answer China’s National Sword policies. It now serves as a foundational model for TRP’s contamination-fighting methods implemented in communities across the country.

Join the stakeholders involved in Feet on the Street (FOTS) – Atlanta and learn about the program’s inception, execution and success. Hear about their role in FOTS, challenges faced, lessons learned and initial results from the program’s first year.

You’ll see never-before-shared data about the program, including: updated contamination rates after tagging Atlanta’s 98,000 single-family homes; multicultural communications best practices; capture rate studies from 15-plus multi-family properties; and more.

Walk away with the inspiration and data to make real changes or improvements in your own cities or businesses.


  • Cody Marshall, Chief Community Strategy Officer, The Recycling Partnership;
  • Cecilia Shutters, Recycling Technical Advisor – Atlanta, The Recycling Partnership;
  • Kanika Greenlee, Executive Director, Keep Atlanta Beautiful Commission at city of Atlanta;
  • Sustainability Representatives from The Coca-Cola Foundation, Multi-Family Housing, Atlanta and University Housing, Atlanta

Plugging Into Opportunities in Refuse Fleet Electrification

Add another level to the technology tsunami that is propelling the waste industry into its brave new future. Alongside artificial intelligence and robotics add fleet electrification to the list as private haulers, municipalities (and their blended partnerships) embrace the idea of electrified refuse vehicles. This session will look at the opportunities and the challenges that come with an electrified refuse vehicle – battery life, power management, driver training and awareness are all part of this new domain along with the benefits of emissionless, quieter vehicles and possibly less rigorous maintenance routines. Hear from organizations that currently have electric vehicles out in the real world, what they are experiencing and what new trials will be released in 2020.

Reducing Food Waste and Increasing Recovery in Municipal, Regional, and State Programs

Moderator: Evan Edgar, Edgar & Associates, Inc.

  • Food Recycling and Rescue – Los Angeles County’s Three-Pronged Approach. Suk Chong, Senior Civil Engineer, Los Angeles County Public Works and Michelle Leonard, Vice President, SCS Engineers
  • Accelerate Food Waste Reduction Through Collaboration. Holly Stirnkorb, Senior Solid Waste Planner, Metro. OR
  • Eating the Food Scraps Elephant: How Madison, WI is Tackling the Problem of Food Scraps a Bite at a Time through Prevention and Diversion. Bryan Johnson, Recycling Coordinator, Stacie Reece, Sustainability Program Coordinator, and George Reistad, Food Policy Director, City of Madison, and John Welch, Director Waste & Renewables, Dane County. WI
  • Santa Clara County Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) of Food Waste Reduction Program and Food Recovery Efforts Project. Lisa Coelho, SCS Engineers, CA

Meet Adam Minter & Ryan Hickman

Stuff: The Hidden Borderland of Waste and Recycling
Adam Minter, Asia-based columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and Author, Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale
In the early 2000s, Adam Minter began exploring the hidden world of globalized recycling, producing groundbreaking reports from China, India, Ghana, and other countries. Then, in the mid-2000s, he abruptly shifted focus to the world of thrift stores and secondhand goods. In his talk, Minter will explain the circumstances that led him to this shift and show why the growing tide of "single-use stuff"—from fashion to furniture—should concern waste and recycling professionals as much, if not more, than better-known problems like single-use plastics. Using his signature method of narrative storytelling, Minter will merge his personal experiences and observations with globalizing trends to illuminate this emerging frontier in recycling and waste management.

Listen to Adam's episode on the Waste360 NothingWasted! Podcast here.

Adam Minter

Ten-year-old Recycling Superstar Represents the Future of Recycling

Ryan Hickman details how his passion for recycling grew from a fun project with dad, to launching a young entrepreneur and media spotlight, to recognition as a youth environmentalist. Ryan, a young man with a mission to do much more will take us through this transformation and share some of his amazing experiences. Hear firsthand how he’s been able to use recycling awareness to support his environmental cleanup events and to support marine rescue centers. Ryan will reinvigorate and inspire us to make the world a better place and show us how recycling is one effort that’s making a real difference.

Listen to Ryan's episode on the Waste360 NothingWasted! Podcast here.

Ryan Hickman

With Nothing Wasted! we're creating an open forum for new ideas. So, get ready to hear inspired talks from a wide array of thought leaders and visionaries! In each session, you'll hear from three to four thought leaders, visionaries, seekers and seers—who'll share impactful, inspirational, influential, or even provocative ideas. You'll walk away with powerful ideas and perspectives that will make you a more thoughtful and creative problem-solver on the job. Don't miss this chance to think about the waste industry in brand new ways!

Monday, August 10

Unique Beginnings
Track: Operations, Fleet & Safety
1:45PM – 3:00PM

Glitz and glamour, and waste and recycling often don’t go hand in hand. So, how is it that folks get into the waste and recycling industry? Is it a history of family generations already in the business, the potential of a steady industry and career or simply a bit of dumb luck and a dream? Join these panelists as they share their unique success stories of how they made their way into the waste industry and how they got to where they are today.

Tuesday, August 11

War on Plastics
Track: Technology & Innovation
3:00PM – 4:15PM

Plastic has become a hot topic the past few years, and it is only going to continue heating up. With new bans, more restrictions, changing markets, and an emphasis on sustainability and circular economy, the challenge of finding real solutions to manage plastic waste has become a priority. But there are differing views on how to attack this issue. What are the financial implications of recycling plastic? What are the infrastructure challenges? Is our energy better spent on addressing the root of the problem and limiting the use of plastic all together? Find out what steps are being taken to address this growing global problem.

History of Recycling – Live
Track: Recycling & Landfill
1:30PM – 2:45PM

In the coming years, some of the industry’s brightest and most-experienced colleagues will be retiring. This session seeks to capture their “tribal” wisdom on the history of recycling and, most importantly, what we can learn from it today. Join this session to find out the true meaning of recycling, what successful recycling systems have had in common, and how we can apply historical knowledge to our current recycling industry. Hear a vibrant introduction of the major twists and turns in recycling’s evolution over centuries and particularly the last few decades, as well a current overview of recycling in the U.S. in 2020. This will be followed by a lively panel who will answer questions and share insight that will teach attendees:

  • Resilience—Although recycling feels in peril, we are just experiencing another shift in the system, where we could create a stronger recycling industry, or at least one better evolved to today's environmental, economic, political, and social climate.
  • Tactics—Tactical lessons from our recycling history that could apply to today.
  • History—How external forces have shaped our views of recycling and how we can anticipate the external forces impacting our recycling system today.

Wednesday, August 12

Addressing Climate Change & Packaging
Track: Technology & Innovation
12:15PM – 1:30PM

Climate change continues to be a highly debated topic in today’s world. In fact, the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2019 is “climate emergency”. And when talking climate change in relation to waste, especially when it comes to packaging, people tend to focus on recycling. But is recycling always the best option? Or would it be better to have lightweight packaging that is thrown away? Find out the impact and effects recyclable packaging really has.

Visionary Perspectives on Sustainable Systems, Zero Waste, and Biofuels
Track: Organics Management | Food Recovery Forum
1:40PM – 2:40PM

Moderator: Leah Lizarondo, 412 Rescue

  • Zero Heroes with 2020 Vision. Zero Waste, Biogas, CNG, Food Waste to AD and Compost. Evan Edgar, Principal, Edgar & Associates, Inc. CA
  • The Zero Waste Approach to Managing Compostable Organics. Richard Anthony, Zero Waste USA. CA
  • Sustainable Community Systems Incorporating Solid Waste Management. George Savage, Senior VP, CalRecovery. CA

Closing Plenary: Food Waste Paradigms
Track: Track: Organics Management | Food Recovery Forum
4:10PM – 5:00PM

Moderator: Darby Hoover, NRDC

  • Food Recovery is Not Enough to Impact Hunger. Leah Lizarondo, 412 Rescue. MA
  • There’s More Than Enough: Minimizing Waste, Maximizing Savings. Komal Ahmad, CEO, COPIA. CA


Thursday Workshops

Add a workshop to your registration! Returning for 2020, we will offer four half-day workshops on Thursday that each focus on a different industry topic. Workshops include: Zero Waste Certified Training, Food Waste & Organics Diversion Program Development, Safety, and Recycling.

Together Online

August 10-14, 2020

Co-located Conferences