According to early reports, Australia's most comprehensive free-to-attend conference and exhibition for the waste management and resource recovery sector has delivered record attendance, with early numbers indicating more than 4,500 trade visitors attending this year's event - a 28 per cent growth compared to last year.

The Waste Expo Australia conference and exhibition, held in Melbourne, has inspired and educated the industry with robust discussions from local government representatives, industry leading experts, key industry bodies, as well as industry associations. 

Opening the event was Lily D'Ambrosio, minister for energy, environment and climate change, who reiterated the state's commitment to reducing waste with the continued development of strategies and policies that will drive the state forward in the future.

The morning's first panel discussion ‘Government and policy initiatives driving the waste management industry' heard investment and collaboration were key in the delivery of a resource efficient economy, not only in Victoria, but across Australia. 

Integral to the success of Waste Expo Australia was the development of the Waste Summit conference, which covers four streams - landfill and transfer stations, collections, resource recovery, and waste to energy. 

This structured program saw many sessions at standing room capacity with visitors having the ability to hear from leading speakers from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Cleanaway, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO), MRA Consulting, City of Perth's and Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP), amongst others. 

"The success of this year's event shows the growing importance of the waste management, recycling and resource recovery industry," said Cory McCarrick, exhibition manager at Reed Exhibitions.

"We are thrilled with the number and quality of people that attended Waste Expo Australia. With over 30 hours of free content, the event was successful in attracting key industry buyers.

"Early reports show an increase in attendance across all key visitor groups, with over 100 councils and government departments from across Australia, as well an increase in international attendance." 

This year's edition saw the inclusion of the inaugural Wastewater Summit, which featured leading water utility corporations, government officials and industry innovators who gave insights in to the technology, regulations and operational improvements that are driving the sector.

The exhibition aisles at Waste Expo Australia were busy throughout the two days with industry professionals eager to speak with the more than 80 companies showcasing the latest product innovations.

"The event had been a huge success for the company," said Debbie Smith, marketing coordinator from Bost Group.

"A lot of decision-makers came through the door, which provided us with great quality leads. As a result, we have already committed to Waste Expo Australia for next year." 

McCarrick credits much of the success of the event to the support it received from key industry associations and leading companies including Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA), Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA), City of Melbourne, Bingo Industries and Cleanaway. 

"Industry collaboration enabled us to develop an event offering and conference program that addressed the specific needs of the industry," McCarrick added.

"This has built the foundation for continued growth of Waste Expo Australia in 2019, when we will deliver additional customers value through the synergies with our exciting new co-location with the ISSA Cleaning & Hygiene Expo."

The next edition of Waste Expo Australia will take place on October 23-24 in 2019 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.