Rocking up to RWM 17 at 9am before everyone else gets here to put the magazines on the stand and add the last finishing touches, Lee and I realise we are approaching our stand via a very, very wide walkway – there are finger posts along the way, and it’s definitely more than an ‘isle’. “Am I wrong, or is this a boulevard?” Lee asks - and he was right – it was. Not half an hour later Barry Dennis, the Chair of this year’s show, arrives on our stand and asks if we’d noticed ‘his’ boulevard. He’s chuffed that we had, and boulevard apparently, really is the right word. So, you might gather this year’s show has a different feel about it. It is spacious and airy and has a very relaxed atmosphere. The sounds don’t assail your ears, there is a pleasant hubbub of people talking and exchanging ideas. I’ve been coming to RWM for 14 years, and this is the most relaxed I’ve ever felt here.
It’s really refreshing to have people come to the stand enthusing about their products or processes and asking, “How can I get my ideas across to local authorities? Communication; everyone wants more communication, to tell us about their ideas, to tell our members, to get the public more involved and responsible about their role in the recycling process. And this is one of the rare places in the industry year (the other main one being the LARAC Conference in October, of course) where there is the time and space to do it. We are all here, inventors, start-ups, established companies, consultants, and local authorities. We are one of the stands where all of these people feel welcome and able to engage in real conversation. It’s only midday and I’ve already been told of a way to recycle 90% of all plastics. I see you raise your eyebrows, was that in disbelief? Well, maybe they were optimistic, but isn’t it great to find optimism somewhere in our industry these days?
“How do we find out exactly what recycling facilities, each authority offers?” This is an age-old question for us at RWM, and one asked of us by all-comers here, including private citizens. Again it’s all about communication. Is there a place on the LARAC website for such a facility? A place for each authority to tell what they offer? Answers on a postcard ….. or let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
A little break there to catch up with more visitors to the stand. All agreeing the new, more open event here is really conducive to conversation, exchanging ideas and doing business. The new look features lots of sofas to sit on and chat, lots of recycled pallets everywhere – some of those made into sofas too. The cynics will say the wider more roomy isles are because the show has few exhibitors. I ‘m not sure if that is the case, for me the important thing is the atmosphere is so much more welcoming. You can actually hear what people are saying, it’s altogether a much more pleasant place to be and do business. Hope to see you here tomorrow on what used to be called the ‘local authority’ day. But, those days are gone, of course – so come and do the local authority trail and visit us on stand 4J50!