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Two back-to-back conventions bring construction, demolition and C&D recycling professionals to Las Vegas.

June 18, 2008

Las Vegas was the place to be this spring for construction and demolition industry and C&D recycling professionals. The city hosted two major industry events in a matter of weeks. The National Demolition Association held its 35th Annual Convention at the Mirage in late February, and ConExpo-Con/Agg was held only a few weeks later at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Strong scrap markets seemed to override less favorable overall economic news, leading to strong attendance at both events. Attendees of the National Demolition Association Convention and ConExpo had the opportunity to walk miles of exhibit floor, access to educational programming and the ability to participate in a variety of networking events.

RECORD BREAKER

ConExpo-Con/Agg 2008 set records for attendance, exhibit space and number of exhibiting companies, according to the event’s organizers.

More than 144,600 industry professionals from around the world attended ConExpo-Con/Agg and the co-located IFPE during their five day run March 11-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

ConExpo-Con/Agg covered more than 2.28 million net square feet of exhibits, taken by 2,182 exhibitors and was 21 percent larger than the last show, which was held in 2005.

A record number of international industry professionals visited the show—more than 28,000, which is more than 19 percent of total attendance and represents more than 30 percent growth compared to the last edition of the shows. International attendance increased by more than 50 percent from the Latin America and Caribbean marketplace, and doubled from China, India and Turkey. There were also significant increases from Canada, Australia, Russia and the Middle East.

The show floor included a record number of 14 international exhibit pavilions highlighting products and services developed outside of the United States.

In addition to the exhibit hall, the shows also offered a strong lineup of educational programming. ConExpo-Con/Agg offered a record 130 sessions in its 2008 seminar program. Select sessions were offered via LiveCasts and podcasts to extend the value of show education. Session registrations totaled more than 22,850. IFPE also expanded its educational offers with an electronic controls symposium added to the show’s technical conference. IFPE educational session registrations totaled more than 1,700.

The show also provided a gathering place for a number of industry associations and trade groups. A record number of 11 associations, including the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA), held annual conventions or board meetings at ConExpo and IFPE.

The next edition of the triennial shows will be March 22-26, 2011, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

More information is available at www.conexpoconagg.com.

LARGE GATHERING NO MIRAGE

More than 1,400 people gathered at the National Demolition Association’s 35th Annual Convention, held Feb. 24-27 at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The group of demolition contractors and their suppliers had access to the largest exhibit hall in the association’s history, with about 100 exhibitors bringing in enough equipment to fill The Mirage’s entire Events Center floor space.

About 100 attendees took part in the association’s annual Golf Tournament, which took place before the convention on Saturday, Feb. 23.

The group’s keynote breakfast events included remarks from NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and several updates of National Demolition Association initiatives.

Ray Passeno, the National Demolition Association’s vice president, outlined elements of the association’s new strategic plan, an effort to improve the organization and help it achieve its goals over the next three to five years.

Passeno said the plan will improve on what the association already does well and help it be an even stronger voice for the demolition industry. "I think we have a good association, but I think we all want to be a great association," he said.

One element of the plan is a renewed focus on environmental stewardship. Passeno said the demolition industry has always recycled, and the National Demolition Association wants to emphasize these efforts even more in the coming years.

The association has been encouraged by the enthusiastic response to a call to serve on the board of directors, and Passeno says the association will continue to work to attract new members to the board. "We need to attract the best and brightest the industry has to offer," he said.

As part of increased efforts to improve communication, the National Demolition Association will also enhance its Web site to make it a better resource for its members. Passeno said the new site will include a database to help contractors find recycling companies and resources as well as a place to communicate with association leaders. The new site "is a key element to getting our message out," Passeno said.

Central to increasing the association’s focus on environmental stewardship is the recycling of C&D debris.

MANAGING THE C&D STREAM

Many environmental and economic factors are driving an increased interest in C&D debris recycling, according to Dr. Kimberly Cochran of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Solid Waste, who addressed attendees of a session on national initiatives addressing C&D recycling at the convention.

Oil prices driving up the cost of asphalt, green building initiatives and overall efforts to decrease greenhouse gas emissions have all lead to an increased emphasis on the recovery of and recycling debris from construction and demolition sites, Cochran said. State governments are getting involved, from Massachusetts, which has banned certain C&D materials from landfills, to California, which requires 50 percent of C&D debris to be diverted from landfill.

Cochran outlined a number of programs and initiatives to increase C&D recycling. For example, she discussed the EPA’s Industrial Materials Recycling Team, which seeks to measure recycling, identify barriers, increase awareness of the issue and recognize successful efforts. Cochran shared results of a 2003 survey that found the demolition of buildings in that year generated approximately 160 million tons of C&D debris and realized a 40-percent recycling rate. The survey also found that road surface projects generated 170 million tons of debris with an 88-percent recycling rate.

Cochran said the Industrial Materials Recycling Team is currently working with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) on a measurement tool to allow companies to measure how much material they are recycling and what savings those efforts are generating.

The EPA is also working on programs to address the recovery and recycling of C&D debris generated in disaster scenarios. Disasters, both natural and man-made, leave behind thousands of tons of debris, many of which are recoverable materials like appliances, wood and structural steel. Disasters also leave behind tons of more problematic materials, such as drywall, spoiled food and treated wood. The EPA, along with several other organizations, is working on various initiatives addressing the issue. Julie Gevrenov, of the EPA’s Region Five office discussed some of the programs. "In 90 percent of disasters, there is no federal presence," she said. "So we need these initiatives."

Gevrenov discussed the Disaster Debris Recovery Network, a project being piloted in the EPA Region Five, with the goal of providing support tools to first responders to disasters. This program is designed to provide first responders information to help them identify who in a given geographic area can help with the management of debris in the wake of a disaster.

The organization is planning to develop a database that would include company names, contact information and other important information, such as what materials the company is capable of handling, as a reference tool for first responders, Gevrenov said.

More information is available at www.epa.gov.

The staff of Construction & Demolition Recycling constributed to this article. 

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