It’s Thursday afternoon and I should have been on a flight to Las Vegas. Instead, I’m writing this column. Coronavirus has changed my plans – and many of yours too, I can imagine. ISRI’s convention and exhibition, the yearly gathering for the US and global recycling scene, has been cancelled. No show, no meetings, no business interviews, no busy occupied booths.
By Martijn Reintjes
Now another major trade show for our industry was cancelled: IFAT 2020 in Munich, which was initially scheduled for early May and was then postponed to September. The news came as no surprise, really. Earlier this week, the authorities in southern Germany called off Oktoberfeste, the big German beer festival. As with IFAT, it would have people from all over the world flocking to the Bavarian capital.
This crisis is affecting everyone. I don’t mean working from home or keeping 1.5 metres apart in the supermarket. People get used to that – or at least I do. The biggest impact is having less and less to look forward too. No birthday parties, no festivals, no holidays in Spain and, yes, no trade shows and conferences, no meetings of business friends and relations, no ISRI or IFAT.
Of course you can talk on the phone, by email or through Skype, Zoom or Gotomeet (these platforms are skyrocketing thanks to the virus). But, as in many other sectors, the real business of recycling cannot be built on conference calls and emails alone. Ultimately, you want to meet face to face. Or, as one recycling technology provider from Switzerland told me: ‘Without shaking hands, you cannot sell a machine.’
At the same time, we have to face the reality of the coronavirus crisis. Our events calendar until September and beyond is getting emptier by the day. With IFAT cancelled, one wonders what will happen with the BIR convention due in Istanbul in October, the Pollutec trade show in Lyon in December and many other smaller conferences and trade shows around the globe.
At Recycling International, we have the tools both in print and online to enable recycling equipment and solutions providers to unveil and showcase their latest technology in these uncertain times. The broad recycling industry may be going through rough weather but there will be better times ahead. We wish you all the very best.
Martijn Reintjes, Chief editor Recycling International