Key takeaways from RWM 2019

On 11 September, team CP headed to Birmingham for the UK’s Largest Recycling & Waste Management Exhibition & Conference, RWM – and what a great couple of days it was!

Meeting new people and sharing knowledge and experiences of the sector and upcoming trends over the two-day event were high on the agenda, plus our very own development director – and founder of The Women’s Recycling Alliance (WRA) – Sarah Sanpher, was also invited to be a speaker on the Equality and Diversity Panel.

Sarah and the Clearpoint commercial team were on hand to chat with delegates, engaging in deep discussions surrounding the industry, Brexit and what Clearpoint is doing to meet the very high compliance standards. She also delivered a seminar with professional training and development consultant at The Springboard Consultancy, Jan Morris.

Led by Sarah and Jan, the 30-minute taster workshop – entitled ‘Take me seriously!’ – equipped over 60 attendees with some handy hints and tips on how to present themselves positively and with credibility.

Panel overview and takeaways

Led by Beverley Simonson from the London Waste and Recycling Board, the discussion featured six panellists and centred around equality and diversity in the resources industry.

There were many topics covered, including the challenges facing women in the waste sector, the importance of a diverse workforce, the under-representation of black, Asian and ethnic minority people (BAME) in the industry, and how we can change the language used throughout the waste landscape to be more inclusive and appealing to all genders.

One of the key takeaways revolved around breaking down barriers in the waste sector and how subtle language tweaks could help this. For example, one suggestion explored how moving away from the term ‘waste’ and instead using ‘recycling’, ‘environment’ or ‘commodities resource’ could be more appealing to different genders, as well as younger people.

There were also points raised around the alternative ways to engage with younger generations about the career options within the industry. This highlighted how more in-school visits and workshops could be the answer to helping dispel any misconceptions held of the routes available and encourage students to consider a professional future in the sector.

Another interesting opinion was discussed surrounding the use of the word ‘environment’ in job titles, in conjunction with or instead of ‘waste,’ as people don’t always automatically associate how these two concepts are linked. And with sustainability and eco-responsibility ranking high on both the governmental and corporate agendas in recent years, is the use of the word ‘waste’ alone doing the sector justice?

It was a fantastic debate around maximising inclusion in the industry as well as how to go about diversifying such a male-dominated area, and how, to do this it’s crucial to spark interest in the younger generations – of all genders and ethnic backgrounds. Only then, once the awareness is there, will more individuals want to join the sector.

Taking part in the panel topic was perfect for Sarah, as the theme was perfectly linked to the objectives of the WRA – giving women the personal development skills to progress confidently in industry.

Couldn’t make the WRA workshop at RWM? Don’t worry, the next WRA event is taking place on 16th October at the Forest of Arden Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Warwickshire – and the WRA is celebrating its first birthday!


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