Near the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah, a group of ISRI members toured through Metro Group Inc.’s recycling facility to get an up-close look at its operations and equipment. Not only were they provided a choice of warm drinks and donuts but also a space to ask questions and network with their peers.

The group was comprised of attendees of ISRI’s 2022 Shredder Operations Forum, a day-and-a-half event designed for those involved in the safe and efficient day-to-day operations of shredders. In addition to the tour, attendees learned from experts about a variety of important existing and emerging issues in shredder operations and had opportunities to network and build relationships with other attendees.

“At our in-person events in 2022 we worked to include enhanced, behind-the-scenes experiences where possible,” says Rebecca Turner, ISRI’s vice president of education & events.

The Metro Group tour marks just one example of the member-only experiences that made 2022 a special year for ISRI events.

ISRI2022 Convention and Exposition

In-person connections were a vital component of ISRI’s educational programming in 2022, Turner says. There’s no better example than the ISRI2022 Convention and Exposition, which took place March 21-24 in Las Vegas. The largest event in the recycled materials industry year-after-year included a blend of traditional and new, innovative elements.

ISRI members received a strong array of educational sessions on topics affecting the recycled materials industry. Being in-person for the first time since 2019, ISRI2022 was able to expand on the high-quality educational programming attendees experienced virtually at ISRI2021.

ISRI2022 featured new elements to highlight member value. Members were able to relax and network at a members-only VIP lounge on the showroom floor with enhanced amenities.

The expo hall itself got an update designed to promote in-person networking, engagement, and fun by bringing a ‘golf theme’ to the hall to provide more interaction and fun on the floor. Attendees who grabbed a club to test their golf skills could network with other players and win prizes.

The expo hall also included a demonstration stage used for announcements throughout the opening reception, cash giveaways, and product demonstrations. Similar fun elements will likely find their way into ISRI2023 in Nashville, Tenn., from April 17-20, 2023.

ISRI 2022 Roundtables

In September, a group of ISRI members got an exclusive inside look at Chicago-based Sipi Metals as part of the ISRI Roundtables, which ran Sept. 14-16. Attendees of the sold-out tour walked through an environmentally responsible precious metals recovery operation spanning the manufacturing process, mining operations, and electronics recycling process.

“The Roundtables was a huge event for ISRI this year,” Turner says. “We hit a record attendance with over 800 attendees, and for the first time we were able to offer an optional tour for registrants. It was quick to sell out, so remember to plan for next year’s event.” The ISRI Roundtables is the largest event in the country for traders, processors, and consumers of recycled commodities. It is known as the premiere deal-making, networking venue that directs commodities deals for the upcoming year.

This year, ISRI Roundtables hosted its first virtual press briefing on the current state of the economy and recycled materials industry, led by Joe Pickard, ISRI’s chief economist.

“ISRI’s Roundtables 2022 provided a vast array of knowledge and networking opportunities for market participants across all segments of the recycled materials industry, and we look forward to building on this year’s success in 2023,” Pickard says.

2022 Industry Leadership Development Program

Over the summer, ISRI held the 2022 Industry Leadership Development Program. The program provides new-to-the-industry professionals who show great leadership promise with guidance, insight, and skills needed to build an impactful career in the recycled materials industry. From July 11-12, 24 emerging leaders met with 17 experts at ISRI headquarters in Washington, D.C., to learn about their future and the industry’s.

“The quality of content and how it was presented was off the charts,” notes attendee Hayden Walker, a nonferrous trader at Shoal Creek, Ala.-based Strickland Trading Inc.

ISRI has worked to ensure that the experiences attendees learned over the two-day course didn’t stop in the summer. In October 2022, ISRI held a follow-up seminar just for attendees with industry leader George Adams. “It was an opportunity for those attendees to talk with George, ask him questions and learn how he runs his business, what makes him successful, and lessons learned,” Turner says. “They had exclusive access to an industry icon.”

Attendees have stayed in touch with one another throughout the year, reaching out to each other with questions or concerns. ISRI is planning to hold a meet up for those attendees at ISRI2023. “We want to take each class from the program and help them build their own network of peers that can last a lifetime,” Turner adds. The program will be in Washington, D.C. July 9-11 in 2023.

Certified Scrap Metal Professional Program – Offered in Spanish

Another educational offering that has grown over the past year is the Certified Scrap Metal Professional program, offered in partnership with Scrap University. The partnership launched in 2021 and this past October the Spanish version became available for participants. “The program is made up of eight individual online courses focused on metals identification, and now we’re offering the program in Spanish,” Turner says.

Looking Forward to 2023

In 2023 ISRI’s education and events team is looking to offer education and training in a variety of formats in addition to in-person events with enhanced learning experiences including behind-the-scenes tours, new online programming on forklift safety and lock-out/tag-out, both available on-demand.

Photos Courtesy of ISRI.

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah Zuckerman

Hannah is a Writer & Editor for ISRI's Scrap News. She's interested in a wide range of topics in the recycling industry and is always eager to learn more. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in History and a minored in Creative Writing. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband.