The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA)’s flagship biennial waste management conference, WasteCon 2016, officially opened on Tuesday, 18 October 2016 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg. Torben Kristiansen (above), Vice President of Waste and Contaminated Sites at COWI A/S based in Denmark opened the event as a keynote speaker. The conference, which welcomed over 350 delegates and 200 exhibitors will focus on the recent changes experienced in the waste management landscape.

This year celebrates the 23rd WasteCon with industry experts sharing best practices about the ever-changing waste management arena over the course of four days.

Jonathan Shamrock, Chairman of the WasteCon 2016 Organising Committee, says, “At this year’s conference we see a shift in focus to resource recovery and alternatives to landfilling. The reality is that South Africa is running out of landfill airspace and waste as a resource is becoming ever more prominent.”

The keynote speaker, Torben Kristiansen reiterated that Africa faces many challenges. “We actually don’t know how much waste we have and what is happening to it, so we have trouble planning in advance,” said Kristiansen. However, he mentioned that there are also many opportunities for ‘adding tools to our toolbox of waste management’, including recycling and converting waste to energy. “We are embarking on a journey toward a circular economy, but it requires an immense paradigm shift. I believe that we should start making the shift now and this conference is a brilliant opportunity.”

The IWMSA is also celebrating their 40th year of promoting a clean and healthy environment. Jan Palm, incoming president of the IWMSA, said how excited he is about his new role and his next two years in office: “We have a very diverse membership and we cover all themes of waste management. It is only by covering all of these themes that we can successfully contribute to promoting sustainable waste management practices.”

The main themes at the conference are recycling, waste management and landfill engineering. The latest products will also be displayed by exhibitors, which the public are welcome to come and view between 13:30 and 14:45 on Wednesday, free of charge. Visitors are required to obtain a visitor’s card at the registration desk upon arrival.

WasteCon 2016 is taking place until Thursday, 20 October 2016.

The IWMSA would like to thank all sponsors and patrons for making WasteCon 2016 possible. For more information about WasteCon2016 and to register, please visit

For more information about the IWMSA, visit IWMSA is also on Facebook ( and Twitter (