Ireland's top eco-show a runaway success
Ireland's annual eco-show double-bill held in Dublin last week saw the geographical coverage of companies present and issues raised expand even further, highlighting the global nature of environmental problems - all within a distinctly Irish context.Irish Recycling & Waste Management (IRWM) and Irish Water Waste & Environment (IWWE), Ireland's national trade shows for environmental professionals, attracted over 200 exhibitors and crowds of visitors over two days teeming with talks, seminars and networking opportunities.
The scope of the Environment Ireland exhibitions reflected the international character of the environmental sector, with many exhibitors international actors based outside of the country but with an eye on the ever-expanding Irish economy.
Exhibiting companies came in all shapes and sizes, from small start-ups bringing innovative products to the Irish market to well-established global giants looking to promote the latest of their technological solutions. Running successfully for more than 25 years, IWWE once again showcased new products and services for monitoring, emission control, waste water treatment and environmental compliance. The younger IRWM exhibition, launched in 2000, saw a wide range of recycling and waste management industry actors represented.
Italian-based bio-polymer producers Novamont heralded the coming of the biodegradable bag revolution, which they say will soon shake up the world of carrier bags and bin-liners (see related story). Across the hall, global chemicals and gases firm Air Products chose to focus on a technology they say will reduce the size of water treatment plants at least two-fold (see related story).
There was no shortage of fresh ideas at the shows, from complex systems that took hours to comprehend to the simple genius of devices like the envirovalve - essentially a blow-up bag that blocks pipes in the event of a spill at the flick of a switch and promises to dramatically cut down on water pollution caused by punctual incidents.
The international aspect of environmental problems and the solutions business and government find for them were ever-present, from a waste-to-energy project that offsets its UK emissions with a renewable energy project in Thailand, to Ireland's haunting questions over the sustainability of exporting waste to the developing world, tackled in one of the seminars.