I have a weakness for trade shows and Waste Expo is amazing. I went to one several years ago at McCormick Place and I hope it returns here for 2019 (I would really like to keep my streak of never having been to Las Vegas going as long as possible...).The technologies are amazing and the opportunities are vast. However, it is an industry dominated—at the management level—by white men. Just look at the promo video. There is no good reason for this.
There are a couple of ways this can be fixed. The first is more aggressive outreach by the industry (e.g., free passes for students). The second is for people simply to make the decision to go and learn. Many of these kinds of conferences offer free-with-registration access to the trade show floor. Vendors are generally very friendly and it's a good way to research job prospects. It is a one-stop shop for trade magazines, too. If you live in a city with a convention center, find out what's coming to town and whether there might be a way you for you to attend. Whenever I walk into a big show at McCormick Place I alway sigh and think, "They did this all for me?"