Search This Blog

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ei Team Visits Newark for Zero Waste Education

Amy & Chris @ the Robert Treat Hotel
An Elemental Impact Team visited Newark in early October for a two-day series of zero waste meetings and a morning workshop hosted by the City of Newark, Office of Sustainability. Joining Ei founder Holly Elmore, Ei Partners Amy Moreland of Heritage Interactive Services and Chris Bradlee of BASF shared their zero waste expertise in the educational sessions.

Common ground for the Newark visit was the June U.S. Zero Waste Business Council conference in Costa Mesa, CA.  Holly, Chris and Kurt Wirgau of Heritage met Stephanie Greenwood, City of Newark director of sustainability, at the conference. The ZWA Bog post, U.S. Zero Waste Business Council hosts first-rate conference, is an overview of the conference.

Historic Newark City Hall -
over 100 years old!
The two-day Newark visit was introductory in nature and an opportunity to educate enthusiastic industry leaders and city staff members on zero waste initiative basics along with baseline assessment.  With approximately 400 manufacturers within Newark city limits, it was a natural to meet with Brian Conley of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Most of the manufacturers are smaller operations so collaborative effort may be essential to benefit from economies of scale.

Dr. Kevin Lyons of Rutgers Business School joined a two-hour workshop-style meeting.  It was thrilling to learn about Kevin's work in the supply chain archaeology realm and how landfill mining is on the horizon.  With his procurement experience, Kevin's expertise is a valuable asset to Newark zero waste initiatives on many levels.

During an afternoon visit, Leroy Boone of Beth Israel Medical Center welcomed the Ei Team to the hospital.  Proactive, the hospital sends a portion of their food waste to an on-site digester, rather than its prior incinerator destination.  With a nearby urban garden, Leroy hopes to soon use the digester end product at the garden.  

Within the last couple of years the hospital embarked on an energy-saving program where light bulbs were replaced in the buildings and garage and storm windows installed - very important in a building whose original sectors are more than 100 years old.

Ei Partner Laura Keck of Kimberly-Clark joined the meeting via conference call to educate Leroy on the use of #5 plastic saline bottles as raw material in KC manufacturing processes. Action Point:  Laura and Leroy plan to explore a program to collect the saline bottles from Beth Israel along with other local hospitals for delivery to KC.

Newark Sustainability Commission
(names on FB album pic)
The first day ended with Amy and Holly presenting at the monthly Newark Environmental Commission meeting.  It was an excellent opportunity to understand the City's overall sustainability commitment and how zero waste initiatives interweave within many other programs.

Day two began with an one-on-one meeting with Holly and Elizabeth Reynoso, City of Newark Sustainability Office food policy director, an authentic, knowledgeable individual ready to take action on food policy issues.  The meeting ended with many open action points and excitement to move forward on some "easy wins" in the wasted food area.

Elizabeth "rides" her talk
After a recap lunch with Holly, Stephanie and Mahima Giri, Newark sustainability program manager, the group met with Michael Davidson, Greater Newark Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director.  With the airport Newark's biggest visitor draw, promoting cultural, entertainment and dining experiences to encourage time and dollars spent in Newark is a top priority. The organization is in the formation stage with abundant synergies; seeds for future collaboration were planted.

For a pictorial overview of the Ei's Newark trip, see the Ei FB album, Oct 02 & 03 Newark Zero Waste Visit.

Thank you Stephanie for your vision and commitment to building a sustainable future for Newark - the Ei Team looks forward to a long-term working relationship with Newark.  Thank you Mahima for planning the meeting series and your generous, hospitable spirit.  It was a fantastic visit!


  1. Newark NJ has been exploring how to pursue Zero Waste for a couple of years. The GrassRoots Recycling Network conducted a Zero Waste workshop in Newark in April 2011. Newark included a Zero Waste goal in its Sustainability Action Plan in the summer of 2012. The visit from Elemental Impact was to explore the possibility of setting up a Zero Waste Zone in Newark, like Atlanta did several years ago with the help of Holly Elmore. It's great to see the positive reception to this idea reported by Holly!

    1. Thanks Gary - I appreciate you taking the time to give a bit more of the background leading to Ei's Newark visit.