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Monday, December 14, 2009


The US Composting Council's 18th Annual Conference & Trade Show is January 24-27, 2010 at the Wyndham Orlando. This is the largest conference and expo in North America for the Composting, Wood Waste & Organics Recycling Industry.

Through conference programming, attendees will learn how to optimize operating efficiency, develop cost effective solutions and improve composting programs & products. For more information, visit the USCC website.

What a great way to learn and network! Hope you can make it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Wow, another big move in industry synergy happened recently when US Foodservice-Atlanta converted its entire delivery fleet to biodiesel.

All of the Atlanta division's 185 tractors and 210 trailers began using biodiesel fuel recently, following the path of two other US Foodservice divisions in Streator, IL and Plymouth, MN.

How exciting to see the purveyors jumping on board with renewable energy. This train is pushing on through! Who's next?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Steve Simon, Fifth Group Partner, and their Midtown dumpster-free restaurant was featured in a front-page article in the NY Times. Instrumental to the ZWZ success, Jon Johnston with the EPA was quoted through out the article. The impressive GFA mention has generated much enthusiasm from across the nation.

WXAI recently aired two stories featuring ZWZ~Buckhead Participant Buckhead Diner and Greenco Environmental, the only food composting permitted facility in Georgia. Marc Pickard is a strong ZWZ enthusiast and we appreciate his positive stories about how the foodservice industry is changing standard operating practices.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle ran an excellent article on Greenco and featured many of the ZWZ Participants, including the Doubletree Hotel Atlanta ~ Buckhead, Affairs to Remember and Fifth Group Restaurants.

Stay tuned in as the great media coverage is just beginning!


At their second event, Enviro Expo USA is leading the charge to create a template for zero waste (or darn close!) events at the Georgia World Congress Center. Here is the team and their supporting roles:

The Georgia Recycling Coalition will direct the recycling efforts to make sure the EXPO will recycle as much as possible towards Zero Waste.

The Sustainability Division of the DNR will conduct a case study to verify and record the recycling and composting of the EXPO.

Greenco will provide the services and guidance to make sure all food scraps from the Food Court, Chef’s Corner, and Eco-Reception will be composted.

The Department of Community Affairs will be onsite to help educate the attendees on the initiatives and assets available for recycling in Georgia.

City Of Atlanta will provide the Special Events Recycling Trailer to assist with the EXPO recycling. Check out a 3 minute video on these trailers and the press release.

VERUS CARBON NUETRAL will measure the carbon footprint of Enviro Expo USA and will offset the imprint with Georgia assets.

Wow ~ both a Zero Waste AND a carbon neutral event!!! Be sure to attend the EXPO on November 14 & 15 at the Georgia World Congress Center.


How fun to welcome over thirty restaurateurs, foodservice operators, property managers and concerned residents to ecco for the ZWZ~Midtown launch. It was standing room only!

The zone is a Midtown Alliance project in partnership with the GFA. Thank you to Kathy Meyers & Brian Smith of the Midtown Alliance for making the launch a big success.

Susan Mendheim, Midtown Alliance President & CEO, welcomed the crowd and expressed the importance of the zero waste initiative. The Sustainability Division of the GA DNR, Greenco Environmental and the GFA followed with presentations on zone criteria and how to implement criteria. Steve Simon, Zone Champion & Partner with Fifth Group Restaurants, inspired Midtown businesses on the ease and importance of joining Zero Waste Zone efforts.

Joe McCarthy of Waterhaven joined the morning of the launch and was recognized as a founding participant along with ecco, South City Kitchen, Veni Vidi Vici and The Fox Theatre. Veni Vidi Vici sent in their ZWZ Pledge in July, long before the ZWZ-Midtown was in the planning stage ~ the Buckhead Life Group management team are visionaries!

Atlantic Center Plaza sent in the first pledge after the launch and is the first multi-use building to formally join a ZWZ ~ we appreciate Colonial Properties Trust serving as pioneer. Stay tuned for the non-foodservice impact of the ZWZ-Midtown.

Thanks to Steve Simon’s generosity the crowd enjoyed wonderful cuisine and adult (!) beverages after the zone launch. Ecco staff gave tours of their dumpster-free restaurant and many enjoyed the Midtown patio until sunset.

Did I hear the rumblings of a friendly competition among Atlanta’s ZWZs? Hmmm … it looks like Midtown is going to keep Downtown Atlanta, Buckhead and Off-Premises Caterers on their toes! Watch out when ZWZ-Perimeter launches: Elisaveta Dimova of the Crown Plaza Ravinia embodies a true competitive spirit and is the inspiration for the Perimeter Atlanta Zone.


Last week Holly gave a ZWZ presentation to the Department of Natural Resources Board of Directors and included impressive composting stats from several ZWZ participants.

Only considering the below ZWZ Participants, in September 152 tons of food residuals went to Greenco for composting instead of a landfill. Thanks to the GA Department of Community Affairs, the ZWZ has access to an impressive tracking system. In the next several months we can report the amount of recycling and composting submitted by zone participants.

Another benefit of tracking the amount of recoverable products (glass, paper, plastic & metals) and perishable organics (food residuals, waxed cardboard, parchment paper, paper towels and others) recycled or composted is the focus on the disposal stream. Why is so much product “thrown away”? Was it necessary to purchase so much?

Note FreshPoint is a foodservice industry vendor and is an example of the vertical ZWZ impact. As a GFA sponsor, FreshPoint is an active participant in bringing sustainable practices to their internal operations. FreshPoint is also spearheading efforts to create viable distribution channels for delivering local produce to the foodservice industry.

The thread of consistency through all GFA projects is source reduction: taking action where operators purchase excess material or use unnecessary energy.

Zero Waste Zones are the beginning and an exciting beginning!

September 09 ~ 2.58 tons
April to YTD ~ 10.64 tons
2009 total estimate ~ 28 tons

September 09 ~ 23.51 tons
April to YTD ~ 162 tons
Annual Estimate ~ 277.5 tons

September 09 ~ 11.1 tons (three restaurants/one catering operation)
YTD ~20.6 tons (ecco only)
Annual Estimate ~ 210 tons (four restaurants/one catering operation)

September 09 ~ 2.45 tons
June – October 15 09 ~ 11.95 tons
Annual Estimate ~ 46.25 tons

September 09 ~ 112.4 tons
July to Current ~ 230.50 tons

Affairs to Remember Gets a Divorce from Landfills!

ZWZ~Off-Premises Catering Champion Affairs to Remember sent out a clever press release about their delicious divorce from landfills. Sandy Rothstein, Director Community Affairs, is the pen behind the release and her talent is evident in her creative expression. Check out Chef Ahmad Nourzad in-action, recycling in this kitchen. (left)

Along with meeting the ZWZ criteria within weeks of their pledge, Affairs to Remember Executive Chef Ahmad Nourzad closed the loop with their food residuals composted by planting an
impressive garden in the back of the parking area.

Check out these stats from the release, "Affairs to Remember was designated Atlanta's very first Zero Waste Zone Caterer by the Green Foodservice Alliance in May, 2009 - a program that has helped this off-premises caterer to reduce their on-campus landfill waste by over 83%. This number is shocking given that, in just one month, Affairs to Remember generated 8.5 tons of material that would normally have headed straight to our landfills. The Affairs to Remember team of catering and culinary staff embraced this designation and diverted around 14,238 pounds of recoverable material from our ever-expanding landfills just last month."

Kudos to Affairs to Remember for taking the champion role in the catering industry for creating and implementing sustainable practices.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ZWZ Team Honored by the EPA

The U.S. EPA presented the Zero Waste Zone Atlanta Team with the Strengthening OSWER Partnership Award at a joint EPA and U.S. Composting Council Conference luncheon. OSWER stands for The Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

The award was for demonstrating extraordinary cooperation, collaboration and support in strengthening a public/private partnership that is diverting a tremendous amount of recoverable products from landfills and supports the city of Atlanta in developing marketing edge for future convention business.

Plaques and certifications were presented at the luncheon. Among those receiving the awards were Ron Wolf, GRA CEO, and Holly Elmore, Founder & Executive Director of the GFA.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Wow ~ the ZWZ has received 60 million media impressions since the February 10 ZWZ~Downtown Atlanta press conference. The fun part is we are only beginning our journey in sustainability!

Thank you to Communications 21 for coordinating the ZWZ public relations ~ congratulations on the phenomenal results!!


Earth911 posted a great story, including Atlanta among the nation's "cities of change." The ZWZ was the reason for including Atlanta and it is thrilling to know we are getting national recognition for our efforts. This is the first I have seen Atlanta included along with San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Austin as city in the forefront with sustainable projects.


Voice of America producer Jose Espinosa visited Atlanta this spring and filmed a series of green projects in the metro area. The first of these videos are scheduled to air in August to their international audience. For a sneak preview, click here. To watch the ZWZ video click view all videos and it comes up as the final video


When he takes on a project, Dave Rossman, General Manager Doubletree Hotel Atlanta ~ Buckhead, takes it the full circle to completion. As the ZWZ~Buckhead Champion, Dave’s passion for sustainability goes beyond the hotel’s recycling and composting.

This spring the Doubletree planted a chef’s garden in their patio area with the assistance of Bobby Wilson, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Office for Urban Gardening.

The Doubletree food waste is hauled to Greenco Environmental for composting. Greenco compost was used in the garden planting. Executive Chef David Edwards oversees the garden and uses it bounty in his culinary creations for the hotel. What a beautiful circle completion!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Patrick Cuccaro with Affairs to Remember (link: is leading the charge on establishing a Zero Waste Zone ~ Off-Premises Catering. The ZWZ was formerly announced at a June 17 participants meeting attended by over 20 of Atlanta’s prominent caterers.

Affairs to Remember meets the Phase I zone criteria and is looking for other caterers to join the charge to making a difference. Please contact Sandy Rothstein at if you are interested. For further details on Zero Waste Zones download the ZWZ brochure


Excitement is building in Midtown for a ZWZ~Midtown! The Midtown Alliance contacted the GFA about a ZWZ and Steve Simon, Fifth Group Partner, is the Zone Champion. ECCO in Midtown meets the ZWZ criteria.

Please contact Holly Elmore at if your Midtown restaurant is interested in join the ZWZ~Midtown as a Charter Participant.


Yikes ~ someone stole ECCO’s dumpster! No, not really, it was returned to the waste hauling company. Once Steve Simon, Fifth Group Partner, completed the ZWZ criteria at ECCO, there was nothing left for the dumpster and it is now gone.

Congrats to Steve and ECCO on an amazing feat: Atlanta’s First Dumpster Free Restaurant!

Monday, June 15, 2009


When you get Sam Massell of the Buckhead Coalition and Pano Karatassos of the Buckhead Life Group behind a movement, the media responds. The Buckhead Report wrote a nice article on the Zero Waste Zone ~ Buckhead launc in May.


Zero Waste Zones continue to garner recognition and support. On Thursday, June 11 the Zero Waste Zone ~ Downtown Atlanta Team was honored by EPA at a formal ceremony in Washington D.C.. Mary Beth Van Pelt with the EPA, Region IV, was at the event to accept the award on behalf of the team. Here is the formal copy on the award:

U.S. EPA’s Office of Solid Waste & Emergency Response (OSWER) in Washington, D.C. honored the Zero Waste Team ~ Downtown Atlanta on June 11th at the Hyatt Regency in Crystal City. The Strengthening OSWER Partnerships Award was presented to the Project Team for demonstrating extraordinary cooperation, collaboration and support in strengthening a public/private partnership to divert a remarkable amount of recoverable materials from landfills and support the City of Atlanta in developing a marketing edge for future convention business.

Each member of the ZWZ~DA will receive the an award at a local ceremony once the trophies are received. Here are the team members:
With such a stellar team, it is no wonder Atlanta is leading the way with Zero Waste Zones with the foodservice industry serving as the engine. Stay tuned as the accolades build!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The press begins for the Zero Waste Zone ~ Buckhead! Northside Neighbor journalist Laura Braddick wrote a nice article after attending the May 19 ZWZ~Buckhead Restaurant Participants meeting at the Fish Market. Two other editors, one from Asheville, NC, called and plan to write about ZWZ~Buckhead.

With Sam Massell, Honorary Mayor of Buckhead, the Buckhead Coalition and the Buckhead Life Group support, we anticipate a stampede of press on the Buckhead initiative. Stay tuned as the zone builds and the media reports the progress.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Zero Waste Zones are on the expansion path, with ZWZ~Buckhead paving the way. Dave Rossman General Manager with the Doubletree is the Zone Champion and already meets Phase I Criteria.
Sam Massell of the Buckhead
Coalition Speaking @ the Launch

On Tuesday, May 19 the Buckhead Coalition and the Buckhead Life Group sponsored a ZWZ~Buckhead Participants Meeting. With over 60 restaurateurs and hoteliers in attendance, the event was a huge success! Genki noodles sushi signed their ZWZ pledge on the spot.

Laura Turner Seydel,
ZWZ Chairperson

The Green Musketeers are using the ZWZ~Buckhead as a prototype to develop an expansion template for the many other interested areas. The ZWZ~Caterers Participants Meeting is schedule for Wednesday, June 17 at Affairs to Remember Catering.

Zones are in the works for Midtown, Decatur, Athens, Milton and Academia.

Roy Edwards, Mary Beth Van Pelt,
Abbey Patterson, Ron Wolf, Holly
Elmore, Laura Turner Seydel &
Rob Del Bueno

Stay tuned for the great news as the new zones are launched!

ZWZ Brochure

The Zero Waste Zone now has a brochure, printed on 100% post consumer paper!! We send a big THANK YOU to the EPA for printing and Lee Thompson with Thompson Creative for the design. Click HERE to view brochure.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

ZWZ on CNN!!

Wow ~ what a weekend! On Friday, CNN posts the ZWZ article and video on-line. On Saturday, the ZWZ story link is on the home page. On Sunday, the story airs at least once on CNN USA and during evening prime time on Europe and Pacific/Asia programming. Click here to read the story.

E-mails are coming in from all over the US and abroad requesting information on how to bring ZWZ to their city. Many also write to congratulate and show appreciation for our efforts.

It is thrilling to be on the forefront of implementing sustainable practices in the foodservice industry. Stay tuned as the impact of the CNN story explodes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

ZWZ~Downtown Atalnta in Biocycle Magazine

The Zero Waste Zone ~ Downtown Atlanta received a nice mention in Biocycle's April issue. Click here to read the article. It is great to receive recognition by one of the industy's leading publications.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Composting in Action @ Doubletree~Buckhead!

When comes to getting involved, Dave Rossman, General Manager with the Doubletree Hotel Atlanta Buckhead, takes immediate action. Dave is the Hotel Leader for the Zero Waste Zone~Buckhead and is already in compliance with the ZWZ Criteria, before the new ZWZ is even announced!!

Check out Chef David Edwards, Executive Chef, placing food scraps in the EnviRelation bin. When full the bin contents will be hauled to Greenco Environmental, the only permitted food composting facility in Georgia, where the food scraps are combined with yard trimmings for the composting recipe. Farmer D Organics will ensure the compost completes the circle by selling it to local farmers and ZWZ participants for their landscaping and gardens.

Thanks Dave for being a phenomenal role model and leader!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


The Zero Waste Zone is ready to make national and international news! This week CNN filmed a ZWZ story for their April Earth Month programming. What an honor to meet members of the media who truly care about the environment and the impact of projects like the ZWZ.

Cameraman William Walker and Producer Erin Levin rock and we had a great time filming. Stay tuned for the airing of the story in late April.

Pictured Below: Holly Elmore, Founder & Executive Director, Green Foodservice Alliance and Jon Johnston, EPA

ZWZ Article in Restaurant Forum

Wow ~ Debby Cannon, Director of the School of Hospitality, Georgia State University, dedicated her entire Management column in Restaurant Forum’s April issue to the Zero Waste Zone~Downtown Atlanta! The article is on page 22 of the hard copy magazine and will be loaded up shortly on-line.

Debby serves on the GFA Executive Committee and is an invaluable advisor and supporter of the GFA. Her time commitment and dedication are instrumental to the GFA success.

Thank you Debby for the great ZWZ article!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hyatt Regency First ZWZ Participant to Meet Criteria

Congratulations to the Hyatt Regency! The Hyatt is the first ZWZ~Downtown Atlanta Charter Participant to comply with the ZWZ Criteria of recycling common recyclables, hauling spent grease for the local production of biofuel and composting food residuals. Thanks to the enthusiasm of Randy Childers, Senior Director of Engineering, and his staff the Hyatt Regency has executed contracts to fulfill the ZWZ Criteria.

In the next weeks, we anticipate announcing Ted’s Montana Grill, the Westin Peachtree Plaza and the Georgia World Congress Center have met the ZWZ Criteria at their facilities.

Friday, February 13, 2009

ZWZ ~ Downtown Atlanta Announced to Media

The Zero Waste Zone ~ Downtown Atlanta is now official!!

The ZWZ was announced to the media on Tuesday, February 10 via a press conference at the Georgia World Congress Center. Stan Meiburg, Acting Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4, led the press conference with an overview of the importance of the ZWZ. Lynnette Young, Executive Director of Sustainable Atlanta, Laura Turner Seydel, ZWZ Honorary Chairperson, and Kevin Duvall, Assistant General Manager GWCC, each gave particulars on the impact of the ZWZ to Atlanta, the southeast and the nation.

Media response has been excellent on all mediums ~ click here for a list of media coverage links.
The Meeting Planners International conference finale luncheon was held at the GWCC following the press conference. Huge Announcement: All food related to the luncheon was consumed, donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank or hauled for composting. NO FOOD RESIDUALS WENT TO THE LANDFILL!!

For more details on the MPI luncheon, visit the GFA blog.

This is only the beginning. Stay tuned as we continue divert more and more tonnage of product from going to landfills!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Did you know the City of Atlanta lost a convention to the City of Orlando last year because the client perceived Orlando as a greener city? Atlanta is a convention-driven city and I decided to make this decision my first best friend. Now when speaking to Atlanta foodservice operators I could explain going green goes beyond ROI (return on investment) to the Big R (revenue).

When I learned Meeting Planners International's February national convention would be held in Atlanta, I knew I was given a second best friend. MPI members are the decision makers for future conventions, conferences and corporate meetings. The February conference is an opportunity to educate these decision makers that Atlanta is Pioneer City in Sustainability.

The Zero Waste Zone ~ Downtown Atlanta was formed in partnership with Atlanta Recycles and comprises the downtown Atlanta convention district entertainment venues, convention facilities, hotels and restaurants. Parameters of participation include recycling common recyclables, using spent grease for the local production of biofuel and composting food residuals.

A press conference is scheduled on Tuesday, February 10 to announce the ZWZ ~ Downtown Atlanta to the media. To the best of our knowledge, the ZWZ is the first concentrated effort in a major city to change the landscape from waste disposal to product generation.

Stay tuned for exciting updates and the difference we are making in Atlanta.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009