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Thursday, December 30, 2010

GWCCA Walks Their Talk

Back in the summer of 2008, Atlanta lost a convention to Orlando because the client perceived Orlando as a "greener" city.  

Wow ~ that single event propelled Atlanta into action and the Zero Waste Zone program was born.  As Atlanta's foundation for major conferences, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) was one of the first downtown Atlanta properties to say YES to ZWZ.  Each of their properties, Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia Dome and Centennial Park pledged to meet ZWZ Criteria.

Yesterday GWCCA took their sustainability commitment to another dimension by hiring Tim Trefzer as the first sustainability coordinator of their facilities.  With his stellar background at Sustainable Options, Tim has the experience necessary to assess the current scenario and create an effective action plan destine for solid results.  Here is some copy from the press release:

In this position, Trefzer will coordinate a unified sustainability strategy for the GWCCA campus, addressing energy and water conservation, recycling, promoting public transportation and staff and customer education.

As sustainability coordinator, Trefzer will develop and implement plans for reaching sustainability goals and objectives for the campus. Additionally, he will work with customers to help them green their events and will also provide recycling assistance to exhibitors and attendees. His background will also enable the GWCCA to provide sustainability education to its staff and to work towards LEED certification of the GWCC.

And check out the ZWZ metrics included in the release:
In FY 2010, the GWCC recycled 54 tons of single-stream waste, including plastic, paper, aluminum and glass, baled and recycled 49 tons of corrugated board, composted 290 tons of food waste, recycled six tons of cooking oil, recycled 1,500 pallets and reduced electrical consumption by 5.7 million kWh. 

With green practices an integral component to convention location decisions, the GWCCA has stepped to the plate to ensure Atlanta walks the talk when it comes to sustainability.  Hiring Tim Trefzer is not only a win for the GWCCA, it is a WIN for Atlanta as the entire city benefits from strong convention business.

Stay tuned for more reports from the journey as GWCCA shares stats and accomplishments throughout the year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NatureWorks Expands Environmental Impact

At the Climate Action's COP 16 held in Cancun, Mexico last month, NatureWorks was a major player announcing new products made with Ingeo™ in a wide array of industries and educating on the low carbon impact of their manufacturing process.    

Here is an excerpt from the NW press release from the COP 16 Conference:

NatureWorks’ Ingeo™ biopolymer – made from plants not oil – is the market-leading material amongst a new generation of fibers and plastics for use in a wide variety of applications. The production of Ingeo™ biopolymer uses less fossil fuel and emits fewer greenhouse gases than conventional polymers, making it possible to create everyday consumer items that are better for the planet. As an example, NatureWorks estimates for those products on display in Cancun alone, the aggregated environmental benefit from their actual use in 2010 could exceed 12 million kilowatt hours in energy savings, and 16.8 million pounds in greenhouse gases.

“The real innovation here is that these products have been made by literally transforming the carbon that was in the atmosphere contributing to global warming, into the very backbone of these everyday products,” explains David McConnell, CEO, Climate Action. “These tangible products turn what is for many an abstract discussion about climate policy into a set of concrete choices that consumers can make in their everyday purchase decisions.” 

Click here to for more detailed information on the COP 16 Conference and here for the special edition of the COP 16 LookBook.

As one of Ei's Charter Sponsors, NW is a vital contributor to the ZWZ Team.  As an an indirect ZWZ supplier, NW is a perfect partner in the education arena for foodservice operators ready to embark upon the zero waste path.  Using his vast knowledge and experience, Doug Kunnemann, NW Busienss Segment Director, prepares simple and easy to understand PPT presentations demonstrating how to incorporate compostable products into the foodservice operator's  inventory.

Ei/ZWZ is honored to work with a company committed to zero waste and reducing the carbon impact in the manufacturing process.  Stay tuned for additional alerts on new areas of impact as NW sails into unchartered territory ~ thank you NW for your trailblazing spirit!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Zero Waste Business Model Gains Momentum

The Natural Resources Defense Council posted a powerful article, Waste is Money Down the Drain - Efficiency Boosts the Bottom Line by Sophie Quinton on their Simple Steps for Better Health and Sustainable Living site.  In addition to featuring Atlanta's Zero Waste Zone program along with quotes by ZWZ Director, Holly Elmore, the article chronicles an inspiring story of Ohio-based The Taylor Companies.  Read the article to learn how this office furniture manufacturer redirected "waste" from the landfill to alternative uses and saved the company $20,000 per year in waste hauling charges.

The "zero waste" business model is gaining momentum as executives understand that operating their enterprise with environmental integrity builds a stronger bottom line.  The paradigm shift is in full swing ~ stay tuned for more exciting tales from the journey.

NC Rolling with Organics

Wow ~ North Carolina has 14 food composting permitted facilities in the state!  Well on the road to solving the organics destination challenge, NC is gearing up to build the infrastructure to divert organics from landfills and into the composting facilities.

The Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (whew, I thought GA had long names!), is hosting a series of webinars designed to inspire and educate the industry stakeholders into action.  On December 14 the Division hosted a well attended Food Diversion webinar with presentations by McGill Environmental Services, Quest Recycling and Elemental Impact/Zero Waste Zones.  Individuals from the Division educating on the state's current status as well as grant opportunities available.  Click here for the agenda and PPT presentations.

Check out the NCDENR Compost website at this link for some solid information, including a section on vermicomposting.

Hmmmm...... is a Zero Waste Zone - North Carolina brewing?!  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waste Management Educates on Zero Waste

Wow ~ how thrilling to witness the nation's largest waste hauler's enthusiasm to embrace zero waste initiatives! In their fourth quarter, 2010 management meetings for the Area (GA, SC, NC), Waste Management Area VP Greg Yorston invited Holly Elmore, ZWZ Director, to educate his team on the importance of zero waste initiatives.

During the three sessions, the WM management attendees were beyond attentive with lively dialogue and pertinent questions.  Greg emphasized the tonnage of the stream (revenue) lost by WM and the importance of embracing organics collection as part of the WM business model.

Holly's presentation focussed on how the ZWZ program made good business sense and was not supported by government regulations or subsidies.  Zero waste initiatives embrace ALL commodities currently hauled to landfills and in 2011 will focus on the "glass dilemma".  

Approaching the changing business environment with a long-term focus, WM executives are steering the company into the unchartered waters of the zero waste environment.  With control of the disposal collection stream critical to overall profit generation, WM understands a R-R (re-purpose, recycle) destination point is vital to maintaining a long-term relationship with their clients.  Recent investments in Harvest Power and Garrick, substantiate WM's national focus on a highest good use of organics as an energy source or compost for rejuvenating the soil.

WM’s commitment comes from the top ., David Steiner, WM CEO, looks to the future and sees one without waste, and has committed to seize every opportunity to turn waste into a resource that benefits our communities and the environment

The tides are turning and with visionaries like Greg Yorston, supported by industry CEOs, Ei and ZWZ visions will become realities with ease and grace in an environment that makes solid business sense.