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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yippee - Chef Micah is World Famous!

Green Solutions In Focus
In observation of Earth Day, CNN photojournalists paired with Eatocracy – CNN's blog devoted to all things edible – to take a special look at problems facing our planet and people who are trying to make a difference before it’s too late.

Chef Micah on Ecco's
roof top garden

The one-hour long Green Solutions in Focus: Eatocracy Edition aired in the domestic market and on CNN International with Chef Micah Willix of Ecco featured in the Closing the Loop story as one of the stories. 

CNN photojournalist, William Walker, spent the better part of an early spring day at Ecco with Chef Micah to capture the complete closing the loop process from the rooftop garden, to food prep for evening dining, to food waste collection for composting, to using the compost in the on-site garden.  The story is a fantastic view of an Atlanta local hero who understands the importance of creating vibrant local, sustainable food production.

Ecco's garden in its prime
Chef Micah's original focus was on reduction of the restaurant's food waste and evolved into closing the loop with the roof top garden.  It will be fun to witness the next dimension of Micah's visions of operating a restaurant with utmost integrity.

View the ZWZ Blog post, Chef Gardens: A Tasty Way to Clos the Loop, that inspired William to create the April 2011 Closing the Loop story.

Note William is a Zero Waste Zone friend as he created the 2009 CNN City Aims for Zero Waste story that propelled the Atlanta program into national prominence.  Hmmm .... could there be another CNN ZWZ story in the works this summer when major announcements are planned? Stay tuned!

ZWZ Chair Laura Turner Seydel Calls for Action

Lisa Jackson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, visited Atlanta in April to voice her message on the importance of the health implications from our common every day practices, in the private and corporate communities. Jackson, the keynote speaker last week at a Children’s Health Town Hall at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, says the EPA’s job is to protect the health of adults and children by safeguarding air and water and promoting clean communities. 
Laura Turner Seydel,
Dr. Robert Geller

The EPA recently named Emory and Georgia Tech as one of four new EPA Clean Air Research Centers and awarded $8 million to the new Southeastern Center for Air Pollution and Epidemiology (SCAPE) center. Center directors Paige Tolbert from Emory and Armistead (Ted) Russell from Georgia Tech will lead programs aimed at quantifying health effects from air mixtures containing toxic pollutants and studying the specific effects of toxic air on commuters, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with cardiac illnesses.

Zero Waste Zone Chairperson, Laura Turner Seydel was instrumental in creating the groundbreaking Children's Heath Town Hall Meeting.  At the meeting Laura called for “zero waste zones” in homes, churches, and offices, and the outlawing of toxic chemicals to help create “zero toxic waste zones” in the bodies of adults and children.

For more details on the town hall meeting, visit the Emory | Health Now blog post, EPA  Administrator Jackson leads town hall on children’s health.

Laura's call to action signals the next dimension of the ZWZ program that will focus on toxic-free environments and health impact of corporate operating practices.  Stay Tuned as the important work is just beginning!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recycling Contamination - Who is Responsible?

Overall Goal:  maintain maximum value of recyclable material (i.e. contaminant-free) with the least energy expended (electric, transportation, labor + other)

Who is responsible for creating a clean, efficient recycling system?  The Zero Waste Zone Team is on a mission to determine how ZWZ Participants may take responsibility for their material discards and maintain highest economic value with minimal energy expended in the recycling process.

In the past months, the team visited SP Recycling and Pratt Recycling MRFs (Material Recovery Facilities) to begin the fact finding of the current scenario.  On April 22, the discovery journey continued with a tour of WastePro's MRF, the Atlanta Airport's recycling destination.  View the blog posts, Quest to Understand Single-Stream Recycling Final Destination and Where Oh Where Does Our Recycling Go?, for details on the prior tours.

Adam Glasgow, Roy Edwards &
Scott Seydel @ WastePro MRF Tour
Adam Glasgow, VP of Recycling Services @ WastePro, spent significant time explaining the history of the new MRF, the goals of the operation and the current challenges experienced.  For the first time, glass was not the main culprit in successful MRF operations.  Melted ice (water) from fountain soft drink sales was the main contaminant causing landfill destination for quality recyclable material.

The Sustainable Food Court Initiative will address fountain sales and the ice/water dilemma as pilot projects are launched.  With fountain sales a high-profit margin item for food court restaurants and health regulations regarding liquid collection at recycling bins, the ice/water is staged to be one of the strong challenges in food court operation recovery programs.  

Back to the question:  Who is responsible for creating clean recycling streams?  Ei takes the stand the time is NOW for the consumer, whether corporate or private, to take responsibility for the disposable methods for used items.

Stay tuned as the fact finding mission evolves into solution creation accompanied by educational tools.  The ZWZ Participants are pioneers eager to bring integrity to the final destination of their spent products, whether grease, common recyclables or food residuals.   

City of Atlanta Takes ZWZ Seriously

In February, 2011 the City of Atlanta joined the Zero Waste Zone program accompanied with a press release announcing formal program support.  With the goal of a top ten sustainability city status by 2020, the City is taking their zero waste commitment seriously.  See the February blog post, OFFICIAL: City of Atlanta Lends ZWZ Support, for details on the City's ZWZ commitment.

Jean Pullen, Roy Edwards, Melia Lesko
& Holly Elmore @ City Hall
Leading the charge for the City, Jean Pullen is coordinating meetings at all City facilities with foodservice operations including the City Detention Center, City Hall and the Atlanta Airport.  Roy Edwards with Sustainability Division of the GA Department of Natural Resources is integral to supporting the City's zero waste initiatives.  

As the only state-permitted food composting facility available for Atlanta food residuals, Greenco Environmental's flexibility with their organics collection program is necessary to launch City pilot projects. Thank you Tim & Melia Lesko, Greenco owners!

Stay tuned as the projects come out of proposal stage and into ACTION!

Compost, The Quiet Hero Gets National Recognition!

Thanks to renown industry author Peter Romeo, Compost, The Quiet Hero Returns with THE HOW 2011 NRA Show session received national recognition.  The session was a featured article in the National Restaurant Association newsletter supported by the blog post, Composting no longer fringe activity for restaurants.

Peter gives an excellent overview of WHY it is important to understand the HOW of organics collection NOW!
For those attending the NRA Show May 21 - 24 Chicago, plan to attend Compost, The Quiet Hero's session on Saturday, May 21 noon - 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NRA| Ei | ZWZ Collaboration Gets National Media

The March 22 Nation's Restaurant News issue published an impressive article about the National Restaurant Association | Elemental Impact | Zero Waste Zone collaboration.  Included in the article's introduction are impressive stats and quotes from Affairs to Remember, ZWZ-Caterers Champion, about the importance of embracing zero waste initiatives in operating practices.

It is thrilling to witness the momentum building around the February 23 National Collaboration announced at the ZWZ Two-Year Anniversary Press Conference.  (see the post, ZWZ Garners National Support, for details on the press conference).

To read the article, download the article pdf on the ZWZ National Media Page.

With the trade association for the nation's largest private sector industry embracing zero waste initiatives and sustainable operating practices through their Conserve Solutions program, the foodservice industry is staged as the driving force for the corporate America to enter the Era of Sustainability & Integrity.

Thank you to the NRA folks, Chris Moyer, Scott Defife, Sue Hensley and their associates, for your vision and ACTION!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Collaborating for Zero Waste

The ZWZ Press Conference
Presenting Team
WOW - Debby Cannon, Director of the GSU School of Hospitality and Elemental Impact Board Member, wrote an amazing article on the National Restaurant Association's collaboration with Zero Waste Zones and Elemental Impact.  Collaborating for Zero Waste.  An Atlanta Environmental Group Goes National with National Restaurant Association was published in Restaurant Forum's April issue.  Restaurant Forum is the Official Magazine of the Georgia Restaurant Association.

Thank you Debby for your excellent article - you expertly interwove facts to substantiate the importance of the ZWZ program and the magnitude of the NRA and Waste Management announcements at the February 23, 2011 ZWZ Two-Year Press Conference.

See the ZWZ Blog post, ZWZ Garners National Support, for detailed information on the February ZWZ press conference.

Waste Reduction from the Packaging Viewpoint

International Foodservice Sustainability SymposiumJoin Zero Waste Zone Director Holly Elmore at the International Foodservice Sustainability Symposium on Tuesday, May 25 4:45 - 6:00 p.m. in Chicago to learn how packaging choices impact waste reduction and costs.  IFSS immediately follows the 2011 NRA Show.

Here is the formal IFSS Program copy: 

New Developments in Waste Reduction & Packaging- As anyone who's examined a bill for waste hauling knows, reducing that waste stream can have a tremendous impact in lowering costs.  Find out how to do that quickly and efficiently.  Part of the answer lies in utilizing sustainable, single-use packaging.  While eliminating packaging altogether night ideal , it's not feasible in most  foodservice operations, so learn how to make the choices that will serve your operation and the environment best.

Compost, The Quiet Hero: An Encore Performance at the NRA Show

Compost, the Quiet Hero Returns with THE HOW at the 2011 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. In his encore performance, our Hero's spokesperson, Zero Waste Zone director  & Elemental Impact founder Holly Elmore, is joined by the CHRIS TRIAD. 

In 2010 our Hero educated on WHY composting food residuals is important; in 2011 our Hero recruited pals to educate foodservice operators on HOW to incorporate organics collection into operations.
THE CHRIS TRIAD provides the spectrum in HOW organics collection is simple, cost effective and good for business.  Chris Moyer, NRA Conserve Program Director, will explain the support available from the NRA Conserve Program through educational tools, metrics collection and political advocacy. 

Chris Newman with the U.S. EPA, Region V will share the government assistance available at the local, state and national levels and the importance to top management buy-in for successful organics collection systems.

The shining star of the session is Chris Koetke of Kendall College who will give a hands-on perspective to organics collection in the commercial foodservice environment.  Complete with props, Chris's dynamic performance will inspire attendees to assess the organics infrastructure available in their home market.

With plenty of time for questions and dialogue, our Hero will facilitate the lively session.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 21 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. to attend.