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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Atlanta Airport SFCI Pilot Wins National Award

On Monday, October 31 Michael Cheyne, Director of Asset Management & Sustainability for the Atlanta Airport, accepts the 2011 Going Green Airports Award at the 4th AnnualAirports Going Green Conference in Chicago for the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Pilot Project @ Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  The prestigious award recognizes the value of the project, as well as outstanding leadership in pursuit of sustainability within the aviation industry.

The Sustainable Food Court Initiative, an Elemental Impact Task Force in partnership with the National Restaurant Association ConServe Program, mission is to bring zero waste initiatives to food courts and develop industry sustainable best practices for back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house operations. Food courts present tremendous challenges to implementing zero waste initiatives, including franchisee|franchisor agreements, landlord|tenant leases, foodservice operators who do not control their waste disposal and third-party items brought into the food court.  

Airport food prepared for
in-flight consumption
Airports extend the challenges with third party custodial contracts, high business volume and security restrictions to front and back-of-the-house operating areas.  Thanks to Michael;s commitment to sustainable practices, the Atlanta Airport serves as the first SFCI pilot program.  Concourse T is the first food court in the staged-in pilot.  See the ZWZ Blog post, Atlanta Airport - First SFCI Pilot Project!, for details on the pilot launch including national team members.  

The SFCI Team is working with the City of Atlanta Office of Sustainability and the Department of Aviation to develop the current waste baselines so solid metrics may be used to document the pilot success.  Industry experts from the leading packaging trade associations and companies are developing a sustainable foodservice packaging education packet to give to each airport concessionaire as the pilot expands to other concourses.  

With perfect timing, the Atlanta Airport is in the midst of the concessionaire RFP for the entire airport.  The City of Atlanta and Department of Aviation team, led by Michael Cheyne, made the bold, courageous and successful move to include the following provision in the RFP: 
BPI certifies compostable
foodservice packaging

Concessionaire shall use compostable serviceware along with consumer facing packaging and source separate all food service wastes for direct transport to off airport composting facilities.
The compostable packaging provision in the Airport concessionaire RFP is the foundation for the Going Green Airport Award.  See the ZWZ Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes Bold Sustainable Statement, for details on the contract provision.

With journey just beginning, stay tuned for tales as the foodservice industry evolves operating and packaging practices. 

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