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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Atlanta Airport SFCI Pilot ACTION

How incredible to witness a project nurtured over the past year move into ACTION mode!  The Sustainable Food Court Initiative's first Pilot at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest in the world, is completing initial action steps.

A first task was an organics collection program test-run on Concourse T where SFCI Team Member HMSHost has the concessionaire's contract.  The main test-run purpose was to understand logistical challenges inherent within airport operations and regulations prior to implementing a larger-scale collection program. With the two-month test-run complete in mid January, the SFCI Team will meet with airport management to summarize the lessons learned and collection stats.

baled milk jugs @ ATL Airport
Indicative of their sustainability commitment, HMSHost created a recycling program for the spent milk jugs generated at the Airport Starbuck's locations.  The average 2,600 milk jugs used per week are aggregated to one location where an Orwak compactor|baler resides. By selling the compacted, baled milk jugs along with the plastic syrup bottles, to a local MRF (materials recovery facility), revenue offsets the program cost.

According HMSHost manager Rick Moore, there are minimal landfill-destined items remaining in the airport Starbuck's operations, especially at those stores where the coffee grinds are sent to compost.

The first week of January, Atlanta City Council approved the contracts awarded under the Atlanta Airport Concessionaire Request for Proposal process begun in the spring, 2011.  See the ZWZ Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes Bold Sustainable Statement, for the contract provision requiring food vendors to use compostable serviceware and consumer-facing packaging and source-separate organics for composting collection.

SFCI ATL Pilot Action Team meeting in Jan 2012
With the concessionaire contracts approved, the SFCI Pilot can move from test-runs into providing a strong support network assisting the concessionaires meeting the contract provisions and the airport determining an organics destination site that makes solid business and environmental sense.

On January 11 the NRA Daily featured the NRA News Hub post, Sustainability takes off at Atlanta Airport, as the lead article in the publication circulated to a mega subscriber list of owners, managers and other industry stakeholders.   

The article is an excellent recap of the Atlanta's Airport's concessionaire contracts tremendous impact on foodservice packaging and operating practices.  Inherent in the copy is the strong support the National Restaurant Association provides operators as the industry evolves and sustainable best practices become standard operating practices .  Chris Moyer, NRA ConServe Program Mnager, serves as the SFCI Co-Chair and gives insightful quotes about the pilot along with the NRA's important role.  

With the ACTION in its early stages, stay tuned for many exciting tales from the journey.


  1. Congrats to Holly and Team to bringing awareness to " It is not Waste if put in the right place". Great news!

    1. How exciting to see the SFCI progress to test stage and beyond. I am looking forward to following the
      success of SFCI!