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Saturday, January 28, 2012

USCC | KAB Partnership Ignites Industry Collaboration

On January 17 the U.S. Composting Council and Keep America Beautiful announced their national partnership dedicated to diverting food "waste" from landfills and into composting operations.  Under the agreement, KAB and USCC will share educational resources and seek to identify collaborative opportunities that benefit their constituencies and the general public by promoting awareness of the important role composting plays in waste reduction, improved soil structure, improved water quality and reduced soil erosion.

KAB has excellent consumer reach through their certified affiliate network of 587 local organizations where 60% are housed in some form of local government. Recycling plays an integral role with KAB affiliates as 30% of the directors are also the locale's recycling coordinator. KAB also forges partnerships with State Recycling Organizations and other community-based organizations to host collection events, and deliver resources and programming such as America Recycles Day that raise awareness and increase participation in recycling.

In Charlotte, the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Team works closely with Jake Wilson, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful executive director, who is also a county recycling department employee.  With his extensive local connections, Jake is invaluable to building a strong Charlotte foundation for Zero Waste Zones and SFCI program implementation.  The ZWZ Blog posts, Fertile Charlotte Grounds and 2011 Planning = 2012 ACTION, give an overview of work begun in Charlotte and feature Jake's instrumental role.

Finished compost after final screening
The USCC is the trade association representing landfill alternative destination sites for organics, whether biosolids, yard trimmings, pre-consumer food residual generated in food production and post-consumer food residuals generated in the commercial and private sectors.  Until recently there were limited food composting permitted sites in the nation.  With the climate shift, a common awareness is coming forth recognizing food residuals as a valuable material, whether for compost, energy or both, that is wasted in landfills.

In September, Michael Virga joined the USCC as executive director and is leading the organization into a new era.  The ZWZ Blog post, USCC Prepares for New Era, gives the details of the leadership change.  A renewed educational focus is strengthened with the KAB partnership along with public outreach programs.  In the past the USCC influence was primarily in the commercial sector along with the corresponding governmental bodies regulating the industry.

The KAB | USCC partnership has the potential to take corporate and consumer awareness of composting, it's importance and availability, to new dimensions.  For more details on the partnership, read the KAB and USCC Announce Partnership press release.

Past & Current USCC Presidents
getting ready for annual conference
Since inception, Elemental Impact and the ZWZ worked closely with the USCC on developing organics collection programs within the foodservice industry.  The ZWZ Blog post series on the 2012 USCC Conference exemplifies the close relationship - USCC 20th  Annual Conference - STELLAR!, The Nitty Gritty on Composting Operations, and POWER Meeting @ USCC Conference.  In the past Holly Elmore, Ei founder & ZWZ director, served on the Keep Atlanta Beautiful Board of Directors.  

Collaboration is key to creating a renewed paradigm of disposal and recycling systems in our corporate and private communities.  It is thrilling to witness two powerful national organizations announce a formal partnership focused on education and programs designed for action.

End of NRA-USCC Intro Mtg
The USCC is in the courting stages of a formal relationship with the National Restaurant Association.  In December Ei orchestrated an introductory meeting of NRA and USCC leadership in Washington D.C.  The ZWZ Blog post, NRA Leads Industry Collaboration, gives a meeting recap.  As a validation of the relationship importance, the NRA stepped forward as an USCC conference sponsor and Chris Moyer, NRA ConServe Program Director, was an active conference participant and speaker.  

Ei | ZWZ is thrilled to see industry collaboration become a backbone within the sustainability community.  Stay tuned - the PHENOMENAL SHIFT is in process!

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