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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ZWZ National Zone Expands

The Zero Waste Zones - National Zone welcomes two award-winning participants! Each participant is a pioneer in their respective industries with zero waste designation achieved in their operations.  By joining the ZWZ, these companies are committed to refining their existing recycling practices and serving as industry leaders sharing their lessons learned & successes.

Mayor Greg Ballard &
Scott Lutocka with award 
Midwest produce distributor Piazza Produce, with corporate headquarters in Indianapolis, was honored at the City of Indianapolis Sustainability Awards on March 27.  Piazza received the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle award for their impressive recycling program launched in 2005.

Facilities manager Scott Lutocka is the driver behind the successful program that transformed their waste & recycling cost center into a profit center, improving the bottom line by $30,000.  In a recent conversation, Scott commented that companies now bid for his plastic and at times he feels like a commodity broker.

It will be fun to work with on Scott on how Piazza's recycling practices may be refined, especially in the area of donating unsalable yet edible produce to shelters - challenges abound in the legal and logistical arenas.

Will & Jenni Harris with
2011 GRACE Award
In November, 2011 Will Harris and his daughter Jenni accepted the GRACE - Georgia Restaurant Association Crystal of Excellence Award - Innovator of the Year Award for the amazing transformation of the Harris family-owned White Oak Pastures.  The IMPACT Blog post, White Oak Pastures - Dignity & Respect @ Its Core, gives a powerful overview of WOP history and Will Harris' unwavering commitment to sustainable agriculture.

WOP is the only farm in the US with beef and poultry abattoirs on the property. Both abattoirs are zero waste and 40% of plant energy comes from on-site solar panels.  A future ZWA Blog post will give details of the WOP amazing practices.

With zero waste achieved in the abattoirs, WOP is ready to address their wholesale and consumer protein packaging.  Stay tuned as new Elemental Impact partners are ready to work with  WOP on sustainable packaging exploration, research and implementation.

With honor, ZWZ welcome heroes Piazza Produce and White Oak Pastures to the National Zone!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Perpetual Spiral

Landfills:  A prosperous life ending in a lonely death   

With national and global corporate leaders committed to finding the next life for their used products along with the associated packaging, creative recycling programs are becoming common place.  As companies understand the value in their "waste," recycling profit centers replace waste cost centers. The "waste rivers" feeding landfills a strong diet are destined to divert into profitable recycling streams. Death of landfills as we know them appears slow yet imminent.

Collaboration across industry sectors and innovation is key to recycling success, especially where consumer products are the focus.

gimme 5 container @ ATL
Whole Foods
The Preserve gimme 5 program is a perfect example of how companies from various industries partner together for effective recycling. At the program center, Preserve uses recycled #5 plastic as a raw manufacturing material for their personal care, tableware and kitchen products.  

Gimme 5 partners Stonyfield Farm, who uses #5 plastic for their yogurt containers, and BRITA , whose filters are made with #5 plastic, care about the continuing life of their products and packaging. A final puzzle piece is a convenient way for the consumer to recycle their yogurt containers, BRITA filters and other #5 plastic products.  

Ta Da - Whole Foods completes the spiral by providing fun collection boxes at their stores for consumer #5 plastic drop-off.  Once full, Whole Foods ships the box to Preserve for the plastic to continue its valuable life cycle. The ZWA Blog post, gimme 5 recycling @ Whole Foods, gives a detailed program overview.  

Important note: the Preserve site product page says " We make our products out of recycled #5 plastic that can in turn be recycled."  YEA!!!!

When reviewing products made from recycled material, dig a bit deeper to ensure these new products are recyclable. There are many products made from recycled material - reusable shopping bags are a prime example - that are landfill destined once spent. The goal is beyond extending the end-of-life to creating a perpetual spiral-of-life. Spiral is used, instead of circle, to denote how the material make take many different forms as it travels the recycling path.

Starbucks #5 plastic cold cup
Starbucks is another company investing major resources into HOW their famous cups may continue in a spiral-of-life cycle. Initiating the Starbucks Cup Summit, director of environmental impact Jim Hanna brings together companies and organizations within the entire cup value-chain to explore how technology, innovation and collaboration may unfold solutions for extending the cup life. The beauty is Starbucks invites their direct competitors to join in the exploration process.

The March 23 New York Times article Companies Pick-Up Used Packaging and Recycling Costs gives a fantastic overview of the community and corporate climate with respect to extended product responsibility. Starbucks is central in the article and includes the following Jim Hanna quote: "More environmentally conscious consumers are demanding that companies share their values, too... companies are becoming more aware that resources are limited and what they've thrown away - wow, it has value."

A spiral is indicative of growth &
mirrors our DNA
image from Next Wave
What thrilling times!  Humanity is awakening from an indulgent slumber with challenging side effects. Let's embrace the indulgence without judgment as solutions are found in the flow of open hearts.  

Focus on the leaders, individuals and corporations, committed to creating a Perpetual Spiral of Life for our valuable resources. Remember death is always followed by birth - we are in the process of birthing a civilization where technology-based solutions mirror nature's perfect regeneration processes. 

We can and ARE creating a sustainable, beautiful world for our children!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Greenprint Midtown Launches

On March 01 the Midtown Alliance announced Greenprint Midtown, Creating the South's first urban Eco-District, at a well-attended event. Utilizing the successful Blueprint Midtown  as a program model, Greenprint Midtown is an opportunity for Midtown to emerge as a national leader in proactive community planning. 

From the Greenprint's formal document:  Increasingly, market forces are favoring cities and districts that are vibrant, walkable, transit-rich and "green."  Sustainability has become a market differentiator as tenants demand green office buildings, investors seek low risk assets, and residents choose connected and exciting communities.

Stephanie Armistead & Kelly Weisinger
photo courtesy of Susan Montgomery
Understanding collaboration is key to success, the Midtown Alliance is partnering with Sustainable Atlanta and Southface during the intensive six-month planning process.  In the planning period, organization roles, priorities and action paths will be established.  

The Midtown community is encouraged to participate in the Greenprint Midtown Eco-District development.  Those interested in Midtown;s future are encouraged to complete the Greenprint Midtown Community Survey.

Committed to sustainability from the onset, the Midtown Alliance was instrumental in the Zero Waste Zones - Midtown launch and implementation.  Dan Hourigan, Director Transportation & Sustainability, and Kelly Weisinger, then Outreach Coordinator, played a vital role in creating the ZWZ Ambassador Program documentation.

Steve Simon speaking @ event
photo courtesy of Susan Montgomery
Steve Simon, ZWZ-Midtown Champion & Fifth Group Restaurants Partner, presented at the March 01 event and gave accolades to the role ZWZ plays in supporting community businesses implement recycling programs, including organics collection for compost. Elemental Impact, through the ZWZ, is enthusiastic to work with GreenprintMidtown in the planning process and pursuing implementation phase.

It is thrilling to witness a community come together to create a future where green business is profitable, powerful business.  When area business thrives, the residential and cultural citizens share the benefits of a prosperous community.

Kudos to the Midtown Alliance for your vision, conviction and passion to envision the South's first urban Eco-District.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Entire Product Life Cycle is Critical

Elemental Impact welcomes Heritage Interactive Services to the Ei Partner program!  The HIS partnership is  the first step for Ei in the world beyond end-of-life considerations.  To date, the Zero Waste Zones and Sustainable Food Court Initiative focus is on the product final destination with minimal consideration to product life origins. 

Working with HIS, Ei will develop zero waste initiatives that focus on the entire value-chain, including beginning-of-life. Note beginning-of-life is holographic in nature and takes into consideration HOW product raw material is created or grown.  An HIS executive will co-chair the Ei Product Stewardship focus, working with the Ei Partner Family to bring the entire product life cycle and value chain to the forefront. 

WOW - a whole new world is opening and a new dimension of FUN is emerging!

HIS is a by-product management expert and an industry leader who assists national and global manufacturing companies achieve sustainable success.   Privately owned, HIS uses their decade plus experience coupled with strong parent company support to drive industry standards dedicated to minimal "waste" going to landfills.  Proving operating a manufacturing process with integrity and respect to the Earth makes good business sense, HIS clients experience  improved bottom lines.

In the first call with Bob Zetty, HIS President, Bob was clear he likes to move FAST - what music to Ei founder Holly Elmore's ears! Seat belts are fastened and Ei is prepared for the Product Stewardship rocket launch.

Welcome HIS to the Ei Partner Family!  

SFCI Video from the Ei Film Crew

In December, 2011 the Ei film crew debuted with a photo shoot at the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Atlanta Airport Pilot.  The ZWA Blog post, Ei | ZWZ Film Crew Debuts, gives a lighthearted recap of the shoot.
Scott  filming @ the NOLA conference

The dynamic duo, Elemental Impact Chair Scott Seydel and Founder Holly Elmore traveled to New Orleans for Global Green's NOLA Resource Recovery Conference on March 02, 2012. Using the conference as an opportunity to further hone their film and photography skills, Scott filmed the entire conference and edited videos of each presenter.  Holly kept her camera close at hand during the conference events.

YEA - the SFCI has a powerful overview video!  Scott filmed and edited Holly's SFCI ten-minute session at the NOLA conference.  When time allows 2-3 minute snippets will be edited for program education and promotion.  Here is the video version of the entire session:

Known for arriving with camera in hand, Holly is creating a powerful arsenal of photos documenting Ei's important work and journey.  The photos are loaded into well-organized albums on Ei's FB page and on the Ei Photo Gallery page.  From FB, photos may be downloaded for use as long as photo credit is given.  High res photo files are available upon request.

Ei understands the magnitude of its programs | initiatives and documentation is essential to maximizing impact.  The ZWA Blog post, Documentation Maximizes Impact, gives an overview of Ei's on-line communication tools.

The Ei Film Crew is in its infancy - creative juices are flowing, skills are fine-tuning and the FUN is just beginning!

Atlanta Airport Wins ENPACT Award

Congratulations to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Asset Management & Sustainability Division Team!  On Friday, March 23 the world's busiest airport received the Atlanta Business Chronicle's ENPACT Award at the 2012 Environmental Awards breakfast.  Michael Cheyne accepted the award on behalf of the airport.

Sharon Douglas, Michael & Kyle Mastin
representing the airport team
As director of the division, Michael is a man on a mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, maximize energy efficiency and redirect material from landfills into productive uses.  Michael leads an impressive team who works within the airport infrastructure to establish new operating procedures and upgrade existing fixtures to cost and energy-efficient equipment.

SUCCESS:  The airport replaced 4,342 210-watt metal-halide lights with 80-watt LEDs, switched  economy parking lot shuttle service from gas to electric-powered vehicles, and replaced on-site park-and-ride gas-powered vehicles with 18 compressed natural gas buses.  Note fixture and equipment upgrades must be accomplished with ease while servicing more passengers than any other airport in the world.  A daunting task met with success by the airport team.

In the ABC article on the awards breakfast, Michael voices his support for the Zero Waste Zones program and the airport's leadership role in the Sustainable Food Court Initiative.  

On October 31, 2011 Michael accepted a 2011 Going Green Airports Award for the SFCI Pilot program.  The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport SFCI Pilot Wins Award, gives the details of the impressive honor.

Michael accepting a 2011
Going Green Airport Award
At the heart of the Going Green Award was a provision in the new airport concessions contract requiring food vendors to use compostable consumer-facing packaging and serviceware and separate organics to divert from landfills.  The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Statement, gives details of the contract provision.

According to Michael, " This is the largest concession contract ever bid in North America and as part of that, all concessionaires are required to follow this new standard.  This will set the standard not only for concessionaires here at the airport, but it starts to set the standard for concessionaires nationwide."

The airport's waste reduction goals are consistent with those of the Mayor's Office of Sustainability, dictating a 90 percent diversion of waste material from landfills by 2020.  

It is an honor for the SFCI to work in partnership with airport's stellar team, complemented by support from the City of Atlanta's Office of Sustainability.  The important work is in its infancy as are the awards recognizing the Atlanta Airport's heroic sustainability commitment.  Stay tuned ...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lighten Up : Be Heard, Be Effective

Hysterical - Purrfect - Effective!  The producers of The Adventures of Recycle Kitty hit a home run with their 2.38 minute hilarious video.  Combining creativity, wit and humor the video makes a profound statement about the proper placement of plastic bottles in recycling bins.  Here is the video along with the formal copy from it's introduction:

ZWZ Participants Work Together

One of the many Zero Waste Zones participation benefits is the camaraderie and sharing with fellow members.  Although the connection catalyst is generally fine tuning zero waste practices, relationships extend beyond landfill diversion to the entire spectrum of business sustainability.

In 2011 Atlanta's ZWZ Team welcomed the South Carolina Hospitality Association for two zero waste tours.  The willingness of Atlanta's pioneers to share with their northern neighbors was inspiring.  Visit the ZWA Blog posts, ATL ZWZ Team Hosts SC Hospitality Tour and An Encore ZWZ Performance, for overviews of the two tours.  The blog posts include Ei FB album links for the pictorial recaps.

More recently, ZWZ camaraderie was evident when Cindy Jackson, Georgia Institute of Technology - GA Tech - Mgr, Solid Waste Management & Recycling,  hosted Tim Trefzer, GA World Congress Center Authority - GWCCA - Sustainability Manager, and Holly Elmore, Elemental Impact founder, for an afternoon of fun and education at the GA Tech campus.  
The gathering catalyst was Tim's enthusiasm to create a successful Atlanta Falcon's tailgate recycling program for the 2012 season.  Years ago Cindy launched GA Tech tailgate recycling on game days with success and was happy to share her program logistics.  Conversation quickly moved beyond tailgate recycling to GA Tech's comprehensive program, culminating in an amazing campus tour.

How impressive to learn about GA Tech's national recycling awards: The American Forest & Paper Association 2008 University Recycling Award and the National Recycling Coalition 2008 Best Overall Recycling, Outstanding College or University Program Award. Note in 2008 the country was in a major recession and strong recycling programs were in their infancy - KUDOS to Cindy as the force behind GA Tech's leadership role! 
Clear signage = clean recycling

The best part of the afternoon was to experience the reasons WHY GA Tech operates a successful and profitable campus recycling program.  Education and communication are key - GA Tech has an amazing signage system in place.  

For a pictorial recap of the GA Tech campus tour, visit the Ei FB album, 02-27-12 GA Tech Hosts GWCCA.  Check out the pictures of the CLEAN streams collected from student source-separated recycling centers.

Working together ZWZ Participants are developing sustainable operating practices where increased profitability is the end result.  Stay tuned for more tales from the journey!  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Global Green Team Work in NOLA

Global Green's New York City and New Orleans offices worked in tandem to create a vibrant one-day conference, NOLA Resource Recovery Conference, held at the BioInnovation Center on March 2. 

Through their Coalition for Resource Recovery, the NYC office is dedicated to material and organics recycling programs, many based in research and technology development. In NOLA, Global Green is committed to rebuilding the neighborhoods destroyed during the 2005  Katrina floods.  The IMPACT Blog post, Global Green Hosts NOLA Rebuilding Tour, for an overview of a tour provided in conjunction with the conference.

Annie White and her NYC team engaged their national network of industry experts for a phenomenal conference program.  Sessions throughout the day educated NOLA city and area officials on the support available for a city ready to embrace resource recovery. With the Global Green office's local connections, NOLA director Beth Galante orchestrated the imperative local participation.  The successful conference shows the team work inherent within the Global Green organization.

Global Green President Matt Petersen
with Linda Morgano @ the reception
An evening reception kicked-off the conference where speakers and participants enjoyed the festivities prior to the full schedule the following day.  Thanks to the Louisiana Restaurant Association event sponsorship, guests were served scrumptious cuisine prepared by local talent.  A tight knit national community, guests were thrilled to spend time together and catch-up with their industry pals in the reception's welcoming ambiance. 

For the conference, Annie and her team, Lily Kelly and Matt de la Houssaye, created a dynamic, logical series of panel topics that flowed through the day. As the first speakers, Cynthia Sylvain-Lear, City of New Orleans Department of Sanitation Acting Director, and  Kara Renne, New Orleans Regional Planning Commission, gave the local landscape and set the stage for the pursuing  presentations.

Chris Moyer at the podium
Phenomenal food is synonymous with New Orleans. Grounding the foodservice industry's contribution to NOLA's economic vitality, Wendy Waren of the LRA gave a presentation filled with  facts substantiating the industry's financial impact on the City.  In her presentation, Wendy voiced the significant role sustainability plays in future operating priorities. Chris Moyer, National Restaurant Association ConServe Program Director, validated Wendy's presentation with the NRA's support for sustainable programs, including resource recovery.

Throughout the day's presentations a common theme emerged:  Importance of Glass Recycling.  It was fun as the theme emerged in the morning sessions yet glass recycling was on the afternoon agenda.  During the formal glass recycling session, the audience was prepared, energetic and ready to embrace solutions.  Though not easy, foodservice industry enthusiasm coupled with glass manufacturer support, an economically viable solution will emerge. Stay tuned as the necessary players were at the conference.

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover
at the podium with Myles Cohen of
Pratt Industries listening

Collaborative effort was another theme in the conference dialogue.  An example is the public-private partnership between the City of Shreveport and Pratt Industries. Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover traveled south to tell the partnership success story.  In 2009, Pratt opened a $160 million high-tech recycled paper mill along with a materials recovery facility (MRF) in Shreveport, creating jobs and stimulating the local economy. Prior to Mayor Glover's talk, Myles Cohen of Pratt Industries gave an engaging presentation of Pratt's operations and interesting industry facts.

The Ei FB album, 03-02-12 NOLA Resource Recovery Conference, gives a pictorial recap of the conference including short descriptions of presenter topics.  Ei Founder Holly Elmore's PPT presentation on the Sustainable Food Court Initiative may be downloaded from the Ei Speaking Engagements page.  Thanks to Ei Chair Scott Seydel's fine-tuned filming skills, Holly's presentation is available on a YouTube video, 03-02-12 NOLA CoRR Holly Elmore.

For details on the conference program, the Global Green blog post, NOLA Resource Recovery Conference, gives an excellent overview.

SUCCESS was the key word to describe the conference.  Future action will tell the direction success chooses for its path.  Kudos to Global Green, both the NYC & NOLA offices, for demonstrating how team work is a key to untangling many of humanity's challenges.