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Monday, April 30, 2012

Tishman Speyer Joins Zero Waste Zones

Colony Square and Midtown Plaza joined the Zero Waste Zones!  Tishman Speyer stepped forward with the zero waste exploration commitment for their two Midtown properties.

The timing is impeccable as Midtown is in the midst of a green evolution with the March launch of Greenprint MidtownCreating the South’s first Urban Eco-District. Greenprint Midtown is a Midtown Alliance program in partnership with Southface and Sustainable Atlanta. See the ZWA Blog post, Greenprint Midtown Launches, for details on the program launch.

At the April 17 Greenprint Midtown Interactive Visioning Session, proposed strategy #3 under the Waste Focus was the following:
Colony Square
Encourage the participation of all Midtown foodservice industries in the Zero Waste Zones program through communications and an incentive program.  Expand use of compost in district landscapes creating demand for this waste stream.
Elemental Impact founder Holly Elmore was a facilitator at the session and serves on the Greenprint Waste Technical Advisory Council.  The Ei FB album, 04-17-12 Greenprint Midtown Vision Event, includes a pictorial recap of the event. 

Midtown Plaza
In March, Holly presented on the Sustainable Food Court Initiative at the Building Owners and Managers Association Atlanta Chapter's Green Real Estate Summit tag-team style with Adam Glasgow of WastePro.  After attending the presentation, Thomas Wright, T-S director of engineering, contacted Holly about how Colony Square would benefit by joining the ZWZ and SFCI programs. 

Tishman Speyer's commitment is the impetus to create a zero waste template for office complexes, with and without food courts.  Again, with impeccable timing Ei Partner Heritage Interactive Services visited Atlanta for a powerful two-day mini meeting marathon with T-S the first meeting.  HIS is a logistics management company focused on zero waste goals and improving bottom lines.  For an overview of HIS's Atlanta visit along with the seeds planted for exciting new projects, see the ZWA Blog  post, Emerging Trend: Recycling PROFIT Centers.

Ei | HIS | T-S meeting group
The plan is to showcase how it makes solid business sense to source-separate material, previously called "trash", where generated and aggregate it for sale as a valuable commodity.  Significant quantity is required for an on-site recycling system to cover its costs and contribute to the bottom line.  Colony Square and Midtown Plaza are assumed to generate the quantity necessary to develop a stage one template.

Once a single-facility plan is established, the Ei team will take the next step where individual businesses work in collaboration to create the quantities necessary for the economics to work.  Early seeds were planted for creative collaboration during the HIS meeting series.

A pioneering spirit is necessary for industry leaders to step away from established standard operating practices and embrace | create systems that complement the triple-line business model.  Founding ZWZ Participants were pioneers in back-of-the-house food residual collection.  These heroes worked through the glitches and developed an easy, effective system. Thanks to their determination, a common refrain among seasoned participants is " it is so easy, a no-brainer."

Tishman Speyer came forth with the same enthusiasm as the Founding ZWZ Participants:  As long as the bottom line is improved, let's move forward and work together. Collaboration is key to success and the team players are lining up!

Stay tuned to the ZWA Blog for tales from the zero waste office building journey!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Emerging Trend: Recycling PROFIT Centers

In the past corporations classified valuable material generated within their operations as trash and paid for it to leave their premises.  Astute business leaders recognize a significant percentage of "trash" items are valuable materials supported by commodity markets.  With a perception shift, companies are realigning their "waste" logistics, both equipment and practices, to source-separate material generated on-site into bales or other mediums for sale.

By adding green jobs for the source-separation process, companies evolve from paying to being paid for material to leave their facilities.  In general the increase in labor and any additional equipment costs is more than offset by cost reduction and added revenue.  The result:  Improved bottom lines!

Scott on right with Indy Mayor
@ Awards Luncheon
Zero Waste Zones National Zone Participant Piazza Produce improved their bottom line by over $30,000 after implementing zero waste practices.  To his amazement Scott Lutocka, Piazza Produce facilities manager, receives bids for Piazza's  baled plastic.  On March 27 Piazza won the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Award at the City of Indianapolis Sustainability Awards.

The key to transforming from a cost to profit center is maintaining material value via source-separation.  In general, selling directly to a manufacturer or mill for use in the production process results in the highest purchase price.  Each time material is touched a significant cost is added, reducing the bottom line benefit. 

For many companies, the task of revamping their entire disposal methods is daunting so they opt for the traditional pay-to-leave system.  Thus, a new industry is emerging, logistics management focused on zero waste goals.  Industry leaders do not own hauling or destination assets and maintain  flexibility to maximize savings|revenue generation.  Programs must be tailored to a company's specific operations and to their local material end-use market.

New Elemental Impact Partner and Sustainable Food Court Initiative Team member, Heritage Interactive Services is a logistics management hero with an amazing resume of zero waste manufacturing clients.  Ei is thrilled to partner with HIS on a series of programs in the creation phase.

The Ei | HIS | TS meeting group
On April 16 & 17, HIS president Bob Zetty along with business relationship director Amy Moreland and VP strategic resources group Yanet Montanez visited Atlanta for a mini meeting marathon.  The first meeting with Tishman Speyer, owner of five Atlanta properties including Colony Square and Midtown Plaza, set a fantastic tone for the remaining meetings.  Follow-up is underway to begin the assessment process of the two Midtown properties for a zero waste phased-in plan development.

Susan, Bob, Amy & Yanet in front of
Souper Jenny Soup Truck
After a delicious lunch at ZWZ-Buckhead Participant Souper Jenny's, the Ei | HIS entourage met with the Spelman College facilities and ground management team headed by Art Frazier. To aggregate the volume necessary to create a recycling profit center, HIS | Ei hope to develop a collaborative program working in unison with the Atlanta University Center colleges.  The Ei FB album, 04-16-12 Spelman College Recycling Tour, gives the pictorial recap of the campus tour following the lively, effective meeting.

Earlier in the month, Ei program director Susan Montgomery and Ei founder Holly Elmore met with four of the five AUC facilities directors about a collaborative program to great enthusiasm.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region IV Administrator's office is supportive of the collaborative program and encouraged building a zero waste template for college campuses.  

A smiling crew after a lively mtg &
ready for a campus tour
In alignment with the EPA's request, Mecklenburg County senior environmental specialist Trey Miller joined the meeting via conference call and followed up with Amy afterwards.  Trey spearheads Charlotte-area CAUSE -  Colleges and Universities Sustaining the Environment.  

Intertwined between major program introductory meetings, the HIS folks met with local Ei Partners and ZWZ Participants.  The full two-day visit ended with participation in the Greenprint Midtown Interactive Visioning Session where Bob met Robert Reed of Southface who coordinated the session.  How fun if a collaborative recycling program for Midtown businesses is developed where everyone wins:  Midtown businesses improve bottom lines, local manufacturing operations increase their recycled material content and valuable material no longer ends its life in a landfill.  Stay tuned as small seeds were planted!

The Ei FB album, 04-12 HIS Visits ATL, gives a pictorial recap of the meeting-packed two days.
Bob & Yanet @ Greenprint
Midtown event

It is invigorating to actively participate in evolving standard business practices to those that make good business and environmental sense.  An impressive Ei Partner Team is working closely with national and global leaders enthusiastic to create zero waste business environments.  As leaders, these heroes will share within their respective industries.  

The glimmer of hope is now a beacon of light:  we are returning to our ancestral roots where zero waste is merely how it is done.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Industry Experts Join SFCI Team

As the Sustainable Food Court Initiative is gearing up for pilots in each of the six food court categories (airport, event venue, mall, office complex, government center and university), the SFCI Team gains depth with the addition of three new team members.  In the past weeks BASF, Heritage Interactive Services and Kimberly-Clark joined the SFCI Team as Gold Level Ei Partners.

Each SFCI Pilot is supported by an ACTION team consisting of non-profits, business trade associations, facility | property owners, and industry experts from private enterprise. Collaborative effort among diverse team members provides the ingenuity and creativity necessary to untangle zero waste challenges inherent within food court operations.

Chris Bradlee, Market Development Manager, Biodegrable Polymers, represents BASF on the team.  Along with his impressive technical experience, Chris brings the strength of BASF and their industry network to the SFCI.  BASF's vast resources and connections, internally and across industry sectors, are important to the pilot program as zero waste systems based on sound economic models are developed.

From Kimberly-Clark, Technical Leader 1, Global Nonwovens R&E Laura Keck joins the SFCI Team.  As a chemist, Laura (along with Chris) will educate the team on material impact at the molecular level and how to create the most valuable, useful streams.  K-C is interested in purchasing consistent, clean plastics generated from the food courts and other areas to use as raw material in their non-woven product manufacturing.

Heritage Interactive Services is represented on the team by Amy Moreland, Business Relationships Director.  As a by-products and logistics management company, HIS is a pro at creating efficient, effective recycling systems within business operations.  Another emphasis is maintaining integrity within the entire material life cycle.  The ZWA Blog post, The Entire Product Life Cycle is Critical, gives an introduction to the Ei | HIS partnership.

Georgia Dome
The timing is impeccable as the Georgia Dome recently accepted the invitation to serve as the SFCI Event Venue Pilot.  With enthusiasm, the GA Dome ACTION Team is forming to develop a strategic plan.  See the ZWA Blog post, Georgia Dome - SFCI Event Venue Pilot!, blog post for the formal pilot announcement.  

In June, 2011 the ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport - First SFCI Pilot! announced the Atlanta Airport is the SFCI Airport Pilot.  To learn about the progress over the past year at the airport, search the ZWA Blog for Atlanta Airport-related posts.

This summer Elemental Impact anticipates announcing a Simon Property Group mall with HMSHost-operated concessions will serve as the SFCI Mall Pilot.  Invitations for SFCI pilots in the office complex, university and government center categories are pending.

Stay tuned as the FUN continues!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Compostable Packaging Info Packet

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport made a bold sustainability statement with its new concessionaire contract, the largest such contract executed to date in North America.  Atlanta Airport food vendors signed contracts with the following provision:
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 ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Sustainable Statement, details the actions leading to the Atlanta Airport's groundbreaking contract provision.

SFCI Team Meeting
As the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Airport Pilot, the Atlanta Airport is supported by the SFCI Team's Sustainable Packaging Committee to assist concessionaires meet the contract provision.  The first committee task was preparation of the HJAIA Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet consisting of a introduction, fact sheet and frequently asked question section.

After the introduction, which gives an overview of document and the contract provision language, the fact sheet explains WHY the contract provision is important followed by WHAT are compostable packages.  HOW to meet the provision is the final copy in the fact sheet.  A resources section lists industry non-profits and trade associations along with contact information and website links. For those with further interest, the frequently asked question document dives deeper into industry practices and answers queries commonly expressed by operators.

THANK YOU to Brenda Platt, Institute for Local Self Reliance co-director, for taking the lead on developing this important resource for Atlanta Airport concessionaires and the industry.  Along with Brenda, Foodservice Packaging Institute President Lynn Dyer was a valuable contributor along with SFCI industry experts from the private sector.  

Elemental Impact program director Susan Montgomery used her excellent organizational skills to bring the document to completion.  Michael Cheyne, ATL Airport director of asset management and sustainability, gave the airport's perspective and overall document direction.

The document may be downloaded on the Ei website page Atlanta Airport Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet and on the ILSR site at this link.  For additional information on the magnitude of Atlanta Airport's compostable packaging contract provision, visit Brenda's post  Atlanta Launches Compostable Foodservice Ware Program.

Collaborative effort was in full-force with creating and completing the document. The SFCI Team is excited to complete first step in supporting airport concessionaires meet the compostable packaging contract provision.  The FUN is in motion!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Versatility Key to a Powerful Zero Waste Voice

Elemental Impact's tagline is  "Sustainability in Action" - Action includes a strong, influential voice for our important work.  Communication in the cyberspace age requires using technology- based platforms to reach a vast, global audience as well as the local community. Blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn are effective tools when used with purpose and direction.

page snapshot @ 40,000 views
Ei has two active blogs: 1> Zero Waste in ACTION and 2> The IMPACT, which together are nearing the 60,000 page view milestone.  On April 11, the ZWA Blog topped 40,000 page views and has an escalating readership rate.  It takes commitment to write pertinent blog posts and promote them via FB and LinkedIn Groups.  

In addition, blog posts are promoted the old fashion way:  newsletters and e-mails. Each organization mentioned in a post is written a personal e-mail with the link and a request to share the link in their networks.

One of Ei's 2012 goals is to establish a powerful cyberspace network with our partners where news items are cross shared within our respective communication vessels. Last week four Ei Partners shared ZWA Blog posts in their networks.  Ei has a Google Alert set for each partner and monitors FB feeds to keep abreast of newsworthy items along with interesting tidbits to share. Working together, Ei may serve as the hub for a powerful information network geared to those entering and on the sustainability journey.

Chattanooga Zero Waste Workshop
In addition to the written word, Ei founder Holly Elmore keeps a busy speaking engagement calendar.  Infiltrated with humor and passion, Holly shares the zero waste message in formal sessions at conferences and workshops as well as podium time at events.  In early April, Holly traveled to Chattanooga with the Institute for Local Self Reliance team to lead a session at a well-attended Zero Waste Workshop.  The ZWA Blog post, Chattanooga Building a Green Brick Road, gives a workshop overview.

Recently, Holly spoke at the Atlanta Chapter of the Building Owners and Managers Association's Green Summit in tandem with Adam Glasgow of WastePro.  The presentation was the impetus for Tishman Speyer to join the Zero Waste Zones for their five Atlanta properties.  See the Ei Speaking Engagement page for an overview along with a downloadable version of Holly's PPT.
Holly @ Podium 

In late February Holly was on the short list of speakers at the reception honoring Atlanta's sustainability leadership hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the American Sustainable Business Council.  The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Celebrates Sustainability Leadership, gives a recap of the impressive reception.

Ei Chair Scott Seydel and Holly make a powerful team for creating visual communication platforms via film and still shots.  The Ei FB Album page is a valuable resource with close to 50 well-documented albums filled with pictures from the journey.  Ei Partners often download album photos to use in their PPT presentations.  

Scott filming @ NOLA Conference
At  Global Green's NOLA Resource Recovery Conference, Scott filmed Holly's Sustainable Food Court Initiative ten-minute session.  The video is an excellent introductory vehicle for those interested in the SFCI.  To view the embedded video, see the ZWA Blog, SFCI Video from the Ei Film Crew, or click this link for the YouTube version.

Websites are the foundation to other communication platforms.  Well-organized websites with easy-to-follow navigation to pertinent information are key to providing depth to blog posts, speaking engagements and other mediums meant to trigger interest.  Traffic is escalating on the Ei's  two websites:  Elemental Impact and Zero Waste Zones.  While writing this paragraph, the website weekly reports came in - traffic increased 32% over the prior week for the Ei site and 23% for the ZWZ site.  Most weeks  traffic shows a percentage increase over prior weeks for both sites.

GA Tech's The Lorax recycling
room - humor is effective!
Versatility is key to developing an influential voice, both in the communication vehicle used and the message itself.  It is important to understand how to reach the intended audience in a voice they will hear.  With the corporate community the target audience, Ei leads messages with sustainability makes good business sense and most often improves the bottom line.   Many times the environmental benefit is never discussed.

The ZWA Blog post, Lighten-Up:  Be Heard, Be Effective, gives great examples of how three organizations used humor within their message to create successful tools and programs.  For a couple of weeks, it was the most popular post on the blog.

How can you contribute to Ei's cyberspace voice?  

  • "Like" the Ei FB page so you know when blog posts and other newsworthy items are published. 
  • Share blog posts, pictures and other Ei information within your networks. Please tag Ei so a thank you response may be written.
  • Be vocal and join in the conversation via comments on posts.
  • Send Ei your press releases, pictures (low res, please) and other interesting items that complement our message.  Remember it is a two-way street and Ei is eager to share partner and industry information.

Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm for Ei's important work. Collaboration is key to success - your active participation is necessary to shift corporate and community standards to sustainable practices. We can and ARE building a bright future for our children!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Georgia Dome - SFCI Event Venue Pilot!

It is official:  The Georgia Dome is the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Event Venue Pilot!

At a mid April lunch Georgia World Congress Center Authority Sustainability Director Tim Trefzer delivered the exciting news the Dome accepted the SFCI Event Venue Pilot invitation.  The three GWCCA facilities, the Georgia Dome, the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park, are Founding Zero Waste Zones Participants.

Inviting the Dome to serve as the SFCI Event Venue Pilot was a natural.  In the fall of 2008, the GWCCA was the first downtown facility to say YES to ZWZ Participation! The acclaimed ZWZ press conference launching the program was hosted by the GWCC with Kevin Duvall, now GWCC chief operating officer, speaking on behalf of a participant's role.

Georgia Dome
The Dome joins Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International as a pilot food court - the June 27, 2011 ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport - First SFCI Pilot!, announces the Atlanta Airport accepting their invite to serve as the SFCI Airport Pilot.  This summer Elemental Impact anticipates announcing a Simon Property Group mall with HMSHost-operated concessions will serve as the SFCI Mall Pilot.

Invitations for SFCI pilots in the office complex, university and government center categories are pending.

By accepting the SFCI Pilot invitation, a facility commits to working with a SFCI Pilot ACTION Team on developing a game plan to initiate zero waste practices into food court operations.  Projects often extend beyond the food court parameters and may well embrace expanded sustainable practices such as toxic-free environments.

Lunch where Tim on far right gave
the great news.
Photo courtesy Scott Seydel 
One of the first action points is to create the supporting team who works closely with the pilot facility management.  Tim's great news came with impeccable timing during a lunch meeting with new SFCI Team member Chris Bradlee of BASF.  Chris intends to play a leading role in the Dome action plan.    

Note BASF sponsored the Seattle Mariner's Sustainable Saturdays at Safeco Field launched on April 21, the first Saturday game of the 2012 season. The Waste & Recycling News article, Mariners tout sustainability efforts at ballpark, gives a nice overview of the initiative.

SFCI Co-Chair Doug Kunnemann of Natureworks has extensive zero waste event venue expertise from his teamwork with the Portland Rose Garden. Along with fellow SFCI Team Member Buzz Chandler of StalkMarket, Doug worked closely with the Rose Garden for their effective 2010 Green Game launch. The November, 2011 ZWA Blog post, Innovation Key to Zero Waste Packaging, gives a snippet of Doug and Buzz's role in bringing zero waste initiatives to the Rose Garden.

With SFCI expertise aligned with event venues and the Dome's sustainability commitment an effective, efficient game plan is imminent.  Levy Restaurants, the GWCCA foodservice operator, uses compostable packaging for most of its single-use service ware - one major action point is checked off before the fun begins!

The goal is to implement the first phase of the action plan by the August 2012 Atlanta Falcons season opening.  Stay tuned for tales from the journey filled with unraveling challenges and achieving success.  These are indeed exciting times!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

SFCI Team Tours New ATL Airport Int'l Concourse

The tour group
What a important treat! The Sustainable Food Court Initiative Team toured the near complete Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Concourse F, International Concourse, with Kyle Mastin, Airport concessions manager, and Tim Slaney, HMSHost Atlanta general manager. HMSHost is the contracted foodservice operator for the International Concourse, the first concourse with restaurants under the new airport concessions contracts.

Kyle & Tim during tour
Along with SFCI co-chair Doug Kunnemann of NatureWorks, Elemental Impact chair Scott Seydel, Ei program director Susan Montgomery and Ei founder Holly Elmore, three new SFCI Team members joined the fun, educational tour: Chris Bradlee of BASF, Laura Keck of Kimberly-Clark and John Lopez of Filta Environmental.  Atlanta Airport director of concessions Paul Brown accompanied the tour.

chandelier in concourse atrium
In addition to gorgeous aesthetic design, the International Concourse layout includes ample back-of-the-house space, including the loading dock area, to integrate recycling and organics collection into standard operating practices. Speaking of aesthetic design, a local Atlanta publication posted an article, sneak peak of the new international terminal, that gives a great  preview of the amazing artwork with a link to a photo gallery. 

The Atlanta Airport - the first SFCI Pilot - is committed to incorporating sustainable best practices into their operations and works closely with the SFCI on the landfill diversion component. The new airport concession contracts include a provision requiring all food vendors to use compostable consumer-facing packaging and serviceware and source-separate organics for composting or other permitted uses.  For details on the contract provision, read the ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Sustainable Statement.

Scott & Susan checking out
the disposal containers
Concourse F opens with all  foodservice operations under the new contract and serves as the prime 2012 action area for the SFCI Pilot.  The remaining concourses segue into the new contract in phases over the next 18 months as new concepts replace those from the previous contract period.  

While in the transition period, the concourses will be hybrids of food vendors under the old and new contracts - hybrids of those required and those NOT required to use compostable foodservice packaging. The hybrid scenario envelopes short-term challenges and opportunities.

On the tour it was powerful tour to witness the Airport's sustainability commitment in action within their design. The Ei FB album, 04-12-12 SFCI Team Tour of ATL Airport, gives a pictorial overview of the tour.

The SFCI Team is excited to work in partnership with the Atlanta Airport on creating logistical paths for clean, contaminant-free material collection for front and back-of-the-house operations.  Concourse F is a top priority for action once opening phases are complete. Stay tuned for tales from the journey.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chattanooga Building a Green Brick Road

In perfect timing with Earth month, The City of Chattanooga is exploring how to bring zero waste practices to the residential and corporate community.  The main ingredients for success are in place: 1> solid local government support 2> corporate community enthusiasm and 3> strong local markets for recyclable material.

Chattanooga director of sustainability David Crockett is using his extensive long-term relationship network to create a stellar team committed to a sustainable approach to zero waste practices.  In April Ron Thomas joined the City's team as the deputy director of sustainable development and brings extensive urban sustainable development experience.  Under Ron's tenure as executive director, the Northern Illinois Planning Commission received over 25 impressive awards.

At David's direction, sound economics and social responsibility take the front seat in program development with environmental impact an important side benefit.

David Crockett & Neil Seldman
Answering David's beck and call to take the first steps down the zero waste path, Institute for Local Self Reliance president Neil Seldman orchestrated a one-day Zero Waste Workshop in Chattanooga on Tuesday, April 10.  While Neil pulled together the speaker line-up, Ongeleigh Gipson - Chattanooga zero waste coordinator - was a pro at the local logistics and securing a powerful, enthusiastic audience.

Mayor Littlefield
After a warm welcome by Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and an introduction by David, Neil gave an excellent two-hour presentation on zero waste programs in other cities, current technology available to assist in diverting material from landfills and the importance of local markets for recyclable material. During lunch Kendall Christiansen of Gaia Strategies out of New York spoke on food scrap uses, mainly from the residential perspective.

Following lunch, Elemental Impact founder | Zero Waste Zones director Holly Elmore presented on the the Zero Waste Zones Atlanta success, the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Atlanta Airport Pilot, Charlotte initiatives and the WHY's and HOW's to bring zero waste practices to a community. Enthusiasm was strong with many questions followed by lively dialogue. Visit the Ei Meetings & Events page to download Holly's PPT presentation.

The Zero Waste Workshop Team
The day-long program ended with Bioponica's co-founder David Epstein opening the doorway to innovative local food production using composted organics to grow nutrients in small scale, community based greenhouses.

The Ei FB album, 04-10-12 Chattanooga Zero Waste Workshop, gives the pictorial recap of the successful event.

With long-term relationships rekindled and new friends made, the Chattanooga zero waste fire is ignited with a strong foundation in place.  Ei | ZWZ looks forward to working with our neighbor city on building a sustainable green brick road where the community, businesses and the environment thrive in harmony.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Milk Jugs Recycled @ Atlanta Airport

Thanks to HMSHost's unwavering sustainability commitment, the used milk jugs at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Starbucks locations are collected, compacted, baled and sold as valuable material.  HMSHost operates nine Airport Starbucks and developed the program in early 2011 as a pilot in the world's busiest airport.

Orwak Baler
With approximately 2600 milk jugs used per week, to date the program has kept over 135,200 milk jugs, roughly 7.5 tons, from their prior landfill destination.  Note the plastic syrup containers are included in the bales.  According to Rick Moore, HMSHost Starbucks Manager, the revenue from the material sale at a nearby MRF (materials recovery facility) offsets the the baler lease cost.

While developing the program, Rick performed an informal waste audit on the back-of-the-house waste containers.  To his amazement, over 90% of the "trash" generated were milk jugs and syrup containers.  The Ei FB album, 12-05-12 SFCI ATL Airport Milk Jug Recycling, gives a pictorial play by play of the collection, compacting and baling process.

Baled milk jugs ready for sale
Atlanta success was the catalyst for the HMSHost - Tampa Airport team to lease a baler for their Starbucks milk jugs as well as other material generated in their concessions operations.  Plastic film works well.  Perry Kranias, HMSHost -Tampa Operations Manager, is working on expanding their source-separate recycling to all material generated with a strong local commodity market.

GA Tech - GWCC ATL Airport tour
HMSHost, a Zero Waste Zones Participant, shares their successful program logistics with fellow participants.  In March, Cindy Jackson and Maria Linderoth of Georgia Tech and Tim Trefzer of the GA World Congress Center Authority took an Atlanta Airport field trip to explore how source-separated baling operations could work in their operations.  Susan Stanton with Orwak, the baler manufacturer, joined the tour and answered questions about the different baling models, capabilities and logistics.

While in Atlanta for the 2012 Plastics Recycling Conference, Susan Long, Starbucks environmental impact manager, toured the Concourse A milk jug recycling operations. With Rick and Susan (Stanton) present, Susan (Long) received a thorough overview of the program.

Susan Stanton, Susan Long &
Rick Moore 
As the Sustainable Food Court Initiative's first pilot, the Atlanta Airport takes a proactive stand in their sustainability commitment.  The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport - First SFCI Pilot!, announces the ATL Airport SFCI Pilot and the post, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Statement, details the airport concessions contract provision requiring compostable packaging use.

The tides are turned as companies understand the value of material generated in their operations.  Beyond diversion from landfill, astute recycling managers know to source-separate material for sale, rather than pay for it to leave in single-stream recycling programs.  ZWZ Participant Piazza Produce, turned their waste | recycling cost center into a recycling profit center when they implemented zero waste practices.  To date, their source-separated recycling program has improved the bottom line by approximately $30,000.

Several pilots dedicated to baling source-separated material are close to implementation.  Stay tuned for future ZWA Blog posts with pilot details and other success tales from the zero waste journey.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Beyond Zero Waste Zones

Beyond bringing community together with common recycling goals, the Zero Waste Zones program is a catalyst for industry leaders to collaborate on refining and expanding sustainable best practices within the corporate and local government systems.  The founding ZWZ Participants long ago achieved the basic ZWZ Criteria and are ready to evolve standards to the next dimension of industry best practices.

The group meeting @ ATR offices
In honor of National Restaurant Association senior editor Elissa Elan's Atlanta visit ZWZ Champion Patrick Cuccaro, Affairs to Remember general manager and GA Restaurant Association Chair, hosted a powerful gathering at their corporate offices on Friday, April 06. Along with Elissa and Patrick, Ei Chair Scott Seydel, Atlanta Airport director of asset management and sustainability Michael Cheyne, Ei founder Holly Elmore, GRA membership manager Ryan Costigan and ATR staff Travis Taylor & Sandy Rothstein participated in the roundtable-style luncheon.

Elissa's questions were the catalyst for lively conversation that ran the gamut from program | project status to the importance of extracting glass from recycling streams to the role sustainability plays in corporate decision making, to name a few topics. Existing relationships found more depth and new bonds were formed among industry leaders.

Patrick & Michael
One of the discussion highlights was Michael's overview of the Airport's Green Acres-Atlanta, an urban farm transforming garbage into green, a project in the exploration stage.  It is thrilling to know the City of Atlanta is taking the proactive approach for landfill diversion of valuable materials.

From before the formal begninnings, Patrick played a foundational role in the ZWZ development and the evolution of Elemental Impact.  Michael and the Airport team are instrumental in the Sustainable Food Court Initiative success. The luncheon was the perfect opportunity for Michael and Patrick to meet and understand the power underlying their synergies. 

The amazing creme brulee
Chef Ahmad Nourzad prepared an amazing, locally sourced lunch. For ATR, local produce includes the bounty from their on-site gardens. Even the iced black tea came from a South Carolina tea plantation. The creme brulee finale was the cuisine star - see the album picture for its complete description. 

The Ei FB album, 04-06-12 Powerful ZWZ Meeting, includes pictures from the luncheon.

Thank you Patrick for your generosity of spirit and hospitality. ATR's offices are the perfect ambiance for powerful gatherings such as the luncheon yesterday.  Stay tuned as the luncheon served as a launch pad for yet to be discovered initiatives and projects.