Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Concord Mills - SFCI Shopping Mall Pilot!

Concord Mills, a Simon Property Group mall located in the metro Charlotte, NC area, is the Sustainable Food Court Initiative shopping mall pilot!  Committed to action, Concord Mills general manager Ray Soporowski spearheads a dynamic mall team dedicated to the SFCI mission:  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.
Concord Mills Team:
HMSHost & SPG Managers

In June, 2011 the SFCI debuted with the Atlanta Airport, the world's largest airport, stepping forward as the airport pilot.  The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport - First SFCI Pilot Project!, announces the pilot and sets the initiative into action mode.  In April, 2012, the Georgia Dome was named the SFCI event venue pilot in the ZWA Blog post, Georgia Dome - SFCI Event Venue Pilot!.

A strong foundation is built at Concord Mills, beginning with the Elemental Impact Team visit last October chronicled in the ZWA Blog post, Fertile Charlotte Grounds.  In January an action plan was set in motion with the "Charlotte Road Trip" by Matt Hupp, then SPG Director, Waste & Recycling, Louis Herrera of Hilex Poly and Ei founder | SFCI director Holly Elmore. The ZWA Blog post, 2011 Planning = 2012 ACTION, gives details of the productive, fun Charlotte trip.

Ei Partner HMSHost is the Concord Mills food court concessionaire and integral to the stellar mall team. HMSHost general manager Brian Shetron is amazing with his flexibility and commitment to create mall food court zero waste practices that make solid business sense.

HMSHost places food waste
in bins for composting collection
Back-of-the-house food waste collection for composting is first on the action agenda. Thanks to local composter Jim Lanier of Earth Farms Organics working closely with Brian and Ray, collection started in early May. As of mid August, 16,500 pounds of Concord Mills food waste was diverted from the landfill to local composting operations.  

During a late August Ei visit, the team will convene to address successes and challenges in food waste collection to date.  Discussion items include:  bin size (64 gal vs 32 gal), collection frequency and use of compostable liners for the bins.

Future blog posts will document how the SFCI pilot serves as a launch pad for mall-wide initiatives and announce the formal SFCI Concord Mills Team in the formation process.

KUDOS to Ray and Brian for their excellent teamwork with the action accomplished to date.  Stay tuned as the effective fun is escalating!!!!


  1. Congratulations to Holly Ellmore, Simon Property Group, HMS Host, Hilex, and Earth Farms Organics for tackling one of the Foodservice Industry's toughest challenges: the responsible diversion of wastes from landfills or incinerators through recycling and commercial composting! As we are discovering in the Sustainability movement, we must have some basic 'economies of scale' in order to implement commercial composting. I hope that your sustainability model continues to challenge the status quo and serve as an inspiration for others to follow suit! Keep up the fantastic work that all of you are doing!

    1. Thanks Scott! We all appreciate your unwavering support and look forward to bringing initiatives to Indianapolis! Holly

    2. I am working with a University that is considering options for food waste from Residence Cafeterias and Food courts. I would like to know more about how the commercial composting is done i.e. are any accelerators used, what is done with the compost?
      Sandra Rippon

    3. Sandra, for the most commercial operations the food waste is collected by a local composting operation. Many of the composters offer a program where the university may purchase the compost back for grounds maintenance or on-campus gardens. There are on-site digesters on the market that some operations seem happy with for their food waste - be sure to understand the integrity of the end product.