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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Concord Mills: The Power of "WE" in ACTION!

Concord Mills
In August, 2012 Concord Mills - a Simon Property Group mall near Charlotte, NC - was designated the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Pilot in the ZWA Blog post, Concord Mills - SFCI Pilot!.  

Without missing a beat, the CM team moved into immediate action with food waste collection for composting and baling plastic film generated by mall tenants for recycling.  The ZWA Blog September post, ACTION - Theme for the SFCI Shopping Mall Pilot, gives the details on program launches.

Indicative of their team spirit, Ray Soporowski - CM general manager- and Brian Shetron - CM HMSHost food court general manager - sent over impressive, independent program updates within hours of each other.  Their updates are the foundation and inspiration for this post.

On September 21 HMSHost entered into an arrangement with Second Harvest to donate un-served food meeting the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to the organization.  At 300 - 400 pounds of quality food per week, the donations make a significant difference in the community. The ZWA Blog post, Food Waste Donation: Everyone Wins! details the program launch and how the bottom line improves for all concerned.

Rev White collecting donated food
Photo courtesy of HMSHost
In mid October Second Harvest introduced HMSHost to Reverend Sterling White of Urban Streets Ministries who now picks-up the food each Thursday morning. USM prepares the food to feed hungry folks in the following priority: 1> in the ministry's cafeteria, 2> in "to go" boxes for those living on the streets and 3> in family care packages for those in need. Under the Second Harvest arrangement with USM food is served the day received with reduced transportation | delivery emissions, expenses and labor.

HMSHost developed an effective, simple food donation system, which Ray may offer to the dining establishments located outside of the food court.  On a broader scale, Simon may create a food donation template for their mall food court and restaurant operations. 

Thanks to Brian's dedication, HMSHost has a food court operations template to explore in their extensive airport, travel center and mall operations.  HMSHost is a pro at donating "grab 'n go" meals from airport foodservice operations - see the ZWA Blog post, Reduce First, Donate Second, Compost Third, for an overivew of Tampa Airport's stellar food donation program. Brian is a team player who expanded upon an established foundation.

CM food waste collection for composting began in June with the HMSHost-operated food court, Dave & Buster's and Macado's participating. To date, 23.4 tons of food waste was diverted from trash to composting - darned impressive!

new food waste collection bin
photo courtesy of HMSHost
The program's logistics are in the evolution process: the original 64-gallon collection bins were replaced with two 2.5 cubic yard bins on each side of the food court. CM staff uses a forklift to transport the bins to the nearest loading area for the weekly collection by Earth Farms for composting. A later post will document how the new bins improved, or not, food waste collection.

Hmmm.... is a future program destined that incorporates the compost back into CM's landscape and water management systems??!!

In the food court, Grease Lock installed the kitchen hood filter systems discussed in the September post.  Only weeks into the pilot Brian is impressed with their performance. Stay tuned for updates on anticipated water, cleaning chemicals and labor savings.

Ray with Orwak baler
used for plastic film recycling
Inaugurated on August 20, the plastic film recycling program is gaining momentum with twice per week tenant porter service in-place to collect the tremendous plastic film volume generated by tenant operations. To date 40 bales consisting of 5,300 pounds of plastic film were collected and sold in the recycling commodities market. Ray estimates the program to generate an estimated 150 tons of plastic film per year once in full-swing with complete tenant engagement.

HMSHost collects the plastic film accumulated in their operations for recycling, mostly from single-use products and bread-type items packaging.

Prior to the SFCI Pilot launch, an efficient cardboard recycling program was in-place and Ray anticipates recycling an estimated 450 tons of OCC - old corrugated cardboard - annually. With a strong OCC market, the cardboard is a significant contributor to a recycling PROFIT center.

Months into the recycling programs, Ray experiences an improved bottom line even with equipment investments, additional labor and the start-up learning curve.  Ray is enthusiastic about the value of zero waste practices from the economic and environmental perspectives.

Partial SFCI CM Team
In the Zero Waste is a Team Sport blog post, the "WE" consciousness shift is introduced as a necessity to achieving zero waste.  The CM SFCI team is a prime example of the "WE" in action mode.  

In addition to Ray and Brian working in unison, the SFCI Team includes local government and non-profits - Keep Mecklenburg County Beautiful & Mecklenburg County, national non-profits - Elemental Impact, Institute for Local Self-Reliance & the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, national trade associations - the Foodservice Packaging Institute and the National Restaurant Association, local purveyors - Earth Farms, and industry experts - BASF, CleanRiverHeritage Interactive ServicesNatureWorks & Orwak.

When operating in the "WE" mode, the possible emerges from impossible. For Ray and Brian, the "WE" consciousness is their natural operating mode; they are setting the standard for others to follow. Stay tuned for exciting tales from the "WE" adventures!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Biopolymer End of Life - or is it?

River Walk view from the
The biopolymers community converged on the San Antonio River Walk for a two-day conference held at the Westin River Walk. Smithers Rapra orchestrated the excellent conference with perfection. In-depth sessions on pertinent topics were presented by respected industry experts with plenty of networking options infiltrated within the program.

In simplistic terms biopolymers are plant-based derived polymers. Unlike traditional plastics made from oil or natural gas, biopolymers originate from starch, sugarcane and other renewable based resources. Polylactic acid (or PLA). is an example of a commonly used biopolymer.  A key difference with biopolymers versus traditional plastics is their renewable backbone and the additional end of life options, such as recycling, composting, waste to energy, anaerobic digestion and others.

In a foodservice application leading role, PLA emerges as cold beverage cups (draft beer cups at "green festivals"), cutlery and hot cup lids. In its supporting role, PLA is the film protection on paper products to prevent liquid absorption (coffee cups, nacho trays at "green stadiums"). PLA resin-based applications extend well beyond foodservice including electronics, packaging (foam and films), durable (or injection molded based), fibers & non-woven’s and many other end uses. For this article, foodservice use is the focus.

Danielle Marks of Smithers &
John Baldus @ opening reception
Biopolymer end-of-life is intrinsic to Elemental Impact's zero waste initiatives. Compostable packaging is key to incorporating zero waste practices at event venues, festivals, food courts and any operation where food is served in single-use service ware. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport included a groundbreaking provision in their new concessionaire contract requiring food vendors to use compostable consumer-facing packaging and service ware.  For details, see the ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Sustainable Statement.

Ei attended the pre-conference Anaerobic Digestion Forum moderated by conference chair John Baldus, Sustainable Manufacturing Specialist at the Wisconsin State Energy Office. Presenters and attendees traveled the globe to attend the forum. With an intimate crowd, the sessions remained casual with lively dialogue interspersed among the presentations and closing panel discussion.

A.D. Forum Presenters
Most of the presentations were technical in nature, perfect for the audience. Addressing how biopolymers fare in A.D. systems was the common thread throughout the sessions. Intertwined within graphs, charts and data, it appears biopolymers have a slow conversion rate to methane gas. Yet the high carbon to nitrogen ratio can help to balance feedstocks with low ratios, such as those from dairy operations (i.e. ice cream by-products).

On the final conference day Ei Advisory Council member Brenda Platt, Institute for Local Self-Reliance co-director, moderated an impressive panel, Innovative management strategies for End of Life. In her opening remarks, Brenda provided an impressive recap of prior conference sessions and how they pertain to the biopolymer end of life.

End of Life Panel
Thanks to funding from John Baldus' Wisconsin State Energy Office, the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point campus embarked on a PLA recovery and recycling pilot project at the campus foodservice operations. Dr. Paul Fowler, Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology executive director, presented on the in-process pilot with promising to-date results. Although best known for its compostable nature, it is important to explore extending PLA's life through recovery and recycling programs.

Dick Lilly - business area manager for waste prevention and product stewardship, Seattle Public Utilities Solid Waste Division- was a star in his presentation on the impact Seattle's regulations makes on industry and consumer behavior. The formal session name says it all: Seattle's Single-Use Food Service Packaging Law - How one city's regulations impacted the biopolymers industry.

Dick Lily @ podium
At the basis of Dick's presentation was Seattle's intentions to collect food waste and how the compostable packaging regulation was a major driver for post-consumer food waste collection. Not easy and not complete, Dick gave a long list of "What Made it Work" showcasing the no exceptions stance, a strong local composter, industry engagement and public education as imperative for to-date success. Green washing is an issue highlighting the importance of labels and third party product review as program foundations.  Seattle is on an important journey where the intended destination continues to evolve.

While Seattle opted for regulations to capture food waste for composting, Atlanta used contract provisions. The Atlanta Airport compostable packaging requirements are referenced earlier in the post. Ei founder Holly Elmore and Ei Partner Steve Davies of NatureWorks co-presented in the Biopolymers Role in Zero Waste Programs session.

Holly focused on Ei's foundation, successes and role as a creator and the driving force in initiative development:

Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.  Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Brenda & Steve @ reception
In his presentation, Steve addressed the specific role biopolymers play in zero waste programs along with the documentation developed for the Atlanta Airport contract provision compliance. Holly and Steve's PPT presentation may be downloaded on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

Richard Gertman, principal at For Sustainability Too, finished the formal presentations with a detailed report on a California sponsored pilot on the recovery of PLA products through optical sorting.  The panel-style program ended with a lively question | answer session.

For a pictorial recap of the conference, receptions and San Antonio River Walk, visit the Ei FB album, 10-12 Biopolymers Conference in San Antonio.

Biopolymer End of Life - or is it?  When composted, biopolymers may continue in a Perpetual Life Cycle System where it decomposes into nutrients for healthy soil and plants that serve as the basis for PLA resin.  

Ei Team tour group - Doug is on left
The ZWA Blog post, Perpetual LIfe Cycle Systems - Simplicity is Key, introduces the PLC system via an overview of an on-farm A.D. tour. Doug Kunneman of NatureWorks and Sustainable Food Court Initiative Chair participated in the tour to understand how A.D. may play a role in front-of-the-house food court food waste.

Fun and educational, the Biopolymers Conference was the perfect energy for effecting the necessary change in our community and corporate culture. Ei is honored to serve as a conference presenter and media partner.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Collaboration is Key to Success

In early October, the National Restaurant Association and the U.S. Composting Council announced their formal partnership.  Here is the official language from the press release:
The NRA and USCC are teaming up to raise awareness about food waste diversion, composting education, and other sustainable activities nationwide. The two organizations will share educational resources and identify collaborative opportunities that promote awareness of the role composting plays in waste reduction, improved soil and water quality.
NRA - USCC leadership at their
first meeting in December, 2011
Understanding the tremendous synergies, Elemental Impact orchestrated the introductory meeting between the two powerful trade associations in December, 2011.  The ZWA Blog post, NRA Leads Industry Collaboration, is an overview of the inaugural meeting that set the stage for the formal partnership between the trade associations for food waste generators and destinations.

As the trade association for the foodservice industry, a major commercial food waste generator, the NRA can mobilize the operators to source-separate food waste for diversion from landfill.  The USCC, trade association for composters and other permitted uses of food waste, is committed to building a strong food waste destination network. Challenge:  there are limited  permitted food waste options other than landfills in many communities.

commercial food waste at a
composting site
According to the U.S. EPA, an estimated 97.5% of the nation's food waste is landfill bound - a travesty for all concerned:  
  • Foodservice operators pay landfill tipping fees, generally higher than composting operation tipping fees.  Thus, detrimental to their bottom line
  • Higher transportation costs and toxic emissions as dumpsters and compactors are often pulled before capacity due to the decomposing food waste smell.
  • Methane gas is generated during food decomposition in the anaerobic conditions inherent within landfills.  Even with landfill methane gas recapture systems, a significant portion of the methane gas is released into the atmosphere.  Note methane gas is a 20 -25% more potent greenhouse gas than carbon.
  • Soil is the biggest loser as food waste is a value ingredient in the compost recipe.  Compost provides valuable nutrients to the microbial community responsible for creating healthy, well-structured soil vital to control erosion and produce naturally healthy food.
Together the two industry trade associations may create the policy platforms necessary to shift the regulatory environment to one supportive of compost and waste to energy options for commercial food waste. 

USCC executive director Michael Virga sums up the relationship in his quote "The USCC and NRA, two esteemed associations, are teaming up to share resources and promote our complementary objectives of diverting organic residuals away from disposal and into good use. These efforts will help NRA members improve their environmental bottom line while helping our members secure new sources of raw material for their compost manufacturing"

Agreeing, Scott DeFife - NRA executive vice-president policy and public affairs - adds "As local governments increase their efforts to manage their environments, composting organic residuals can significantly reduce landfill impacts while creating a healthier ecosystem. This partnership represents a win-win for our communities and the environment."

In addition to policy, food safety is paramount to developing sound, effective systems for commercial food waste.  The ZWA Blog post, Safety & Education: A Necessary Marriage, discusses how safety infiltrates the NRA and USCC  foundations. Important educational programs are destined to develop within the partnership.

Ei is honored to serve as the connecting force supporting the NRA - USCC partnership announcement.  Collaboration is key to success - Ei plays the role of bringing together the various organizations necessary to effect change.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

National Restaurant Association Acquires Zero Waste Zones

ZWZ Two-Yr Press Conference
At the Zero Waste Zones February, 2011 Two-Year Anniversary Press Conference, the National Restaurant Association announced their collaboration with Elemental Impact and the ZWZ program.  In a formal statement, Scott DeFife - NRA executive vice-president policy and public affairs - voiced strong support for the program's impact:

Atlanta’s Zero Waste Zone program has been incredibly successful, and we are now looking to expand that success to communities nationwide.  Sustainability is imperative to our industry, other business communities and the general public. Working with Elemental Impact, we are bringing industry stakeholders together to enable our members to establish - and succeed in reaching - waste diversion and resource recovery goals.

In late September, the NRA acquired the ZWZ program with intentions to expand the program nationally within the state restaurant association network. Exciting news as the program may evolve and increase its impact within the depth of the NRA's educational, training and policy resources. 

The ZWZ program achieved national accolades as a pioneer in the commercial collection of food waste for composting when it launched at an acclaimed press conference in February, 2009.  By acquiring the program, the NRA validates the importance of the program and its potential impact within the foodservice industry, the nation's second largest private industry.

While in her tenure as the Green Foodservice Alliance executive director & founder, Ei founder Holly Elmore brought a vision into grounded action through the ZWZ program.  In January, 2010, the ZWZ transferred stewardship to Ei as the program continued to gain momentum in its national leadership role. For a brief history along with program criteria, visit the Ei ZWZ page.

Ei continues work in zero waste realms through the Sustainable Food Court Initiative, Recycling Integrity, speaking engagements and educational workshops. In October an Ei Partner Team consisting of Amy Moreland of Heritage Interactive Services, Chris Bradlee of BASF and Holly visited Newark for two days of zero waste meetings and a workshop hosted by the City of Newark Office of Sustainability.  The ZWA Blog post, Ei Team Visits Newark for Zero Waste Education, gives an overview of the visit.

The NRA ZWZ acquisition substantiates Ei as a creator and incubator for developing programs within the corporate, government and educational communities.  A common phrase in Holly's speaking engagements summarizes the overall driving force in Ei initiatives:
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.  Ei brings the possible out of impossible.

Ei's tagline Sustainability in ACTION moved into evolved dimensions of impact and prominence  Stay tuned for future exciting announcements from Ei and the NRA with respect to the ZWZ and beyond!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Atlanta Wasted Food Heroes in National Spotlight

Elizabeth smelling ripe
fruit ready for harvest
Atlanta's wasted food crusaders receive a national spotlight in a November Whole Living feature article, Spoil Alert, by renowned nature | science writer Elizabeth Royte.  In addition to one of four feature articles, editor-in-chief Alanna Stang dedicates an entire paragraph to Spoil Alert in her Editor's Letter.

In June Elizabeth traveled to Atlanta for a whirlwind two-day interview marathon hosted by Elemental Impact founder Holly Elmore. The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta's Focus on Food Waste Reduction, is an overview of the visit along with interesting anecdotes from the local wasted food warriors.  For a pictorial recount, visit the Ei FB album, 06-12 Elizabeth Royte ATL Visit.

A talented journalist, Elizabeth crafts an excellent highlight of the local heroes who put Atlanta on the map as a national leader in food waste reduction.  Intertwined within the hero mini-profiles is an abundance of the staggering facts at the foundation of our nation throwing out 40% of our food, most of it perfectly edible. Creative solutions are also included such as "In Australia, Hong Kong and Saudia Arabia, there are reports of eating establishments that actually levy modest fines on diners who leave food on their plates."

Humor is interjected within the copy via her descriptions of Holly's attire - "with her flouncy skirts and jaunty hats in matching sorbet colors", driving style - "careening across town", industry connections - "the Kevin Bacon of wasted food," professional operating mode - "I create things. It never occurs to me to do any research. I'm a Scorpio" and energy level - "and her energy level slightly exhausting."

Spoil Alert magnifies the diversity of effort necessary to create an efficient effective food system, where wasted food is eliminated and food waste is the inedible by-product of food processing and cooking.  Integral to system development is the equitable distribution of food to the entire population spectrum.

Robby among his beloved
urban fruit bearing trees
First on the interview circuit, Robby Astrove, a volunteer with Concrete Jungle - a grass roots urban foraging organization, understands the abundance of food growing in our urban environment. Known for its in-town "greenscape" Atlanta is plentiful with fruit bearing trees whose bounty is now harvested  by Concrete Jungle.  Once cleaned the fruit is delivered to local shelters. Since 2009, more than 5 tons of fruit has been harvested and delivered to those who rarely enjoy fresh, seasonal fruit.

A volunteer with Second Helpings, Myron Smith used his business acumen to create a donation program for delicious, nutritious food from farmers markets, grocery stores, festivals and foodservice operators previously landfill bound. In team spirit, Myron works in collaboration with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to ensure their complementary services maximize community benefit.

Foodservice is the second largest industry in the nation and a tremendous generator of wasted food. Charter Zero Waste Zones Participants, Affairs to Remember and Fifth Group Restaurants shared their experiences as pioneers in food waste collection for composting. With zero waste practices firmly in place, Patrick Cuccaro, ATR general manager, and Steve Simon, FGR partner, focus on taking their sustainability focus to new dimensions. 

Steve Simon on Ecco's rooftop
ATR Executive Chef Ahmad Nourzad uses his eagle eye to minimize waste in the production process while Patrick educates the sales team on how to sell menus that minimize waste.  When opening their latest restaurant Lure, Steve installed an innovative rainwater system that also collects air conditioning condensate water for use in the restaurant's toilets.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority is honored in the article as the Zero Waste Zones 2009 launch pad. 

Ei pals Johnathan Bloom,  American Wasteland author, and Dana Gunders of the National Resource Defense Council received strong mention in the article.  Note Dana is the author of the NRDC Issue Paper, Wasted: How America is losing up to 40% of its food from farm to fork to landfill, released in August this year. Dana's concise two-page December, 2011 Food Fact Sheet, Your Scraps Add Up: Reducing food waste can save money and resources, was the catalyst for the ZWA Blog post, Reduce First, Donate Second, Compost Third, the second all-time most popular post on the blog.

Elizabeth interviewing Paula of
Heirloom Gardens
A common theme throughout the article is ALL effort is important where wasted food is concerned, no matter the size.  Myron puts it succinctly "For someone who is hungry, nothing is too small."  Paula Guilbeau of Heirloom Gardens, one of the farmers who works closely with Myron, visited a shelter where her unsold produce is delivered.  It was a powerful experience for Paula, who summarizes her role as "I know I'm just one person helping, but I do believe in the power of one."

This blog post is a mere snippet of Elizabeth's powerful article. Use your voice to support action on our nation's wasted food addiction by purchasing the magazine.  Whole Living is widely distributed wherever magazines are sold and will be on the racks until early November.

Consider writing Elizabeth on her blog and submitting editorial comments to Whole Living in support of the article.  Editors and publishers will print more articles on wasted food when they understand it sells magazines and promotes reader dialogue.

Thank you Elizabeth for taking the time to meet Atlanta's heroes and shining a bright light on their superlative work. It seems you survived the two-days in Holly's 18 year old red convertible careening around Atlanta without too many scars.  Know many will be surprised to learn Holly owns a car!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ei Team Visits Newark for Zero Waste Education

Amy & Chris @ the Robert Treat Hotel
An Elemental Impact Team visited Newark in early October for a two-day series of zero waste meetings and a morning workshop hosted by the City of Newark, Office of Sustainability. Joining Ei founder Holly Elmore, Ei Partners Amy Moreland of Heritage Interactive Services and Chris Bradlee of BASF shared their zero waste expertise in the educational sessions.

Common ground for the Newark visit was the June U.S. Zero Waste Business Council conference in Costa Mesa, CA.  Holly, Chris and Kurt Wirgau of Heritage met Stephanie Greenwood, City of Newark director of sustainability, at the conference. The ZWA Bog post, U.S. Zero Waste Business Council hosts first-rate conference, is an overview of the conference.

Historic Newark City Hall -
over 100 years old!
The two-day Newark visit was introductory in nature and an opportunity to educate enthusiastic industry leaders and city staff members on zero waste initiative basics along with baseline assessment.  With approximately 400 manufacturers within Newark city limits, it was a natural to meet with Brian Conley of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Most of the manufacturers are smaller operations so collaborative effort may be essential to benefit from economies of scale.

Dr. Kevin Lyons of Rutgers Business School joined a two-hour workshop-style meeting.  It was thrilling to learn about Kevin's work in the supply chain archaeology realm and how landfill mining is on the horizon.  With his procurement experience, Kevin's expertise is a valuable asset to Newark zero waste initiatives on many levels.

During an afternoon visit, Leroy Boone of Beth Israel Medical Center welcomed the Ei Team to the hospital.  Proactive, the hospital sends a portion of their food waste to an on-site digester, rather than its prior incinerator destination.  With a nearby urban garden, Leroy hopes to soon use the digester end product at the garden.  

Within the last couple of years the hospital embarked on an energy-saving program where light bulbs were replaced in the buildings and garage and storm windows installed - very important in a building whose original sectors are more than 100 years old.

Ei Partner Laura Keck of Kimberly-Clark joined the meeting via conference call to educate Leroy on the use of #5 plastic saline bottles as raw material in KC manufacturing processes. Action Point:  Laura and Leroy plan to explore a program to collect the saline bottles from Beth Israel along with other local hospitals for delivery to KC.

Newark Sustainability Commission
(names on FB album pic)
The first day ended with Amy and Holly presenting at the monthly Newark Environmental Commission meeting.  It was an excellent opportunity to understand the City's overall sustainability commitment and how zero waste initiatives interweave within many other programs.

Day two began with an one-on-one meeting with Holly and Elizabeth Reynoso, City of Newark Sustainability Office food policy director, an authentic, knowledgeable individual ready to take action on food policy issues.  The meeting ended with many open action points and excitement to move forward on some "easy wins" in the wasted food area.

Elizabeth "rides" her talk
After a recap lunch with Holly, Stephanie and Mahima Giri, Newark sustainability program manager, the group met with Michael Davidson, Greater Newark Convention & Visitors Bureau executive director.  With the airport Newark's biggest visitor draw, promoting cultural, entertainment and dining experiences to encourage time and dollars spent in Newark is a top priority. The organization is in the formation stage with abundant synergies; seeds for future collaboration were planted.

For a pictorial overview of the Ei's Newark trip, see the Ei FB album, Oct 02 & 03 Newark Zero Waste Visit.

Thank you Stephanie for your vision and commitment to building a sustainable future for Newark - the Ei Team looks forward to a long-term working relationship with Newark.  Thank you Mahima for planning the meeting series and your generous, hospitable spirit.  It was a fantastic visit!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Exemptions | Exclusions added to Atlanta Airport Info Packet

As the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Airport Pilot, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport works closely with the SFCI Team to bring sustainable operating practices to their operations, especially regarding food waste. In early 2012 the Atlanta Airport made a bold statement in the new concessionaire contract, the largest foodservice contract executed in North America. In the new contract, airport food vendors must meet 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.
For details on the Airport's contract provision along with the impressive 2011 Going Green Airport Award, visit the ZWA Blog posts, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Statement and Atlanta Airport SFCI Pilot Wins National Award.

The SFCI Sustainable Packaging Committee supports the airport and its concessionaires on understanding and meeting the contract provision. First on the agenda was preparation of the HJAIA Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet consisting of an introduction, fact sheet and frequently asked questions issued in April. The ZWA Blog post, Compostable Packaging Info Packet, announces the first rendition of the packet.

Over the summer the committee made several modifications to the packet to address product exemption and exclusions. The most significant additions to the Fact Sheet are underlined below:

Paper napkins are widely accepted as compostable and do not need to be third-party approved. Likewise, paper packets of salt & pepper and sweeteners do not need to be third-party approved as compostable.
Branded packaging used for food and beverage items manufactured by brand name food companies or by regional or national restaurant companies and supplied to restaurant locations operating at HJAIA are currently excluded from having to comply with the terms of this Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet. However, the excluded items relate solely to pre-packaging (e.g., beverage cans and bottles; snack food packaging such as nut, candy, and chip bags; and pre-packaged condiments). All other foodservice ware packaging/items must comply with this Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet. Exemptions issued by the City of Atlanta’s Department of Aviation may be granted, revoked, modified or suspended by DOA from time to time in their entirety or case-by-case basis. 
Excluded items require no action by the concessionaire. Exemption of specific items is provided by the City of Atlanta's Department of Aviation upon request on an annual basis. Working with the Airport, the committee will develop exemption forms for the concessionaires to submit.

Prepared as a flexible document, the packet is a valuable industry resource as compostable packaging becomes mainstream in food court operations. Future renditions are anticipated to address appropriate circumstances. Elemental Impact Partner HMSHost, the International Concourse concessionaire - the first airport foodservice under the new contract, works closely with the committee giving operator input for practical application.
The updated HJAIA Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet may be downloaded on the Ei site at this link and on the Institute for Local Self Reliance's site at this link.

Next on the committee action list is preparation of the Materials Usage forms concessionaires will complete to verify packaging meets the contract provision. Electronic versions are in process for a paperless completion option. HMSHost will be the first to complete the documents, giving the committee feedback to resolve tweaks prior to overall concessionaire distribution.

Thank you to the ILSR, specifically Brenda Platt, for the exceptional work on creating the documents and forms to support the Airport in their groundbreaking contract provision. Stay tuned for future updates on the journey.