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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Food Waste Focus @ Zero Waste Conference

On May 8 & 9 the national zero waste community converges upon Cincinnati, Ohio for the second annual U.S. Zero Waste Business Council Conference. In 2012 the stellar inaugural conference was held in Costa Mesa, CA with an enthusiastic crowd from across North America, including attendees from Hawaii, Toronto and each quadrant of the continent. 

For an overview of the 2012 USZWBC Conference, visit the ZWA Blog post, U.S. Zero Waste Business Council hosts first-rate conference. Stephanie Barger - USZWBC executive director - and the USZWBC Board are staged for an excellent encore performance, building off the solid foundation from the first conference.

Ei Ptrs @ 2012 USZWBC Conference
With a myriad of  topics addressed, the conference is an excellent educational experience for industry professionals seasoned in zero waste practices and those taking the initial steps.Topics range from innovations & markets, supply chain management, program promotion, food waste, property | facility management along with "how to achieve zero waste" success stories. A strong industry cross section is interwoven within panelists and keynote speakers. The conference program gives the details.

Food waste takes center stage on the second day with Lori Scozzafava,  U.S. Composting Council executive director, opening the plenary session with his State of Commercial Food Scrap Policies and Process in the United States presentation. Following Lori, the Greater Cincinnati Green Council.hosts the plenary panel The Composting Project and Tool Kit.

Scott show Amy pkging
during Piazza tour
For the mid morning break out sessions, Elemental Impact founder Holly Elmore moderates a powerful panel discussion, Zero Waste is a Team Sport. comprised of Ei Partners. The ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport, inspired the panel name and topic.

Scott Lutocka, Plazza Produce facilities manager, leads the discussion with a presentation on the supply chain's critical role in zero waste success. Speaking with authority, Scott brought Piazza Produce to zero waste though ingenuity, determination and working with Piazza's suppliers. On the other hand, Scott understands Piazza's produce packaging integrity directly impacts their customers' ability to achieve zero waste. The ZWA Blog post, Supply Chain Critical to Zero Waste Success, gives a foundation of the supply chain's role in zero waste programs.

Amy Moreland & Chris Bradlee
in Newark for zero waste education
Second on the panel agenda is Chris Bradlee with BASF who presents on Sustainable Saturdays at Safeco Field where teamwork was integral to success. Working in partnership with the Seattle Mariners, BASF pulled together community, corporate and non-profits to develop a fun, educational program. Last fall Chris presented on the Seattle Mariner's Sustainable Saturdays during the two-day City of Newark zero waste workshop and meetings. Chris' PPT presentation is available on the Ei Meetings & Events Page.and the ZWA Blog post, Ei Team Visits Newark for Zero Waste Education, is a Newark visit overview.

Rounding out the panel is Perry Kranias - HMSHost food & beverage manager at the Tampa International Airport - who presents on food donation programs. HMSHost's amazing food donation commitment is featured in the ZWA Blog post, Reduce First, Donate Second and Compost Third. Perry's unwavering community commitment along HMSHost's partnership with the The Food Donation Connection built an impressive donation program that makes a tremendous difference in Tampa and beyond.  

Perry w/ food donation - YUM!
After the Zero Waste is a Team Sport panel, the conference convenes for lunch where Jim Larson with The Food Donation Connection is the keynote speaker.- impeccable timing! The Food Donation Connection model focuses on the tax benefits derived from food donation to organizations meeting the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. It is important to ground sustainable practices as good business practices.

Ei is well represented at the conference. In addition to the Zero Waste is a Team Sport panel,  Ei Partners Bruce Buchan of CleanRiver Recycling Solutions and Amy Moreland of Heritage Interactive Services present on panels.

Conference registration remains open yet space is filling quickly.  What an opportunity to learn from the pros on the important role zero waste practices play in sustainable business models!

Monday, April 22, 2013

SFCI Atlanta Airport Pilot: ACTION Resumes!

In a holding pattern since last summer, the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Atlanta Airport Pilot returns to ACTION mode. When the SFCI pilot launched in June, 2011, the SFCI Team moved into immediate, powerful action. See the ZWZ Blog post, Atlanta Airport - First SFCI Pilot!, for details on the pilot announcement, including the national team members.

With impeccable launch timing, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was in the midst of the concessionaire RFP - request for proposal - for the entire airport. The City of Atlanta Office of Sustainability and Department of Aviation team, led by Michael Cheyne - Atlanta Airport director of asset management & sustainability - made the bold, courageous and successful move to include the following provision in the RFP: 
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 additional information on the ground-breaking contract provision, visit the ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Sustainable Statement

The first SFCI Team task was preparation of the HJAIA Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet consisting of introduction, fact sheet and frequently asked question sections. In April, 2012 the info packet was issued as a downloadable document via the ZWA Blog post, Compostable Packaging Info Packet. Exemptions and exclusions were specifically addressed in the amended document announced in the ZWA Blog post, Exemptions | Exclusions Added to the Airport Info Packet.

Next on the agenda was development of a Material Usage Form to track contract provision compliance. With form elements complete, SFCI Team member Brenda Platt with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance is working with the City of Atlanta IT department on an on-line, paperless document for concessionaire completion.

Other than the Materials Usage Form, the SFCI Atlanta Airport Team went into a holding pattern in June, 2012. Due to the phase-in nature of the new contract, Concourses A - E & T are hybrids of concessionaires operating under the prior and new contracts throughout 2013.

April, 2012 tour group
see Ei FB album for names
Terminal F - the International Terminal - opened in May, 2012 under the new contract with Ei Partner & SFCI Team Member HMSHost the concourse concessionaire. Prior to opening, the SFCI Team toured the under-construction facility.  See the ZWA Blog post, SFCI Team Tours New ATL Airport Int'l Concourse, supported by the Ei FB album. 04-12-12 SFCI Team Tour of ATL Airport for a tour recap.

With the Atlanta Airport late 2012 shift to Republic Services for their waste & recycling services, Michael Cheyne requested a tour of the Airport's recycling stream destination. Republic delivers the Airport recycling stream to the Pratt Recycling MRF (material recovery facility) in East Point. With schedules flowing, Elemental Impact Chair Scott Seydel joined and Myles Cohen, Pratt Recycling president, led the late March tour with Republic associates attending.

In addition Ei orchestrated a Wilbros Organic Recovery & Biofuels facility visit for Michael. As of this post writing, Wilbros is the only composting site in GA permitted to accept food waste that is accepting food waste. For details on the tours, see the ZWA Blog post, "Seeing is Believing" - the magic of tours. The Ei FB albums, 03-25-13 Pratt MRF Tour and 03-29-13 Wilbros Organic Recovery & Biofuels Tour, include tour pictorial recaps.

SFCI Team during Int' l Concourse Tour
see Ei FB album for names
With the International Terminal nearing its one-year anniversary, the SFCI Team reunited on April 17 for a facility tour. Fact finding in nature, the tour included the terminal loading dock area along with food court front & back-of-the-house operations. Thank you to Kyle Mastin, Atlanta Airport concessionaire manager, for handling the security escort and loading dock tour and Tim Slaney, HMSHost senior director, for the food court operations tour.

For a tour pictorial recap, see the Ei FB album, 04-17-13 SFCI Team Tour - ATL Airport Int'l Concourse.

In early May, the SFCI Atlanta Airport Team will tour the Pratt MRF followed by a zero waste strategy session dedicated to action. It is thrilling to move back in action mode - stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Seeing is Believing" - the magic of tours

At the foundation of Elemental Impact's tagline Sustainability in ACTION is integrity.  Ei Partners are committed to working as a team to develop flexible programs and practices that evolve along with shifts in technology, circumstances and economic parameters. Education is essential to weave integrity within program|practice development.

Jim Lanier w/ Earth Farms
educating Ei Ptrs
Tours are excellent vehicles to learn first-hand about industry practices and fellow partner business expertise. Ei hosts industry and partner tours designed for experiential education, strategic planning and bonding among the Ei Team. Tour participation is open to Ei Partners, Strategic Allies and Advisory Council Members.

March was full of amazing tours beginning with the powerful Charlotte Ei Partner Tours. The IMPACT Blog  post, Charlotte Ei Partner Toursis an overview of the two days hosted by Ei Partners HMSHost and Simon Property Group. The ZWA Blog post, Bring the Possible out of Impossible, dives deeper into the tours & presentations with a focus on food waste collection, wasted food donation and plastic film recycling.

As the month closed Ei embarked on a series of metro-Atlanta educational tours focused on existing operations and exploring innovative technology.

With the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Atlanta Airport pilot shift to Republic Services for their waste & recycling services, Michael Cheyne - Atlanta Airport director, asset management & sustainability - requested a tour of the airport's recycling stream destination. Republic delivers the airport recycling stream to the PrattRecycling MRF (material recovery facility) in East Point.

Myles & Scott during tour
With schedules flowing, Ei Chair Scott Seydel and Myles Cohen - Pratt Recycling president- made the tour a priority in their hectic calendars.The tour started with a presentation of Pratt Industries & Pratt Recycling - impressive! Then Myles took the group, including Republic Services associates in-charge of the airport contract, on a MRF tour.

Simplicity is the theme at the Pratt MRF, which results in cost-effective, clean material bales. Mixed paper & OCC (old corrugated cardboard) are transferred to the Pratt mill in Conyers as feedstock for their 100% recycled content cardboard production. Other content is sold in the commodity market for recycling.

Contaminated material not fit for recycling is used in the Pratt Mill's gasification plant, none is landfill destined. The Ei FB album, 03-25-13 Pratt MRF Tour, is a pictorial recap of the tour.

compost screening @ Wilbros
Later in the week Michael, Ei founder Holly Elmore and Melissa Selem traveled to Toccoa, 90 miles north of Atlanta, to visit Wilbros Organic Recovery & Biofuels facility. As of this post writing, Wilbros is the only composting site in GA permitted to accept food waste that is accepting food waste. Only one hauler, Southern Green Industries - an Ei Supporter - is collecting Atlanta commercial food waste for transport to Wilbros.

Wiblros founder Joe Wilbanks gave an excellent facility tour including their on-site water treatment system, biofuel production and composting site. Despite local odor complaints, the site had the sweet smell of compost, not offensive to anyone who loves soil. For a tour pictorial recap, see the Ei FB album, 03-29-13 Wilbros Organic Recovery & Biofuels Tour.

In mid 2012 SFCI Atlanta Airport Pilot went into a holding pattern while the new airport concessions contract went into effect. Here is a quick summary of the contract status: 
The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport concessionaire contract requires food vendors to use compostable serviceware along with consumer facing packaging for single-use items.  Due to the phase-in nature of the contract, the entire Airport will be operational under the new contract in the first quarter 2014.  The Airport’s on-site food waste composting system is scheduled to accept material by the end of 2014.  Although encouraged to meet the provision upon opening, concessionaires operate within a grace period until December 31, 2014, upon which the compostable packaging provision will be enforced.
For details on the contract provision along with the SFCI Team supporting role, see the ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes Bold Statement, for details on the contract provision. 

SFCI Team tours the Int'l
Concourse near end of  construction
In mid-April, the SFCI Team reconvenes at the International Concourse for a tour & meeting. With a new waste & recycling hauler, fresh energy is interjected into the Team. Ei Partner HMSHost operates the International Concourse foodservice and is a true team player.Action is around the corner!

Rounding out the March tours Scott and Holly were treated to a tour of the recently opened GenAgain plant located in Lithia Springs. Using innovative technology, GenAgain accepts "dirty plastic" generally landfilled or sent overseas.and returns it to petroleum. Plastic contaminated with oil, such as motor oil containers, are perfect for GenAgain. Landfill destined rigid plastics from toys, lawn furniture etc. are accepted once non-plastic items (batteries for example) are removed and the plastic is chipped to a specified size.

Scott & GenAgain managing
partner Robin Curtis at tour end
Currently, three other U.S. plants are operating with the same technology and GenAgain plans to build 15 more plants in the Southeast over the next five years. Once opening glitches are discovered, Ei intends  to schedule a tour with Atlanta zero waste leaders to maximize the recycling opportunities offered by GenAgain.

"Seeing is Believing" is inherent within the importance of tours.  With the plethora of educational tools available - webinars, videos, photo albums - there is something magical about the physical presence. Witnessing the passion of facility owners & managers as they educate on their operations is beyond inspiring. Synergies abound and potentials often move into action.  Stay tuned for future Ei Tours and action points from the March tour marathon.