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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Zero Waste is a Team Sport, a powerful USZWBC conference panel

On May 8 & 9 the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council hosted their second annual conference in Cincinnati, OH with an impressive program of national and global leaders educating, entertaining and inspiring attendees. During day 1 sessions the focus was on overall zero waste success, mainly in the corporate arena. 

"Know Your Trash" emerged as a common theme among presenters.The ZWA Blog post, Know Your Trash, up close & personal, is an overview of the first day sessions. In addition to "Know Your Trash" several other common themes intertwined the presentations including keep it simple, shift corporate culture and engage employees through education and incentives.

Within the food waste focus on the second day, the common thread among presenters was the importance of working together - zero waste is achieved via team work.  The ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste Success Requires WE Consciousness, summarizes the powerful plenary sessions.

Ei panel:  Holly, Chris, Scott
& Perry
photo courtesy of Amy Moreland
As part of the morning break-out panels, Elemental Impact founder Holly Elmore moderated the Zero Waste is a Team Sport panel inspired by the ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport, where the WE Consciousness was introduced.  Ei Partners Scott Lutocka - Piazza Produce, Chris Bradlee - BASF, and Perry Kranias - HMSHost - Tampa International Airport - shared their success stories grounded in team effort.

After Holly's opening remarks, Scott led the panel with his The Supply Chain's Critical Role in Zero Waste Success presentation.  In 2012 Piazza Produce surpassed the coveted 90% landfill diversion rate under Scott's leadership as facilities manager. A foodservice produce distributor, Piazza is both a customer and an industry supplier. During his talk, Scott explained how he worked with Piazza's produce suppliers to eliminate trash components within packaging. 

Herb box - no glue on the
Styrofoam insert!
photo courtesy of Scott Lutocka
An excellent example is a Styrofoam panel was glued to the cardboard box used for shipping herbs. Piazza recycles Styrofoam and cardboard, yet the glue rendered the entire box trash. A simple call to the herb farmer resulted in elimination of the glue. All win: Piazza separates the Styrofoam and cardboard for recycling; the farmer experienced reduced material and labor costs by eliminating the gluing process.

Scott ended his excellent presentation with Piazza's role in their customer's zero waste programs. If products are shipped in non-recyclable packaging, the supplier prevents their customer from achieving zero waste, defined here as "zero." Scott is committed to a proactive approach to supporting their customer's recycling programs.

Frequently, produce is delivered in paraffin-based waxed cardboard that withstands water flow inherent within the cleaning and packaging process. Also, produce may be ice-packed for transport. As explained in the ZWZ Blog post, Waxed Cardboard Boxes = Landfill Destiny = $$ Lost, paraffin-based waxed cardboard is a contaminant for recycling and composting operations.

landfill-destined waxed
cardboard produce box
Along with Ei Partner Chemol, Scott is exploring how Piazza may work with their farmer suppliers to replace paraffin-based waxed coating with a recyclable | compostable alternative coating. Chemol produces a cost-effective wax alternative coating. Future posts will document the initiative challenges and successes.

Next on the panel, Chris presented on the Seattle Mariner's Sustainable Saturdays program at Safeco Field. Each Saturday home game features a sustainable theme, give-aways and fun contests for the fans. As a sponsor of the Seattle Mariner's zero waste program, BASF was instrumental in bringing the necessary community and corporate players together for a winning zero waste season.

But, where to start? With organics - food waste & yard waste - more than 50% of the Mariner's waste profile, beginning with an organics collection system for composting was a natural emphasis in program development. Cedar Grove, a Seattle-based composting facility, joined the team as the organics destination.

Chris during his presentation
A manufacturer of resin used in compostable products, BASF worked with Centerplate - the stadium foodservice concessionaire - on a compostable packaging line that aligned with their menu. Even a compostable peanut bag was introduced! Camp Fire USA troops "worked" the games to help the fans properly separate their materials into appropriate bins. As the stadium custodial contractor, Aramark is essential to ensure clean, source-separated material is aggregated for hauling to the recycling or composting destinations.

The Seattle Mariner's zero waste program mascots, Kid Compost and Captain Plastic, promote the Sustainable Saturday events and contests. Forterra, Seattle Public Utilities and Puget Sounds Starts Here give the local government and non-profit team flavor.

SUCCESS: In fiscal year 2011, 974 tons of material was recycled | composted with a $95,000 cost-savings! Since taking the first zero waste steps in 2005, the Mariner's estimate an overall $2,000,000 in cost-savings from their zero waste initiatives.To learn more about the BASF | Seattle Mariner's partnership, watch the four minute Sustainable Saturdays video.

Rounding out the panel, Perry shared the Tampa Airport's role in creating a food donation template for HMSHost's nearly 100 North American airport foodservice operations. Due to quality and customer selection standards, a food preparation overage is built into HMSHost's business model. The airport "grab 'n go" meals have a maximum 24 hour shelf life.

Perry during his presntation
Starting with the "grab 'n go" prepared food, HMSHost donates their delicious, nutritious sandwiches, salads, fruit and yogurt parfaits to a local children's center during the week.  Often, the HMSHost meal is the child's primary daily meal. On the weekend, the food is donated to a homeless shelter. Since the 2010 program launch, HMSHost Tampa Airport donated over 550,000 healthy, delicious meals to the community.

Moving beyond "grab 'n go" donations to food court restaurants, the HMSHost - Tampa Airport donates prepared, un-served food from their Quick Service Restaurants and seating dining establishments. Quality control standards at the restaurants result in a significant food donation opportunity.  For example, at Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen fried chicken has a 20 minute shelf life after leaving the fryer; at 21 minutes the tasty chicken is "un-servable" yet perfect for donation. 

Rev White collecting donated food
@ Concord Mills
photo courtesy of Brian Shetron
The ZWA Blog post, Concord Mills: The Power of WE in Action, is an overview of the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Shopping Mall Pilot - Concord Mills restaurant food donation program launch, including the challenges overcome. Concord Mills' - a Simon mall - food court is HMSHost operated.  Like Perry, Brian Shetron - CM HMSHost manager - is a leader who created the HMSHost restaurant food donation template.

Thanks to Perry, Brian and their teams' heroic efforts in building a strong, easy-to-follow template, over 65 HMSHost airports participate in a food donation program at some level.  

HMSHost partners with the Food Donation Connection for their national donation program.  FDC assists HMSHost determine the un-served food that meets the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, identifies the local recipients, and provides an excellent metrics platform that calculates the tax deduction associated with the donation. The ZWA Blog post, Food Donation: Everyone WINS!, explains how the community, the foodservice operator and the holder of restaurant's waste contracts benefit from food donation. As a company HMSHost donated over 1.2 million pieces of food year-to-date as of May 31 and is on track for 2.5 million pieces of food donated in 2013.

To learn more about HMSHost - Tampa Airport's leadership role in commercial food donation programs see the ZWA Blog's all-time most popular post, Reduce First, Donate Second & Compost Third.  

Stephanie Barger (USZWBC), Holly
& Jim
photo courtesy of Scott Lutocka
Jim Larson with FDC was the conference luncheon keynote speaker. In his presentation, Jim featured HMSHost, Darden Restaurants among others in his powerful session on FDC's important program. 

The ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste Success Requires WE Consciousness, features Jim's keynote presentation. In partnership with YUM! Brands, FDC produced an excellent video, HMSHost and Food Donation Connection Food Rescue, on how their system works featuring the Tampa Airport donation program.

The Zero Waste is a Team Sport panel PPT presentations are available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page. For a pictorial recap of the panel, visit the Ei FB album, 05-09-13 USZWBC Conference - Food Waste Focus.

With industry leaders working together, moving beyond zero waste to a no-waste scenario is on the horizon. The WE Consciousness embraces synergies without regard to government, corporate or other boundaries.  Industry heroes like Piazza Produce, BASF & HMSHost bring the possible out of impossible, creating evolved industry operating standards.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Zero Waste Success Requires WE Consciousness

On May 8 & 9 the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council hosted their second annual conference in Cincinnati, OH with an impressive program of national and global leaders educating, entertaining and inspiring attendees. During day 1 sessions the focus was on overall zero waste success, mainly in the corporate environment. 

"Know Your Trash" emerged as a common theme among presenters.The ZWA Blog post, Know Your Trash, up close & personal, is an overview of the first day sessions. In addition to "Know Your Trash" several other common themes intertwined the presentations. 

Ei Partners @ Conference
names in Ei FB album
After top management buy-in, securing associate engagement supported by consistent, repetitive training was emphasized. Rewarding employees for program participation along with system improvement suggestions was key. On the other hand, peer pressure is an excellent motivator for the late adapters and nay sayers. Simplicity is best when developing program parameters and logistics.

On the second day the conference zeroed in on a food waste focus. The ZWA Blog post, Food Waste Focus at Zero Waste Conference, is a preview of the morning sessions, including the Elemental Impact panel, Zero Waste is a Team Sport.

Lori Scozzafava @ podium
After opening remarks by Gary Liss - USZWBC president & with Gary Liss & Associates, the U.S. Composting Council executive director Lori Scozzafava gave an impressive keynote presentation, State of Commercial Food Scrap Policies and Processes in the United States. After learning about the increase in available permitted food waste destination facilities, Lori fielded questions from the enthusiastic, inquisitive audience.

Next, the Greater Cincinnati Green Business Council hosted the "How the GCGBC is Working to Expand Regional Composting" moderated by Scott Hassell, sustainability manager for Fifth Third Bank at CB Richard Ellis. Cincy exemplifies the power of the WE Consciousness and what may be accomplished when all work together with a common vision. The WE Consciousness was introduced in the ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport.

Scott Hassell @ podium
Committed to action, the GCGBC completed its first project: Workplace Composting Toolkit, which is available as a downloadable document on their site. Unique in its structure, GCGBC membership is by invitation with in-kind contributions and active participation required. Meetings are held every six weeks and members may only miss two meetings per year. There is no cash exchange; in fact, GCGBC does not have a bank account.

Joining Scott on the panel was Ann Powers - Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Bill Grosas - Luxottica, David Wimmel - Jones Lang LaSalle | Procter & Gamble and Grant Gibson - Compost Cincy, representing the spectrum of necessary players for success. Compost Cincy operates a well-managed composting facility permitted to accept food waste on a long closed landfill about ten miles outside of the city. Rumpke collects and hauls the food waste to Compost Cincy.

Luxottica validated the "lessons learned" discussed in the first day sessions with their impressive zero waste program, including food waste collection. The waste generators - companies like Luxottica - must shift their culture from waste to material management to engage necessary employee participation.  

GCGBC Panel - see FB album for names
Property management companies - Jones Lang LaSalle and CB Richard Ellis - hold the hauling contracts and are critical to a generator's ability to achieve zero waste. In general, the management companies purchase the common area recycling bins and contract with custodial services. It was empowering to witness the zero waste partnership inherent within the Jones Lang LaSalle | P&G and CB Richard Ellis | Fifth Third Bank relationships - the WE Consciousness at work!

The mid-morning breakout sessions continued the theme of "playing well together" for success.  Sue Beets - SBM Management corporate sustainability manager & USZWBC Board Member moderated the Property and Facility Management panel.  Ei Partner Bruce Buchan - CleanRiver Recycling Solutions CEO - joined Randy Van Winkle - SBM Management operations manager - and Richard Kiley - JanPak vice-president of national accounts - on the informative panel.

Gary Liss - Gary Liss & Associates & USZWBC president  - moderated the panel Retail & Reuse featuring Susanne Fredericks with Goodwill and MaryEllen Etienne with Reuse Alliance. Rounding out the breakout session, Ei founder Holly Elmore moderated a hospitality panel, Zero Waste is a Team Sport, of Ei Partners: Scott Lutocka (Piazza Produce), Chris Bradlee (BASF) and Perry Kranias (HMSHost - Tampa Airport).

Stephanie Barger, Holly Elmore &
Jim Larson; photo courtesy of
Scott Lutocka
For lunch attendees gathered in the main conference room for Jim Larson's empowering keynote presentation on the Food Donation Connection's wasted food donation program.  The ZWA Blog post, Reduce First, Donate Second and Compost Third, gives an overview of the tremendous amount of wasted food - edible food no longer suitable for service - that goes to composting or the landfill instead of hungry bellies.

Ei Partners Bruce Buchan &
Clark Seydel of Chemol
Inherent in the FDC business model is creating a scenario where all win with a food donation program. All is defined as the foodservice operator, facility who contracts for hauling services and the community. The ZWA Blog post: Food Waste Donation: Everyone WINS!, highlights FDC programs implemented in partnership with HMSHost at the Tampa Airport and Concord Mills, a Simon mall in Charlotte, NC. 

In partnership with YUM! Brands, FDC produced an excellent video, HMSHost and Food Donation Connection Food Rescue, on how their system works featuring the Tampa Airport donation program.

Following lunch, the conference program included concurrent topic panels: Organic Recycling Technologies, Supply Chain Management and How to Communicate & Market the Zero Waste Message.  Break-out small group discussions led by USZWBC Board Members closed the excellent conference. 

Conference PPT presentations are available for download on the USZWBC 2013 Conference page. For a pictorial recap of the conference second day, visit the Ei FB album, 05-09-13 USZWBC Conference - Food Waste Focus.

Congratulations to USZWBC staff - Stephanie Barger, Gary Liss & Emily DeCremer - along with Board Members for orchestrating a phenomenal conference program.  Your work is important and making tremendous impact on creating a zero waste focus standard in business and community models. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Know Your Trash, up close & personal

At the second annual U.S. Zero Waste Business Council conference held at the Westin Cincinnati May 8 & 9, a common theme emerged from the first day of excellent presentations: Know Your Trash, up close & personal!  Hiring a company to perform a waste audit creates a baseline; participating, literally hands-on, in a waste audit creates a visual of the task at hand. When corporate management witnesses first-hand the waste inherent within operations, a company culture emerges that facilitates creation of zero waste practices that are standard operating practices.

The second conference was a powerful encore performance following the first USZWBC June, 2012 conference in Costa Mesa, CA. Visit the ZWA Blog post, USZWBC hosts first-rate conference, for a program overview. The Ei FB album,  06-12 US Zero Waste Business Council Conference, is a conference pictorial recap.

Cincy Vice Mayor Roxanne Qalls
After a hearty welcome from City of Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, the stellar 2013 program launched with Robert Bottom's of Honda of America Manufacturing keynote presentation on Honda's zero waste commitment: 94% of material generated is recycled! Robert highlighted associate engagement via an individual and team-based point system.

Three excellent panels along with a small group break-out discussion session were the format for the remaining first-day program.

Corey, Mark, Scott & Stephanie 
The Leading the Way: Businesses and Zero Waste - Diverting over 90% from landfill, incineration and the environment panel included Corey Hawkey - The Ohio State University sustainability coordinator, Scott Stephenson - Mitsubishi Electric America corporate manager, and Mark Fisher - Cincinnati Zoo director of facilities, planning & sustainability.

Corey @ the podium
photo courtesy of Scott Lutocka
In his presentation on OSU's football stadium zero waste achievement, Corey mentioned the first step was a waste audit to understand the material generated. With an average of 105.000 fans per game, OSU led the way to zero waste at major collegiate sport stadiums with no precedent to follow. For more details on OSU's monumental final game 98.2% recycling rate, see the ZWA Blog post, Power of the Voice.

Scott gave an impressive presentation on Mitsubishi's profitable, 98% zero waste program. The first of Scott's 4 Steps to Waste Reduction inspired the blog post name:

  1. Know what is in your waste - participate in regular in-house and off-site waste audits; get over "getting dirty" and "bad smells"; take lots of pictures as they tell the story.
  2. Remove what can be recycled or reused - a plastic film baler paid for itself in two years; a polystyrene densifier paid for itself in 2 1/2 yrs; 2 tons of coffee grinds per year are composted & given to employees for their home gardens.
  3. Reduce what cannot be recycled - began purchasing consumable items in smaller quantities, which reduced unnecessary usage.
  4. Maximize waste awareness - 20% of associate bonuses are based on maintaining the 98% recycling rate; Wall of Shame - pictures are taken of associate trash | recycling containers and posted on the Wall of Shame when zero wastes practices not followed.
  5. Repeat 1 ~ 4.
One of the most entertaining presentations was Mark's overview of the Cincinnati Zoo's road to zero waste from its 2005 baseline - 0% diversion rate, not even aluminum cans were recycled!  In less than eight years, the Zoo is a hallmark of sustainability, zero waste and beyond.

Once common recycling was addressed, Mark focused on how to compost 1000# of elephant poop generated per day. With an available destination and hauler in-place, the significant challenge was creating in-zoo transport logistics with no overtime. Mark secured 100% buy-in from the staff and it took six months to figure out a working system. Result: smaller animal areas asked to include their "poop" in the collection system.

With 1.4 million guests per year, the Zoo sees itself as a role model for public education on the importance of zero waste and sustainable practices.  The Zoo is on a relentless pursuit of improvement using common sense with simple, frugal solutions. A Zoo mantra:  Let's do it better!

Kelly, Scott, Tom & Gary Liss (USZWBC)
After a relaxed lunch, the vigorous program resumed with the How to get to Zero Waste panel: Tom Wright - Whole Foods sustainability consultant, Scott Burns - Procter & Gamble Global Asset Recovery Purchases associate director, and Kelly Harris - MillerCoors sustainability development coordinator. Tom lead off the session with an overview of Whole Food's impressive sustainability commitment and achievements.

To start his presentation, Scott showed an image-only short video to emphasize the magnitude of P&G's global impact on our daily lives. In 2007 Scott was selected to develop an internal program to identify where valuable products and material were treated as trash.  As a result of his call to action, Scott created GARP. In six years, GARP grew to 35 employees and is responsible for a collective $1 billion in cost-savings, often by donating important products to third world countries. As of this post, 46 plants around the globe achieved zero waste status.

Scott telling P&G imp message
Scott tells an amazing story of how 750,000 infant diapers (30 tractor trailer loads) were collected by charity within hours before landfill destination. Months later Scott was in Haiti on a medical mission where he first-hand witnessed the diapers serving a vital community need. Hearing Scott tell the story puts into perspective the importance of redirecting unused, unsalable products, rather than taking the easier landfill route.

As an encore presenter from the 2012 USZWBC conference, Kelly gave an impressive update on MillerCoor's brewery in Golden, CO - the largest brewery in the world. In addition to zero waste achievement, the brewery reduced energy consumption 29.3% year-to-date in 2013. The brewery, which uses 4 million gallons of water per day, reduced water consumption by 8.5% or 340,000 gallons per day.

Kelly spoke on how sustainability programs requires a sales approach to associates and a culture shift within the organization. Employing the KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid - philosophy, Kelly achieved 100% recycling program improvement by color coding the entire brewery. One of Kelly's mottoes is: Stop - Is it Recyclable? Truth is almost everything is reusable or recyclable; if not, it is replaceable.

Amy, Marty, Terry, Sue & Gary
The day's program ended with the Markets and Innovations panel moderated by USZWBC president Gary Liss - Gary Liss & Associates: Sue Beets - SBM Management corporate sustainability manager, Terry McDonald - St. Vincent de Paul executive director, Amy Moreland - Heritage Interactive Services director of international business & supplier relations, and Marty Metro - Used Cardboard Boxes.

Leading the panel with her Value of Materials presentation, Sue noted SBM Management has 19 years of sustainability management experience and in 2012 managed 38 major recycling locations. In 2012 SBM's award-winning recycling program diverted 117 million tons of material from landfills and generated $11.9 million of documented client savings - IMPRESSIVE!

Sue @ podium
photo courtesy of Scott Lutocka
After her overview of the commodities market and process steps, Sue emphasized the importance of assessing the "whole picture": labor, equipment & hauling charges and material value. Often janitorial costs are the least expensive component. In closing, Sue spoke of the important role solid waste and recycling monthly tracking progress plays in successful programs, a perfect segue for Amy's Tracking Your Success & Difficult Waste Streams presentation.  

With the recent IS2 Data Management System launch, companies may now benefit from the incredible tracking system previously only available to Interactive clients. Documenting progress and success is integral to defining program status and taking it to next levels. As a by-product and logistics management company, Interactive works closely with clients, at times with on-site staff, to create cost-saving systems where the corporate bottom line and the environment benefit.

Terry @ podium
Next Terry gave an impressive presentation, Spinning gold from waste, on the valuable role the thrift industry plays in material recovery. Beyond the social impact, St Vincent de Paul's reuse, recycling and upcycling efforts contribute to a community's ability to divert valuable material from the landfill.  Finishing out the panel, Marty gave compelling testament in his Reuse a multimillion business on the tremendous economic cost of limited product reuse, even if it goes to recycling.

The fast-paced program ended with a lovely reception where conference attendees recapped the day in a relaxed, social setting overlooking Cincinnati's fountain square.

Scott Lutocka, Chris Bradlee & Jim Larson
@ reception
Elemental Impact was well represented at the conference with numerous Ei Partners serving on various panels throughout the two-day conference.  On the first day, HIS presented while BASF, HMSHost, CleanRiver and Piazza Produce were scheduled on the second day. Ei founder Holly Elmore orchestrated and moderated the Zero Waste is a Team Sport panel.  

In addition to "Know Your Trash" several other common themes intertwined the presentations.  After top management buy-in, securing associate engagement supported by consistent, repetitive training was emphasized. Rewarding employees for program participation along with system improvement suggestions was key. On the other hand, peer pressure is an excellent motivator for the late adopters and nay sayers - LOVE the "Wall of Shame!"  From a basic perspective, simplicity is best when developing program parameters and logistics.

With a variety of industries along with non-profits showcasing their success, it was empowering to understand common ingredients underlie zero waste  programs that improve the bottom line.

Conference PPT presentations are available for download on the USZWBC 2013 Conference page. For a pictorial recap of the USZWBC second annual conference, see the Ei FB album, 05-08-13 USZWBC Second Annual Conference

The conference second day is featured in the ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste Success Requires WE Consciousness, along with the Ei FB album, 05-09-13 USZWBC Conference - Food Waste Focus, for the pictorial recap. For an overview of the second day panel of Ei Partners moderated by Holly, see the ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport, a powerful panel.

Kudos to the USZWBC for hosting a second stellar conference!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Zero WATER Waste: more than a goal, a necessity

Water footprints matter too ..
image from Pitter Patter
Zero Water Waste - why is it not a mantra?  Water conservation gets heavy duty play yet calling attention to specific waste is an added dimension for zero waste advocates.  As in landfill-destined material, the many proverbial low-hanging fruit were addressed by astute business leaders in recent years.

Companies achieved water usage reduction by fixing leaky faucets and installing low-flush toilets, waterless urinals and no-touch sink faucets. Larger facilities experienced impressive savings, often with quick return-on-investment for the capital investment. 

self-service water station @ a
GA Tech Conference Center event
In the foodservice industry, where high water consumption is inherent in operations, offering customers water upon request, utilizing self-service water stations at events & conferences and thawing frozen food in refrigeration units - versus under cold running water - were easy, effective water-saving practices.  New commercial dishwashers are available with reduced water usage and low-flow pre-rinse spray valves are common in kitchens. It seemed most of the "easy" water-saving tasks were complete.

Yet, the proverbial tree matured with a new batch of water-saving ripe fruit!  Tying water-savings to kitchen grease generation is a frontier with a simple solution.

YUM - yet generates kitchen grease
For foodservice operations, building codes and | or health permits require hood systems over stoves, fryers and other kitchen equipment. Fans pull the grease generated during cooking through baffle filters and into a duct system destined for the roof. Fire codes require regular kitchen hood system cleaning, with many operations cleaning the grease build-up on a monthly basis. On average each hood cleaning uses 350 gallons of water, which is discharged to the local sewer system filled with grease and toxic cleaning solutions.

Ei Partner Ellis Fibre designed a patented lambs wool filter that is placed in front of the hood baffle filters. Note the baffle filter purpose is to "baffle" flames to prevent entrance into the duct system and contain a grease fire within the kitchen. The Ellis Fibre filters collect 90 - 95% of the grease BEFORE it enters the ducts. Thus, grease build-up is prevented throughout the hood system and on the roof. In addition to a fire hazard, rooftop grease build-up may cause structure damage resulting in costly repairs for the building owner.

recently installed Grease Lock
system with the EF filters
Nightly baffle filter washing, a labor and water intensive endeavor, is a common final kitchen closing task. With the EF filters, baffle filters are generally washed on a weekly basis; thus an 86% labor & water reduction for the task. With limited grease flowing into the ducts the roof remains in good repair around the exhaust area.

The BIG savings are in the reduced monthly hood cleanings to once or twice per year. Periodic inspections are required to determine if a hood cleaning is required pursuant the fire code. At 350 gallons per cleaning, one restaurant will on average save 3500 gallons water and related cleaning toxins per year. Note larger facilities - hotels, conference centers, event venues - have numerous kitchens with hood systems. Potential water & toxin savings are tremendous.

In addition to water, toxin & labor savings, the reduced hood cleaning keeps heavy industrial trucks off the road decreasing the area's carbon footprint.

grease build-up in the kitchen
hood system ducts
Elemental Impact is spearheading an Ellis Fibre | Grease Lock (EF filters are sold through Grease Lock distributors) Pilot to quantify the water, toxin and labor savings in an independent engineer's report. Renown engineer Jayendra Parikh of Compliance Solutions International will issue the paper that quantifies the environmental and business impact of the Grease Lock filter system. Along with a fried chicken quick service restaurant and a casual dining concept, HMSHost is participating in the pilot with one of their Atlanta Airport locations. The Ei FB album, 02-20-13 Grease Lock Pilot Tour, is a pictorial recap of the tour initiating the pilot.

Once published, a future ZWA Blog post will announce the report with anticipated impressive results.

Across industry boundaries, it is time to focus on high water consumption practices and determine how to reduce usage. Simple habit shifts may be the reduction answer for some while other areas may require advanced technology solutions.  Ei is studying a new system that significantly lowers cooling tower water consumption in large facilities. A tour is scheduled later this month at an installed system in Tampa, Florida. 

Together with Ei Partner EcoLogic Solutions, Ei is exploring an evolution in cleaning practices that addresses water usage & toxicity. The IMPACT Blog post, NYC Ei Partner Tours, gives an overview of ELS operations while the post, ELS Receives EPA Award, honors ELS for their impressive U.S. EPA award.

compliments of  KitchAnn Style
The water footprint is as or even more important than the carbon footprint. Global warming garners the headlines using the carbon footprint as the accepted sustainability measurement tool. The fact water is immediately essential to sustaining life seems ignored.  For human survival:  first, a human must breath; second, a human stay hydrated and third, a human must consume nutritious food. Water is at the foundation of #2 & #3. 

For Ei soil and water health is at the foundation of our important work. While stewards of the Zero Waste Zones, Ei was instrumental in bringing the collection of commercial food waste for compost to national prominence.  With the National Restaurant Association ZWZ purchase last fall (see the ZWA Blgo post, Ei: An Established Program Creator, for details), Ei's focus is on compost's imperative role in rejuvenating soil systems.  Note Ei founder Holly Elmore is the self-appointed spokesperson for Compost, The Quiet Hero via numerous national speaking engagements.

Water and soil are natural soul mates and must be addressed in unison. Stay tuned as Ei uses our powerful zero waste foundation to impact water waste and toxicity  The fun is escalating!!!.