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Thursday, July 4, 2013

The WE Consciousness in ACTION

In the ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport, the WE Consciousness is introduced as a necessary culture shift for zero waste success. Within prior posts, the WE emphasis relates to employee engagement and working in partnership with the supply chain. Beyond the internal organization relationships, the WE encompasses community, industry-related companies and pro-active organizations | non-profits interactions.

Integrated within Elemental Impact's tagline - Sustainability in ACTION - is connecting the many organizations and individuals the Ei Team encounters during industry activities. Another octave of the Ei tagline is the WE Consciousness in ACTION.

NRA - USCC leadership at their
first meeting in December 2011
Understanding the tremendous synergies, Ei orchestrated an introductory meeting in December, 2011 between two powerful trade associations: the National Restaurant Association and the U.S. Composting Council

As the trade association for the foodservice industry - a major commercial food waste generator - the NRA can mobilize operators to source-separate food waste for diversion from landfill. The USCC - the trade association for composters and other permitted uses of food waste - is committed to building a strong food waste destination network. 

The ZWA Blog post, NRA Leads Industry Collaboration, is an overview of the inaugural meeting that led to the formal partnership between the trade associations for food waste generators and destinations. In late 2012, the NRA and USCC announced their formal partnership. The ZWA Blog post, Collaboration is Key to to Success, is an overview of the NRA | USCC Memorandum of Understanding. In the spirit of the MOU, Scott DeFife - NRA executive vice-president policy and public affairs - served on the opening plenary panel at the 2013 USCC Conference.

Ei & Global Green Chair Scott Seydel 
giving opening remarks 
Ei and Global Green host an annual December gathering in Washington D.C. of the food and beverage packaging value chain non-profits and trade associations. It is a day of camaraderie, sharing and strategizing. In the morning, each organization presents on their mission, stakeholders, annual activities and planned future projects. The afternoon is a powerful industry strategy session.

Prior meeting agendas, PPT presentations and attendee lists are available for download on the Ei Meetings & Events page. The ZWA Blog post, Second Annual F&B Packaging Meeting, gives a 2012 meeting overview while the Ei FB album, BUILDING THE PATH: Exploring the Value Chain of F&B Packaging, is a pictorial recap. 

Ga Tech | GWCC Tour Team
Zero Waste Zones charter participation benefit was camaraderie and sharing among the industry forerunners. A prominent example was the Georgia World Congress Center Authority tour of Georgia Institute of Technology's award-winning campus recycling program. 

Subsequent to the Ei introduction, Cindy Jackson, Ga Tech's recycling & waste director, and Tim Trefzer, GWCCA director of sustainability, developed a close working relationship and separately thanked Ei for the introduction. The ZWA Blog post, ZWZ Participants Work Together, is an overview of the tour and the Ei FB album, 02-27-12 GA Tech Hosts GWCC, is the pictorial recap.

Marcus & Steve w/ FEMA lunches 
photo courtesy of WtNA 
During a recent meeting at the City of Refuge, Ei founder Holly Elmore mentioned Wandering to Nourish Atlanta - a powerful group of young folks who "wander" downtown Atlanta to give sandwiches, water & other food to the hungry and homeless. Steve Grimes - City of Refuge director of lifeline - offered to donate 2400 FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) lunches in storage to WtNA. Within a few weeks Marcus Acosta - WtNA co-founder - collected the lunches for their July 07 wander.

Connections extend beyond zero waste initiatives. Ei Strategic Ally Cork ReHarvest requested introductions to prominent journalists for their 2013 Portugal cork harvest media tour. Via Ei's referral, media pals Elizabeth Royte and Pattie Baker, joined the June cork harvest tour. 

In October 2012, Martha Stewart's Whole Living featured Elizabeth's Spoil Alert on Atlanta’s pioneering spirit in wasted food reduction and rescue. The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Wasted Food Heroes in National Spotlight, is an article overview plus commentary.

Harvested cork,
picture courtesy of
Pattie Baker
In preparation of the journey, Pattie published Cork=Good, But Easier Said Than Done on her popular FoodShed Planet – eclectic food-for-though for a changing worldOnly home days from the adventuresome journey, Pattie documents the importance of retaining the cork forests for the Portugal local economies, long-term ecologic sustainability and immediate practicality on her FoodShed Planet Blog. 

The More Uses Than I Realized (and Now My Imagination Is Going Wild) | FoodShed Planet article is a fantastic tour overview complete with pictures, videos, and a hopeful sponsorship opportunity for a STEAM (Science, Technology Engineering, Art & Design, and Mathematics) cork product design contest specifically for girls.

Under the Ei in ACTION website section, the Ei Connects page documents important introductions along with their long-lasting implications.
For those committed to creating a sustainable future, it often seems like a "small world" of visionaries and pioneers. To attain the lofty goals - a term used by those imprisoned in a practical reality - the interconnections within the WE Consciousness are instrumental to breaking through current boundaries; to bringing the possible out of impossible.