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Monday, April 6, 2015

Stellar conference program highlights the "Stars of Zero Waste"

LASanitation logo resizedOn May 5 - 7, 2015 sustainability leaders from across industry boundaries will converge on the City of Los Angeles (LA) for the Fourth Annual National U.S Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) Conference,The Stars of Zero Waste. Announced at the 2014 USZWBC Conference hosted in Atlanta, the 2015 star-studded event is staged for grandeur. 

In December, the ZWA Blog article, 2015 Zero Waste Conference: A Star-Studded Event, announced the conference along with the first-day prominent keynote speakers. LA chief sustainability officer Matt Peterson welcomes attendees to his fine city as the 2015 USZWBC Conference opening keynote speaker. Prior to joining LA, Matt was co-founder & president of Global Green USA for 19+ years. During Matt's Global Green tenure, the Coalition of Resource Recovery was launched first in New York City and later expanded to a national platform.

Matt Peterson
The timing is perfect for the Title Sponsor LA Sanitation to host the 2015 UZWBC Conference. With the Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan under development with a stated 90% zero waste commitment by 2030, LA is transitioning to a new waste and recycling system for all businesses and large apartment complexes. The goals of the new system - a franchise program called Zero Waste LA - include:
  • Higher Recycling (90% diversion from landfills by 2025) 
  • Fair Customer Rates 
  • Reduced Street Impacts & Cleaner Air
  • Superior Customer Service
Following Matt's keynote presentation, LA director Infrastructure Services Greg Good moderates the Discover the Stars of Zero Waste LA plenary panel of LA key stakeholders. Panelists include: Enrique Zaldivar, LA Bureau of Sanitation director, David Piper, LA Unified School District director and Timothy Eng, Kaiser Permanente project manager.

Sue giving welcoming
remarks at 2014 conference
Fedele Bauccio, Bon Appétit Management Company (BAMCO) co-founder, shares his company's pioneer role in environmentally sound operating policies as the first-day lunch keynote. BAMCO provides foodservice to corporations, universities, and museums in 32 states. Complementing its longstanding food-waste reduction efforts, BAMCO was an early partner of the Food Recovery Network and has three dozen cafés Food Recovery Certified.

On the second conference day Sue Beets, USZWBC board president & SBM Management Services corporate sustainability manager, gives opening remarks. Eric Lombardi - EcoCycle International executive director - and Recycle Across America (RAA) executive director Michelle "Mitch" Hedlund follow as morning keynote co-presenters. With his 20+ year tenure at the helm of EcoCycle, Eric is an authority on creating comprehensive community-based programs and is often a keynote speaker and consultant on the social and technical aspects of creating a “Zero Waste - Or Darn Near” society. 

Using her over 20 years of experience in marketing, communications and branding, serving Fortune 500 companies as well as small to mid-sized companies, Mitch founded RAA in 2010. RAA produces standardized recycling labels as a major step in alleviating consumer confusion, a leading cause of contamination in public and corporate facilities.  

Charles in the midst of his keynote
presentation at The GYRE Symposium
A keynote discussion, International Discussion on Zero Waste, officially closes the conference's stellar program. Eric is joined by Richard (Rick) Anthony of Richard Anthony Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on Zero Waste planning, and Captain Charles Moore, Algalita Marine Research founder and discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In late March, Charles was the closing keynote presenter at The Plastic GYRE Symposium hosted in Atlanta. The ZWA Blog article, Plastic GYRE Symposium: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond, gives an overview of Charles' empowering presentation.

Source reduction and reuse of materials is at the foundation of successful zero waste programs. Though easy via a hindsight lens, determining how to reduce and reuse can be challenging, especially when the value chain is involved. Reuse Institute CEO MaryEllen Etienne moderates the Exploring Source Reduction and Reuse plenary panel. A powerhouse team from The Walt Disney Company, Hewlett Packard and IFCO share their respective journeys to successful programs.

A barrier to achieving zero waste often revolves around hard-to-recycle items, especially if there is limited local infrastructure available. Challenging items include food waste, many types of packaging, unique material used within operations to name a few. Tom Wright of Sustainable Bizness moderates the Hard to Recycle Packaging plenary panel. Associates from the Carton Council, Upstream and Recycling Analytics & Titus MRF Services share their expertise on the panel.

Scott with his certification &
award at the 2014 conference
Continuing on the hard-to-recycle theme is the Solutions for Organics Diversion breakout session moderated by Rick Anthony. Associates from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and EPA Region 5 join Piazza Produce facilities manager Scott Lutocka on the panel to present on overcoming challenges with one of the largest materials in waste streams nationwide. Achieving Gold USZWBC Facility Certification in 2014, Scott has solid experience in creative approaches to solutions for food waste generated at Piazza's produce distribution center and their foodservice customer operations.

In response to industry requests for zero waste standardization and third party validation, the USZWBC launched the Zero Waste Businss Certification Program (ZWBCP) in March 2013. As the first zero waste certification program in the nation, the ZWBCP establishes protocol and defines parameters for zero waste claims. For example, incineration is often included in the term "landfill diversion" yet is specifically NOT a zero waste material destination within the ZWBCP.  

The ZWA Blog article, Third Party Certification Edges Industry Towards a Zero Waste Economy, introduces the ZWBCP and honors the pioneers who earned the first certifications.

Ann Thomas, Jared Blumenfeld and Lisa Hanf
Cherie receiving the EPA 2010
Green Business of the Year Award
photo courtesy of EPA
On the second day, Sierra Nevada sustainability manager Cheri Chastain moderates the USZWBC Certification panel. As the first Platinum Zero Waste Certified business, Sierra Nevada is an industry leader and Cherie is perfect to moderate the panel. Associates from Disneyland Resorts, Fetzer Vineyards and Raytheon Company present on their certification experiences and accomplishments.

As zero waste moves from an emerging to a maturing industry, strong leadership is essential to ensure integrity is maintained. Albertsons|Vons manager refuse & recycling Curt Smith moderates the Leadership: Directing the Zero Waste Journey during the second day afternoon sessions. Executives from Kellogg Garden Products, Toyota Motor Sales and Ingersoll Rand share their role in guiding standard industry practices development.

Intertwined within plenary keynotes and panels are a plethora of breakout sessions on an array of topics. Elemental Impact founder Holly Elmore moderates two breakout sessions: Source-Separation Maximizes Material Value and Zero Waste at Multi-Tenant Properties.

Material source-separation at the generation site is essential to Recycling Integrity – maintaining maximum material value with minimal energy expended - and creating recycling profit centers. Industry veterans Tim Trefzer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority director of sustainability, Rick Lombardo, Natur-Tec director of business development - North America, and Nadereh Afsharmanesh, Earth Friendly Products director of sustainability, share how source-separation creates a scenario where ALL win: the environment, the community AND the corporate bottom line.

Tim showing mixed paper that
may be easily baled separately
Challenges abound for zero waste programs at multi-tenant facilities, many grounded in tenant and service provider contract provisions. The ZWA Blog article, Contract provisions require necessary team work for zero waste success, introduces the role contract provisions play in creating a scenario conducive to successful zero waste programs. 

The panel team includes three stakeholders in multi-tenant facilities: the owner | property manager, Keter Environmental Services chief operating officer Matt Hupp, service provider, SBM corporate sustainability manager Sue Beets, and legal counsel, Ei general counsel & partner at Thompson Hine Greg Chafee. 

The Making Zero Waste Happen: Changing Behavior for Total Participation panel addresses a key component in zero waste programs: total participation from top management to the frontline employees. USZWBC zero waste associate Emily DeCremer moderates a prominent panel including associates from Frontline Industrial Consulting, REV and Action Research. Grounded in his leadership role bringing sixteen sites to “Mohawk Certified Zero Waste to Landfill, Frontline president KB Kleckner understands 99% of the time, financial benefits and sustainability benefits are mutually inclusive. For strong top management buy-in, the financial benefits of zero waste programs must be proven.

The Ladies of Zero Waste:
Emily & Stephanie at 2014 conference
Continuing the Know Your Trash, up close & personal theme introduced at the 2013 USZWBC Conference by Scott Stephenson of Mitsubishi Electric America, the Getting Down and Dirty: A practical guide to Zero Waste audits panel educates on why waste audits are a critical step to zero waste success. Moderated by SBM associate sustainability manager Randy VanWinkle, panelists from Sierra Nevada, Go2Zero Strategies and Sandia National Laboratory share their experiences digging through their dumpsters.

Collaboration is always a key ingredient for success. The Complement your Zero Waste Efforts with Additional Certifications panel, moderated by USZWBC vice-president Gary Liss, explores how the ZWBCP is complementary to other established sustainability certifications. U.S. Green Building Council, Cradle to Cradle and Nutiva associates share their expertise on the panel.

Beyond the breakout sessions highlighted above, the conference offers a plethora of panels educating on a wide range of topics: importance of metrics, marketing zero waste success, role non-profits play to name a few. The USZWBC Conference Program page details the entire program including pre-conference activities.

Infiltrated within the excellent program is ample networking time to meet fellow attendees | presenters, reunite with industry pals and visit the sponsor booths. Each conference day begins with a delicious breakfast buffet and the first day ends with a reception. A plated lunch is served each day in the plenary room. The conference is well-balanced with formal educational sessions and relaxed time.

Bruce w/ 2014 Conference opening
keynote Laura Turner Seydel
For those who arrive a day early, there are substantial pre-conference activities including the morning Achieving Zero Waste at Colleges and Universities Workshop sponsored by CleanRiver Recycling Solutions. Within the program CleanRiver founder Bruce Buchan speaks on Zero Waste - The Three C's Approach. The ZWA Blog article, Evolution of the Three R's, introduces the Three C's - Culture, Communication, Collection, via a feature of Ricoh Electronics' presentation on the Five R's at the 2012 USZWBC Conference.

Running concurrent in the morning is the Zero Waste 101 Workshop tailored for those embarking on the journey. The introductory workshop provides the basics for starting or evolving recycling programs. In the afternoon Loyola Marymount University Campus Sustainability, Comprehensive Recycling, Food Waste Diversion Tour is a walking tour of the impressive zero waste practices in action.

An all-day ZWBA Scorecard Training 101 Course is intended for those interested in pursuing the professional Zero Waste Business Associate (ZWBA) Certification, though open to anyone interested in learning more about the ZWCP.

The USZWBC Conference Program is designed for the seasoned zero waste veteran ready to evolve their program to next dimensions as well as the novice interested in learning how to create effective systems. In addition to the formal education, the industry connections are invaluable once the conference is a memory.

The stars of zero waste shine bright in the conference program! Plan to attend the 2015 Conference confident that you will depart filled with zero waste wisdom, new industry friends and inspired to make a difference at your organization and beyond.

1 comment:

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