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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

SMAT: the possible emerges from the impossible!

The Elemental Impact (Ei) task force SMAT - Sustainable Materials ACTION Team - was busy in 2015 educating, advising and sharing their industry expertise to pioneers forging new Recycling Refinement frontiers. When Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers team together, the possible emerges from the impossible!

As Ei Industry Experts, SMAT members commit their resources, time and expertise to support Ei endeavors. The following lists SMAT members:
SMAT was formed in 2014 to support the EPA Region 4 Scaling Up Composting in Charlotte, NC Grant to Ei Strategic Ally GreenBlue's Sustainable Packaging Coalition. Ei was a lead sub-grantee. 

Ei’s role centered on powerful Charlotte government and private enterprise connections, commercial food waste program experience, grant work documentation via blog articles & FB albums, and coordination of grant team visits.

The ZWA Blog article, Scaling Up Composting in Charlotte, NC, gives an overview of grant objectives, tasks and goal.

During the two-year grant period - October 2013 to September 2015 - Ei orchestrated five Charlotte visits filled with powerful meetings, site visits | tours along with productive dinners where the magic flowed into action plans. The Ei Charlotte Visits page documents the important visits.

The SMAT was the backbone of Ei’s grant contributions via their in-depth industry expertise.

SMAT working session in Charlotte
L to R: Rick, Kim, Sarah & Ken
At the October 2015 SPC Advance conference Ei Founder Holly Elmore moderated the Scaling Up Composting in North America: Presentation and Working Session featuring the EPA Grant results | successes. A substantial discussion of food waste recovery options, challenges and successes followed. The ZWA Blog article, Sustainability: an industry defining itself, is a SPC Advance recap with the grant session featured.

In addition to the EPA Grant, the SMAT provides the food & beverage (F&B) packaging support for the Sustainable Food Court Initiative, co-chaired by Ei Chair Scott Seydel and Doug Kunnemann with NatureWorks. The following SFCI Pilots address the unique challenges in their respective food court categories:

At the present juncture, SMAT recommends single-use F&B packaging is BPI Certified Compostable to avoid contamination in the food waste stream. The exception is pre-packaged beverages, such as soft drinks, water and beer.
Ready to expand their recycling practices to the next dimension, Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Director of Sustainability Tim Trefzer requested the SMAT to prepare a comprehensive Compostable F&B Packaging Education Session for Levy Restaurants' downtown campus. Foodservice operations are contracted with Levy at the GWCC, Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, Phillips Arena and the under-construction Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Doug & Tim after education session
Under Doug’s direction, SMAT crafted a powerful two-hour session that included ample time for Q&A and discussion throughout the presentations. On April 8, 2015 the SMAT members converged on Atlanta for the Levy education session. 

The ZWA Blog article, Compostable F&B Packaging: integral to zero waste programs and soil rebuilding, is an overview of the session and the important role packaging plays in zero waste programs; the Ei FB album, 04-08-15 Compostable F&B Packaging Education Session, gives a pictorial recap. An abbreviated session PPT is available for download on the Compostable F&B Packaging Education Session page. The education session was instrumental in the Zero Food Waste Journeys, another powerful SMAT endeavor. 

On June 15, 2015, Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Atlanta Chapter (LDEI) agreed to partner with Ei on a zero food waste journey at their prominent fundraiser Afternoon in the Country (AITC) hosted by the Inn at Serenbe within the Serenbe community. The 2015 AITC was the event's 15th Anniversary, perfect timing to embark on a zero food waste journey!

The ZWA Blog article, Afternoon in the Country embarks on zero food waste journey, announces the AITC zero food waste journey.

Ken educating @ RayDay
In addition, AITC Event Producer ideaLand secured a zero food waste commitment for 2015 RayDay. On October 11 the Ray C. Anderson Foundation (RCAF) hosted the third annual RayDay in a lovely Serenbe country meadow. Over 1400 guests celebrated Ray's legacy, learned at the plethora of educational booths and enjoyed excellent cuisine served by The Food Movement (TFM) food trucks.

The ZWA Blog article, Atlanta Food Waste Heroes: the journey continues …, updates on the extensive pre-event planning accomplished to set the stage for event day success.

On August 20, the SMAT hosted a two-hour Compostable Food & Beverage Packaging Education Session for the AITC | RayDay Team; the session was a modification of the April GWCC session. 

For details on the event specific successes, challenges and lessons learned visit the respective AITC and RayDay pages.

The Sustainability for the Foodservice Industry Course is scheduled for beta testing in early 2016 by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), the umbrella organization of world chef societies. When finalized the course will be available to global culinary schools and potentially chef societies, such as the American Culinary Federation.

The WACS sustainability course is designed to embed the importance of sustainability within daily practices, whether in a kitchen, home, business environment or public area, along with establishing the ability to critically think and solve problems.There is no one answer to most sustainability challenges and solutions are driven by local infrastructure available.

Kendall College Vice-President, School of Culinary Arts Chef Chris Koetke orchestrated the sustainability course curriculum on behalf of WACS and invited Ei to provide the Waste | Recycling course material. … and the answer was a big YES!

The SMAT went to work on crafting a 50+ page PPT presentation complete with photos | visuals, instructor notes, and a glossary of industry terms. With impeccable timing, Ei Intern Jarrett Cohen came on-board for the administrative aspects of the curriculum development.

Following Chris’ guidance, the Waste | Recycling flowed from the broad, big picture viewpoint to the foodservice industry’s tremendous waste generation to the environmental impact and ended with the chef’s leadership role | responsibilities.

For the “In Summary” slide the following three points were made:

  • Materials have value; Trash has cost.
  • Zero waste practices make good business sense.
  • Sustainability provide a competitive edge on many levels.

The SMAT @ CNN Center
The ZWA Blog article, Sustainability: a matter of thinking critically & solving problems in an adaptive manner, introduces the Sustainability for the Foodservice Industry Course with a focus on the Waste | Recycling Curriculum. An abbreviated Waste | Recycling Course is available for download on the World Chefs Waste | Recycling Curriculum page.

In addition, Rick Lombardo presented on SMAT accomplishments at the 2015 National Zero Waste Business Conference on the Source Separation Maximizes Material Value panel moderated by Holly. 

At the 2015 Annual Ei Partner Meeting Rick gave an impressive presentation on SMAT accomplishments. Rick’s SMAT PPT presentation is downloadable on the Annual Ei Partner Meeting page. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2015: Year of ACTION, is an overview of the Annual Ei Partner Meeting featuring SMAT work throughout the afternoon presentations.

The SMAT work with Ei Industry Pioneers follows the Ei mantra:

Ei is a creator, an incubator. 
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done. 
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

With the Year of ACTION coming to a close, the Sustainable Materials ACTION Team is excited to enter the Year of Accomplishments! Stay tuned ...

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