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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis

From inception through late 2012 Elemental Impact’s action focus was zero waste-oriented through the Zero Waste Zones and the SustainableFood Court Initiative.  In September 2012 the National Restaurant Association purchased the ZWZ and took over program stewardship. 

The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog post, National Restaurant  Association Purchases Zero Waste Zones, announces the monumental acquisition. Ei was propelled into an amazing metamorphosis filled with opportunity and promise for tremendous impact. 

First on the agenda was evolution of the Ei mission statement and focus beyond zero waste. The IMPACT Blog post, New Mission Statement | New Directions, announces the new Ei mission statement:
To work with industry leaders to create best operating practices where the entire value-chain benefits, including corporate bottom lines and the environment.  Through education and collaboration, establish the best practices as standard practices.
Committed to effective action, Ei projects create easy-to-implement templates that make good business sense. Within the new mission statement, Ei takes action in the following focus areas:

Product Stewardship:
Under Product Stewardship Ei works with corporate consumers to activate their Power of Demand to effect changes in packaging and other behaviors. The ZWA Blog post, Consumer Demand: A Powerful Voice to Effect Change, marks Ei's first steps in Product Stewardship along with an overview of several farm tours.

alternative coated cardboard
educational examples
The inaugural Product Stewardship initiative is replacing paraffin-based waxed cardboard with alternative coatings. As documented in the ZWA Blog post, Waxed Cardboard = Landfill Destiny = $$ Lost, waxed cardboard is "trash", costing the foodservice operator landfill hauling and tipping charges. Alternative coated boxes offer a cost-effective solution for produce | protein transport that are recyclable or compostable. 

In August, Ei took the first action steps in the alternative coated box initiative at Piazza Produce during the Indy Zero Waste Tours. The Ei FB album, 08-13 Indy Zero Waste Tours, gives the pictorial recap of the pre-tour meetings on waxed cardboard education. Chemol renewed their Ei Friend status to participate in the alternative coated box initiative. 

Recycling Refinement:
Over the years Ei grew from a “zero waste cheerleader” to working with zero waste veterans on refining their recycling practices. With Recycling Refinement, Recycling Integrity maintaining maximum material value with minimum energy expended – flowed as a new focus area with an emphasis on source-separation at the material generation site. The ZWA Blog post, Source-Separation Key to Maximum Recycling Profits, gives specific examples of improved recycling profits when material is separated and baled on-site.

Ei Strategic Ally Container Recycling Institute's Understanding Economic and Environmental Impacts of Single-Stream Collection Systems white paper documents how single-stream systems achieve their goal of increasing "diversion rates" yet result in decreased actual recycling due to contamination. 

To reflect the SFCI center stage focus within Recycling Integrity, the What We Do website page was rewritten along with a new page for each of the three SFCI Pilots:
In mid-2012 the SFCI Atlanta Airport Pilot entered a holding pattern when the new airport concessions contract went into effect over an 18 month period. Ei Partner HMSHost opened the International Terminal concessions under the new contract in May, 2012. The SFCI Team agreed to wait until the International Terminal was open a full year before addressing recycling refinement within operations, 

The ZWA Blog post, SFCI Atlanta Airport: ACTION Resumes!, documents the Pilot's return to action mode via a SFCI Team tour of the International Terminal. During the holding period, Republic Services was awarded the airport's waste and recycling contract. Republic hauls the single-stream recycling collected to the nearby Pratt Industries MRF - material recovery facility. With team spirit, Republic joined the Ei Supporter program and is enthusiastic to work with the SFCI Team on refining the airport's recycling practices.

Ei Partner Myles Cohen of Pratt
Recycling with Ei Chair Scott Seydel
Recycling Integrity demands organizations to understand the final destination, including the journey along the way, of material generated during operations. Ei orchestrated a series of tours for Michael Cheyne - Atlanta Airport director of asset management & sustainability, to the Pratt MRF and other potential destinations. The ZWA Blog post, "Seeing is Believing" - the magic of tours, documents the SFCI-hosted tours.

Pratt Industries joined the Ei Partner Program to share their expertise, resources and time on the SFCI Pilots along with other initiatives in the development stages. At their North American headquarters campus in Conyers, GA, Pratt is building an amazing recycling complex to support their recent contract with the City of Conyers and other surrounding communities. First Generation Energy joined the Ei Friend Program in honor of their close Pratt relationship and long-time Ei friendship.

Substantiating Ei's important work, 2013 Ei Partner renewals were strong among the SFCI Team including BASF, CleanRiver Recycling SolutionsHeritage Bag, Heritage Interactive Services, NatureWorks, and Orwak.

Orwak balers are the work horses
for plastic film recycling 
Atlanta serves as the pilot city for development of a metro-wide plastic film recycling template. Intrinsic in the template is collection, consolidation and market infrastructure creation for moderate plastic film generators. Ei Friends M-Pass and Hilex Poly renewed their status to work closely with Orwak on creating the plastic film recycling template.

Thanks to Ei's powerful relationship with Ei Strategic Ally the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, Atlanta is the host city for the 2014 USZWBC Annual Conference. The ZWA Blog, Atlanta: Host City for 2014 USZWBC Conference, announces the conference along with Ei's conference partner role.  

Early Atlanta zero waste pioneers are eager to stay involved in Ei initiatives and are joining the Ei Supporter program. Charter ZWZ Participants Affairs to Remember and Fresh Point are the most recent to re-commit to Ei since the NRA ZWZ purchase.

Water Use | Toxicity:
Ei took first steps in the Water Use | Toxicity focus area via publication of the ZWA Blog post, Zero WATER Waste: more than a goal, a necessity, in May 2013.  The post laid the foundation for Ei orchestrating a Grease Lock Filter Restaurant Pilot by an independent engineer.  

Ei Partner Ellis Fibre manufactures a patented, disposable grease filter that is placed in front of the kitchen exhaust system baffle filters. EF's Grease Lock Filters collect 90% plus of the airborne kitchen grease particulates before entering the exhaust system. By eliminating grease build-up in the system, the nightly baffle filter cleaning is generally reduced to weekly; the number of third party contracted kitchen exhaust system cleanings are significantly reduced.  

GREASE Team @ ATL Airpot
The ZWA Blog post, GREASE: a frontier filled with economic & environmental promise, announces the report release that documents the water | labor | toxic chemical and cost savings achieved by each pilot restaurant.

Ei Task Force GREASE -  Grease Recycling & Energy Alternative Solutions for the Environment - returns to action mode with an expanded grease definition to include the following three types generated in foodservice operations:
  • Spent Grease - used grease from fryers, often referred to as yellow grease
  • F.O.G - Fats, Oils & Grease - grease collected from grease traps, often referred to as brown grease
  • Kitchen Hood Grease - airborne grease accumulated in the exhaust system from kitchen operations
The ZWA Blog post, GREASE: Activating the Zero Waste Evolution,  announces GREASE reactivation via a meeting with the SFCI - Atlanta Airport team. At the meeting, the airport took the first steps in assessing the types, quantities and current destinations of grease generated at the airport concessionaire operations.

Ei emerged from an amazing metamorphosis time with renewed vigor in three separate, yet intertwining focus areas. The plethora of Ei participation renewals and new members substantiates Ei lives its tagline - Sustainability in ACTION.

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