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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another Year, Another Annual Ei Partner Meeting!

Mary Place (Pratt), Chris Bradlee (BASF)
& Amy Moreland (Heritage) traveled
from out-of-state for the meeting
On Thursday, November 21 Elemental Impact  PartnersFriendsStrategic Allies and Advisory Council Members traveled from across the nation to attend the Annual Ei Partner Meeting. It was a powerful day filled with education, updates, camaraderie along with great food and wine. Thank you HLB Gross Collins for providing the perfect venue for the meeting and reception.

With 2013 a transitional year, Ei founder Holly Elmore's "year in review" was filled with important updates ranging from major events to an evolved mission statement to the introduction of three new platforms for living the Ei tagline, Sustainability in ACTION.  

The National Restaurant Association's  Zero Waste Zones purchase propelled Ei into an amazing metamorphosis filled with opportunity and promise for tremendous impact. For details on the purchase, see the Zero Waste in ACTION Blog article, National Restaurant Association Acquires Zero Waste Zones.

Ei Chair Scott Seydel
filmed the presentations
After welcomes, thank yous and introductions, Holly presented on Ei's mission statement evolution and expanding initiatives beyond zero waste. The IMPACT Blog article, 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.
Within the new mission statement, Ei takes action in the following platforms:
The IMPACT Blog article, Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis, is an overview of the new platforms.

Sustainable Food Court Initiative co-chair Doug Kunneman of NatureWorks utilized his podium time to highlight the new What We Do and Ei in ACTION website sections. Each SFCI Pilot has a dedicated page complete with team members, unique challenges, accomplishments and work-in-progress.

Anne Blair (SACE), Howard
Connell (GA Tech) & Cindy
 Jackson (GA Tech)
Next on the agenda, Georgia World Congress Center Authority sustainability director Tim Trefzer presented on the strong Ei working relationship via the GA Dome SFCI Event Venue Pilot. Tim's PPT was filled with a pictorial recap of recent Falcons game day recycling tours and post-game food waste | compostable packaging collection for composting destination.

The ZWA Blog article, Winning Recycling Seasons: Team Work Required, is an overview of the first Falcons game day recycling tour with the new Falcons Stadium architects. For pictorial recaps, see the Ei FB albums, 09-15-13 Falcons Game Day Recycling Tour and Refining Falcons Recycling Programs.

Ei Advisory Council Member Wayne King of ERTH Products gave an impromptu update on the Georgia food waste composting permit regulations status. New rules are scheduled for GA Department of Natural Resources Board review in January.

Michael Cheyne w/ ATL Airport
presenting on Green Acres
Next Michael Cheyne, Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport director of asset management & sustainability, gave a synopsis of the proposed Green Acres project along with a recap of the City's Sustainability Goals and Initiatives. Ei applauds Green Acres, a state-of-the-art recycling and educational center on 38 available acres at the busiest airport in the world.

Before breaking for lunch, Suzanne Burnes - Sustainable Atlanta executive director - reviewed SA's two main platforms: LookUp Atlanta and EcoDistricts. Ei intends to work closely with SA on Atlanta EcoDistrict development especially those planned for the Atlanta Airport and Downtown, homes to SFCI Pilots.

Immediately following lunch, Atlanta Airport senior sustainability planner Liza Milagro presented on the SFCI - Atlanta Airport status with an emphasis on the Ei | Airport synergies. In addition, Liza gave a preview of the in-progress zero waste plan components. The recent Waste Characterization Study completed under Liza's watchful eye serves as a foundation for planned zero waste action points.

Presentations often spurred spontaneous dialogue among the lively group. Thanks to a question by Cindy Jackson - GA Institute of Technology waste & recycling director - Mark Lanning of Orwak educated the Ei Partners on the latest technology for consumer compacting recycling | trash receptacles that produces maximum results with minimal energy used.

Jeremy Kranowitz (Sustainable America)
Stephanie Barger (USZWBC) &
Lorraine White (M-Pass) @ reception
U.S. Zero Waste Business Council executive director Stephanie Barger gave an overview of the organization's mission along with their Zero Waste Certification program. Exciting news from the USZWBC November 15 press conference:
The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) announced today that it's awarding Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. with the platinum certification plaque for its achievement in successfully diverting 99.8 percent of its waste from landfill, incineration and the environment. This is the first platinum certification that the USZWBC has given and the highest level possible.
The remaining afternoon sessions were dedicated to Ei's three new platforms: Product Stewardship, Recycling Refinement and Water Use | Toxicity. 

In May 2013 Ei introduced the Water Use | Toxicity platform with the ZWA Blog article, Zero WATER Waste; more than a goal, a necessity. Over the summer, GREASE - Grease, Recycling & Energy Alternative Solutions for the Environments - was reactivated to address the three kitchen-generated grease types: 
  • 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
  • Airborne Kitchen Grease - grease accumulated in the exhaust system from kitchen operations
Joe Salpietra @ dinner
photo courtesy Scott Seydel
The ZWA Blog article, GREASE: Activating the Zero Waste Evolution, expands zero waste parameters beyond "wasted material" to resources in general. For an introduction to current airborne kitchen grease scenario and how the Grease Lock Filters save water, toxic chemical use, labor and dollars, visit the GREASE: a new frontier filled with economic and environmental promise ZWA Blog article.

Joe Salpietra of Ellis Fibre, manufacturer of GLF, gave a system overview along with the in-process steps for the Atlanta Airport to consider a campus-wide GLF system installation. The potential water, cleaning agent use, labor and cost savings are tremendous.

Recycling Refinement: moving beyond landfill diversion was introduced in an October ZWA Blog article with the same title. Holly explained how Recycling Integrity - maintaining maximum material with minimal energy expended - is the foundation for Recycling Refinement. The ZWA Blog article, Source-Separation Key to Maximum Recycling PROFITS, substantiates how strong on-site recycling programs improve the bottom line.

Holly presenting on the plastic film
recycling template.
photo courtesy of Louis Herrera
During the Recycling Refinement session, Holly announced the City-Wide Plastic Film Recycling Template Pilot in Atlanta. For details on the pilot team, game plan and challenges, visit the ZWA Blog article, If it was easy, it would already be done!,  

A wide range of plastic film generators - event facilities, distribution companies, hotels, airports, universities and shopping malls to name a few - who produce a variety of film types and colors are earmarked as pilot participants. Mark Daniels and Louis Herrera of Hilex Poly gave an impromptu education on plastic film types and their various uses in plastic film recycling systems.

Under Product Stewardship - integrity throughout the entire product life-cycle, an alternative coating for paraffin-based waxed corrugated boxes initiative is in the development stages. Foodservice industry protein and produce transport boxes are the initiative focal point.

Ei Treasurer Pauline Reynolds with
Ei General Counsel Greg Chafee
@ reception
Ei Advisory Council member Chuck Klass takes the helm as the technical expert. Ei Partners | Supporters HMSHostTed's Montana Grill, Piazza Produce and Chemol are charter team members. The ZWA Blog article, Waxed Cardboard Boxes = Landfill Destiny = $$ Lost, lays the foundation for the emerging initiative. In addition to the environmental impact, the bottom line impact of transport packaging choices is a strong educational point.

In time for the annual gathering, the ZWA Blog topped the 125,000 pageviews milestone within hours of meeting registration!!!  Ei's strong cyberspace presence is an Ei Partner benefit.

Annual Ei Partner Meeting PPT presentations, attendee list and agenda are available for download on the Ei Meetings & Events page. For a pictorial recap of the powerful meeting and related dinners, visit the Ei FB album, 11-21-13 Annual Ei Partner Meeting.

Holly & Melissa celebrate
a successful day @ dinner
In alignment with Ei protocol, the partners were treated to great food throughout the day with home baked sweet treats and desserts provided by Holly. The day ended with a wine & cheese reception followed by dinner at an excellent local restaurant.

Success was the theme for the meeting! Kudos to Ei Program Administrator Melissa Selem for orchestrating the well-run, fast-paced meeting.