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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Happy Sixth Birthday Ei!!!

On February 5, 2010 Elemental Impact (Ei) incorporated as a Georgia non-profit corporation and embarked on an incredible journey. Whew, the first six years were action-packed while the Ei Team lived the tagline: Sustainability in ACTION! 

Ei was formed as the home for the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ) launched in 2009 by the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA) within the Georgia Restaurant Association.

When the National Restaurant Association (NRA) purchased the ZWZ in late 2012, Ei was propelled into an amazing metamorphosis; it was essential to create an evolved identity along with new platforms for Ei Initiatives. The August 2013 IMPACT Blog article, Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis, introduces the three new platforms: Product Stewardship, Recycling Refinement and Water Use | Toxicity.

The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2014: A Year of Evolution, gives the history of each platform foundation and serves as the 2014 Annual Ei Partner Meeting overview. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei Celebrates Fifth Anniversary, gives an in-depth recap of Ei Milestones during the first five years of intensive work | accomplishments.

Written as a synopsis of the Annual Ei Partner Meeting, The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2015: A Year of ACTION, gives an in-depth overview of recent successes and initiative announcements. Within her Annual Ei Year in Review presentation, Holly gave an overview of each platform, action within the platform, and future plans. The following is a recap of the opening slide:
Holly at Annual Ptr Mtg
Photo credit: Ridwan Bhuiyan
  • 2012: Year of Accomplishments | Completions - in late 2012 the ZWZ were sold to the NRA catapulting Ei into a major metamorphosis. The ZWA Blog article, The NRA Acquires ZWZ, announces the purchase. 
  • 2013: Year of Transitions | Introductions - until fall 2013 Ei flowed within the metamorphosis stage. As the year drew to a close, the three platforms approach for Ei initiatives emerged. 
  • 2014: Year of Foundations | Evolutions - in 2014 the platforms were grounded with project work and supporting taglines.
  • 2015: Year of ACTION - in 2015 Ei lived up to its tagline: Sustainability in ACTION!
Ei endeavors align within the following 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 the impossible. 
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

The Ei Team is comprised of Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers. Experts educate, advise and provide support the Pioneers; the Pioneers craft new standard operating practices within their operations that make good business and environmental sense. Once tested and proven effective, the Pioneers share the evolved practices with their industry colleagues. Ei’s work is complete and the Team moves into a new industry frontier.

For the past six years the Ei Team served as a leader in pioneering frontiers with a myriad of completed projects | programs. As detailed on the Mission Accomplished page, below is a list of Ei endeavors that achieved their goals and are considered complete via a sale, term expiration or simply mission accomplished!

Ei Industry Expert Ken Fraser w/
Industry Pioneer Tim Trefzer (GWCC)
  • EPA Scaling Up Composting in Charlotte, NC – Ei was a lead sub-grantee under the EPA Grant to GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition; the grant term ended September 30, 2015.
  • Food & Beverage Packaging Value Chain Meetings - Each December 2011 through 2014, trade association and non-profit executives from the entire sustainable food & beverage packaging value chain met in Washington D.C. for a day of vibrant dialogue and sharing. Mission Accomplished: solid industry synergies grounded in joint programs were evident at the 2014 meeting.
  • GREASE – Grease Recycling & Energy Alternatives for the Environment – GREASE evolved from a task force into the precursor to the prominent Ei Airborne Kitchen Grease Initiative. Mission Accomplished!
  • POWER – Perishable Organics Waste to Energy Recycling – From 2009 through 2011 Ei-hosted POWER meetings served as a platform to catapult an emerging industry into an established industry. Mission Accomplished!
  • ZWZ - Zero Waste Zones -  In 2012 the NRA purchased the esteemed program that pioneered the commercial collection of food waste for composting.
With the multitude of endeavors accomplished, Ei announced three new initiatives at the 2015 Annual Ei Partner Meeting:

SMAT Team Members
In addition the 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!

In May Ei Partner | Industry Expert Rick Lombardo with NaturBag presented on SMAT work-in-progress at the 2015 National Zero Waste Business Conference (NZWBC). 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. 

Rick presenting @ NZWBC
with his clever props
The ZWA article, SMAT: the possible emerges from the impossible, gives an overview of SMAT's important work.

In January Ei hosted a well attended 90-minute panel presentation, Getting to Zero Waste: Composting at Special Events, at the 2016 U.S. Composting Council Conference. Moderated by Holly, the panel showcased the Zero Food Waste Journeys at two prominent Atlanta annual events, Afternoon in the Country (AITC) and RayDay. Hosted within the idyllic Serenbe Community, the events included on-site food waste composting.

Sustainable Food Court Initiative Co-Chair Doug Kunnemann of NatureWorks took the session leadership role with an Ei overview and an introduction to the Zero Food Waste Journeys supported by the SMAT members.

Ei Partner Ken Fraser with EcoProducts followed with event details, focusing on the extensive pre-planning necessary for success. Beyond site visits, strategy sessions and meetings, SMAT hosted a two-hour Compostable Food & Beverage Packaging Education Session emphasizing the critical role packaging plays in post-consumer food waste composting.

Finished AITC food waste
compost pile
Doug returned to the podium with an in-depth presentation of the event successes, challenges and lessons learned. Let Us Compost owner Kristen Baskin, who orchestrated the on-site event food waste composting, followed with an overview of the successful event composting practices. As the final panelist, City of Atlanta Zero Waste Manager Boyd Leake spoke on the city policy implications from the zero food waste success at the annual events. 

Before segueing into Q&A, Doug announced a formal NatureWorks Zero Food Waste Journeys Global Case Study is in process with an anticipated spring release - EXCITING!

The ZWA Blog article Zero Food Waste Journeys: Successes, Challenges & Lessons Learned, gives an in-depth overview of the AITC zero food waste journey; the ZWA Blog article, Simple, easy, proven steps culminate in zero food waste success, chronicles the RayDay zero food waste success. The Ei FB albums, Afternoon in the Country, a zero food waste journey and 2015 RayDay, are event pictorial recounts.

Holly photographing @
2015 NZWBC Conference
Photo credit: Scott Lutocka
The Ei | U.S. Zero Waste Business Council powerful relationship gained strength in Ei's 6th year. In addition to serving as the NZWBC Official Media Sponsor, Ei was named the USZWBC Media Partner in 2015. The ZWA Blog article, Zero Waste Makes Good Business Sense, is an overview of Ei's prominent role at the 2015 NZWBC hosted in downtown Los Angeles.

As the USZWBC Media Partner, Ei published 18 ZWA Blog articles to date. A true partner, the USZWBC actively promotes article readership within their network. With two exceptions, each article exceeds the blog average 680 pageviews; 7 articles exceed 1,000 pageviews!

The ZWA Blog article, 2016 Zero Waste Conference: "Tuning in" to Zero Waste, announces the June 1 -5, 2016 Fifth Annual NZWBC hosted in Austin, TX 

The stage is set, foundation built, and team in-place for Ei to soar within the magical 7th year of IMPACT!