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May, 2012 Newsletter ~ Edition 25

Welcome to the Ei Newsletter

May activities included tours, conferences and new action paths.  While delving deeper into existing initiatives, Ei is taking the first action steps on new focuses.  With active, enthusiastic Ei Partners, Ei lives the tagline “Sustainability in ACTION.” The newsletter contains the details.

Follow the Ei Blogs, The Impact Blog and Zero Waste in ACTION Blog, to keep current on project status and tales from the journey. 

The SFCI Maintains Momentum


The Sustainable Food Court Initiative shifted into high gear in April (see the Ei April newsletter for details). 

In May, the momentum is maintained as the SFCI Team embarks on new action tasks.  




Georgia Dome Tour


 GA SFCI Pilot Team @ tour end

In April Ei announced the Georgia Dome serves as the SFCI Event Venue Pilot - see the ZWA Blog post, Georgia Dome - SFCI Event Venue Pilot, for details of the announcement.  Committed to action, the SFCI GA Dome Team is formed with a facility tour first on the agenda. SFCI Team members flew in from around the country for the May 16 tour.

As a Founding Zero Waste Zones Participant, the Dome has strong back-of-the-house recycling practices in place.  Front-of-the-house recycling is challenging when the consumer is relied upon for separating trash from recyclable and compostable material.  The SFCI Team is comprised of industry experts with the experience necessary to create a zero waste event venue template, with a FOH focus.

Pilot committees are in the formation process based on the foundation laid during the tour. Team members will serve on three initial committees: Baseline & Metrics, Packaging and FOH Recycling Bins.

See the ZWA Blog post, GA Dome SFCI Tour, for tour details and the Ei FB album, 05-16-12 GA Dome Tour, for the pictorial recap.

Atlanta Airport Compostable Packaging Contract Provision

The Atlanta Airport made a bold sustainability statement with its new concessionaire contract, the largest such contract executed to date in North America.  In the new contract, airport food vendors are required to use compostable serviceware and consumer-facing packaging.  The ZWA Blog post, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Sustainable Statement, gives details of the groundbreaking contract provision.

The SFCI Packaging Committee prepared the HJAIA Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet to give concessionaires support with meeting the contract provision. See the ZWA Blog post, Compostable Packaging Info Packet, for an overview of the packet along with links to download the document.

With the Packet completed, the SFCI Packaging Committee continues to provide the Airport support and documentation with the contract provision.  The airport’s bold statement is a catalyst for shifting industry packaging standards – stay tuned as Ei chronicles the journey.

SFCI Distribution List

Sign-up for the SFCI Distribution list and be the first to receive updates, news alerts and notice of the SFCI Quarterly open call.

Simon Property Group @ Sustainability Helm

Ei Partners were treated to a tour of Gurnee Mills, a Simon mall north of Chicago, featuring their green initiatives.  IMPRESSED is an understatement  - see the ZWA Blog post, Simon Property Group @ Sustainability Helm, for tour details and the supporting Ei FB album, 05-07-12 Gurnee Mills Tour, for a pictorial recap.

Success stories like Gurnee Mills require the partnership of strong corporate policy supported by passionate, committed on-site managers. Gurnee Mills’ programs provide the foundation for Simon to develop a template for nationwide implementation.  It is thrilling to witness the nation's largest mall owner take the sustainability helm.

Packaging: A Major Impact on Zero Waste Success


 NRA Show session panel

As businesses move down the zero waste path, audits of remaining "trash" reveal packaging is one of the main components of items destined for the landfill.  For foodservice operators, waxed cardboard boxes for produce (fruits and vegetables) and protein (meats, seafood & poultry) are a significant contributor to a company's waste hauling charges. 

With a strong commodity market, operators who bale cardboard on-site often create a recycling profit center with revenue from the bales more than offsetting the additional labor.  On the other hand, waxed cardboard goes in the trash dumpster where the operator pays waste hauling charges.

At the 2012 National Restaurant Association Show Ei Chair Scott Seydel orchestrated and Lily Kelly of Global Green’s CoRR moderated an excellent educational session on transport packaging, with a focus on waxed cardboard boxes.  The formal session name was Challenging the Value-Chain to Transform Transport Packaging:  Eco-Friendly, Wallet-Friendly Solutions.

The ZWA Blog post, Waxed Cardboard Boxes = Landfill Destiny = $$ Lost, gives a session overview and the Ei FB Album, 05-08-12 NRA Show Pkging Session, is a pictorial recap.

Ei Embarks on Product Stewardship Focus with Farm Tours


 Chris Bradlee & Will Harris

In the zero waste world the focus is primarily on a product's end-of-life without a strong emphasis on the manufacturing process, the "beginning of life."  With product stewardship an emerging focus, Ei embraces an integrated approach to sustainability where products and practices are explored from a holographic viewpoint; the product's origins are as important as its destination.

Many companies do not realize packaging choices influence their customer's ability to achieve zero waste goals. Educating the complete supply | value chain (includes the end-user) on sustainable packaging is imperative to shifts from landfill-destined boxes, or other containers, to recyclable | compostable options.

For a packaging metamorphosis, the entire supply | value chain must work together on understanding the current scenario, defining sustainability goals and discovering solutions that make solid business sense for entire chain.  Cross industry sector collaboration is key to an overhaul of packaging standards.

To begin the journey a group of Ei Partners and friends traveled to South Georgia for farm tours – what a phenomenal two days spent at White Oak Pastures and Thompson Farms.  The ZWA Blog post, Consumer Demand: A Powerful Voice to Effect Change, ties the farm tour experience into the importance of packaging and the power of consumer demand. 

The Ei FB albums, 05-14-12 White Oak Pastures Tour, and 05-15-12 Thompson Farms Tour, give the tour pictorial recounts.  WARNING: Some Thompson Farms photos are graphic yet honor the process and the livestock who gave their lives to fulfill consumer demand for animal protein.

HMSHost – Tampa Airport: Sustainability Heroes!


 Perry Kranias with donated food

Thanks to HMSHost, the Tampa International Airport gets an infusion of local flavor and talent in the airport's dining scene.  With five new Tampa area concepts in various stages of opening, HMSHost brings "local" as an added ingredient and balance to their impressive sustainability commitment.

During the chaotic times associated with opening a multitude of concepts simultaneously, the HMSHost team keeps its zero waste rhythm at a fast and effective pace, including donation of delicious food beyond their 24 hour salable life.  HMSHost is a forerunner using an integrated approach to sustainability where the many facets intertwine into a balanced system, addressing profitability, social responsibility and the environmental impact. 

Sustainability focus areas such as zero waste, local|nutritious food, energy efficiency, and toxic-free environments (to name a few) interrelate.  For a balanced system to emerge, an integrated approach to sustainability is a must. Heroes like HMSHost are creating a new business paradigm where integration is a core value. The ZWA Blog post, Local Flavor + Zero Waste = Balanced Sustainability, for more details on Tampa Airport’s impressive programs.  The Ei FB album, 05-23-12 Tampa Airport Tour, is a pictorial recap of Ei’s Tampa Airport tour.

2012 NRA Show – Powerful!

The 2012 National Restaurant Association Show held in Chicago May was common ground for powerful Ei Partner gatherings, some planned and many spontaneous encounters.  In partnership with the NRA ConSERVE program on the ZWZ and the SFCI, Ei was honored to actively participate in the Show.

For an overview of the NRA Show from Ei’s perspective, see the IMPACT Blog post, 2012 NRA Show – Powerful, and the Ei FB Album, 2012 NRA Show.

Support Elemental Impact

Elemental Impact is a non-profit whose work is funded through the supporter and partnership programs.  Please consider joining the Elemental Impact family of supporters and partners so the impact of our projects may continue.  As Ei is a 501(c)(3) tax deductible donations may be made in any amount at this link .

Upcoming Events

1st National Zero Waste Business Conference
June 26-27, 2012 - Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa, CA

The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) is hosting the only national conference focused solely on Zero Waste business success stories, challenges, needs, and opportunities.   



CoRR Spring Food Waste Conference
June 28, 2012- Radisson Lexington Hotel New York

Topics: Technology for distributed urban waste recovery - Co-location of food waste processing with material recovery facilities - Financing new infrastructure for organics and MSW recovery - Maximizing collection and waste transfer efficiencies - Markets for energy and soil products.



The third annual Resource Recycling Conference
August 28-29, 2012- Hilton Austin - Austin, Texas

Resource Recycling, Inc., publisher of Resource Recycling magazine, invites you to attend the third annual Resource Recycling Conference.


Thank you for your enthusiasm and support! 



Holly D. Elmore 

Founder & CEO, Elemental Impact
Director, Substainable Food Court Initiative

ZWA Blog