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Elemental Impact

September 2012 Newsletter, Edition 28

Welcome to the Ei Newsletter
September was an exciting month for Elemental Impact, filled with opportunities to further incorporate integrity into our tagline, Sustainability in Action!  Read the newsletter to learn about Ei Industry Partner Tours, new website content, program launches and more.

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

Zero Waste is a Team Sport

Zero waste initiatives require a consciousness shift on numerous levels. To achieve the accepted 90% diversion rate, organizations must replace common thought patterns with a holographic consciousness. The following are three initial shifts necessary for zero waste to replace landfill waste:

  • the "pay and forget" era is over – the new Ei Recycling Integrity page addresses in more detail.
  • waste management is replaced by materials / by-products management – the below feature on The Perpetual Life Cycle System addresses the shift.
  • the "I" focus is replaced with the "WE" focus. The impact of our actions extends to the entire community and beyond; collective action accomplishes more profound results than singular effort. By working together, synergies are unlocked, unnecessary boundaries, including competitive barriers, disintegrate, and creative energies catapult possibilities into grounded realities.

 Scott Lutocka on a plastic film bale
On a recent Indianapolis Ei Industry Tour of Piazza Produce's zero waste distribution center, the group witnessed the powerful impact of superlative team effort. Facility manager Scott Lutocka uses amazing creativity to accomplish his zero waste goals and motivate others to join the team.

The "WE” is Scott's natural operating mode and at the foundation of Piazza's zero waste leadership role.  Soon the industry will follow due to pure economics as Piazza has an impressive improved bottom line from turning waste cost into recycling revenue. 

The ZWA Blog post, Zero Waste is a Team Sport, along with Ei FB album, 09-24-12 Piazza Produce Zero Waste Tour, detail the Ei Tour including inspiring commentary for those ready to embark on their zero waste journey.  Pay close attention to Scott’s comments on the album for interesting, important anecdotes.

Perpetual Life Cycle – beyond zero waste

 Ei On-Farm A.D. Tour Group

In nature "waste" does not exist, rather a perpetual life cycle rearranges molecular structures so the finished product for one use is the basis for its next life. Using modern technology, on-farm anaerobic digestion systems seem to emulate nature's integrated approach to resource management.

Longtime Ei pal Chris Pierce of Organics Solutions Management gave a detailed tour of an on-farm anaerobic digestion system along with its farm and community integration points.  As managers of the farm A.D., OSM simplified the system processes to create a zero waste scenario where all end and by-products are valuable contributors to the farm and community.

The ZWA Blog post, The Perpetual Life System – Simplicity is Key, gives an overview of the tour.  For details on the A.D. system in picture format, visit the Ei FB album, 09-25-12 OSM On-Farm A.D. Tour.  In the comments, Chris gives deeper technical information.

Food Waste Donation: Everyone Wins!

One of the first donation collections

Quality control and high standards by their nature result in food production overages. At HMSHost airport foodservice operations, the pre-packaged foods have a maximum 24-hour shelf life for customer sales. 

Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, a high-volume restaurant in Concord Mills (the Sustainable Food Court Initiative Shopping Mall Pilot), has a maximum 30-minute hold time once chicken is cooked. Working the balance of food overage and customer selection, the lean is on an overage to ensure customers are happy with menu availability.


Food court food waste donation programs create a scenario where everyone wins:

  • Local shelters receive quality food to feed a hungry population.
  • Property owners experience reduced waste|recycling cost due to no tipping fees on donated food.
  • Foodservice operators receive an inventory donation tax deduction, improving the bottom line.  Plus the operator understands the community impact their donated food makes.

The ZWA Blog post, Food Waste Donation: Everyone Wins!, is an overview of the exciting food donation program launching at Concord Mills.  Kudos to Brian Shetron, HMSHost Concord Mills Food Court general manager, for taking the helm on this important initiative.


Ei Partner Tour – Hilex Poly recycling plant 

Ei Partners take the tagline, Sustainability in ACTION, seriously and commit their time, expertise and resources to action-oriented activities.  The new website section Ei in ACTION highlights Ei Partner active participation.

Visit the site section to learn about industry and partner tours, meeting and events, milestones along the journey and future Ei Travels.  It is an honor to work with an incredible partner team who understand integrity and fun are essential for effective action.

Recycling Is Sexy!

 Laura proclaiming 'Recycling is Sexy!'

At a recent City of Atlanta press conference, Laura Turner Seydel announced "Recycling is Sexy!" Several subsequent speakers were clear about their confusion with Laura's profound statement.  The ZWA Blog post, Is Recycling Sexy?!!, asks the obvious question and gives Ei’s definitive answer: YES!  

In addition the post gives the highlights of the City of Atlanta press conference announcing 65,000 households will receive new 96-gallon recycling carts to replace the previous much smaller 18-gallon bins.  Beginning in mid-October, the carts will be delivered at a rate of 1,000 per day. With 30,000 Atlanta residents already using the 96-gallon carts, the entire 95,000 households serviced by the City's curbside recycling program will have the new, larger carts.

The post establishes how the “WE” consciousness discussed in the above Zero Waste is a Team Sport feature is alive and active in Atlanta’s sustainability community.  For a pictorial recap of the press conference, see the Ei FB album, 09-18-12 City of ATL Recycling Press Conference.

Atlanta Airport Compostable Packaging Info Packet - updated

In April the SFCI Compostable Packaging Committee completed the first rendition of the HJAIA Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet with the intent to provide clear, concise information:

1) To allow concessionaires to satisfy the contract provisions stipulated in the Airport Concessions Contract; and

2) To ensure effective ongoing communication with product manufacturers and distributors.

Over the summer the committee made several modifications to the packet to address product exemption and exclusions.  Excluded items require no action by the concessionaire. Item exemption is provided by the City of Atlanta's Department of Aviation upon request on an annual basis.

The ZWA Blog post, Exemptions/Exclusions Added to Atlanta Airport Info Packet, gives details on the recent document update.  The updated HJAIA Compostable Foodservice Ware Packet may be downloaded on the Ei site at this link and on the Institute for Local Self Reliance's site at this link.

For details on the Atlanta Airport's groundbreaking contract provision along with the impressive 2011 Going Green Airport Award, visit the ZWA Blog posts, Atlanta Airport Makes a Bold Statement and Atlanta Airport SFCI Pilot Wins National Award.

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

Biopolymers Symposium 2012
October 15-17, 2012 
San Antonio, TX

This market leading event brings together the key innovators and decision makers in the bioplastics industry to examine new technologies, market trends, and developments in applications, guidelines and waste strategies for the biopolymers industry.

Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery
CoRR Food Waste Conference 
November 7, 2012 
New York, NY

Conference topics include:  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 and  Markets for energy and soil products.

2012 Southeast Food Waste Reduction Conference
November 12-13, 2012
Charlotte, NC

The Southeast Food Waste Reduction Conference is a professional symposium designed for attendees in both the public and private sector working in the fields of composting and organics recycling. 

U.S. Composting Council Annual Conference
January 28-31, 2013
Orlando, FL

The Magic of Compost - the world’s largest conference and exhibition for the organics management industry – composting, anaerobic digestion, renewable energy from organics, compostable plastics, wood waste and organics recycling. The most comprehensive program of training courses, education and technical sessions, and facility tours and “live” equipment demonstrations.


Thank you for your enthusiasm and support!



Holly D. Elmore 

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

ZWA Blog