SFCI Georgia Dome Pilot
An Integrated Approach to Sustainability
With the November 2017 closing|decommissioning of the Georgia Dome (Dome,) the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) stepped forward as the SFCI Event Venue Pilot. Below is the SFCI – Georgia Dome page complete with team members, challenges, accomplishments, and work-in-progress as the Dome hosted its final events.
In spring 2012, the Georgia Dome accepted the invitation to serve as the SFCI Event Venue Pilot. Along with the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) – fourth largest conference center in the nation – and Olympic Centennial Park, the Georgia Dome is one of three facilities under the state-owned Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA). In addition, the GWCCA manages the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.
With strong media attention, the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ) launched in February 2009 at the GWCC in an acclaimed press conference led by the EPA Region IV acting regional director. As a Founding ZWZ Participant, the Dome is well-acquainted with zero-waste practices. In December 2010, Tim Trefzer joined the GWCCA as the first sustainability director and took the complex’s sustainability to new dimensions. The ZWA Blog post, GWCC Hits Recycling Stride, is an overview of Tim’s immediate impact on the GWCCA recycling practices.
The following local government and non-profits joined the national SFCI Team for the SFCI – Georgia Dome Team:
- Central Atlanta Progress
- City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
- Georgia World Congress Center Authority
Levy Restaurants operates the Dome foodservice outlets and joins the SFCI Georgia Dome Team.
In addition to the overall food-court challenges listed on the SFCI Overview page, event venues experience the following unique challenges:
- National team contracts – Event facility contracts with a national team, in the Dome’s case The Atlanta Falcons, may prevent or require approval for certain action. Zero-waste program sponsorship may be prohibited or must go through the team sponsorship system, thus reducing funds received for zero-waste initiatives.
- Government-owned facilities – Many event facilities are owned by local and state governments where bidding processes are required for service and equipment contracts. Depending upon the locale, there may be restrictions on use of the facility and|or material generated during events.
- Game-day driven – By their nature event venues are driven by major sporting and|or entertainment events. Large volumes of material are generated in a short period of time followed by periods of time with little to no material generation.
- Local charity food-court vendors – Many stadiums offer local charities the opportunity to run food-court vendor stations to generate money for their organizations. Volunteer turnover and third party foodservice items may challenge consistent, effective zero-waste practices.
As a founding ZWZ Participant, the Dome is well versed in zero-waste practices. Below are some of the Dome’s accomplishments:
- Compostable packaging – Levy Restaurants uses compostable foodservice items where practical (about 85% of items) when food is served in single-use packaging. Polystyrene foodservice items were eliminated from use in the facility.
- China service in suites – Levy Restaurants uses reusable plates, flatware, napkins, serving platters, and beverage cups & glasses in the suites and at catered events.
- Condiment pump stations – Fans use self-service stations where condiments are dispensed in refillable pump containers. Pump stations eliminated individual condiment packets, a common contaminant in recycling and food-waste streams.
- Tailgate Recycling – A tailgate-recycling program was initiated with the 2012 season with the support of the Atlanta Falcons Recycling Partner.
For the final Atlanta Falcons seasons, the SFCI – Georgia Dome announced the following goals:
- Implement a post-consumer food-waste collection program.
- Source-separate material generated for on-site produced mini-bales.
- Expand game-day tailgate-recycling initiatives in the GWCC-owned parking lots; explore recycling possibilities at privately held parking lots.
For additional details on the SFCI – Georgia Dome Pilot work-in-progress, visit the following ZWA Blog articles:
- Winning Recycling Seasons: Team Work Required! – provides a recap of the game-day recycling tour with the New Falcons Stadium architects.
- Refining Recycling Practices at the GA Dome – gives an overview of the Dome’s recycling history and future commitments.
- Sustainability in ACTION at the Georgia Dome – explores avenues to refine the impressive GA Dome recycling practices to new dimensions with a specific focus on post-consumer food-waste collection and on-site source-separated material for recycling.
- Remember: If it was easy, it would already be done! – provides a Source-Separated Materials Recycling Template (S-SMRT) update and documents the first source-separated materials bales from the GA Dome delivered to the Atlanta Penitentiary, the S-SMRT recycling center, for re-baling into standard-sized bales. An exciting milestone in the template development!
With the Atlanta Falcons moving to the Mercedes-Benz Falcons Stadium for the 2017 season, the Georgia Dome is slated for demolition after the 2016 season. The GWCC will segue into the SFCI Event Venue Pilot role.