SMM Web Academy -
Creating Winning Recycling Programs at Sporting Events Transcript
Michael D. Baker, Inc.
SMM Web Academy
Kevin O'Donovan, EPA
Briana Bill; U.S. EPA; Green Venues Coordinator, Great Lakes Region, Chicago
Jacob Hassan; U.S. EPA; Chicago Materials Management Program, Community Recycling Coordinator
Mark Root; Coca-Cola Recycling; Strategic Account Executive
Bruce Rayner; Athletes for a Fit Planet; Founder and Chief Green Officer
Laura Moreno; U.S. EPA; Environmental Scientist San Francisco Pollution Prevention and Solid Waste Program
Kevin ODonovan: Todays Today's seminar will be moderated by Brianna Bill. Brianna is the Green Venues Coordinator at the U.S. EPA's Great Lakes Region in Chicago. Ms. Bill works with the Hospitality, Sports, and Federal Sectors to enhance environmental sustainability. For example, in Cleveland she is co-leading the Regions' first collaboration of large venues, hospitals, and universities to set, achieve, and measure environmental improvements. She serves on EPA's Green Sports Initiatives Steering Committee, and has worked to promote EPA's WasteWise, Energy Star, and other voluntary programs to [make] sports leads and teams.
With that, we are ready to start the Seminar. I will now turn the time over to the Seminar Moderator, Brianna?
Brianna Bill: Thank you, Kevin. Greetings, and welcome to the November 2011 Edition of the Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy. We are happy to have you participating. The 90-minute monthly Education Series is hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide training and a networking opportunity to state and local governments, nongovernmental organizations, and others. As Kevin mentioned, today's topic is creating winning recycling programs at sporting events. We have four knowledgeable speakers lined up.
Jacob Hassan is a Community Recycling Coordinator in U.S. EPA Chicago's Materials Management Program, and will give a nuts-and-bolts primer on establishing recycling programs at large, multi-venue sporting events, using examples from his work at the 2010 and 2011 NCAA Men's and Women's final four basketball championships. He'll cover best practices, challenges, and lesson learned.
Mark Root is a Strategic Account Executive for Coca-Cola Recycling, and is responsible for building lasting recycling programs with key customers and events. Mr. Root will provide a perspective on engaging corporate partners and highlight an approach to recycling that has proven successful. He will talk about the importance of driving the consumer to recycle, and will provide operational insights to ensure that recyclable materials are recovered.
Bruce Rayner is the Chief Green Officer with Athletes for a Fit Planet, and will cover waste management in the challenging settings of street race courses, golf tournaments, and other temporary outdoor events that are set-up one day and dismantled the next. He'll tap his Company's four years of experience working at events across North America and the UK to share strategies and practical tips for waste reduction, recycling, and for the composting.
Finally, Laura Moreno, Environmental Scientist in U.S. EPA's San Francisco Pollution Prevention and Solid Waste Program, will give a brief presentation on EPA's WasteWise Food Recovery Challenge and how it can help event planners meet conversion goals and gain recognition for their organizations.
As time permits, after each speaker, we will pause and answer one or two burning questions. We will also have time at the end of the session for your questions. Thanks, again, for participating. Now let's get started.
Our first speaker is Jacob Hassan. Until last week Mr. Hassan was a Community Recycling Specialist in EPA's Great Lakes Region, where he provided technical support to municipal recycling initiatives, managed EPA's WasteWise Program for the Region, and provided direct assistance to local event organizing committees associated with the NCAA basketball tournaments in Indianapolis and large conferences in Detroit and Chicago. Mr. Hassan recently began a new position as Announcing Coordinator, where he will use his waste management skills as an emergency responder and site cleanup expert.
So, I'd like to turn this over to Jacob. Go ahead whenever you're ready.
Jacob Hassan's Presentation
Jacob Hassan: Thanks, [Bri], appreciate that introduction.
I've been working with the EPA for about five years, and most of my experience has been related to recycling and municipal recycling and events recycling. And over the past three or four years the EPA Chicago Regional Office has had the opportunity to work with several organizations and events to develop recycling strategies during large sporting events, as Briana has mentioned.
Most recently, during the 2010 and 2011 Women's and Men's Final Four in Indianapolis we had an opportunity to work with those organizations to develop a comprehensive recycling program that incorporated a lot of external sites, that's something that the NCAA and the Indiana Sports Corp had not had the opportunity to or the resources to get into, so EPA provided a role in helping to facilitate that.
So what I would like to do is – let's see if my slides are moving here – there we go, all right. So what I'd like to do is kind of go over processes and procedures that we used in developing and implementing the recycling program for these external sites.
So the process that we followed in organizing or developing an external recycling program for these large sporting venues, as you can see, we've outlined them in roughly 10 steps. Now depending on the size or type of event that you may be organizing for, you may not need all these steps or you may to add a few additional just depending on the process.
But if you quickly go over them, one of the first things you need to do is you need to develop a stakeholder group, and then once you have your stakeholder group you need to identify the target areas. Where are you going to focus your recycling efforts?
And then once you get the target areas you need to sit down with your stakeholder group and start developing a strategy, how do you plan on implementing a recycling program at these external sites? Then you get into the solicitation of interest from the external sites. And when I say external sites I'm typically referring to the hotels and restaurants that are affiliated with the event or just happen to be surrounding the sporting event at that time.
Then you need to do a waste assessment when meeting with the external sites that are interested in participating. Then you need to use these waste assessments to identify the various resources you need to augment a temporary recycling program at these various external sites.
Then develop the recycling work plan, and then prior to the implementation process you need to go back there and meet with each of the venues, the external sites, to discuss the work plan and make sure everyone is onboard, then implementation, then you measure, report, and review, which is one of the most important components of any program.
Okay, so first up is developing a stakeholder group. This is obviously the very first thing you do and it's one of the most important. Bringing in the right stakeholders can make a huge difference in how your end results play out and the resources that are available to you up front.
At the bottom of the screen, here are just a few of the stakeholders that we use for the Men's and Women's Final Four. Each one of these stakeholders provided an integral role in either providing resources or institutional knowledge that was valuable and kind of laying out our strategic plan.
One of the things we like to do is also identify local stakeholders. That's a key so that they know the lay of the land and can provide local resources to the stakeholder group. You'd want to include decision makers, so for the NCAA we needed – or for the Final Four, we needed the NCAA to be a participant in this, as well, so that they knew the process and were able to sign-off on different tasks that we wanted to have done.
Incorporating relevant sponsors. Coca-Cola was a great supporter and sponsor of the Women's Final Four, and they also were an extremely value-added asset when we needed additional recycling infrastructure for some of these external sites. And one of the key things is you want to keep these stake group holders relatively small. The more people you add to the group the more cumbersome it becomes to make decisions.
Next, what you want to do, actually, your stakeholder group develops, you need to identify target areas. Where do you want to do the recycling? What's going to be feasible for the amount of resources that you currently have? One of the things that we've looked for was do the external sites, the hotels and restaurants having an affiliation already with the sporting event. So the NCAA had contracted – had contracts with hotels, restaurants had contracts with the NCAA, so that was our first target.
And then we went to find an area where we can easily operate our recycling plan. So this picture on the right, you can see right here, is a map of the targeted hotels that we had in the downtown area and where we were going to operate from.
So now that – once you get a good idea of where you want to target your recycling efforts, you'll need to start developing a strategy. How do you think you can actually implement this program? So you sit down with your stakeholders, and as far as identifying the existing resources that each stakeholder can bring to the table.
Then you need to brainstorm, how are we going to do this? And my suggestion is get all the ideas out on the table, and then start striking out ones you don't think would be pertinent or not relevant or don't have measurable results or you can't just logistically make them happen.
And then once you have a good idea of what you want to do, you need to develop an outline. How do you think this is going to happen? You should keep it at first really simple and executable, and allow for flexibility, because as you start going through this process you're going to start finding out things you can and cannot do. So you don't want to get a set plan right away and you need to keep it at least a little bit flexible.
So solicitation of interest from the target sites. So you've got your target areas, you have an idea of who you want to target, now you need to get, solicit interest from them. And so we recommend putting together a letter. A letter seems to work fairly well. And in the letter you need to actually state the purpose, the goals and objectives of what you're trying to achieve. You need to do follow-up phone calls, but you also need to specifically put in the letter that you're going to be doing follow-up phone calls.
And then the letter needs to be signed by some sort of higher official in the host organization, so in our case we had the assistant director of events for the Indiana Sports Corps who was the lead for developing and implementing the Final Four for the NCAA sign-off on our letter.
We recommend five to six weeks in advance, prior to the actual event, and then making sure that once those letters are sent out you make a follow-up phone call at least two weeks, if not sooner, to those letters going out to make sure that they received it and that you've sent the letter to the correct person.
So once you have interest back from the various external sites and hotels and restaurants, you need to sit down and schedule a meeting with them to kind of talk about what the objectives are, what you're trying to achieve, you need to reiterate the main goal of your recycling efforts, and then you need to assess their facilities to see do they have existing recycling infrastructure, understand how the materials may flow through their facility, understand who their waste hauler is. And you can gain a lot of information from these interested parties, and it'll help you develop a strategy for either implementing a temporary recycling program during the event or just augmenting their existing program.
So once you've done your initial meet-and-greet with the facilities you have a good understanding of what types of resources you'll need to help these hotels and restaurants either augment their current recycling program or actually set-up a temporary recycling program.
And if you're going to do a temporary recycling program and you're going to do collections you'll need to have volunteers and recycling crews to be able to go and pick-up material, take them to a staging area, and make sure that material is handled properly, and hauled off to a murph or transfer station.
Depending on your strategy you may need a scale to measure the materials by hand. You may need some additional signage. You may need vehicles and tarps to collect the material. For the hotels and restaurants, hotels and restaurants that don't have recycling programs may need you to help them train their staff as to how the recycling program actually works.
You always want to keep it simple for the staff, and so it's easily accessible for them to get the material to a staging area where your collection crews can pick them up. These facilities that don't have existing recycling will probably need recycling bins and bags, so you need to figure out where you can get those additional resources, and they may need collection assistance on some of the patio areas, which we did for some of the bars and restaurants that didn't have staff to man the bars, the patio areas.
So now you've just gathered a ton of information from all the hotels and restaurants, and your stakeholders. So now what you need to do is you have a good plan that you think you can feasibly deliver and implement without having too much difficulty. So you need to sit down and develop a recycling work plan.
And your work plan should incorporate the recycling strategy outline that you developed, and one of the first couple of few steps, the work plan should really have an overall approach, how you're going to do it. It needs to have specific information as to how you're going to operate the hotel and restaurant recycling, especially if you're going to set-up temporary recycling at hotels and restaurants, how you're going to do that, and how you're going to get the material from the hotels and restaurants to a staging area for collection.
So you'll need a task list, how you're going to accomplish these goals and objectives prior to the event. You're going to need a set of timelines so you can make sure you get all this stuff done prior to, and then one of the most important things that saved us multiple times at the Final Four efforts is a project contact list. Making sure you have those phone numbers for the hotels and restaurants, and Department of Public Works folks was valuable, especially when we were doing late night collections.
So right before the event, this is when you re-meet with all your external sites and sit down and go over the work plan with them. Make sure they're okay with everything that you've already discussed. You need to bring additional resources that they've requested. So if it's a temporary recycling program this is the opportunity for you to bring the bags, the signage for them, the additional recycling bins. And this is the time when you can set-up and do a training right with the staff that are there prior to the event.
You need to make sure you can confirm the start and end dates with these folks because you don't want them starting the recycling process two days into the event and continuing it two days after, because the material does build-up there.
And then, finally, when you do set-up these temporary recycling programs for the hotels and restaurants you want to help the staff adequately place, like the bins, so they're in the high flow areas and that you are collecting the most amount of material you can during the event. So typically for bars it's underneath the counter at the bar or at weight stations. And in hotels typically they'll have pop-up bars, and you can always station temporary recycling bins there.
So, obviously, for the implementation this is going to vary depending on how you've structured your recycling plan, but what we did is we had collection crews go around and collect material from the hotels and restaurants that did not have existing recycling programs and that we helped establish them by providing them with the recycling bins and recycling bags. And we made those collections for the hotels and restaurants that did have a recycling program, we just augmented, and they continued to put their recycling in their recycling dumpster. We made sure that the hotel and restaurants that had the recycling program contacted their waste hauler to say, we're going to be doing this project, we need you to keep track of the weights for us and report back so that we have measurable results from those folks.
So, we had a collection crew of two to three people that made four stops daily at five a.m., one-thirty, four-thirty, and eleven o'clock at night for the Final Four. And we tried to time these so that we catch – got the material before the garbage collection came, after lunch, to collect that material from breakfast and lunch, and then before dinner, and then at night.
When you do the collection, if you're going to do that is you need to make sure that the collection crew has safety equipment and that you're in constant communication with them in case something does happen, and also communication with the sites is extremely important in case material builds up on the loading dock and they want it removed.
So after you're done with the implementation, now comes the tedious part of collecting all the data. Data is the most important thing. If you do one thing and only one thing is make sure you keep track of the data. The way we did it for the Final Four is we tracked it by commodity and we also tracked it by the external sites, so each site we were able to log the amount of material that they had recycled during a time period. The external sites really appreciated that, and it was good information that the NCAA was interested in having and so well.
So once we tracked the weights for the event, we then did an environmental benefits calculation, and turned that into the Green House gas savings. We then took all this data and wrapped it up and put it into a sustainability report for the NCAA to review, in addition to the Indiana Sports Corps. And part of this sustainability report is that we made recommendations based on the collection process, the planning process, things that we thought would be absolutely instrumental in improving it for the next go-around.
So some of the challenges that we, obviously, as with any recycling program there's challenges – some of the things that we've found out with the NCAA is that with these large venues you're going to have high pedestrian traffic, and so doing collections is very difficult. So you have to really time it right with the corresponding events and different like concerts or other events that may be going on in correlation or the same time as the recycling, or I'm sorry the sporting event.
One thing that we ran into was Homeland Security. Oftentimes at these large sporting events is that there's a Homeland Security presence. We had set-up recycling bins outside Lucas Oil Stadium for the Men's Final Four, and Homeland Security came in and took all of our sandbags out of the bottom of our recycling bins and our extra bags down there because they were foreign objects and they could then be a security threat for them. So we had bins blowing all over the streets during some of those high windstorms.
Weather, right before the championship game, a tornado rolled through south, southern Indiana, or southern Indianapolis and blew tons of our bins away, our external bins. We also lost a lot of cardboard out of our temporary recycling staging areas. You can see down here in the bottom right-hand corner, that was our roll off box, where we stored all of our material that we collected from the hotels and restaurants. We lost a lot of the cardboard, so we set up this temporary tarp cover to make sure we had some sort of drainage to keep the cardboard dry and preventing it from blowing.
And one big thing is maintaining aesthetics. You don't want to upset the hotels and restaurants that are participating. You want to be clean, make sure there's no garbage left behind. It's a huge thing because you want them to participate in future efforts.
So some general recommendations if you're planning on doing this. You want to start planning as soon as you can, getting in on the ground floor is essential. You want to coordinate with other planning groups if it's something, like the NCAA, working with some of the other groups, such as the contracts for the hotels, the catering service, some of the special events stuff, you can have a lot of influence if you get in right away and start coordinating with those groups. You want to document everything. If you can take daily logs when you do this it's extremely valuable when you go back and try and do a report and document recommendations for improvement of your program.
And then, finally, you want do an after feedback, the hotels and restaurants want to know how they did, and you want to get feedback from the hotels and restaurants, as well. You want to know where you thought there were some issues with communication or where you thought you did some things well so that you can always improve upon it for the next go-around.
So if you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I am available at this e-mail address and my phone number.
Briana Bill: Okay, thank you so much, Jacob.
We are running just a little bit long, so I'm going to hold questions for Jacob until the end. So I'd like to move it right on along to our second speaker, who is Mark Root.
Mr. Root is a Strategic Account Executive with Coca-Cola Recycling in Atlanta, where he serves as a Recycling Expert for Coca-Cola's Corporate, responsibility and sustainability initiatives, providing training and leadership to associates and implementing corporate recycling initiatives with key customers, events, and venues. He joined Coca-Cola Recycling in 2009, and previously held positions with Coca-Cola North America that focused on managing the Company's relationship with colleges and universities in the southeast United States.
And, go ahead, Mark, whenever you're ready?
Mark Root's Presentation
Mark Root: I'm going to focus a little bit today on really outside the venue. I'm going to touch base on things that are inside the venue, also, but I'll focus a lot more on outside the venue.
Let's talk about where we're going today, just kind of a quick roadmap. Let's spend just a minute about the consumer, some keys – key locations for material recovery, what we see as keys to a successful program, a little bit about how to engage with corporations, and then a couple quick examples. There's a lot of information on the slides. There are some folks that weren't going to be able to join the webinar today, so there's additional information, so it'll be talking about highlights on each page.
And while we believe very, very strongly in reduced recycling reviews, I'm really focusing just on the recycling element today. I'm going to lean more to the outside of the venue, and I think several of the concepts, and while I'm focusing more on bottles and cans, I think the concepts are very relevant, whether that's cardboard, paper, and even some of the elements for compost. And, again, sporting events, but also very relevant I think to special events, fairs, and festivals.
So if we don't walk away with anything else today, I think the three key points – and Jacob has touched on an awful lot of them – is really convenient access, making sure that you've got messaging so that everyone knows what they're supposed to do, and then make sure that we get the material processed in a reputable way.
This page highlights some Coca-Cola research that was done back in about 2007, and while it's a few years old I think it's still very, very relevant. I've seen several other studies, and it really keeps coming back to the 20, 60, 20. And while I'm not making a political statement on this page, rather I'm looking at the slide, about 20% of the folks here on the right, what we're calling the behavioral greens, they're going to find a way to recycle no matter what. There's about 20% on the left who aren't going to do it no matter what you do. And there's really about 60% in the middle that we believe we've got that opportunistic action to move them to recycling.
When we talk to them about why they don't recycle we really get three key concepts – about a third say that there's no bin available, about a third say it wasn't convenient, and about 20% say they're in a hurry. So we believe that they'll recycle if bins are available and convenient, and I think one of the themes that I'm hearing through this year is let's make recycling normal. It's not an aberrant behavior, it's a normal behavior.
When we look inside the venue we want to identify key locations to really capture that recyclable material. And I think there's a lot of overlaps between inside and outside, but as part of building the program you need to identify those locations where the recyclable materials are consumed or discarded. And, again, I'm talking about bottles and cans, but at Final Four it was a lot of cardboard that was done by the seat cushions, so it's where is the material available?
And then inside we think about a couple different key groups. One is the consumer, who is actually going to physically touch the product, and then the other is the back of the house, really the staff who is handling an awful lot of the material also, so we kind of break it into two buckets there.
When we look back outside the venue, very similar, you'll see in areas, the pedestrian quarters, tailgating, parking lots, again, very, very similar areas, but you need to identify the types of recycled materials and where those are. And, for example, in tailgating you're going to get a lot of aluminum cans at the entry going in. As Jacob talked with security these days, people are queuing up, and they might be enjoying their beverages right up till the last minute.
So when we identify locations we try to keep a couple things in mind. When we're adding recycling bins we're just increasing the capacity, we're not adding more waste, we're just increasing the capacity. And a lot of times folks can repurpose their trashcans into recycling bins with the appropriate messaging, but you do need to keep schedules in mind, like Jacob talked about, because it will change the behaviors a little bit.
Let's talk about the fundamentals of a successful program. And what we think of is really in terms of three buckets, and we've talked about these earlier, and we'll dig into each one. Access to recycling bins, they must be available and accessible and convenient for the folks to use. We believe that messaging with a call to action is really a key to it. You've got to be very literal and tell the consumer what you want them to do and then making sure the material is captured. We know all three of these don't just happen, but when they're done right we believe it's a replicable and scalable process that will work time and time again.
When we start building a program, we always talk about, and it's more of a circle than a linear path, but you really need the right bin in the right place. What type of recycling system are you in? We're finding a heavy influence toward single stream, especially on the college campuses, so that's kind of the focus here, but make sure that you've got the right bin in the right place and that you have the right number of bins.
And if you're starting from scratch it's really making sure that you understand what type of bin that you need, where are you going to need them, and make sure that you've got enough of them. Again, always paired up with a trashcan, never stand alone even by a foot or two. I think that's one of the big learning's that we've got is making sure the physicality, they're right next to each other.
Make sure that you understand the budget ramifications if you are going to add bins, and there are several bin grant programs that will be available in 2012 for both public space and colleges and universities, so always be on the lookout for bin grant programs.
The next component is really around messaging and recovery, and while your guests are really there to be entertained, depending on what type of event it is they're there to be entertained, but appropriate messaging and educational elements can make it easy for them to understand what your program is and participate.
And clear and consistent messaging reinforces that plan. While the bin is where the material is deposited, you still need to let the consumer know what to do. And I've included examples of different things that we've pulled across the country from our toolbox that are available, I wouldn't recommend any one of these until you really do the diagnostic on what works for you and your program.
From the point of purchase of the material to the point of use to the point of discard, you've got to be very clear all along the way what to do. They're there to be entertained, but you can make recycling very easy for them. And people I think in 2011 expect to find recycling at your events. And I think we need to keep the consumer and the staff in mind. And when I speak of staff I'm really referring to contracted cleaning staff, the concession staff, and volunteers, which play a big component for us.
As Jacob mentioned earlier, you may need to consider bilingual messaging, depending on what part of the country you are and what the support staffs look like, but bottom line when it comes to the consumer and the staff you've got to educate, you've got to train and retrain to make sure that it works. But this is really your opportunity to reinforce what you and your event are doing and that you're doing the right things.
The next key component is material and recovery and metrics. And Jacob has done a great job on metrics, so I'll probably run over that pretty quickly. But make sure the material that you've got gets processed in a responsible fashion, you understand what impact you're making, and then measure your progress over time.
And I think the material handling is a real key component to the recovery process. We've got to make sure the staffs want to understand why the bins must be placed next to the trashcan, and that's really around contamination and ease for the consumer, and why the material needs to stay separated, especially if a day is – an event is a multi-day event, you might have different volunteers, different staff, so again train and re-train.
Again, redundant for a lot of the veteran recyclers out there, but we want to make sure that you've got a service plan in place to move the material from the bin to a storage location, and then ultimately on to the processing center.
One of the keys that we found to keep the material separated is to use a different color bag. One of the keys that we've found is keeping materials separated is to use a different color bag, especially in the back of the house and in the bins, but use a different colored bag. A lot of times we talk about the clear or the blue to move it forward as recyclables and clear for – or black for trash. But, like Jacob mentioned earlier, when Homeland Security was involved they wanted everything in clear bags to make sure that it could be seen through. So, it's again understanding kind of what the parameters are.
Let's talk a little bit about roles and, again, a little bit redundant but let's talk about roles. And the hauler is really your trash hauler, probably. They provide the trash dumpster, hopefully, they've got a relationship and provide recycling dumpsters, and they haul the material away. Whether that is to a landfill or to divert it and get it to a recycling facility
The sorter then really takes that recyclable material, separates it into commodities, prepares it for sale, and then gets it into the relevant markets – aluminum, plastic, cardboard, things like that. It may be the same company that provides both those services, but it may be a couple companies involved there.
We've found if you're looking for a recycler typically the first call is with your trash hauler, and they either probably do it themselves or they've got relationships with recyclers. Keep in mind, this is one of those areas where you can probably reduce cost. If you're diverting material from the landfill you're certainly going to reduce tipping fees, and in some areas tipping fees are much higher than in others.
And then there may be a cost to having it hauled to the recycling facility but that should be lower than what it would cost to put it in the landfill, and depending on the type of material there may actually be a revenue stream coming from that material, but that's working with your hauler and your processor very closely. But make sure that you know the material is getting to the sorting facility and, as Jacob talked, the metrics are very, very important.
And this is a quick spreadsheet that we use for metrics, really around bottle, cans, so I'm not going to go in – a lot more into metrics, but keep in mind your event and the recovery can really depend on weather. And when Jacob showed that map before, he showed some greens and reds on there. That was a nasty afternoon. So weather played a part in it. The time of the game, if you're college football, it's a noon game versus an eight o'clock game at night. Very, very big difference in what type of material and how much you'll collect.
So set your goals, be realistic, a lot of people say I'm going to collect 100%, but be realistic about your goals and then learn and adjust from your event, like Jacob talked, as far as doing the post-analysis of what can you do better next time. I think one of the keys is having that communication plan to share those results with your staff, your vendors, your attendees, your partners in it, what worked and what didn't
I guess I've got to change the page here. Bri asked me to talk just a little bit about corporate engagement and if nonprofits are working with corporations kind of how does that work. So I framed it up very, very broadly. And I think the bottom line for me is communication is really the key. Many times the event staff has got a sponsor lead, and they're out selling sponsorship for the events. The operation team may say, hey, I've got some costs and I can cut some cost if I offer some sponsorship and exposure. I think all it is is just make sure you're not creating conflicts in doing that, make sure everyone is on the same page.
Make sure your events align with the corporation's goals, their values. Does your event align with theirs, and does theirs align with yours, because you're really sharing equities at that point and you want to make sure you're doing the right things.
When you're working with corporations the local corporations, you're probably working with the owner or a local business that's been there, supported your event for a long time. The larger corporations sometimes it's how do you work through the matrix of folks to find the right person that can say yes or no. And I think the local day-to-day contact is probably the best place to start because they can provide you guidance throughout the organization.
I will say that timing is probably one of the big pieces and timing is get out very, very early. For example, we're finalizing a lot of our 2012 plans now so lead-times continue to extend with the larger corporations. But it may be a case where instead of dollars they may be resources, may be volunteers, recycling bins, media that they've already got available in a local market that can be used for your event.
And from our perspective recycling is not about sponsorship, it's really about messaging, messaging to the consumer, to the volunteers, and to the staffs to really drive that recycling behavior.
Let's look at a couple quick examples here, and I've just picked a few across the country, but and these are really talking about outside the venue and the cross when they come inside. I'm not going to spend much time on the final four. I thought Jacob did a great job there, and Jacob did talk about the security, and that was really a surprise for us. I think another piece of that was really street closings and restrictions in set-up and break-down time. Weather is going to happen.
But I think the thing that I saw at Lucas Oil and the surrounding area was really building that sustainable program. When you look now at Lucas Oil, they're recycling about 60 tons of material each year, and that number has continued to climb, but they've had the opportunity to do that on some big events and move forward. So building a sustainable program I think is key.
I think on the Georgia Dome, here in Atlanta, that's right downtown Atlanta, it hosts the Falcons at the Chick-fil-a-Bowl, it hosts concerts and monster truck races – and with the Georgia Dome it was really – recycling was really driven by a couple of the client groups. As part of the fan experience that they wanted recycling available and convenient inside and outside the venue.
The Falcons' leadership and some of the players wanted, and the Chick-fil-a-Bowl was another one that wanted it done. Chick-fil-a-Bowl has gone a little bit further, and they have a huge sustainability platform surrounding their event, but they hosted a college summit this year, including some folks from the EPA to help share those best practices across the southeast. And then they've even expanded beyond the venue and they work with their host hotels and things like that to make sure that when the teams and the fans are there it's a very coordinated event.
Inside the venue there's about 300 bins available for the consumer, and outside in the parking lots there's about 200 bins in the parking lots, the parking decks, the entry, exit. So when a person shows up it's easy and normal for them to recycle from the time they get there till the time that they leave.
This example is a little bit different. I've got three things here – Atlanta Motor Speedway, Music Midtown, and Georgia Air Show. And you might say, well, Mark, how are those any way, shape, and form together? But these were three large events that happened in about five weeks here in the Atlanta area, a large attendance at all three events, and we needed recycling bins in all three.
And rather than building individual inventories we coordinated inventories across the three. We had about 400 bins at the Atlanta Motor Speedway which were used for a long and rainy weekend at Labor Day. And then they're typically stored at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the next year.
Music Midtown came up a couple weeks later, it's a large one-day concert, the promoter was making green a key component of their event. They needed about 200 bins, and those were moved from Atlanta Motor Speedway to downtown Atlanta
A couple weeks later the Great Georgia Air Show happened. We moved bins from Music Midtown to the Great Georgia Air Show. Everybody had a great time and good weather for that one. And then we picked them up and returned them to Atlanta Motor Speedway. So really the point to my story is to understand what's coming up, plan out and prioritize, but share the resources across your area, if that's at all possible.
So we've taken kind of a quick journey. Three key takeaways that I'll close with is making sure we've got convenient access to recycling, messaging with a call to action, and then making sure the material is handled in a reputable manner.
So, with that, Bri, I'm going to turn it back over to you and move on to Bruce.
Briana Bill: Okay. Thank you, Mark. And just one quick question here that is specifically directed to Coca-Cola – does Coca-Cola Recycling provide free recycling bins to venues or events, and under what conditions might you do that?
Mark Root: Bri, good question, and I hate to say there's an always – we want to be involved in the process. I think it's much more of we want to make sure all three components are there. We may not be able to do them in all areas. That the one bin there, the white bin with the red is a repurposed syrup barrel that we use in production, and we use a lot of those across the country, and it provides a good low-cost situation. Much better than using corrugated bins and the price isn't all that much different. So I hate to say, yes, we absolutely will. We want to be involved in the event, but that really comes down to our local teams working with the events.
Briana Bill: Okay. Thank you, Mark. We've also had a couple of requests, if you could go back to your last slide, so people can jot down your e-mail address?
Mark Root: Let me get there.
Briana Bill: If you could do that? And while you're doing that, we'll keep that slide up briefly, I'd like to introduce our third speaker.
Our third speaker is Bruce Rayner, who is the Founder and Chief Green Officer of Athletes for a Fit Planet, an organization that provides environmental consulting and on-the-ground support to multisport, running, cycling, and walking events, as well as festivals and other events.
Mr. Rayner has worked with hundreds of event organizations in North America and Europe, including the Los Angeles Marathon, Marine Corps Marathon, New York City Triathlon and Special Olympics, just to name a few. An avid triathalete runner, surfer, and hiker, Mr. Rayner brings passion and experience to the task of greening events.
Whenever you're ready?
Bruce Rayner's Presentation
Bruce Rayner: Great. Thank you, Bri. It's a pleasure to be onboard here. This is a great session. So, as Bri said, I'm going to be talking about what happens outside the stadium, temporary venues in public places. Very different than what Jacob and Mark have been addressing, but the themes and the concepts and the practices are very similar.
So just to get going, I'd like to just provide a quick overview of Athletes for a Fit Planet and who we serve. Bri mentioned a few of the events we provide services to, and here's a few more on the list. As you can see, our primary focus is things like road races and triathlons. They get set-up early in the morning and by the end of the day within 24 hours everything is broken down and you wouldn't even be aware that they'd been there.
So that's kind of the world that I live in. In addition to the road races and the triathlons, as Bri mentioned, we do provide services to the Special Olympics in Connecticut, the Summer Games, and this is a great relationship. And we also have a very good relationship with the USA Triathlon, with the primary green service provider for that, USAT. They have about 180,000 athlete members and over 2,000 certified race directors who are part of the organization. They have their own Championship Series, as well as responsibility for Olympic qualifying races and events.
So next slide, so what do we do? We provide services in five key areas, helping events to reduce their waste footprint, their energy footprint, that's power from the grid and generators at the event. We help them reduce their transportation footprint and offset transportation, [TR2]. We help them with the water footprint. In some parts of the country draught is a serious issue, and we help them to minimize water waste and the water conservation.
And the fifth area is green procurement. Temporary events, like Green for Marathon, that has 30,000 participants requires a lot of water bottles, a lot of T-shirts, a lot of metals. There are ways that you can reengineer some of these procurement relationships so that the products are more environmentally responsible and the packaging and other components of the product, the waste, can be reduced.
As Mark and Jacob mentioned, we follow a very similar process plan for the continuous improvement idea, concepts. We like to work with events very early on in the planning process so we can maximize the effectiveness of the environmental programs, the recycling and waste management programs that they have in place, so they want to put in place.
We help them with the implementation, onsite support. And then post-event we work with them to make sure that we're capturing quantitative – both quantitative and qualitative data that then can be used in the learning process and sort of the analysis process after the event, which then gets used to inform and to plan for next year's race or the next year's event.
[Fit Planners] has its own pledge of sustainability, which is a tool that events can use. They basically take a pledge, up to 28 items that they can pledge to implement, 28 initiatives. We list the events on our green events calendar for athletes, participants, stakeholders to access, so it's a public document, so it provides a communication component for the event to show what they're exactly doing, specifics, but it also keeps them honest because it gives the stakeholders a chance to make sure that they're – what they pledged to do was actually implemented.
We're also a strategic Department with the Council for Responsible Sports, which is an organization that offers an environmental and social responsibility certification for mass participation events. Again, primarily in the running and the triathlon world.
So focusing specifically on the waste footprint, which is what this webcast is all about, we talk to – we like to establish relationships with events and get them thinking about what their goals will be. And the general goal is typically a standard measure and reduce your waste to landfill. And while recycling is a key component of that, we also want to stress with them the importance of reducing the materials and the waste, the potential waste upfront in the planning process, through the procurement process, reengineering procurement, and also in the reuse area.
So the second component of that is composting. Typically, an event if they're new to recycling and new to waste conversion they'll want to experiment with recycling first, and then add composting maybe in year two or year three, depending on how things go. Many events, though, want to get going with everything, and we can help them provide a strategy, a plan to incorporate composting.
You can usually convert about 60% to 70% of waste from landfill at a typical race, public event through recycling, so recycling can account for up to 60% to 70% of the total waste. The rest of that waste, if you wanted to approach zero waste to landfill you really have to incorporate that composting component.
So zero waste to landfill is really a stretch goal for the event that we work with. And, again, this is something that they would implement, maybe not in the first year but maybe in year two or year three, after they have some experience and some data under their belts to evaluate use and this continuous improvement process, as I mentioned.
So let's talk about recycling. And, again, we talk about when we engage with an event, when an event starts the whole process of implementing recycling, it's sort of the planning process is probably the most important component of the whole event. What you do upfront, how well you plan will dictate the success of the implementation and will provide the best results. But these are the three primary components of any successful recycling program.
I'm not going to mention all of the things on the list here, on the bullet point list, but in terms of what you should be focusing on in terms of pre-event planning, there are a few key areas. We highly recommend and we've seen the greatest success when an event organization recruits or names a chief, well, not a chief, but a green champion within the organization. Somebody on the inside who is going to take responsibility, who is passionate about sustainability, about implementing these programs.
But, in addition to that passion, also has the authority, they've been given the authority to implement changes. Because whenever you introduce change, no matter what that change regime might be it introduces uncertainty, and if you have an operations team that's been doing this for years and years and they have the operations manual, and you come along and you introduce some change there's going to be push-back. So that green champion has to be a trusted member of the executive committee of the team that's actually of the organization that's producing the event. That's very key.
Also, we talked a little, Mark talked a little bit about sponsorship. We actually help events to identify potential sustainability sponsors for events. So companies that might not have been a good candidate for sponsorship in the past, now that you have a green program in place it opens up a whole new opportunity for events, for potential sponsors.
The picture here is of a race up in New Hampshire. It's before the crowds actually appeared, so I actually have a good visibility of the sign. It's a company called [Pete & Jerry's Organic Eggs]. Very strong sustainability initiative for the company, and they underwrote the cost for bins and the cost of the recycling program.
Other key components, I would highly recommend a site map, preparing a site map for the event. And Jake talked about the traffic flow. It's really about understanding and managing that traffic flow. At an event, like the LA Marathon or the Marine Corps Marathon, when you have literally thousands of people coming at you every minute for about an hour-and-a-half you have to have a good understanding going into it as to how to organize your volunteers, your staff to process that waste quickly, efficiently, get it out of the bins, get it into the dumpsters, sort, and keep things flowing steadily through the entire event. It's a critical component. So a good site map, a good understanding of traffic flow is critical.
Also, two other points I'd like to make on this slide, one is including special recycling programs, so introducing things, like an electronics recycling component, or a shoe recycling component. You're engaging with the participant, with a spectator, with the community to involve them and get them thinking about how they can contribute to the overall mission of the event, which has this – is developing a strong sustainability initiative. So that's I think the key component, something you might want to consider. And the electronics recycling connect should be a fundraiser.
The other component here is communications. Communications pre-event is critical, newsletters, websites, and so forth. I have a slide here that talks a little bit about the – some of the communications components that you might want to consider. The left page here is the [Sharon Timlen Memorial], about 5,000 participants. This is their green page. The green page, you can't really read it there, but a few of the items here are a description about the recycling and composting plan, information about an eco friendly T-shirt. They have a virtual goodie bag instead of an actual physical goodie bag, therefore, they're reducing the total waste potential from that – from the contents of that bag and things online. The kids' race has a seed paper bib, so that the kids can go home and plant that bib after the race. They have a (inaudible) recycling program, a bike valet program, and ride share program. So all of those things, all of the components of their green plan are on their website. They communicate it through e-mail and other means to the participants throughout the lead-up to the event.
The panel in the middle is an eco pledge that we developed with the Special Olympics of Connecticut. There were about seven to eight teams participating in the summer games, and the coaches and the teams were given the opportunity to formerly sign a pledge to reduce reuse and recycle, car pool, reduced their carbon footprint from travel, and also reduced their water footprint by using reusable bottles. And so that's something that helps them to – you know, they take a formal pledge, and suddenly you take things seriously about what you're committed to do.
The third panel there is signage that we have at the [Rock-and-Roll LA Half Marathon] in 2010, various places around the expo, to the expo, about 20,000, 30,000 people coming to the expo, so providing the information for them about the specific initiatives of the event.
Implementation at the event, recycling at the event -- Mark and Jacob have touched on many of these points so I'll be brief. One thing I would like to address though is for the event you want to make sure those dumpsters that are delivered are off limits to participants or anybody except for the green team and the folks who have the authority to throw things in those dumpsters, especially if they're open-top dumpsters. That is really important when you have composting because you have to minimize, reduce, eliminate any kind of contamination going into those dumpsters. So we typically will assign somebody to stand in front of the dumpsters, manage them. Nobody else throws anything in those dumpsters without that person's approval, a key point
You'll want to provide the announcement with a script, a script that says here's what where we're going to go green, and repeat that script or repeat that messaging throughout the day, throughout the event. It just helps reinforce it and drives the messaging home. It doesn't have to be overbearing, just the occasional reminder
Visibility is key for all the waste stations, we like to have signs set high above, label of bins, and so forth.
The green team captain, managing the green team of volunteers, they are your frontline troops, they're the ones that are doing the hard work all day long. They deserve a lot of attention, a lot of credit, and a very critical role.
Just a slide here to show some of the signage that we use, they're different at every event. I don't have slides here of the actual finish line of events, but you can imagine when there are 20,000 people coming at you it's a much more hectic process. These are festival areas after the event. But the key thing I want to point out here on this slide is on the right picture you have the volunteer who is staffing the stations. When you have compost it's critical to have that individual there 100% of the time, helping to manage the process so that you're directing the traffic as to which bin to use. But, again, signage that can be seen from the distance, labeling of the bins, and volunteer support at the station.
Also, other elements, green team T-shirts, visibility throughout the venue. You have this picture up in the left corner is the shoe recycler, give your sole. The gentlemen sitting in the chair with his shoe off is donating his shoes after the race, to give your sole. So that kind of a component, integrating these kinds of services into the event help to reinforce the messaging and help to elevate the importance of the sustainability initiatives that we're communicating to the event participants.
The image down at the bottom is a very small event, up in New Hampshire. It's about 1,500 people I think. They recycle everything. You can see that sign, recycle your bibs here. The tieback bibs, DuPont tieback can be recycled. They even recycle the pens that you use to attach the bib onto your T-shirt, so everything gets recycled.
Also, I'd like to call your attention to the porta johns right behind the announcer there, the green porta johns. Those can also be green, the deodorizer and the tank, the paper, the biodegradable hand soap, you can basically green just about anything, any component of an event if you spend the time and effort.
Finally, host event review and management, very critical, and Jacob and Mark both mentioned this. Just a couple of points I'd like to mention on this slide. First, debrief as soon as possible. Get your team together, your green champions, your entire operations team, sit them down, conference call, physical meeting, within 48 hours and debrief, get all input from the entire team. That's a critical component of the planning for next year's event or the next event, the do's and the don'ts, things that worked, things that didn't, things you needed to adjust. All of these things critical and in the continued success of the program.
Quantifying the results, Mark mentioned and talked a little bit about this, with the waste hauler. The list on the left-hand side with a circle around it shows exactly how much was deposited at or sent to recycling, 1.26 tons in this case. You want to meet, make sure that the waste hauler is providing this information to you so you can use it to calculate total impact and, again, plans for next year.
Like Mark also mentioned the cost, he's absolutely right, you can reduce costs by diverting waste from landfill. A ton of recycling is typically cheaper than a ton of landfill and a ton of compost is cheaper still. So that's what we found just in the markets we work in.
Last slide, documentation, just a couple of images here and the photo. The photo on the left, again, is a small event. They didn't have to order dumpsters for their event, but they did weigh everything. That little unit in that poster is an electronic scale, and the visual reading to measure the pounds of each of the bags, so they weighed every single bag, compost, recycling, and the trash, just to be – get that quantitative data.
The slide in the middle, this is an important statistic, perhaps one of the most important statistics that we like to collect, it's landfill waste per athlete and the landfill waste per participant. This is the metric that you can use to compare year-to-year or event-to-event, you can compare events using the statistic.
Best in class is typically under 0.5 pounds per event, pounds per participant, at least that's what we found in our experience over the years. And, as you can see, this event has been calculating it for three years and they've been making steady progress those three years and were continuing that progress in the planning stages now for the 2012 event. So, again, it's all about continuous improvement.
The – finally, the chart on the right-hand side is just capturing the data from the event, itself, so that it's reflecting compost and landfill. Landfill graphics for this event, a very successful event, it was 0.33 pounds (inaudible).
Now, also, in that – in the pie chart you can see by adding compost, the green pie piece there, we got the total diversion rate up to about 88%. So that's close to, you know, we're approaching zero waste landfill on that, [the metrics for that].
So that's it – plan, implement, measure, learn, repeat often, that's the message. And thank you very much.
Briana Bill: Thank you very much, Bruce. We have a couple of questions I'd like to float your way from the field. First, can you speak to the value of selective lids on containers, you know, those kinds of lids that indicate what goes into the container by the shape of the opening or of the color?
Bruce Rayner: Yes, right, right. So when it comes to containers, I mean we use what the race has. We use cardboard collapsibles often, we use plastic containers, like Mark showed, and we use these toters, as well, that the waste hauler will provide. That toter in the middle, that compost toter was provided by the waste hauler specifically for compost. So it really depends, and it also depends on you have to coordinate your efforts upfront in the planning process with your waste hauler. Is it single stream? Is it bottle zone and can zone, and do you have to separate and sort? It really depends on what you're collecting.
So I mean we use – we typically use the cardboard collapsibles with the round hole in the top, and we'll put a label on the bin, if it's – if it's more than just bottles and cans. Typically, ideally we'll have somebody standing at that station to help with the process. So, again, it's – it really depends on the – on, one, is it single sort, is it a single stream, is it sorting, do you have composting, a number of things. But typically it's – we like to have the lids on the bins.
Briana Bill: Okay, and I have another question specific to your presentation – I think you had mentioned that the type of bibs that are collected for recycling, can you elaborate on the recycling process? The person that asked the question thought that they were not recyclable.
Briana Bill: Okay, and I have another question specific to your presentation – I think you had mentioned that the type of bibs that are collected for recycling, can you elaborate on the recycling process? The person that asked the question thought that they were not recyclable.
Briana Bill: So I assume this is something that you've worked out ahead of time?
Bruce Rayner: Yeah, this is something we've worked out with – so for bib companies, the companies that provide the bibs – there are a few big ones out there that are pretty standard, you know, the standard providers for bibs, they will typically work with us to develop or to provide us with bags or for containers that we can use to collect the tieback bibs, put them in separately and then send them to the appropriate recycling center. It has to be a special recycling center, it can't just be the (inaudible).
The other point there is, interesting, is at races you'll often see people with the space blankets, those metallic blankets that they get at the end of the race, especially if the weather is cold. Those are recyclable plastic, as well, primarily recyclable plastic that the manufacturer of them that we work with, Heat Sheets, they are working with the tracks, the all-weather outdoor decking material, the plastic decking material, that we collect those separately and through a special process we can send those to tracks and they can be made into decking. It's a pretty cool program. But those things have to be collected and sorted and managed separately from the paper, cardboard, plastic, tin and so forth.
Briana Bill: Okay, great. Thank you, Bruce.
I just want to mention we've got maybe 10 questions, but a lot of them could be answered by various speakers so I think what I'd like to do is move on to our final speaker and then take these questions after she's finished.
Our final speaker is Laura Moreno. Ms. Moreno is an Environmental Scientist in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Solid Waste in EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. Ms. Moreno focuses on food waste, composting, and aerobic digestion, biogas, recycling and the greening of federal facilities. Ms. Moreno is working on the National Food Recovery Challenge, which is focused on reducing food waste from universities, colleges, venues, and grocery stores.
And, Laura, just go ahead whenever you're ready.
Laura Moreno's Presentation
Laura Moreno: Thank you. Thank you so much. As Bri mentioned, my name is Laura Moreno, and I am going to be switching gears a little bit comparatively to the other speakers to talk about food waste, specifically.
So just to give you sort of an overview really quickly of the food waste issue, Americans waste enough food each day to fill the Rose Bowl, which visually if you can imagine the Rose Bowl full of food, it's a lot of food, which ends up being about 34 million tons of food waste generated in the U.S. every single year, and about 33 million tons reaching landfills.
In addition to being the number one material reaching landfills in the country, it is also one of the least recovered, with less than 3% of it currently being used or recycled. And when I say recycled I mean composted.
Financially, other than sort of the environmental issues, food waste also has a huge financial cost to the country. It was estimated that wasted food actually cost the U.S. $100 billion a year, which is a lot of money, especially in these economic times. And these costs come from disposal costs, over purchasing costs, so purchasing things that you don't end up using, and just the cost of lost energy.
It also impacts society. Currently there are about 50 million Americans or about 14% of American households that are food insecure, which increases health issues, and it's something that just has major impacts on society.
And the way that reducing food waste can impact this is through food donation, where people would be donating wholesome, edible food, so not the things that we're putting in the trash as far as like the scraps, but really that food that doesn't need to be wasted, that still has value.
As I mentioned before, it also impacts the environment. Food, which is the number one material reaching landfills generates methane in landfills, which is a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Additionally, food production is a really energy and resource intensive process that affects water quality, flow productivity, and contributes to about 13% of the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
So I'm going to switch gears a little bit to talk about a fairly new program that the EPA has, that I think is really exciting and could help you all with your events, both inside and outside of venues, and it's called the Food Recovery Challenge. The Food Recovery Challenge, we offer a variety of things at the EPA. We offer technical assistance to help reduce food waste reaching landfills. We offer free access to a waste tracking system so that you can track from year to year, and then also track greenhouse gas emission reductions. And then, also, we have recognition and awards. And other than that the benefits to people are, of course, cost savings, supporting communities and reducing the environmental impact that food waste has.
So the Food Recovery Challenge, as I mentioned is free. Everything is free including the technical assistance, access to any of our tools, and also really allows you to have standardized metrics from year to year to allow you to really have an easy comparison of how well you're doing in improvement.
There's also opportunities to learn best management practices through our webinar series, and also be recognized both through awards but also by being able to share your stories with people, peer-to-peer networking, and also we're going to be doing case studies on some of the more innovative projects.
So, as I mentioned before, reducing your food waste has a variety of benefits. And now I'm going to go into a little bit of what you can do to reduce food waste and some great success stories.
So as part of the Food Recovery Challenge, what we're really looking to do is move upstream. So, of course, the best idea is to have source reduction where you're reducing food waste before it starts, feeding hungry people through donation has been next on the food recovery hierarchy, and the things at the top that we see as more beneficial than the bottom, then feeding animals, which may be less relevant for this group, and then things like anaerobic digestion, which is covered under industrial uses, which is taking food waste and basically using an industrial process to have bacteria digested without oxygen to create renewable energy and also valuable soil elements and then composting, which are all more beneficial than land filling.
So just a success story I wanted to share. And, again, a lot of these tend to be indoor or inside of venues, but the same ideas and the same principles are definitely applicable to events that happen outdoors. So source reduction is really, this is really where a lot of the potential for especially money savings resides, because you can reduce purchasing costs, you can reduce waste costs, and just also while reducing the environmental impacts.
So an example is Intel Corporation cafes, they just use a waste tracking system to track their waste on a daily basis and figure out where in their process food waste is being generated. And so through doing this and identifying those areas to have it where the food waste was being generated they actually reduce their pre-consumer food waste, so before it reaches the customer by 47%, which is huge, it's a huge cost savings for them. And they also reduce their cost per meal by 13.2%, which is really great because, of course, that means more money goes to them since the customers are most likely paying the same amount of money.
A donation success story is [Rock and Wrap It Up], which is a really fantastic organization that has collaborated with 150 bands, 200 schools and universities, and 30 sports franchises. And they're really focusing on food donations. They've collected over 100 million pounds of food. And when I'm talking about this sort of food I'm not talking about canned food, I'm talking about fresh, wholesome food that's left over from these large events or from dining halls.
And one thing that people may be worried about with food donation is the idea of whether you're liable if people get sick due to the food, and there's actually the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act, which protects anybody who donates food with noble intentions, basically. And so that is something where if the – if you have concerns about liability there's a law in place to protect you, so that definitely should not be something that keeps you from moving forward on that.
Another success story is composting at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, where they actually saved $27 per ton and avoided disposal costs in their composting program because in many locations now composting and sending organic materials to a compost facility is actually cheaper than sending materials to landfills. And the Boston Convention Center actually diverted 103 tons of organic in 2008, which is really fantastic.
So it's really easy to join if you guys are interested. Basically, you join and once you do that you do a baseline food waste assessment within 60 days of joining, and you set a three-year goal. And then you do it, and we ask you to report annually. And I really want to mention that we're not a got you program, if you set your goal and for some reason don't make the goal we don't shine a light on you and say, hey, look it, you didn't meet your goal. What we're really focusing on is really the great things that people are already doing or that they're going to do as part of the program to try to spread the really good word and try to get folks to reduce food waste reaching landfills.
So that's pretty much it. Just go quickly through it. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or visit our website. I can also get you in touch with folks to – I work out of our San Francisco Office, but I can get you in touch with folks in each of your regional offices that could provide even more assistance. So thank you very much. And, with that, I guess, Bri, we can open it up for questions.
Briana Bill: Yes, thank you, Laura.
I have about maybe 15 questions here and we have about eight or 10 minutes, so what I'm going to do is ask some questions and direct them to each of the speakers. And I may also just via the chat dial-out box direct a couple of questions that are specific to one speaker that I don't think we'll have time to get to, I'm going to ask the speaker to just answer that person right on line.
But our first question, and this is for you, Jacob, you raised this at the beginning of your presentation, could you explain who your stakeholder groups are, just be a little more specific as to who the stakeholder groups are?
Jacob Hassan: Absolutely, yeah, our stakeholder group, what happened was is we were part of the local organizing committee, which was kind of tasked by the NCAA to kind of get this greening initiative going.
And so what we did is as part of this local organizing committee we brought in outside organizations, like the Indiana Recycling Coalition, the Sustainability Office from the Department of Public Works. We brought in some other consultants that had – I guess had ties with NCAA and were doing pro bono work, and had some recycling expertise. We brought them in, and there was roughly about six to eight of us that were a part of this stakeholder work group and we brought Mark in as a part of the work group, as well, the stakeholder work group.
And we kind of said that the stakeholders were the entities that were going to help guide this development of this recycling plan, and each one of these stakeholders has different resources that they can bring to the table to help implement the recycling plan. So the stakeholder work group is kind of different entities from whether it's private industry, public, not-for-profits, people that have relevant experience that you think would be a value added to your efforts, we brought them in and kind of worked together to develop this recycling plan
Briana Bill: Okay, thanks, Jacob. And I have another question for you. How did you collect the specific data for the different commodities that were recycled? And I think Bruce probably can jump in with this question, too?
Jacob Hassan: Yeah, it was kind of – it was difficult, but what we did was is that for the material that we had worked with Republic and Waste Management and Ray's Hauling, the material that we had collected at our remote, our central staging area, the material that we collected from the hotels and restaurants ourselves and put in a roll off box, we had divided our roll off box with pallets so that the back half of the roll off box was cardboard, the front half was bottles and cans.
And what happened is is that the waste haulers were able to give us numbers specific to the commodities. What they typically do is do a visual estimate so it's not 100% accurate, but in terms of the volumes we were talking about, it was – they said it was – usually it's 5% above or below what their – that's the percentage of error that they typically have when they do this.
So we had fairly good numbers there, and the same thing happened is that with the hotels and restaurants that have their own recycling program we were able to work with the waste haulers to kind of get a better idea of -- they kind of use the same methodology for that, as well, but sometimes, as you can see in one of the slides it says single stream, so we weren't able to get specific numbers for some of the – from some of the haulers that were participating with us, so we just used a single line item that said mixed single stream. But when we could, we were able to use – get them from the haulers.
Briana Bill: Okay, thanks, Jacob. Bruce, do you have anything to add here, or Mark?
Bruce Rayner: In terms of the calculation or the measurements?
Briana Bill: For commodity?
Bruce Rayner: Yeah, and just our experience, it's basically – well, we can gather data for cardboard as long as it's sorted at the event. So as long as we're doing the sorting then it's fairly straightforward to get a ton is data for cardboard, a ton is data for bottles and cans, as long as we're separating it. If it's single stream – I don't think we've ever captured or we've ever actually determined the separate material, tonnage, you know, for each type of material.
Mark Root: Yeah, this is Mark. I think to add real quick, very similar, we'll do estimates, we'll pull bags out and estimate the mix between aluminum and plastic and then on the spreadsheet we know how many cans and bottles per weight. But sometimes it is an estimate. When it's single stream in the gross it might be just a gross measure of what was diverted. So if you can't get to specifics at least being able to measure in the gross side of things.
Bruce Rayner: Can I just add something? We work, at some events because there's so many plastic disposable water bottles that are processed at these marathons and road races and triathlon. We actually work with a company that will take the bottles and shred them and use them to manufacture thread that's used in the manufacture of apparel, so recycled polyester apparel coming from [Earth Day]. It's a great program.
But so in that case we'll separate out all the bottles, ourselves, and then all the other materials will be sent to the recycling facility. So when required, when we have the opportunity, we can sort and separate as needed, it just depends on the staffing and volunteer corp that we can bring to bear on the challenge.
Briana Bill: Okay, thank you. I think we have time for just one more question. and, again, this is directed to any of the speakers. Do you have a suggestion on where an event organizer might acquire additional resources needed for onetime events, resource being resources being staff and beds? Bruce, do you want to start?
Bruce Rayner: I'm sorry, the number of resources?
Briana Bill: Where you might acquire additional resources as in staff, volunteers, and bins needed for the onetime events which you do a lot of?
Bruce Rayner: Yeah, we do. I'll tell you, the volunteer corp is perhaps one of the biggest challenges any event faces, just generating the volunteers. And specifically the green team volunteers, that's why it's important to set-up a separate category on the volunteer registration pages specifically for that task.
Bruce Rayner: Yeah, we do. I'll tell you, the volunteer corp is perhaps one of the biggest challenges any event faces, just generating the volunteers. And specifically the green team volunteers, that's why it's important to set-up a separate category on the volunteer registration pages specifically for that task.
Mark Root: I might add just a couple points to it. One, and I hope I'm not saying anything out of line, but we work a lot with the KAB, the Keep America Beautiful affiliates, and in a lot of the markets they have very strong affiliates and will bring out volunteers. If I'm on a college campus a lot of times there are environmental groups on college campuses that want to get involved, and they're typically aligned with the college and university recycling coalitions on campus. Many times it's a ROTC on campus that will bring volunteers out, so it's – and I'm not sure if they're really volunteers or forced labor, but still good, good work to be done there.
So I think that's a part of it. I think on the bins, even for a onetime event, a couple things come to mind. There is a cost involved, but what we've – one program I've seen in the State of Georgia is they put together small trailers. And they've got around 100 of the wireframe clear stream bins on the trailers. And I don't know exactly what the name of the program is, but you basically check those trailers out, you use them for your event, and then you take them back.
So you're just borrowing the wireframe bins. And that program has been very effective in Georgia, and I'm sure there are other great programs going on, but it's understanding where those are. if you've got a college close and they've got six or eight football games is there a possibility of working with them for bins? Sharing your resources, rather than having to acquire for a one-day event.
Bruce Rayner: Yeah, I could just add a little bit to that, that's a very good point. The clear stream is a great unit, units. There's an organization up here in New England that we work with with kind of a similar kind of program where we borrowed from their inventory of clear stream bins. So that's a good program. Yeah, that's about it.
Briana Bill: Thank you. Unfortunately, we're going to have to end. I'd like to thank Jacob Hassan, Mark Root, Bruce Rayner, and Laura Moreno for taking the time from their schedules to share ideas and information about Sustainable Materials Management. I'd also like to thank all of you for dialing into this month's Sustainable Materials Management Web Academy.
You'll be getting a survey. We'd appreciate your feedback on today's seminar, and feel free to use the comment section to suggest either a follow-on webinar to today's session or suggest new topics. EPA is planning next year's sessions right now, and we're particularly interested in your ideas related to food and electronics diversion, and state and local issues with recycling and materials management
Our last Web Academy Session for the year will be on Grocers and the EPA Food Recovery Challenge, so please sign-up for the Thursday, December 15th, 2011 Web Academy Program. It starts at one o'clock Eastern Time.
Thank you very much. This concludes today's session.