Atlanta Launches Southeast's First Zero Waste Zone
Downtown Hotels and Restaurants to Work Together to Eliminate Waste
Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Stan Meiburg, Acting Regional Administrator of Region 4, launched the Southeast’s first, and one of the nation’s first, Zero Waste Zones. In partnership with the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division of the Department of Natural Resources, Atlanta Recycles and the Green Foodservice Alliance, the Zero Waste Zone will eliminate practically all of the waste currently going to landfills from the area of Atlanta with the large convention and hotel facilities. This waste will now become feedstock for new industries focused on eliminating waste and increasing recycling while creating environmentally-friendly products such as soil amendments to enrich one of Georgia’s most precious resources; its soil.
Zero Waste Zones are designed to reduce the environmental impact of waste in homes, workplaces and in the community. Phase One of the Zero Waste Zone will focus on downtown Atlanta’s convention district and participating foodservice operations. More than 10 participants, including the Georgia World Congress Center, the Hyatt Regency and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse have already pledged to recycle their common recyclables (cardboard, plastic, etc.), reuse spent grease for the local production of biofuel and donate or compost food residuals to drastically decrease the amount of waste going to landfills.
In addition, Levy Restaurants, the official foodservice operator of the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome, signed a contract on February 3 with Washington, D.C.-based EnviRelations, LLC – a partner of Closed Loop Organics – to begin composting food items from the two facilities for the next year. Each month, approximately 34 tons of organic materials will be diverted from landfills and more than 20 tons of compost will be created.
This new composting program was launched at the Meeting Planners International (MPI) conference at the Georgia World Congress Center. All food at the luncheon, for the more than 1,200 meeting and event planners attending, will either be consumed, donated to the Atlanta Community Food Bank or composted. No food residuals will go to a landfill.