The Heap

Caution, You're About to Enter a Zero-Waste Zone

If you're entering downtown Atlanta, that is.

From a press release from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority:

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced this week that it has joined forces with its downtown Atlanta neighbors to form a Zero Waste Zone. This will be the first zone of its kind in the southeast and one of the first in the nation. Members, which include local restaurants, attractions and hotels, have pledged to recycle, reuse spent grease for the local production of biofuel and to compost or donate food residuals in order to drastically decrease the amount of waste going to landfills. The Authority, which includes the Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park, is proud to be one of the initial members of this green initiative.

The Zero Waste Zone of Downtown Atlanta is organized through a partnership between Atlanta Recycles and the Green Foodservice Alliance, and is working in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4 and the Pollution Prevention Assistance division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

While the Georgia World Congress Center Authority has focused on many green efforts over the past 18 months, the convention center’s latest initiative was launched this week . Levy Restaurants, the Authority’s official foodservice operator, partnered with Washington, D.C.-based EnviRelations, LLC, a partner of Closed Loop Organics, to begin composting food items from the facilities for the next year.

Additionally, the Authority has a long standing partnership with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and donated over 30,000 lbs. of residual food from events to the organization in 2008.

“Our goal,” said Kevin Duvall, assistant general manager of the Georgia World Congress Center, “is to adopt practices that meet the demands of our customers, attendees and staff. At the same time we want to reduce the impact that our 3.9 million square foot facility has on the landfill. During this process we’ve reminded ourselves that being ‘green’ is a journey and not a destination. The Downtown Zero Waste Zone reinforces a lot of initiatives that we’re already tackling and it is propelling us to move forward on new ones.”