Atlanta to Launch Zero Waste Zone

Atlanta Recycles has partnered with the Green Foodservice Alliance and is working in conjunction with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 and the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division of the Department of Natural Resources to launch the Southeast's first and one of the nation's first Zero Waste Zones.

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, reuse spent grease for the local production of biofuel, and compost or donate 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 Feb. 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.

"We are amazed at the enthusiasm shown in support of the Zero Waste Zone," said Laura Turner Seydel, honorary chair of the Zero Waste Zone - Downtown Atlanta. "The composting program is incredibly innovative since there was not a permitted composting facility in Georgia until four months ago. We want to thank Levy Restaurants and the Georgia World Congress Center for their vision and commitment to the Zero Waste Zone," she added.

Holly Elmore, founder and executive director of the Green Foodservice Alliance, worked hand-in-hand with Atlanta Recycles to lead the initiative and will continue to oversee its expansion.

In Phase Two, Atlanta Recycles and the Green Foodservice Alliance will develop a model and collateral material to help expand the program to other locations in the convention district. Decals with the Zero Waste Zone brand will be developed and distributed to participants for education of the staff and public.

Phase Three will include expansion of zones outside of the downtown convention district to locations including Buckhead, Midtown, and other surrounding communities, and Phase Four will expand to other areas of Georgia, the southeast, and nationally.

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