Leadership Blog

From Austin, The Live Music Capital of the World, comes ZERO Waste!

Posted on June 15, 2016 | in Sustainability | by

Zero Waste is becoming reality in industry, in the home, and in the city of Austin! The 2016 National Zero Waste Business Conference in Austin, Texas this month was a world class event that continues to help organizations find new ideas and focus to bring Zero Waste to Reality.

USZWBC 2016 Conf, Photo Thanks to Holly Elmore, CEO & Founder, Elemental Impact

USZWBC 2016 Conf, Photo Thanks to Holly Elmore, CEO & Founder, Elemental Impact

From the positive spirit of the conference and the convictions to the Zero mission, I want to convey to you many important messages from a few of the speakers:

From Scott Lutocka, Director of Facilities, Piazza Produce, Indianapolis:
• There’s cash in your trash!
• Sustainability is about People, Planet, and Profit.
• Your metrics are like a GPS telling you where you are and where to go.
From Jonathan Levy, Zero Waste Consultant:
• Your best friend when starting your journey to Zero is “bills analysis.”
• Have a contingency plan to deal with price decreases of your revenue stream.
• Plan for variability in “grades of waste.”
From Scott Guberman, CEO, Great Forest Inc, New York City:
• Waste Management is about 1) Audits 2) An organized storage system
3) Managing Waste Haulers 4) Education & Training 5) Metrics Reporting
From Ralph Wrons, Sustainability Leader, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque:
• You must work on behavioral changes as much as infrastructure.
• Procurement practices play a key role with suppliers.
From Kathy Loftus, Global Leader Sustainable Facilities, Whole Foods Markets:
• We are “conscious capitalists.”
• The five large ocean gyres remind us that we must focus on Zero.
From Kathie Tovo, Austin Mayor Pro Tem:
• You are one good decision away from success.
• 80% of what goes into landfills could have been recycled or composted.
From Bob Gedert, Director Austin Resource Recovery:
• Organizations are being legislated to provide recycling bins,  … and “pay as you throw” away.
From Ted Hilber, General Mgr, ATT Executive Conference Center:
• If it ever lived, you can compost it.
• Sustainability is a culture thing.
From Heidi Hart, Director of Sustainable America:
• 40% of the food produced is wasted, much of which then goes to landfills where it
then turns into harmful methane.
• The biggest source of food waste is from the home.
From Donna Gosh, CFO, Organics by Gosh, promoting composting:
• There’s no such thing as “away”…when you throw it “away,” it goes somewhere.
• Feed the soil, not the landfill.
• Composting helps heal the soil, which is the skin of the earth.

The conference reinforced my belief that bringing Zero Waste to reality is about:
1. Leaders being engaged.
2. Making personal connections with the mission and vision.
3. Leading culture.

To learn more about Zero Waste and the conference go to www.uszwbc.org or visit Elemental Impact at  A “Tuned In” Industry Catches a Vibrant Zero Waste Beat or 2016 National Zero Waste Business Conference

Thanks to the USZWBC for giving me the opportunity to speak on “Getting Leaders On Board.” I hope to see you at the conference next year in Boston, sharing more new ideas to turn trash into cash, to protect the planet’s environment, and to bring Zero Waste to reality!

Pass It On!   KB

Quote from David Attenborough: “Anyone who thinks that you can have infinite growth on a planet with finite resources is either a madman or an economist. “USZWBC2

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