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Greening of Hospitality Industry
Georgia World Congress Center Working With Customers To Green Events


During the past few months, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) has hosted several events that were particularly interested in producing a green event. With the convention center’s commitment to sustainability, the GWCC was happy to help these events with their efforts. Microsoft hosted two events, Convergence and Tech Ed, and McDonald’s hosted an internal meeting. Joint efforts between the convention center and the customers resulted in a waste diversion rate of 55-65%.

Microsoft Convergence, which had 9,100 attendees, diverted 30.3 tons of waste from the landfill through single-stream recycling (6.53 tons), recycling corrugated board (1.65 tons), composting food waste (20.66 tons) and donating unused food (1.46 tons). There was an overall diversion rate of 60%.

With 10,250 attendees at Microsoft Tech Ed, an overall 65.4% diversion rate was achieved. There were 3.8 tons of single-stream recycling, 4.4 tons of corrugated board, 32.35 tons of food composted and 1.48 tons of unused food and supplies donated for a total of 42 tons diverted. At the conclusion of Tech Ed, the GWCC was also able to distribute supplies that were left over from the event to local organizations. A total of 1,000 backpacks, 600 t-shirts, 60 polo-style shirts, 1,000 pens/pencils, 500 notebooks, 800 water bottles and 2,000 lanyards were distributed to Bethune Elementary, the Atlanta Mission for men, the Atlanta Mission for women and children and the Atlanta 5th Ward Boys Association.

McDonald’s, which hosted 7,000 attendees, also focused on waste diversion during their event. Over 18 tons of food waste were composted, 5.5 tons of cardboard were baled and recycled and 5 tons of single-stream waste were recycled. Including recycling of pallets and visqueen plus food donations, a total of 29.9 tons of waste were diverted from the landfill for a 55.6% diversion rate.

“We’ve had a lot of success working with our environmentally-conscious customers on measuring and reducing the impact of their events,” said Tim Trefzer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority sustainability coordinator. “Among our sustainability-driven strategies is a robust waste reduction program that supports increasing awareness of our single-stream recycling, composting options for back and front of house meal waste, collecting cardboard and visqueen to be baled and excess food and materials to be donated to local organizations.”

Over the course of the past year, the Georgia World Congress Center has increased its commitment to sustainability and has substantially decreased the amount of waste that it has sent to the landfill. Single-stream recycling increased from 54 tons in FY 2010 to 110 tons in FY 2011; recycled cardboard increased from 49 tons to 78 tons; and composted food waste increased from 290 tons to 410 tons. These efforts plus recycling of pallets and grease significantly increased the overall diversion in FY 2011 compared to FY 2010.

For more information on the Georgia World Congress Center’s sustainability efforts, please visit: http://gwcc.com/about/Growing_Green.aspx.

Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center features 1.4 million sq. ft. of prime exhibit space, 12 exhibit halls, 106 meeting rooms and 2 grand ballrooms. Complemented by the Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park, the three facilities comprise one of the finest convention, sports, and entertainment complexes in the world.

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