Showcasing some of the most impactful success stories from Greenbuild 2018.

ISSUE

Humans create a staggering amount of waste. Traditionally there have been three ways to dispose of waste: recycle, compost, or send it to landfill. However, waste management markets are evolving. Cities across the U.S. have historically shipped much of their used paper, plastics and other scrap materials to China for processing. As part of a broad anti-pollution campaign, China announced in the summer of 2017 that it no longer wanted to import “foreign garbage.” Since January 1, 2018, China has banned imports of various types of plastic and paper, and tightened standards for materials it does accept, drying up the markets for standard recyclable materials. Now more than ever, we must look at methods to reduce the resources and materials used to produce Greenbuild.

ACTIONS

In 2018, a significant source of waste reduction resulted from a size and quantity reduction of the printed Greenbuild Expo Guide. The size of the guide was reduced from a standard 8.5” x 11” to a 6” x 9” booklet, and attendees were asked to indicate if they wanted a printed guide during registration, significantly reducing overages in printing.

In 2018, Greenbuild registered for a TRUE Zero Waste Certification, after achieving Platinum certification in 2017. To achieve this, the lifecycle of the products and materials used to produce the show and those used by show partners had to be reevaluated. For the second year in a row, Greenbuild achieved TRUE Platinum certification. In order to meet the requirements of the certification, Greenbuild was able to identify our first TRUE Waste Diversion Rate, which differs from a traditional diversion rate in that it factors in reduction and reuse weights. Please see the case study from below for further information.

The TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Zero Waste certification system goes far beyond measuring and tracking ways in which waste is reused, recycled, or composted to calculating how waste is diverted from landfill, incineration (WTE) and the environment. TRUE encourages projects to track waste that was avoided in the first place. The rating system recognizes reductions based on waste diversion calculations, provided that the modifications are documented from an established baseline, representing previous operations.

The motto of “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” is familiar to many, but the emphasis has historically been on the latter two, leaving reduction as the oft-forgotten of the three “Rs.” Including reduction as a part of the diversion, calculations encourage projects to identify tactics that eliminate unnecessary waste before it is created. Waste reduction is prioritized in TRUE because it reduces the need to extract virgin resources from the environment in the first place. It also reduces all the other impacts in the supply chain such as transportation and production. Thus, a reduction has the most benefit to the environment over reuse, recycling, and compost.

This year Greenbuild looked to identify our first TRUE Waste Diversion Rate, in which we tracked and then factored in waste reduction and reuse weights.

Read the rest of the sustainability stories in the Greenbuild 2018 Sustainability Report here.

Greenbuild continues to prioritize sustainability and demonstrate leadership when it comes to greening the conference and events industry. This year’s conference will take place November 20-22 in Atlanta, GA. Registration is now open. Get your tickets here.

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