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June 20, 2017

Waste Management and GreenBiz’17: The Zero Waste Challenge

By Tom Carpenter,  Director for Waste Management Sustainability Services

For occasions big and small, Waste Management Sustainability Services has a proven track record of helping events achieve their sustainability goals, whether that’s zero waste, water conservation, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management or simply improving waste diversion.

You’re probably familiar with some of these events, like the Waste Management Phoenix Open or the  IRONMAN Triathlon. Another major partner in recent years has been GreenBiz, which hosts an annual conference for sustainability leaders, with a focus on aligning profitable business practices with environmental responsibility. 

GreenBiz strives to mitigate the environmental impact at its conferences. For GreenBiz’17, held this year in Scottsdale, Arizona, Waste Management Sustainability Services and GreenBiz set a challenge of recycling or composting 100 percent of the waste generated by the conference. To help get there, GreenBiz, Waste Management and the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort engaged stakeholders and sponsors, urging them to commit to the Zero Waste Challenge. 

Here’s a video outlining the goals of the challenge, as well as the collaborative efforts that went into making the event a success:

This was the third year Waste Management collaborated with GreenBiz, and the partnership garnered the best results yet.

Last year, the event diverted 94 percent of waste by composting 68.2 percent and recycling 25.7 percent. As the industry standard for zero waste is 90 percent or higher, they also met the criteria for Zero Waste to Landfill, a status validated by third-party auditors from Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

This year, sponsors and exhibitors were asked to sign a Zero Waste Challenge participation agreement, which included requirements to ensure that everything passing through the doors of the conference was reusable, recyclable or compostable. Diversion training was even provided for staff members. 

The efforts paid off with an increase over last year’s number – the final diversion rate for this year was 97.3 percent, making the conference again eligible for Zero Waste to Landfill UL verification.

In addition to its large behind the scenes presence, Waste Management was also an active participant in the event:

After achieving official Zero Waste to Landfill status last year, and an even higher diversion rate this year, the teamwork between Waste Management and GreenBiz can truly be celebrated. As sustainability leaders, both organizations will continue to support and promote responsible practices that make business greener.