April 21, 2008
Single stream recycling puts conference center ahead
By Kelly Gray
As one of only six conference centers in Georgia, the Emory Conference Center Hotel is leaving its competitors behind as it quickly adopts the most progressive recycling and sustainable building practices.
“When you are the only Green Seal-certified hotel in the state, it leaves the door open for new and inventive ideas in hotel management and operations,” says Kathryn Johnson, general manager. “Our ‘green team’ meets every two weeks to discuss new purchasing policies and other ways to become more green.”
To make recycling even easier, the ECCH now uses single stream recycling. Single stream recycling combines all mixed recyclables including aluminum, plastic, paper, metal and glass and collects them from the same centralized bin on the same day.
Prior to single stream recycling, ECCH employees had to use seven different recycling bins to separate the items. Now employees are able to dump recyclables into bins located on the loading dock.
“It’s easy for our employees to recycle because they don’t have to worry about separating any of the items,” says Johnson. “And the really great thing is that the single stream takes all plastics, not just one and two. It also takes all paper products, including mixed, white, coated, etc.”
To encourage guest participation, recycling information is posted in every hotel room and recycling bins are located by the elevator landing on each floor and in each of the meeting rooms.
In January, the ECCH spent two days conducting a walkthrough to obtain Green Seal re-certification for the entire conference center. Green Seal certification ensures that a product meets rigorous environmental leadership standards. This gives manufacturers the assurance to back up their claims and purchasers confidence that certified products are better for human health and the environment.
The ECCH has lofty goals regarding sustainability. In addition to Green Seal re-certification, the ECCH is also attempting to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
“We anticipate achieving LEED certification for existing buildings for the lobby and meeting space areas and expect to attain LEED silver certification for the expansion of the conference center,” says Johnson.
To remain eco-friendly and achieve LEED certification, the ECCH does not use Styrofoam products like cups and plates. Additionally, the key cards are made from biodegradable cornstarch.