The annual Alcosan Open House is an educational event aimed at increasing understanding about the wastewater treatment plant's operations, the environment and science behind water treatment for the 83 communities it serves. Alcosan's commitment to the environment extends to all facets of their operations including their open house.
Starting in 2010, Alcosan began working with Zero Waste Pittsburgh to better address the waste reduction and recycling opportunities at this event. Right from the start the event gained a Gold level of achievement. Leading up to the 2011 event, staff of Alcosan were not satisfied with simply repeating 2010's level of success. For the second year organizers of the open house again worked with Zero Waste Pittsburgh to implement suggestions from last year's event as well as implement new ways of reducing waste. Through the efforts of Alcosan staff this year's event achieved a level of Platinum under the new ZIP certification program.
The Alcosan was the first event to achieve ZIP Platinum level of certification, is currently the only event to have achieved that level two years in row, and if that wasn't good enough, the only event of this size to achieve zero waste two years in a row.
Phipps Conservatory started its recycling efforts nearly a decade ago as part of its journey toward a more sustainable future and mission, focusing mainly on paper, cans, bottles, and cardboard. During this time, a more significant environmental transformation was underway; recycling was just the beginning. Phipps’ mission evolved from a horticultural and education resource into a leader in green buildings and operations, educating and engaging the public, while also being a responsible steward of the natural environment. Phipps aspires to “close loops” within its organization, especially around energy and waste streams, and to influence and inspire children and adults alike to draw connections between themselves and the world around them.
The waste reduction program evolved out of the leadership role that Phipps has taken in being an environmental organization focused on sustainability, biodiversity and conservation, which meant taking responsibility for all of the material flows in and out of the facilities. “Our waste reduction program has not been without financial cost, but that cost helps us understand the unseen impacts we have on the world around us,” says Richard Piacentini, Executive Director of Phipps Conservatory. “It also gives us incentive to improve our processes: How can we use less paper and plastic? Can we find a way to reuse something before we send it for recycling? Can we compost food waste on-site and eliminate the need for transportation?”
Phipps’ waste reduction program targets an array of waste streams: cardboard; plastic; glass and metal containers; paper; light bulbs; electronics; batteries; plant material; pre- and post-consumer food waste generated in the café, by staff, and at special events; used cooking oil; and even old building materials from demolition and construction projects. Phipps is one of only a few organizations in the region that asks visitors to separate their own food waste at the waste station, which is one part of their educational initiative on composting. The Conservatory has also encouraged its employees to set up compost bins at home and bring in electronics and other e-waste for safe and responsible recycling.
Phipps Conservatory encourages all of its visitors and employees to be partners in environmentally responsible living. Find out more about the waste reduction and other programs by visiting the Phipps & Sustainability website.
Every story starts with a beginning and tailgating recycling efforts have had a few. Fortunately the right elements came together in 2010 and 2011 football seasons where the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) and its partners collected recyclables at tailgating parties prior to Steelers home games. The Let's Tackle Recycling campaign - funded by the Alcoa Foundation - gathered aluminum cans, glass containers, and plastic bottles and cups. The effort includes distributing blue plastic recycling bags to tailgaters entering 10 designated parking lots located along General Robinson Street and Reedsdale Street. In 2012, it was expanded to include tailgating before Pirates and Panthers games as well as large concerts at Heinz Field and PNC park. Building on the success and lessons learned from 2010-2012, the program continues in 2013 when it will continue to grow
The David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh owned by the Sports & Exhibition Authority has established itself as the first green convention center in the US. To achieve credits towards LEED Platinum EBOM certifications by the US Green Building Council, the building’s management firm (SMG) has implemented an extensive waste reduction program that provides waste sorting and diversion of plastic/glass/aluminum containers, office paper, cardboard, food waste, used cooking oil, e-waste, light bulbs, and leftover exhibition materials like carpet. The diversion practices are further complemented by the use of durable serviceware such as coffee mugs and water glasses, and purchasing of compostable plates, flatware and paper products. Although the reduction program requires extra handling of waste materials, “The investment has paid for itself by the additional events we have secured because of our progressive efforts,” says Debbie Smucker, Director of Marketing for the Convention Center.
The DLCC is currently diverting over 50% of all materials generated in-house and brought in by visitors and outside companies, an impressive achievement given the sheer size and volume of the facility. The management team is continually looking for new opportunities to divert material from the waste stream to help reduce disposal costs and reduce the center’s carbon footprint. Find out more about this and other green practices at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center at http://www.greenfirst.us