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National Restaurant Association - NRA previews expanded Zero Waste Zones program

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NRA previews expanded Zero Waste Zones program

The National Restaurant Association recently previewed its revamped Zero Waste Zones program in Atlanta, saying it is excited to help the city’s restaurateurs, foodservice businesses and retailers become more sustainable.

The NRA, which acquired the initiative late last year, reintroduced an expanded version of the program Oct. 23 at an official reception at Ted’s Montana Grill in downtown Atlanta. The revamped program will follow the rules of the NRA’s Conserve Sustainability Education Program.

“Our members have a strong and growing interest in energy efficiency, recycling and sustainability in general,” said Scott DeFife, the NRA’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs. “As a business association, we are working to create solutions and help educate operators on those topics. The new and expanded Zero Waste Zones program will help participants find solutions more easily and cost-effectively.”

The new Zero Waste Zones program will work in partnership with the Georgia Restaurant Association and M-Pass Waste Consulting Services to show business owners how to minimize their waste, streamline savings and promote their conservation efforts to their customers and other businesses. The effort will focus on providing participants with best practices, tips and tools for recycling, energy and water efficiency in four Atlanta “zones”: Buckhead, Midtown, Downtown and Hartsfield International airport.

Jeff Clark, the NRA’s Conserve program director, Karen Bremer, the GRA’s executive director, and Lorraine White, owner of M-PASS, will run the Zero Waste Zones initiative.

“We are excited to work with the Georgia Restaurant Association, Atlanta's businesses, and local organizations to bring this community effort to the city,” Clark said. “Sustainability is about bringing communities together. Zero Waste Zones will help businesses build a partnership with their city through socially responsible engagement."

“The GRA is pleased to partner with the National Restaurant Association to offer the new and improved Zero Waste Zones to help restaurateurs practice sustainability with ease and success,” Bremer said. “The program will offer business operators the opportunity to cut down on utility costs, save resources and earn additional revenue by creating a new end market for recycled materials.”

Clark noted that the program, originally created in 2009 by Holly Elmore, CEO of Atlanta-based sustainability concern Elemental Impact, will help restaurateurs take concrete steps toward achieving sustainability in one of three categories of their choice: energy efficiency, water conservation, or waste reduction.

“This program helps you create and follow a plan and focus on creating as little waste as possible for the landfills,” Clark said.

As part of the revamped program, M-PASS will provide ZWZ participants with cardboard pickup and recycle material as a benefit of membership.

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