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Moscone Convention Center Plans Zero Waste, Biodegradable Catering

SAN FRANCISCO, California, October 3, 2007 (ENS) - The Moscone Center, one of the busiest convention, trade and meeting facilities in the country, aims to produce zero waste food and beverage events and lead the industry in environmentally friendly practices, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.

SMG, the company that partners with the City and County of San Francisco to run the Moscone Center, said it replaced all disposable food and beverage products with biodegradable items.

"The Moscone Center has been a trailblazer in instituting green programs for many years," Mayor Newsom said, "but we've really stepped things up."

"First we installed the largest public solar-generating project in the nation on the roof of the Moscone Center.

"We have the most aggressive diversion program of any convention center in the country. Given the enormous amount of waste generated by the typical convention or large exhibitions, what the Moscone Center is doing represents a huge part of San Francisco's efforts to lead the green city revolution," Newsom said.

SMG has spent the past 10 years developing a comprehensive recycling program on the exhibit hall floor and is now implementing a sustainable catering practices program through its catering division known as Savor…Catering by SMG.

The catering division is purchasing products from local vendors and producers. Its bakery vendors are required to pick up their empty boxes for re-use or recycling. Catering also purchases organic produce and uses hormone-free dairy, meat and poultry whenever possible.

Only compostable containers made of cornstarch will be used at Moscone's food service locations and for major catering events.

Savor…Catering by SMG donates a large portion of the Moscone's unused food to community services such as Food Runners and Glide Memorial Church. All of Moscone's kitchen-generated food waste is separated for composting. Any kitchen-generated waste, such as bottles and cans, is separated for recycling. Food waste generated from seated events is separated for composting.

The catering division uses Ecolab's "Geosystem" dishwashing detergents in all Moscone Center dishwashers.

John Noguchi, director of convention facilities for the City and County of San Francisco, said, "With SMG's leadership, the Moscone Center will move to a 100 percent biodegradable food service operation by the end of 2007."

On Tuesday, SMG and the city announced their goal of having two major events this year that would help strive for a zero-waste goal.

At the virtualization conference VM World in September, the Moscone Center diverted about 40,000 box lunch containers from landfill.

At Oracle's OpenWorld information technology conference in November, Moscone Center will divert about 60,000 box lunch containers from landfill.

"We changed all of our disposable wares to biodegradable products," said Murat Eskicioglu, general manager of Savor…Catering by SMG.

"We are actually driving this growth sector in the catering industry by working closely with many producers of biodegradable wares to increase their production and make the products available to everyone throughout the industry," Eskicioglu said.

"Moscone's goal is to produce zero-waste catering events, exclusively, by only using compostable plates, beverage containers and cutlery, and by doing such a great job on sorting the materials," said Jared Blumenfeld, director of San Francisco's Department of the Environment.

Blumenfeld calls the policy, "extremely significant, given the size of convention business as a consumer and the potential for leading sweeping changes throughout the industry."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.

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