Convention Center Earns Recycler of the Year Award

The San Diego Convention Center was recognized for innovative and successful zero waste efforts by the City of San Diego's Environmental Services Department with the Recycler of the Year Award. This was sixth time the convention center has achieved this prestigious recognition. 

The award was presented on April 6, 2017, at the city's 25th annual ceremony held at the San Diego Central Library. District 3 City Council Member Chris Ward and the City's Environmental Service Assistant Director Darren Greenhalgh presented the awards to 15 businesses and organizations leading the way to promote sustainable business practices.

The convention center's President and CEO Clifford "Rip" Rippetoe, CFE, Building Superintendent Ron Barham and Executive Director of Communications Barbara Moreno accepted the award.

"Our success is attributed to years of cultivating a green culture; one that takes pride in doing the right thing," said Rippetoe. "San Diego Convention Center employees believe in sharing their best practices with other businesses in the community and throughout the industry."

The San Diego Convention Center is a proud industry leader in sustainability. Each program in place as part of daily operations continues to improve, helping reach new record diversion rates. The facility set an all-time recycling record in 2016 by diverting 79 percent (3,162 tons) of total waste from local landfills.  That is equal to about the weight of eight Boeing 747's.

The great increase was in part due to the recycling of all the concrete removed as part of the Sails Pavilion renovation. Other waste diversion achievements include the following:

  • Recycling 100 percent of all cardboard (224 tons diverted)
  • Recycling 100 percent of all carpet and carpet pad leftover from events (64.55 tons diverted)
  • Replacement of all fluorescent lighting fixtures in the 525,701 sq ft exhibit hall space
  • All cooking oil is collected and converted into bio-diesel
  • All non-edible food waste is composted

In addition, the convention center is committed to helping the community by donating untouched food to those in need. A total of 91 tons of food was donated to our partners at the San Diego Rescue Mission: that's enough to plate 145,600 meals. The Rescue Mission also shares food donations with 90 other local non-profits.

Our staff also donated 6.25 tons of meeting materials leftover from events including clothing, shoes, glasses, backpacks, books, sunscreen, pens, notepads, chairs, building materials and tables to 25 regional nonprofits. 

During public outreach and tours, convention center staff highlight the achievements reached in sustainability and point out physical examples of the practices in place such as the new LED Lighting in the exhibit floor as well as our composting efforts in our garbage-disposal free kitchens.

Recently, a tour was given to industry professionals during the 32nd annual International Facility Management Association convention and trade show. An estimated 3,500 facility professionals from around the world visited the San Diego Convention Center. This tour was a way for our convention center to serve as a role model for facilities across the globe. Our staff shared some of the newest innovations in operations and maintenance with the attendees.

Recent tours also included the San Diego Zoo GRRREEEn team, the Port of San Diego's Green Business Network and an upcoming tour is planned with the San Diego Airport Authority.

The convention center is helping the City of San Diego in its Climate Action Plan, which strives for 75 percent waste diversion by 2020, 90 percent diversion by 2035, and “zero” by 2040.

Rita de la Fuente's picture
Posted by Rita de la Fuente, on April 10, 2017
Attendees, Between Meetings, Meeting Planners

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