Reducing waste : MCCNO completes waste audit
Reducing waste

MCCNO completes waste audit

Photo: MCCNO

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (MCCNO) has completed its first Event Waste Audit, in pursuit of a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification. 

During the Specialty Coffee Expo, employees of MCCNO rooted through over 400 pounds of a representative sample of waste materials to evaluate how well the building is diverting materials from landfills. A mix of trash, recycling, and composting bins were collected over a 24-hour period and then sorted by hand into groups to determine whether all materials were placed in their proper collection bins. 

The purpose of a waste audit is to understand the make-up of waste in the facility (i.e. recyclable material, true trash waste, compostable/organic materials etc.); and to observe and analyse how accurately waste is discarded (both front of house and back of house) and to identify items that are incorrectly being discarded in the wrong collection container. For example, garbage in the recycling stream, or recyclables in the landfill waste stream. 

„Waste management is a key part of running a building in a sustainable way. “
Adam J. Straight, vice president operations MCCNO
Adam J. Straight, vice president of operations said, "It was very enlightening to sort through our trash. The audit was especially important to meeting our goal of LEED certification over the next year. Waste management is a key part of running a building in a sustainable way, and we are looking to improve our performance." 

The audit demonstrated that over 52% of the total waste by weight was properly diverted from the landfill, according to Bradley Vogel, of Sustainable Investment Group (SIG), the convention centre's LEED consultant. While this figure is commendable for the newly implemented waste diversion program, SIG provided a waste audit report with recommendations and next steps on how the facility can continue to improve their waste management programme.