ASHE is proud of its leadership in advocating for health care facilities to embrace sustainability practices in their activities to optimize health care physical environments.
In an effort to model this behavior in our own practices, ASHE is actively working to employ sustainable practices in the production of its in-person conferences & exhibitions.
Over the next three years, ASHE is committing to improve its practices around the “dirty dozen” areas of waste within the in-person conference production space: Food, Food Packaging and Service ware, Coffee Cups, Vinyl Banners, Tabletops, Plastic Foam, Plastic Sheeting, Shrink Wrap, Name Badges, Adhesive Decals, Carpet, and A/V Waste.
In 2023, the ASHE event team will focus on implementing sustainable practices related to food, food packaging and service ware, as well as name badges.
The 2023 ASHE Annual Conference is taking place at The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center (HBGCC). It was awarded LEED Silver Certification in August 2017 for building design and building operation in the New Construction LEED Certification category. Points were assigned for sustainable site development, water efficiencies, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental qualities.
The RK Culinary Group, HBGCC’s catering company, also contributes to sustainability efforts:
- The RK Group installed 2 Eco-Safe Digesters which use a high refined formula of microorganisms to decompose carbon-based food waste into a non- toxic liquid that is safely disposed into standard wastewater disposal systems.
- Items that can be placed into the digesters include raw or cooked meat, poultry or fish, fruit, vegetables, rice, pasta, baked goods, grains, eggshells, dairy products, and coffee grounds
- Food Donations – any prepared food not served from convention meals (within established guidelines) is donated to local food banks for distribution to those less fortunate. Food donations are provided to Daily Bread Ministries and the San Antonio Food Bank, with an average of 1000 meals per month. Since January 2021 our in- house catering partners have donated 10,432 lbs. of food to our local charities and organizations.
- When available, locally grown purveyors or fair-trade products are used, depending on seasonal allowances
- The HBGCC use comingled recycling compactors to divert waste from landfills
- The HBGCC has been diverting various materials since 2006. Materials diverted include:
- Polyurethane foam (carpet padding)
- Scrap metal
ASHE will also offer attendees reusable water bottles and water refill stations to avoid the use of plastic cups and disposable plastic water bottles. ASHE encourages conference attendees to utilize these reusable water bottles or bring their own to the event.
For hot beverages, ASHE will offer 12 oz eco-choice ripple cups, eliminating the need for cup wrappers. ASHE encourages conference attendees to utilize these eco cups or bring their own reusable coffee tumblers to the event.
- Disposables – as often as possible, disposable cups are replaced with reusable mugs and/or eco-friendly products.
- Disposable cutlery has been replaced with reusable silverware and/or cornstarch compostable items. Napkins have been replaced with cloth napkins and/or 100% recycled paper napkins
- Coffee Filters – commercial coffee brewers are used that do not require filters. Liquid concentrate coffee is used, and aluminum containers are recycled
In 2023, ASHE is also focused on reducing the paper it utilizes for its in-person events, and will be providing information on its products and services at its events through its mobile app, access to content through the use of QR codes, and follow-up information on resources enabled by badge scanning and post-event communications.
Since July 2009 to March 2022 at The HBGCC, the total tonnage diverted from landfills exceeded 1813 ton
- Dishwashers are used for glassware for head table water service
- Bottle filling stations are located within the building
- 100% of restroom faucets, soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers are battery free
- 100% of faucets, commodes, and urinals are low flow
- 100% of lighting in the expansion is energy efficient
- Bags used for recycled items are made from 100% recyclable material
- 100% biodegradable bags are used for garbage
Finally, ASHE continues to partner with the Expo group in the production of its in-person events. The Expo Group is a signatory along with over 120 other partners of the Net Zero Carbon Events Pledge and to join the pledge for a Net Zero Carbon footprint, focused on fighting climate change with the ultimate goal of eliminating the event production industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.