Friday, 30 March 2007

Toronto convention a historic first: 3000 delegates, zero waste

Toronto, ON - Canada’s first zero-waste convention begins today as the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) opens its 51st Annual Meeting at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The convention’s 3,000 delegates represent North American leaders of the meeting and convention industry, illustrating the growing emphasis on green meetings among industry leaders.

“This is a proud first for our association as we work to keep on the forefront of meeting trends and technologies,” said Deborah Sexton, President and CEO of PCMA. “For Toronto, this is an achievement that puts the destination and the Convention Centre at the head of the class in a growing field.”

A meeting of this size would typically generate 90,000 cans or bottles, 75,000 cups, 87,500 napkins and 62,500 plates according to Meeting Strategies Worldwide. Through zero-waste efforts, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) and PCMA expect to reduce these numbers significantly and divert all waste away from landfill.

Throughout the convention, trained MTCC staff will collect, sort and recycle all used paper products, bottles and cans. They will also collect all leftover organic products from the food and beverage functions taking place at the facility to be donated to Second Harvest or recycled into compost. To ensure no waste is missed, the MTCC has removed its waste compactors and will have the loading docks monitored by an independent company, Turtle Island Recycling.

“It sounds simple and in many ways it is. The difference comes in making this a very real commitment to zero waste and putting all of the tools in place to ensure success,” said Barry Smith, President and CEO of the MTCC.

The MTCC held its first zero-waste event in December 2005 in conjunction with Construct Canada, one of the country’s largest and most complex trade shows. “Given the prominence of the PCMA annual meeting delegates within this industry and PCMA’s interest in partnering on this initiative, working on a zero-waste event seemed like an excellent fit,” added Mr. Smith.

Ontario Tourism Minister Jim Bradley saluted the initiative. "As a former Environment Minister, I am well aware of the importance of re-use, recycling and composting. I commend the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Professional Convention Management Association for partnering to produce a zero-waste convention of some 3,000 delegates."

Across Toronto, convention facilities have made real commitments and meaningful investments to ensure Toronto is well positioned to accommodate the growing industry demand for green meetings. In addition to the MTCC, the Direct Energy Centre, Toronto Congress Centre and International Centre, as well as top convention hotels including the Fairmont Royal York and Sheraton Centre Toronto, make Toronto a compelling destination for meeting planners thinking green.

“We believe the green factor will be a fundamental part of meetings in the future,” said Bill Allen, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “This convention is a big first step in making sure Toronto is a global leader, and that we can use that enviable position to drive more convention business to Toronto.”

Press release

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