For the first time, all General Assembly venues relied entirely on renewable energy; two hotels also adopted ongoing in-room recycling.
In fifteen years of data collection and environmental efforts at UUA General Assemblies, GA 2019 in Spokane, Washington, ranked among the greenest yet in terms of overall destination impact, says Eric Wallinger, director of sustainability at MeetGreen, GA’s sustainability partner.
For the first time, following a UUA request for renewable energy, all of GA’s contracted venues sourced 100 percent renewable energy. While this is standard practice for the Spokane Convention Center, GA’s three contracted hotels also opted to source 100 percent renewable energy, avoiding 283 metric tons of CO2 emissions, Wallinger says.
As well, 1,202 pounds of event food was donated to the community. GA also catalyzed permanent change in the city, including ongoing kitchen compost programs and in-room recycling bins at the Davenport Grand and Centennial hotels. The managers of those properties instituted in-room recycling at other local properties, resulting in 1,376 hotel rooms in the city that now have recycling bins. More details will be in GA 2019’s sustainability report, expected in September.
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.
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