Waste Management, Arizona State partner on sustainability forum

Dave Aardsma, chief sales and marketing officer for Waste Management, says sustainability is more than a business fad.

Dave Aardsma, chief sales and marketing officer for Waste Management, says sustainability is more than a business fad. 

Waste Management Inc. and Arizona State University are partnering on the third annual Executive Sustainability Forum next week, providing business leaders with ideas on how to implement sustainability efforts in their companies.

This year’s event, which takes place Jan. 30-31 at the Arizona Biltmore, will feature a handful of keynote speakers as well as sessions on new waste technologies, the making of a zero-waste event and other topics.

“We use the forum as a place for people to brainstorm and talk about best practices and share perspectives around this whole sustainability side and how people can help each others’ businesses,” said Dave Aardsma, chief sales and marketing officer for Waste Management.

As the title sponsor for the Waste Management Open, which is coming up next week in Scottsdale, the Houston-based company also uses the annual PGA Tour event as a rallying point for its green efforts.

Last year, 97 percent of the golf tournament’s waste was diverted from landfills, Aardsma said. This year, the company is pushing for a full 100 percent.

As part of the zero-waste challenge, WM will deploy 1,000 recycling ambassadors throughout the golf course to help educate attendees on everything the company is trying to accomplish. In addition, all food waste will go to a local recycling facility to be made into compost, Aardsma said.

Other efforts include contracting with Arizona Public Service Co. for renewable energy to power the tournament and using gray water in the portable restrooms rather than fresh water.

Sustainability is more than a fad, Aardsma said, because companies can see that such efforts can save them money.

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