National Biodiesel Conference Ups Sustainability Factor

National Biodiesel Conference Ups Sustainability Factor

The National Biodiesel Board's 2006 conference and expo will focus on renewables -- not just biodiesel but the sustainability of the conference itself. The NBB has implemented measures to minimize the environmental footprint of this year's event, being held February 5-8 in San Diego.

The first change attendees will notice is the sustainably produced beer on offer at the conference kickoff Super Bowl party. New Belgium Brewery is a fully wind-powered craft brewer distributing throughout the western U.S. Not only is it a biodiesel supporter, the brewery uses biodiesel in its trucks. NBB and CoreVentures, a sponsor, also teamed up to give attendees reusable cups for the duration of the conference. Recipients are encouraged to reuse them throughout the week, because doing so may win them a prize.

Real coffee mugs, rather than disposable, will greet attendees the next morning. Throughout the sessions and activities, those without their souvenir Super Bowl cup will have other environmentally friendly cups to use. Americans go though 110 billion disposable cups a year, so replacing the conference cups with Bagasse, a material made from sugar cane stalk, helps make a difference.

"We are an environmental organization, and we think it's important that we take steps to protect the environment in every way possible," said Joe Jobe, CEO of NBB. "Greening the conference is something small we can do to contribute. It also helps us raise awareness about ways to be environmentally friendly - in addition to using biodiesel."

The Bagasse cups and plates, bioplastic cutlery, recycled paper napkins and BioBags that will all be used in the greening will all be composted after the conference. The bioplastic cutlery breaks down in 60 days. The BioBags also break down quickly, compared to regular garbage bags, which take 300 years to decompose.

The conference is also utilizing organic cotton tote bags and recycled paper towels, recycled paper from the onsite Kinko's and eco-friendly toilet paper. If every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of toilet paper with a roll made from recycled paper, 423,900 trees could be saved.

The conference is offsetting its energy consumption in the convention center by donating certificates benefiting building wind energy plants. Further, the San Diego Convention Center donates all its unused food to the San Diego Rescue Mission.