Los Angeles Convention Center Bans Single-Use Plastic Bottles

VINCENT ALONZO, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
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LOS ANGELES — On Earth Day, the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), owned by the City of Los Angeles announced a ban on single-use plastic bottles throughout the facility.

LACC’s exclusive food and beverage partner, Levy Restaurants, has replaced single-use plastic bottles with aluminum bottles throughout cafés and catering operations. Beverages sold in the Center’s vending machines have also followed suit.

“As an environmentally responsible facility, this was an obvious next step,” Ellen Schwartz, General Manager of the LACC, said. “The long-term cost of single-use plastic to our environment was something we could no longer ignore.”

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The LACC ban supports Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s stated goal to eliminate plastic bottles throughout city-owned facilities, replacing single-use plastic water bottles with sustainable alternatives, such as recyclable aluminum, glass or certified compostable material.

“Like many organizations in the events industry, the need to adopt sustainable practices is a critical objective we are ingraining into the RX culture. Recently we have proudly signed the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge, to drive toward net zero by 2050,” Mike Grant, Senior Vice President of Operations, RX US, said. “We support the initiatives of the LACC and all our venue partners in driving these changes.”

The International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) will be meeting in Los Angeles in 2024, and they are very happy with the new policy at LACC. “IAEE commends the Los Angeles Convention Center for making the move to eliminate plastic water bottle waste from its facility. Sustainability is an increasingly critical business component for all industry stakeholders,” Scott Craighead, IAEE Vice President of Exhibitions and Events, said. “This measure by LACC illustrates an example of how an operational decision can make a real difference toward a more environmentally sustainable industry. IAEE looks forward to partnering with LACC on its environmental initiatives when it hosts Expo! Expo!, IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in 2024.”

In addition to reducing plastic pollution, the aluminum bottles newly introduced at the Center are easily refillable from one of the 21 hydration stations on-site. To date, these water refilling stations have saved an estimated 150,000 plastic bottles. “It’s encouraging to see the success that the Los Angeles Convention Center is having with its sustainability policies,” Jeff Quade, Executive Vice President, GES, said. “We are excited to support our partners including the Los Angeles Convention Center in their sustainability efforts.  At GES, we reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible. LACC’s ban on single-use bottles at the facility is in-line with our values.”

Recently, the LACC teamed up with the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) to more clearly identify these water refilling stations. “Fill Up Here” signs have been added to each hydration station to encourage guests to take advantage of the city’s clean/safe water supply.

“Creating a low-impact events and exhibitions is critical to reducing the environmental impact on this planet we call home,” Janet Sperstad, CMP, program director, Meeting and Event Management, Madison College and secretary/treasurer, IAEE, said. “Using the Events Industry Council Sustainable Event Standards and following best practices from those who are successfully creating sustainable exhibitions like IMEX can help guide the way. Collectively, we can make a big difference.”

Reach Scott Craighead at scraighead@iaee.com; Mike Grant at mike.Grant@rxglobal.com; Jeff Quade at jquade@ges.com; Ellen Schwartz at eschwartz@lacclink.com; Janet Sperstad at jsperstad@madisoncollege.edu