July/August 2009

In This Issue
Advisory Committee Created
The How-To's of Recycling

Virginia Green
Important VG Websites:

Virginia Green Gazette

VG Advisory Committee Created!
The inaugural meeting of the VG Advisory Committee (or VGAC), which represents the many aspects of the Commonwealth's tourism industry, was held July 24th at the Richmond Convention Center. The VGAC was formed to help provide guidance on the program's direction, promote VG to their industry sector, and recruit new members. The meeting featured updates on the VG's direction and recent progress, including the new automated application process. At the end of the meeting, VG staff facilitated a thorough discussion of its many challenges and opportunities, and participants provided excellent input and many great ideas that will help to steer VG into the future. Thanks to all who attended and made the first VGAC meeting a successful one! Follow the link for more information on the VGAC, including current membership. 
Environmental Spotlight: Recycling
RecyclingOne of the "core" or mandatory requirements for VG participants is to have an active recycling program. Applicants must identify the materials they recycle as well as the name of their recycling vendor.
Why is recycling a mandatory requirement? First, recycling at your site shows a commitment to the environment as it can reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and reduce pollution. People readily identify recycling as a "green" activity.  Second, customers have an expectation that "green" businesses will recycle in order to reduce their waste management costs. Environmentally sensitive customers expect a visible and easily accessible recycling program for many of the same items they recycle at home. Third, recycling programs can provide a template for other "green" activities such as water and energy conservation. 
It is understood that recycling markets around the Commonwealth vary significantly, so some VG members may have difficulty recycling multiple materials. Setting up a recycling program at your site requires: 1) identification of your recyclable materials; 2) establishing a collection system for those materials; and, 3) contracting with a vendor. For assistance, DEQ has prepared guidelines for setting up a recycling program. 
Many VG participants have shown great creativity in their efforts. At present, members recycle glass containers, office paper, newspaper, aluminum & steel cans, fryer grease, plastic containers, toner cartridges, packing supplies, and cardboard!
Need more information? DEQ recently assisted in the production of a free, on-line recycling tutorial. DEQ has also expanded its guidance on business, office and agency recycling options on its website. For additional information, contact Steve Coe of DEQ's Office of Pollution Prevention.
Virginia Green is a voluntary self-certification program for the Commonwealth's hospitality and tourism industry intended to reduce the industry's environmental footprint while promoting its economic sustainability. It operates as a partnership between the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association.