It may seem ironic that a green building event would generate waste, but Chicago's Greenbuild 2007 did - 44 tons of it, to be exact. But there's more to that figure than meets the eye.

"Forty-four tons of waste may seem like a lot," said Dan Bulley, Executive Director of the Green Construction Institute and Chair of the Volunteer Committee for Greenbuild in 2007, "but the conference was a week-long, international conference and expo with an exhibit hall and 25,000 participants - that's the same size as the population of Edwardsville, Illinois. If you do the math, you'll see that the waste produced in that week amounted to only about 3.5 pounds per person, but with that many people, it added up. Fortunately, we were prepared and knew what to do with it."
As Chair of the Volunteer Committee, Bulley was in charge of 300 volunteers, college students from across the country, who sorted the waste so it could be recycled or composted. For his efforts, the Illinois Recycling Association recently named Bulley as the winner of the Outstanding Large Event Recycling Award.
According to Bulley, 91 percent of the waste, or 40 tons, from the Greenbuild 2007 conference was diverted from landfills. Instead, the waste was recycled or composted.
"Of the 40 tons diverted from landfills," Bulley said, "seven tons were food scrap and six tons were wood from expo displays in the exhibit hall. The students did an excellent job of manning the recycling stations. We couldn't have done it without them. The students even showed the conference attendees how they sorted the garbage for recycling." The conference was held at Chicago's McCormick Place West, which is a LEED certified green building.

Bulley is also the Senior Vice President of the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) of Chicago, Treasurer of the Chicago Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional.