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By the Tianjin Environmental & Sustainability Committee

Established in 2014, the AmCham China Tianjin Environmental & Sustainability Committee was formed to provide a platform for members, companies and the community to get together and create activities that can have real life results. The Founders and Co-chairs of the committee, Daniel D'urso and Alex Scilla, have been involved in the agriculture and recycling industries in Tianjin for many years now. Establishing this committee within the structure of AmCham China has enabled the participating members to create realistic, continuous programs. Only in this way can real and sustainable gains be made.

Working within this philosophy and framework, the committee has started two real-world initiatives to date.

The pilot project took place in cooperation with the Westin Tianjin, part of the Starwood Hotels group. In partnership with the Westin, the committee created an in-house composting program utilizing food leftovers from the hotel's kitchens. This organic waste was composted in specialized barrels. The compost produced from this process was then used to create a mini-herb garden, growing fresh herbs and micro-produce for the Westin to integrate back into their production. Following this project, the Westin has implemented a large-scale composting program, which to date has diverted tons of organic waste from landfills. Additionally, in partnership with member company Takasago Constructors and Engineers, the Westin also was able to find engineering improvements that led to significant reductions in energy usage, much of the efficiency gain coming from a transition from traditional to LED lighting.

The newest project is the Tianjin Recycling Challenge (TReC). This is a competition that the committee is developing with Tianjin's leading international schools, Tianjin International School and the International School of Tianjin. The program is scheduled to take place in the upcoming spring semester, culminating in an Earth Day event. The competition will be in two parts. The first being a traditional recycle material collection drive, where the schools will compete to see who can divert the most recoverable resources out of the waste stream. The second part will be the creative contest, where students will be able to showcase their ideas for increasing recycling and environmental awareness.

The TReC kickoff took place on Nov. 20. At the event, both of the international schools and the Westin presented on their ongoing environmental programs. Also in attendance were the TReC sponsor companies, Tianjin's own Fresh Farm Plus, Golden Windmill Trading and Zhongyi Steel Corp.

As far as future plans, the committee is busy developing ideas for an annual Fall event, to complement the Spring TReC program. In addition to the two annual events, the committee will continue to work with member companies in developing their own ongoing sustainability programs.


To learn more about the Tianjin Chapter's Environmental & Sustainability Committee, please contact Chapter Manager Anna Li at ali@amchamchina.org.