By Nancy Walker
On the recent April 19 Earth Day, the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC), owned by the City of Los Angeles and managed by ASM Global, announced a ban on single-use plastic bottles throughout the facility.
Levy Restaurants, the LACC’s exclusive food and beverage partner, has replaced single-use plastic bottles with aluminum bottles throughout cafés and catering operations. Beverages sold in the Center’s vending machines have followed suit.
“As an environmentally-responsible facility, this was an obvious next step,” said Ellen Schwartz, General Manager of the LACC. “The long-term cost of single-use plastic to our environment was something we could no longer ignore.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s goal to eliminate plastic bottles throughout city-owned facilities includes replacing single-use plastic water bottles with sustainable alternatives, including recyclable aluminum, glass, or certified compostable material.
“The climate crisis demands that we take bold action now to fight climate change and phasing out plastic bottles at the Convention Center is an important step we can take to meet our goals,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I applaud the Convention Center for making this change and look forward to continuing the push to make our city spaces a model for sustainable economic growth.”
“Eliminating plastic water bottles at the LA Convention Center is an important milestone in addressing climate change, reducing waste, and meeting Mayor Garcetti’s ambitious goals in L.A.’s Green New Deal,” said Doane Liu, the City’s Chief Tourism Officer and Executive Director of the City Tourism Department. “LACC has been a leader in sustainability, not only with this effort, but by installing the largest solar array on a municipally owned convention center in the USA. I am grateful for Ellen Schwartz’s leadership in making the LACC a model for sustainable economic growth.”
In addition to reducing plastic pollution, the newly introduced aluminum bottles 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.
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.
“Hydration stations provide access to the most reliable, cleanest, and safest drinking water there is, and without plastic pollution,” said Nancy Sutley, LADWP Senior Assistant General Manager of External and Regulatory Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer. “We urge Angelenos to fill up reusable water bottles with confidence knowing your tap water meets all state and federal drinking water standards. So, fill up! This drink is on us!”
LADWP is expanding access to clean, drinking water by supporting the installation or refurbishment of at least 200 drinking water stations citywide by the end of 2022 and beyond. As the city looks forward to the 2028 Olympics, the Hydration Station Initiative Program aims to promote L.A.’s high quality drinking water for the health and enjoyment of all residents and visitors.
Nancy Walker is VP, Sales & Marketing, for the Los Angeles Convention Center.