Sustainability Leaders Meet at Miami's Recycling Energy Forum Expo

(3BL and Just Means) Sustainability in Florida gets a bad rap. I understand that. Compared to New England, California and Europe, Florida overall lags in conversations about sustainability in business, government and education. Jesse Rittenhouse and Iraklis Kalamenios, co-founders of the Recycling Energy Forum, are working to change that.

Friday, April 24th hosts the first cross-sector Recycling Energy Forum Expo at the Kovens Conference Center in Miami, Florida. Freebee, Whole Foods Market of North Miami, the City of North Miami, Florida International University, and Zipcar are a few of the partners and sponsors of the expo. According to Rittenhouse, the goal is to bring together academics and students with private industries, government, and the public, encouraging them to leave their silos and share their innovations and solutions for a cleaner and healthier world. 

“It's key to educate one another across industries because most everything is connected in one way or another. If we ignore those externalities then we are being harmful to our environment and to ourselves,” says Rittenhouse.

The Recycling Energy Forum Expo will center on reducing waste and the life cycle of products and operations. Speakers include Leisha John, America’s Director for Environmental Sustainability from Ernst & Young. Her presentation called, Going for Zero: Achieving a Zero Waste Office, will shed light on what major companies have done to eliminate waste streams. Rittenhouse believes that though recycling is the last line of defense in reducing waste and pollution, many people have yet to consider it. And if they aren’t committed to recycling, they won’t be open to refusing, reusing, reducing or repurposing either.

“If a person doesn't even consider recycling, then we still have a long way to go to educate and support a system that is the most widely recognized and minimum standard to reduce waste,” explains Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse and Kalamenios have a vision for Miami to become a hub for alternative energy development and a city where the consideration of the collective impact of actions--or inactions-- is understood. They see a huge opportunity for smarter product design and more efficient life cycles to lead to a cradle-to-cradle process of thinking, and an awareness of our environmental footprints.

“Miami is rapidly developing into one of the largest, most visited cities in the world. Although it appears that we are behind many major cities in areas of sustainability, we have the advantage of being a relatively young, growing city that can learn, invest in, and take the best from other cities to create and adapt solutions,” explains Rittenhouse.

After the expo, Rittenhouse and Kalamenios will continue promoting the work of sustainability leaders through their soon-to-be B Corp, Recycling Energy Forum (REF). REF is a full service, boutique marketing agency that focuses on making purposeful connections for sustainable organizations. They are planning to host the second Recycling Energy Forum Expo in Germany next year.

“I believe collaboration will be key to help us all solve our sustainability issues. Challenges and potential collaborations like these are why I get up every day and I hope to work with more people who also believe that sustainable business is the only right way to do business,” says Rittenhouse.

I look forward to great collaboration at this event and encourage those of you in South Florida to join me! Read the speaker line-up for the expo. Register for the expo. Exhibit your company, school or NGO. Learn about REF.