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Local group pushes ‘green’

Encourages recycling for conventions

A local environmental group that said it helped save 116 tons of construction materials for recycling from the staging of the Democratic National Convention and this week turned to encouraging the Republicans to have a ''green" convention in New York.

The Boston-based Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions said that nearly 88 percent of the wallboard, masonite, carpeting, and fiber optic cables used at the DNC were salvaged or recycled.

''This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the kinds of practices we believe are needed to address climate change and other pressing environmental issues of our time," said Daniel Ruben, the coalition's executive director.

The coalition worked with convention planners in Boston and New York to push renewable energy, recycling, and composting. Eventually, the group hopes to spur the hospitality, convention, and tourist industries to adopt environmentally friendly ways of doing business.

Shawmut Design and Construction, the contractor that built and broke down the scaffolding and seats at the FleetCenter, agreed to fasten sheets of plywood with tape or screws instead of nails, so they could be reused, according to Amy Bauman, of greenGoat, an environmental organization in the coalition.

After the convention, 198 sheets of plywood were divided among local nonprofit groups, including Women in the Building Trades, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, Artists for Humanity, and Congregation Leon de Juda in Roxbury, Bauman said.

The company that handles construction materials for Madison Square Garden already recycles its materials by using modular units that can be repeatedly reused, said Helena Miele, director of the coalition in New York.

In relation to the Democratic Convention, the coalition also raised $11,000 from donors to purchase renewable energy certificates, which a retail power supplier can spend on energy from a renewable source such as wind or solar rather than one that produces greenhouse gases, said Tod Hynes, the coalition's energy cochairman.

The coalition estimated that the FleetCenter used about 500 megawatt hours of energy for the DNC. The certificates sold were equivalent to about 800 megawatt hours, or the amount needed to power about 80 average homes for a year, Hynes said.

Miele said the New York coalition acquired more than $10,000 worth of the certificates in advance for the RNC.

Recycling of paper, bottles, and cans and composting organic waste was another objective in Boston and New York.

Waste Management Inc., the company that usually handles trash collection at the FleetCenter, was the contractor for the Democratic Convention. The company is handling the job at the media center in New York, at the Farley Building, Miele said.

David Tooley, the company's director of government and public affairs, said Waste Management mounted a ''very intensive effort to conduct recycling" at the FleetCenter that was ''well above average" compared with most events his company services and is doing the same in New York.

Coalition organizers in Boston said the composting was disappointing because containers were contaminated with bottles, cans and other refuse, said John Connolly, a New Hampshire-based consultant overseeing the effort.

Connie Paige can be reached at

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