Trash to cash
Trash to cash
Location: Atlanta, Ga.

For Holly Elmore, reducing industry waste is strictly business. She's the CEO of Elemental Impact, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that aims to fine-tune the food industry's waste reduction practices and then apply them to companies in other industries.

Atlanta's corporate culture provides fertile ground for Elemental Impact, she says. The city depends heavily on the revenue that comes from the many corporate headquarters it houses and the conventions and sports events it hosts.

Everybody in Atlanta is being held accountable about what happens to waste, and there's plenty of it -- lots of clutter coming from board meetings at the Holiday Inn, lots of half-eaten hot dogs funneling out of the Georgia Dome. Elemental Impact helps facilitate huge recycling and composting efforts.

Environmentalism may come first in the company's mission statement, but it goes last in the business pitch, Elmore says. The focus is on the business benefit the organization can provide to clients.

Elmore's currently working to increase composting at Publix and revolutionize food court waste in two locations, one in Atlanta and another in Washington, D.C.

Once you plant the seed, the zero waste mentality becomes addictive, she says, "You get people on board with you and it gets in their blood."


Last updated July 28 2011: 3:49 PM ET