How McCormick Place diverts nearly 100% of pre-consumer organic food waste

New food-waste diversion tactics allow catering operations to grind nearly 100% of all pre-consumer food waste into energy and nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Managing food service waste in a convention center is an immense challenge.


McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America and draws nearly 3 million visitors each year. SAVOR… Chicago takes the responsibility and opportunity to manage our business sustainably very seriously, a commitment that led McCormick Place to be the first convention center in the world to receive Green Seal Certification, sustainability is embedded in everything we do.

One of our most exciting challenges is to seek out new innovations that enable us to drive continual improvements. As the official food service provider of McCormick Place, SAVOR…Chicago has more than doubled our waste diversion rates since 2011. While much of this increased diversion comes through food donations within our community and visitor education, we’re also undertaking new approaches like the Grind2Energy food-waste-recycling system.

Making its McCormick Place debut at the 2019 National Restaurant Association Show, SAVOR…Chicago’s Grind2Energy system will divert nearly 100% of pre-consumer organic waste. Grind2Energy technology combines a specialized grinder that processes food trim and scraps into a slurry that will be stored onsite, in a safety-sealed 3,500-gallon tank. As needed the slurry is transported to a local anaerobic digestion facility, where microbes will break down the material to extract methane for energy production and to produce a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Minimizing waste is a challenge is fought daily with steps large and small; adding tools such as the Grind2Energy allow McCormick Place catering operations to eliminate waste and creates usable energy, it’s a win for all of us.

Also at the National Restaurant Association Show, SAVOR…Chicago is pleased to launch a new Green Seal promotion to the show’s more than 40,000 show attendees and food industry leaders through digital menu messaging promoting Green Seal certification. We have found that education is one of the most powerful tools available to help spread the message.

See also:  Converting Food Waste to Energy at the Nation’s Largest Convention Center –



Making Great Experiences


McCormick Place SMG Logo

McCormick Place strives to maintain and exceed customer expectations by making great experiences S.I.M.P.L.E. 

Sustainable:  Maintaining our business and resources, operating in a responsible manner.

Inclusive: Building a diverse team and involving key stakeholders in decisions.

Making A Difference: Contributing to the success of each other, our industry, and our community.

Personally Engaged: Committing ourselves to making connections and creating great experiences.

Leading: Innovating, taking calculated risks, seizing the initiative and striving to be the best.

Efficient: Streamlining processes and clearing obstacles to free up time for the things that matter.

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Enter your name and email address to receive occasional updates from the McCormick Place and the surrounding McCormick Square.

mccormick square logo

McCormick Square

McCormick Place is the proud anchor of McCormick Square. Learn more about this exciting initiative and vision at

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!