Although our biggest impacts derive from energy and transportation, it’s also important to do the right thing on a daily, smaller scale by seeking to reduce waste, and to re-use or recycle everything else. Many of these items are actions that we encourage guests to undertake back home – often you’ll see posters at the resort with that message.
Foodservice Waste Reduction – We’ve already ended the use of Styrofoam© products due to concern over environmental impacts, and most of our hot & cold cups are now recyclable paper. Many of the disposable food containers we buy are made from certified biodegradable and renewable cornstarch or paperboard (not plastic) and many contain recycled content; this not only reduces reliance on non-renewable petrochemical products, but can also save landfill space and costs the company about the same per item, so the choice was easy. For the next phase of this exciting initiative, we’re trying to “close the loop” further by piloting a compost program first for kitchen-scraps, then for compostable containers, as well as napkins, and ultimately post-consumer food wastes. Eventually, if feasible, we hope to expand this system to all consumer operations, so that even self-serve areas, cafeterias, and coffee bars might have collection stations for food wastes and compostables. A giant waste disposal and dewatering machine (a “SOMAT”) installed in our busiest lodge shrinks the volume of kitchen food scraps by up to 90% prior to the composting process.
Water Conservation – In order to reduce chemical and energy usage, and save money and water, we operate two parallel water systems here at the resort: a non-potable supply feeds toilets, urinals, and fire sprinklers, while a separate fully-treated spring-fed supply connects to sinks and food operations. In addition, instrumentation & efficiency upgrades to our treatment plant in the past 3 years have reduced the waste of potable (treated) water by over 1 million gallons/yr.
Energy Efficiency Initiatives – We have switched almost all of our fluorescent tube fixtures to modern ‘eco-bulbs’ (up to 80% less mercury) with electronic ballast technology (up to 40% more energy efficient), we’re deploying additional occupancy-sensors to turn off lights when not in use, most ceiling fixtures now use efficient CFL bulbs, and we do not use hot-air dryers due to high energy consumption (endless glove drying). We are also experimenting with capturing waste refrigeration heat, for example to warm up workspaces and restrooms.
Hazardous Waste Reduction – As part of our significant industrial recycling program, we collect all disposable, vehicle, and rechargeable batteries and transport to an approved recycler. In order to keep mercury out of the air and ultimately the groundwater, we also collect and properly recycle all fluorescent light tubes and CFLs. At our Vehicle Shop, we removed the petrochemical solvent-based parts washer in 2004 and replaced it with a water-based system that uses low hazard citrus cleaner. In addition, oil and grime from vehicle washing are collected and filtered.
Re-usable Tableware – Our busiest food service area, and all locations with waitstaff, serve meals on durable, washable plates and employ metal flatware and drinking glasses that can be used indefinitely.
Reuse of Waste Cooking Oil, Motor Oil, Antifreeze – Approximately 400 gallons/month of spent fryer oils are collected by a biodiesel company; vehicle oils, crankcase and hydraulic fluids are collected, filtered, and burned in a hi-efficiency furnace to supplement the heating of the vehicle shop; and all anti-freeze from over 40 vehicles, including snowcats, is filtered and reused for required steel rail lubrication on the high-speed quads.
Rental Fleet Equipment Reuse – When it’s time to renew our rental fleet of skis and snowboards, we sell the older models to other resorts in the business; old uniforms are donated to less-privileged cold mountain communities around the planet.
Aggressive and Expanded Recycling System – in 2008-09, we began a dramatic expansion of recycling for guests, to include all public & staff base areas, most lift stations, as well as various off-mtn staff housing. Under this new arrangement, our guests and staff are generating approximately 25 cubic yards (2000pounds) of mixed recycling every 10 days, saving us disposal money, and reducing landfill impacts. Materials captured include: aluminum cans, coffee & soda cups, glass, paper & paperboard, plastic bottles & containers, and steel tins.
Industrial and E-waste Recycling – One of our most common industrial materials is corrugated cardboard, which we collect resort-wide, compact into tight bales at each of the three lodges, and sell at a rate of about 10,000lbs/month. We also recycle numerous other materials such as scrap metals, appliances, rubber tires, batteries, fluorescent lights, electronics, copier/toner cartridges, etc. For example, in 2008, under our ongoing upgrade program, we properly recycled 50 old monitors, 25 aging PC’s, various printers, and many boxes of other electronic products. We have also arranged with food and beverage vendors to take back used freight pallets at the end of each delivery for years of future reuse, approximately 20-30/week; and CocaCola delivery trucks recycle all of our pallet-wrap plastic film.
Surplus and Re-Use – A new surplus property program seeks to re-allocate, re-use, or donate serviceable items such as office furniture to staff or local groups. We have also arranged with food and beverage vendors to take back used freight pallets at the end of each delivery for reuse. The back side of banners and placards is used again at our in-house sign shop; ski poles become stakes for signage. Building materials of all types are reused as much as possible: old lift towers are cut up for road gates, light-posts, and culverts; metal roofing is salvaged for lift shacks; lumber from remodeling is used again for other small rebuilds; after a 2009 cabin fire we even salvaged the remaining unburned wood!
100% Recycled Paper – All the office paper we purchase resort-wide is 100% post-consumer content, recycled stock, and all bulk printers/copiers are set to default to duplex printing. All of our outsourced marketing materials (posters, flyers) are printed on FSC-Certified, 100% recycled cardstock with soy inks; and our mountain map is printed on 100% recycled paper. All restroom paper towel (which is unbleached) and toilet paper products are also 100% recycled, with approximately 30% post-consumer content; paper towel dispensers utilize sensors to minimize waste.
E-Marketing – As much as possible, marketing materials are made available electronically in order to save paper and other resources: for example, the annual brochure is a simple 4”x9” card directing customers to our website, and optional downloads.
Read more about our Environment Program: