The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council has awarded Delaware North a Zero Waste Certificate for its Yellowstone General Stores warehouse.
According to a press release from EPR Retail News, the certification is the first for both Delaware North and for a facility within a national park in the United States. Delaware North, of course, operates a dozen general stores in Yellowstone. During the process, Delaware North implemented the following procedures:
• Removed over 25 trash bins from the warehouse.
• Conducted waste audits.
• Redesigned waste bins.
• Created a composting program.
• Put in place a reusable and recyclable packing program.
According to the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, in the year prior to the Council’s audit, Delaware North reduced, reused, or recycled over 217,000 pounds of material. From the EPR press release:
“The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council has done a great job of outlining how a business or location can prepare for and reach zero waste,” said Deb Friedel, director of sustainability for Delaware North. “Our staff worked with Justin Cook, our environmental manager at Yellowstone, to meet this challenge, and it’s been really exciting to see the progress over the last few years. Delaware North values being entrusted to run concessions in our national parks and goes the extra mile to help maintain these special places such for generations to come.”
The zero-waste concept is based on emulating sustainable natural cycles so that all discarded materials become resources for others to use, thus minimizing waste that would otherwise go to a landfill. Businesses with a 90 percent waste diversion rate can apply for this certification. Once accepted into the program, the business must complete a detailed scorecard process and pass an onsite validation audit. The Yellowstone General Stores warehouse exceeded the minimum requirements for the program and successfully earned a Platinum Level Certification – with 70 of 80 potential points awarded.
Delaware North initiated its zero-waste campaign at the warehouse in 2013 and registered with the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council in December 2015. From the time of registration, the warehouse facility has diverted 93.9 percent of its annual waste from going into landfills through reducing, reusing, recycling and composting.
“Our zero-waste goal challenged us as an operation to look at the full cycle of purchasing our products for Yellowstone General Stores,” said Cendy Sangermano, general manager of the Yellowstone General Stores. “We looked closely at how each product was packaged and then asked ourselves: What is the end result of that packaging and where does it go? Through these efforts and the dedication of our associates, we successfully achieved our goal, and it has allowed us to take that next step to preserve this special place we call Yellowstone.”
The Zero Waste Business Council was established in 2012 in Corona Del Mar, California, and aims to “educate, inform, and document the performance of Zero Waste Businesses using scientific methods to help them and their communities become more healthy and sustainable.”