Updates From Yellowstone’s Environmental Director

There are many ways in which Xanterra Parks & Resorts helps manage its resources at each in-park lodging facility to further protect the natural wonder that is Yellowstone National Park. Check back regularly for updates from Yellowstone’s Environmental Director and learn about the environmental impact of each effort.

From French Fries to Fuel

Next time you feast on French fries while dining in Yellowstone, you’ll also be helping to provide heating fuel for our hotels!

Xanterra’s Yellowstone operations include a sizable food service component. On a typical summer’s day, the company prepares over 22,000 meals in seventeen restaurants and eight employee dining rooms. On an annual basis, food preparation produces between 9,000 to 11,000 gallons of cooking oil. In the past, the used cooking oil has been shipped offsite almost 250 miles for recycling.

Last year our engineering department designed, tested, and implemented equipment that would allow the cooking oil to be injected directly into the boiler system for fuel. This project achieves significant environmental gains, most notably by reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by over 200,000 pounds from the replacement of 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel with cooking oil. Additionally, the potential exists for an even greater environmental gain by utilizing this technology at Xanterra’s operations in other national parks, and accepting the cooking oil from the other park concessioner and restaurants in the surrounding communities of Yellowstone.

Record Waste Diversion in Yellowstone

During a strategic session with noted environmentalist Hunter Lovins, Xanterra developed a series of ambitious 2015 Environmental Vision Goals, which included a waste diversion target of 50%.

In 2008—seven years before the target date—Xanterra’s Yellowstone operation not only achieved, but also greatly exceeded this goal. We diverted a remarkable 72% of our solid waste from landfill disposal through aggressive efforts in recycling, composting, material reuse, green procurement, and donations. Strategies for diversion encompassed a broad scope across all departments and activities; a focus on employee education and participation has proven to be key to the success of the endeavor.

Over 1.5 million pounds of material was recycled, reused, or donated. Along with the typical recycled materials such as paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and glass, Xanterra expanded its efforts to encompass a broad spectrum of materials. For example, we shipped over 600,000 pounds of manure for reuse in agriculture, donated 42,750 pounds in mattresses for refurbishment for low-income housing, and constructed bags from discarded shower curtains for use in its laundry. Additionally, initiatives in green procurement and a comprehensive waste sorting program enabled the West Yellowstone Compost Facility to convert 2.2 million pounds of Xanterra’s waste into a usable soil amendment.