YELLOWSTONE CONCESSIONER ADDS ECO-FRIENDLY AMENITIES IN BIODEGRADABLE CONTAINERS TO ITS LONG LIST OF ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES

Yellowstone National Park’s newest environmental initiative is the implementation of a line of shampoos, lotions and other amenities in biodegradable containers as well as bars of sustainable soaps in guest rooms. With this move, concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts will eliminate more than 280,000 plastic bottles from the waste stream in 2008.

The first national park concessioner to offer sustainable amenities, Xanterra also operates lodges in Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Crater Lake, Zion and Death Valley National Parks as well as seven Ohio State Park Resorts where the sustainable amenities will be offered.

Xanterra will introduce the “Green from NATÜRA” amenities line from RoomService Amenities. This collection features bottles made primarily from Plastarch Material (PSM), a corn-based biodegradable material. Using PSM significantly reduces environmental impact and promotes a sustainable future. Vegetable-based soaps are cruelty-free and contain no animal fat or byproducts. The innovative ergonomically shaped waste-reducing soap has been designed to eliminate the unused center of traditional soap bars while providing the guest with maximum surface area. Cartons are made from natural recycled packaging printed with soy-based inks. The shower cap is also made from corn-based PSM.

“With more than 2,000 rooms in the park, a significant number of plastic bottles are used every day,” said Beth Pratt, environmental affairs director for Xanterra Parks & Resorts in Yellowstone. “Offering these products will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact on our environment.”

In addition to its lodging operations, Xanterra manages restaurants, gift shops and activities in Yellowstone. As a result, the company is in the position to significantly minimize the environmental impact in the park and has developed environmental programs over the past several years and plans to aggressively seek new programs wherever possible.

Recent environmental initiatives included:

  • Recovering and recycling propane cylinders from the campgrounds. Bins placed in the campgrounds collect approximately 10,000 one-pound cans annually, and a recycling process recovers the gas and crushes the cans. Many of the cans contain significant amounts of recoverable gas, and the scrap metal is recycled to eliminate two waste streams from landfills.
  • Switching out some 22,000 incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). The CFLs are 75 percent more efficient and last up to 10 times as long as traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Purchasing the most fuel-efficient vehicles available. Company policy requires any new vehicles purchased must be the most fuel-efficient in their category according to the Department of Energy web site. For example, old sedans have been replaced by hybrid Toyota Priuses and high-mileage Echoes.
  • Recycling, reusing and reducing waste. Efforts have led to 75 percent of solid waste being diverted from the landfill. In addition to recycling, staff separates compostable from non-compostable materials for processing at the $4 million West Yellowstone Compost Facility.
  • Recycling cardboard, aluminum, plastic and mixed paper from throughout the park and transporting it to a common collection station in Gardiner, Mont. More than a half million pounds of material was recycled in 2007.
  • Saving 3,500 gallons of water daily by using tunnel washers in the laundry and an innovative water recovery system.
  • Purchasing clean-burning and efficient four-stroke outboard engines for the rental boats on Yellowstone Lake. Older two-stroke engines burning an oil/gas mixture have been phased out.
  • Burning used engine oil from the fleet operation as heating oil in the transportation center.
  • Reusing cardboard boxes and packing materials for mail orders and deliveries whenever possible.
  • Using bulk dispensers in all fast-food operations instead of individually packaged condiments.
  • Reusing worn terry cloth as cleaning towels.
  • Setting office printers and copiers to double-sided copies.
  • Donating worn bed fabrics and soap products collected from guest rooms to charitable organizations.
  • Operating four-stroke snowmobiles that are 65 percent more fuel efficient, reduce hydrocarbon emissions and generate significantly less noise than two-stroke engines.
  • Using bulk liquid soap dispensers in campground restrooms and shower facilities.
  • Re-using old guest room furniture in offices.
  • Installing recycling receptacles in guest outlets.
  • Using paper cups instead of Styrofoam cups.
  • Purchasing environmentally sensitive paper products.
  • Encouraging guests to conserve heat and water and to recycle glass and aluminum.
  • Serving Montana Legend Beef in restaurants. This is 100 percent Angus beef raised in Montana without added hormones or antibiotics.
  • Serving Country Natural (Oregon) beef in selected restaurants.
  • Using Belgrade, Mont.’s Amaltheia Dairy’s organic goat cheese in various dishes at Lake Hotel.
  • Serving farm-raised game. Farm-raised game, on average, eats less than cattle raised under conventional practices. This method allows rangelands to regenerate more quickly.
  • Carrying organic legumes from Timeless Farms in Conrad, Mont.
  • Offering Miller Farms pork in restaurants. Raised in nearby Livingston, Mont., the park is produced from animals fed hormone-free, natural feeds.
  • Serving wild Alaska salmon instead of farmed salmon in several restaurants.
  • Serving local products to reduce transportation and fuel usage. More than 20 percent of food purchased is considered sustainable due to its local and/or sustainable production.
  • Continuing membership in the Chef’s Collaborative, a national network of more than 1,000 members of the food community who promote sustainable cuisine.
  • In partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., offering organic shade-grown Fair Trade Certified coffee in many of its restaurants.
  • Offering Silk brand organic soy milk in restaurants.
  • Implementing a Foodservice Energy Awareness Program that teaches all foodservice employees to participate in energy conservation in a variety of ways.
  • Purchasing only recycled paper for office use and using soy-based inks. When appropriate, paper materials are laminated so they last longer.
  • Recycling toner cartridges from copiers, printers and fax machines.
  • Recycling used office paper into notepads.
  • Recycling used batteries, antifreeze, Freon, tires, batteries and lead, scrap metal, solvents and oil filters.

General reservations for accommodations, tours and activities can be made by calling (1) 307-344-7311 or toll-free 866-GEYSERLAND (1-866-439-7375).