The National Park Service (NPS) and its 273.6 million annual visitors generate more than 100 million pounds of waste each year, and that doesn’t include the trash generated by the concessioners that operate the lodges, transportation services, and dining facilities. Now Subaru is helping NPS implement zero-landfill practices in an effort to cut down on the amount of trash its 407 areas produce.
According to a Subaru press release, the company was the first car manufacturer in the United States to have a zero-landfill plant as of 2004, with its factory in Indiana using methods such as sorting out food waste for composting and recycling slag, a byproduct of metal production. According to Technology Tell, 99.99 percent of waste at the plant is recycled. Subaru, in partership with NPS and the National Parks Conservation Association, will launch a pilot program at three parks: Denali, Yosemite, and Grand Teton. Together, those three saw more than 7 million visitors in 2013, who produced 16.6 million pounds of waste. Of that, 9.7 million pounds went into landfills, with the remaining 6.9 million pounds reused, recycled, or composted.
The National Parks Conservation Association will carry out a waste audit and review the waste management behaviors at each park, including recycling, composting, and hazardous waste disposal. Once zero-landfill practices are implemented in Yosemite, Denali, and Grand Teton, NPS hopes to put them into effect across the board in the other parks.
“National parks are an important part of our country and of our legacy,” Clark Bunting, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, said in the statement. “Actions we take now will pay dividends for years to come. And one of those actions is addressing the trash produced and found in our parks.”