Delaware North-Operated Facility at Yellowstone Awarded First Zero Waste Certificate in a U.S. National Park

Delaware North-Operated Facility at Yellowstone Awarded First Zero Waste Certificate in a U.S. National Park
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The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council has awarded Delaware North a Zero Waste Certificate for its environmentally-friendly operation of the Yellowstone General Stores warehouse.

The highly-acclaimed certification is the first for a facility within the United States’ 58 national parks. It also marks the first such certification for Delaware North, a global food service and hospitality company. At Yellowstone National Park, Delaware North operates a dozen general stores under a contract with the National Park Service.

During the process of certification, Delaware North’s efforts included:

  • Removing more than 25 trash bins from throughout the warehouse
  • Conducting waste audits
  • Redesigning waste receptacles with appropriate signage, size and variation
  • Implementing a composting program
  • Reusing packaging materials and working closely with vendors and suppliers to assist in upstream efforts of providing reusable and recyclable packaging
  • In the year leading up to the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council audit, the warehouse facility reduced, reused or recycled more than 271,000 pounds of material.

    “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.”

    Source: Hospitality Newsmaker Alert