Grand Canyon National Park Lodges Receives 2015 Environmental Achievement Award from National Park Service for Solid Waste Diversion Programs

Grand Canyon National Park, October 2, 2015 – Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, operator of most of the lodges, tours and activities at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, has received a 2015 Environmental Achievement Award from the National Park Service for its radical waste reduction.

In 2014, Grand Canyon National Park Lodges, operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, diverted 4.2 million pounds of material from the waste stream, representing a 56 percent solid waste diversion rate.

The ‘Operation Shrivelly Apples’ program, conceived by an employee in late 2013 and launched in 2014, radically reduced waste to the landfill from a variety of waste streams, most notably from slightly shriveled vegetables and fruits that were no longer fit for guest consumption but welcomed by the company’s hard-working mules. The program clearly illustrates Grand Canyon National Park Lodges’ and parent company Xanterra Parks & Resorts’ team approach to improving sustainability.

The program was conceived by an employee who, after noticing shrivelled fruits and vegetables in the kitchens could be used to reward mules instead of added directly to the waste stream.

The program resulted in diverting 30,000 pounds of food waste to mules and composting nearly 1.5 million pounds of mule manure.

“’Operation Shrivelly Apples,’ is a winning program for the company, employees, guests and even our famous mules, and countless employees have gotten behind it with enthusiasm and dedication,” said Jon Streit, general manager of Grand Canyon National Park Lodges. “Our waste reduction numbers are eye-popping, and the combined success of these multi-pronged programs has become a source of pride among employees in every job in the park.”

Operation Shrivelly Apples is one of many successful sustainability programs at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Other programs include:

  •          Collecting and recycling some 141,000 cigarette butts (the equivalent of 7,050 packs) as part of the “Butts for Beauty” program and sending them to a recycling company that processes them into products such as park benches.
  •          Collection of 8,700 gallons of waste cooking oil from kitchens to be used to power the steam engine of Xanterra’s Grand Canyon Railway.
  •          Donating four decommissioned diesel buses to a wildlife park to be used as the base for construction of an artificial structure in the bear habitat area.
  •          Discontinuing the practice of automatically providing drinking straws to restaurant guests and eliminating countless straws from the waste stream. Straws are provided upon request, and guests are encouraged to learn about Xanterra’s company-wide “Choose to be Straw Free” campaign.
  •          Organizing numerous successful litter pick-up events resulting in collection and removal of some 1,600 gallons of trash from the park.

Visitors can book Grand Canyon in-park rooms online or by calling 1-303-29PARKS (1-303-297-2757), or 1-888-29PARKS (888-297-2757). In addition, rooms at The Grand Hotel in nearby Tusayan, Ariz. can be booked by calling 1-888-63GRAND (1-888-634-7263). Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz. Operates trains service to the park, a hotel and RV park and can be reached at 1-800-THE-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724). More information about the park is available at www.nps.gov/grca.

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