National Park Service kicks off zero-landfill pilot

Three of America’s most iconic National Parks are getting a helping hand on their waste management practices from Subaru’s zero-landfill experts.

It’s unfortunate that some of our most beautiful places, our public lands, are also a place for one of our ugliest habits, wastefulness, to rear its head, but that may be changing, thanks to a partnership between Subaru, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and the National Park Service (NPS).

According to the NPS, more than 100 million pounds of waste were generated in National Parks in 2013, with most of it coming from the 273 million annual park visitors. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because it only accounts for the waste managed by the NPS, not the amount of waste generated through park concessioners, which provide food services, lodging, transportation, retail shops, and other amenities, and which is considerably more than the above waste figure. This waste takes a toll on the resources of the National Parks, including labor, finances, and equipment, and although some of it gets diverted from landfills through recycling, composting, reuse, or source reduction, it still adds up to a virtual mountain of waste, which is a shame considering that it comes from visitors who travel to our public lands for a taste of the beauty of nature.

Subaru has been a leader in zero landfill practices for more than a decade now, and the company freely lends its zero landfill expertise to other companies and organizations wishing to get a handle on their waste practices. This partnership with the NPCA is a logical extension of its corporate social responsibility initiatives, and could lead to not only better waste management practices in three of our most well-known national parks, but also to the development of “scalable zero landfill implementation plans” that can be adopted by other national parks in the near future.

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