Recycle on the Go Success Story
 Yellowstone  National  Park Recycling  Progra
 Yellowstone National Park maximizes environmental sustainability in the 2.2 million-ac
 and educates up to 2 million visitors annually. The park collects source-separated recycle
 many campsites and employee residences.
  1  Headwaters Cooperative
    Recycling, Inc. was formed
    by Yellowstone and neigh-
    boring communities and
    is responsible for all
    recycling over a
    35,000-square mile area.
  ,  From 2001 to 2005, the
    solid waste diversion rate
    grew by 60 percent.
    More than 2 million
    people visit the park
    each year, and the
    average stay is 1.9 days.
    All recycling bins are
    steel to avoid attracting
    grizzly bears.

"We remain committed to
environmental stewardship
through pollution prevention,
waste reduction, alternative
fuels, and recycling activities.
Partnerships such as those we
share with the other EMS [envi-
ronmental management system]
team members help ensure the
park's success in preserving and
protecting its resources, as well as
enhancing visitor experiences."
   - Suzanne Lewis, Yellowstone
    National Park Superintendent
                                                                                      Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park
                                                                                 Yellowstone National Park, larger in size than
                                                                                 Rhode Island and Delaware combined, has
                                                                                 a goal to divert 90 percent of the park's solid
                                                                                 waste from landfills by 2008.
Program Overview
Recycling at Yellowstone is widely available throughout
the park and neighboring communities. At the start
of its recycling program, Yellowstone collaborated with
neighboring communities in Wyoming, Montana, and
Idaho to form Headwaters Cooperative Recycling, Inc.
This recycling co-op makes recycling economically feasible
for small, remote communities within a 35,000-mile area.
Yellowstone's recycling program began as a part
of an environmental management system (EMS).
Implementing the EMS was a joint effort among park
managers; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA); the Wyoming and Montana Departments of
Environmental Quality; and the park concessionaires,
Xanterra Parks and Resorts and Delaware North Park
Services. The system grew out of a 1996 initiative,
called the "Greening of Yellowstone," aimed at
promoting sustainable practices and advancing
sound environmental stewardship initiatives.

Nuts and Bolts
Recyclables are collected at numerous locations within the park. Yellowstone uses 4-yard and
8-yard bins for source separating five types of recyclables: aluminum/steel, mixed paper,
cardboard, glass, and plastic. To prevent bears from vandalizing the bins, they are made
of steel. A specialized truck empties the bins into larger containers, keeping each type
of recyclable separate. In addition, Yellowstone National Park, in cooperation with its
concessionaires, recycles
approximately 4,000 used tires
annually, saving $25,000 a
year in avoided landfill fees. It
also has developed prototype
propane canister recycling
equipment that is able to
process the estimated 8,000
one-pound canisters that
campers otherwise would have      34%
                                                                  Percentage of Materials Recycled at Yellowstone
                                                                           National Park by Weight
                                                                      3% 2%
                                                                                          d Cardboard
                                                                                          n Paper/Magazines
                                                                                          n Aluminum/Steel

   rhe Bottom Line

   In 2005, 630.9 tons were
   recycled, including:

     298.9 tons of cardboard
     214.7 tons of glass
     85.7 tons of paper
     21.7 tons of aluminum
     and steel
     10.3 tons of plastics
    The solid waste diversion
    rate in 2005 was 65 percent.
    There are currently
    63 recycling bins and nine
    roll-off dumpsters collecting
    source-separated recyclables.
     United States
     Environmental Protection
     Office of Solid Waste (5306P)
     EPA 530-F-06-024
     December 2006
thrown away inside the park in 2006. The recycler is powered by propane that is extracted
from the canisters, which are then compacted to be recycled into other steel products.
In 2005, the park collected 631 tons of recyclables in its 63 recycling bins. The initial
EMS goal was to divert 90 percent of the park's waste from landfill disposal by 2008; by
2005, the diversion rate was already at 65 percent, having grown by 50 percent since 2001.
The recycling program has cut the park's waste disposal costs in half.
Challenges and Solutions
  Challenge: Initially, recyclables were not generated in large enough quantities
             to be accepted by recycling companies.
   Solution:  The park partnered with neighboring communities to combine collected
             recyclables to generate larger quantities.
  Challenge: The average stay for each visitor is 1.9 days, so the window for
             recycling education is small.

   Solution:  Yellowstone National Park and its concessionaires give visitors brochures
             about recycling when they enter the park and supply another pamphlet
             and verbal information when visitors stay at campgrounds or hotels
             within the park.
                                                                                           Photo courtesy of Yellowstone National Park
                                                                                      Recycling containers within the park
                                                                                      require sturdier than average construction
                                                                                      to keep out bears.
Reasons for Success
  Collaboration with surrounding communities made
   recycling possible in an area that previously had few
   markets for recyclables. By combining efforts, the
   program collected more recyclables and made the
   hauling fees affordable.
  Education encourages visitors to recycle during
   their brief visit.
  An enthusiastic staff keeps the program strong.
  Widespread availability of bins is a constant reminder
   to recycle for the duration of the visitor's stay.

Future  Forecast
Yellowstone remains committed to the ambitious goal of diverting 90 percent of the
park's solid waste by 2008. Another goal is to raise the average annual tonnage recycled
from about 630 to 1,000 tons and to increase the composting rate from the current 55
percent to 80 percent by 2010. Yellowstone plans to accomplish these goals through
required recycling contracts with vendors and concessionaires and aggressive public
education, including educational brochures and interpretive programs. In addition,
Yellowstone will continue to recycle a variety of materials, including tires and propane
canisters; use sustainable building materials; and employ renewabl^nergy
technology. Yellowstone intends to become the recycling
model for other parks, especially large, rural parks within
the National Park Service.                                     EPA is partnering with
                                                            other federal agencies,
                                                            states, municipalities, and
                                                            organizations to promote
                                                            recycling away from home.
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