Presenters highlighted many of Delaware North’s core programs and values during last month’s parks and resorts leadership conference — themed “Owning the Experience” — at The Ridgeline Hotel Estes Park in Colorado. But in the case of GreenPath, the company’s proprietary stewardship platform, the experience went beyond talk and turned into action.

Under the leadership of Delaware North Director of Sustainability Deb Friedel, parks and resorts Director of Compliance and Sustainability Vicki McMichael, parks and resorts Regional Vice President Derek Zwickey and Ridgeline General Manager Kyle Forgey, the conference became Delaware North’s first “Zero Waste” meeting. To accomplish as much, more than the Zero Waste standard of 90 percent of the waste generated was diverted from the landfill through reducing, reusing, composting and recycling.

In preparation for the meeting, a Zero Waste team was established at The Ridgeline. Jacob Tew, executive chef of the hotel’s Latitude 105 Alehouse, and his staff selected all reusable, compostable or recyclable serviceware to be used throughout the conference. Collection bins featuring graphics to help participants sort waste were purchased and strategically placed around the property. The Zero Waste team collaborated with members of the parks and resorts marketing department to create a “striving to be zero” list of how participants could contribute, and all Ridgeline associates were trained on how to sort and weigh waste.

During the four-day conference, The Ridgeline’s new Biotech Digester processed more than 950 pounds of food scraps. In addition, the kitchen and housekeeping staffs sorted waste from all the meals and guest rooms, and weighed and tracked all forms of waste before it was disposed of. The “striving to be zero” campaign was advertised on digital monitors and posters, and participants were encouraged to sort their own waste in the collection bins.

“This real-life example provides an opportunity to share an approach and best practices across the company in support of achieving zero waste,” Friedel said.

In total, more than 5,600 pounds of waste was diverted from the landfill with the rate of diversion increasing daily as participants learned more about managing waste.

PHOTO CAPTION: Associates of The Ridgeline Hotel Estes Park and attendees of last week’s parks and resorts leadership meeting used carefully-marked collection bins to help divert waste and achieve a 90-percent diversion rate.
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