The Greening of Yellowstone

Article excerpt

In 1997, when Yellowstone National Park celebrated its 125th anniversary, park management staff began thinking forward to the next 125 years and the sustainable efforts that would ensure the preservation and protection of Yellowstone. As a result, the concept of the "Greening of Yellowstone" was created. A private/public partnership was created to implement an Environmental Management System (EMS). The program, developed by the park in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, provides guidance to the partners on how best to manage the environmental aspects of park activities, educate visitors and promote the latest technologies in a more effective and sustainable way, while also giving consideration to environmental protection, pollution prevention and socioeconomic needs.

In 2004, the EMS team identified its first large-scale initiative-solid waste management. Some of the guidelines introduced include:

* Recycling opportunities for visitors. There are currently 63 recycling bins in the park, and it is estimated that there has been a 50 percent increase in the amount of commodities collected in the park, particularly plastics.

* Recycling propane cylinders. Through a partnership with Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone and Grand Teton concessionaires, the Yellowstone Park Foundation and various private entities, there is now a program of collecting and recycling propane cylinders in the greater Yellowstone area. The Propane Bottle Recycler (PBR), a mobile propane recycling unit, is now being used to recycle the estimated 3,000, one-pound propane cylinders discarded in the park each year.

* Recycling tires. About 4,000 tires are discarded annually in Yellowstone. Since June, all used tires are being diverted from the landfill and being recycled.

* Recycling solid waste. The EMS goal is to divert 90 percent of the park's solid waste from the landfill by 2008. …