Small efforts, when added up, can have significant impacts. While many of Arapahoe Basin's sustainability goals involve some form of advocacy, like pushing for more renewable energy options that we can take advantage of, we are also focused on keeping our own house in order and doing everything we reasonably can--across the entire business--to reduce our environmental impact.
One of those things is limiting the amount of waste we send to the landfill. Our goal is 75% waste diversion by 2025, i.e. keep as much out of landfills as possible.
"Municipal solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States, accounting for approximately 14.5 percent of these emissions in 2020." - Environmental Protection Agency
Additionally, when organic waste gets buried in a landfill, it breaks down anaerobically ("without oxygen") and creates harmful air pollutants. Separating food scraps allows them to break down aerobically like they might in your backyard compost pile.
So, we make every effort to compost any and all food scraps and work with a program at the local landfill called High Country Compost. The result is a high-quality, all-use soil amendment that we have actually brought back to the mountain for restoration projects on our National Forest lands (like the one pictured below from summer 2022).
Beyond composting and simple recycling, we make a huge effort to keep the hard-to-recycle stuff out of the landfill, too, from electronics and batteries to energy bar wrappers and bubble wrap. We also reduce or eliminate, wherever possible, single-use items -- particularly in our restaurants.
For example, we switched to aluminum water bottles and aluminum outdoor cups because they area easier to recycle than plastic. (About 80% of plastic water bottles do not get recycled.)
All of these efforts are open to staff for personal use, as well. Many of us bring in our food scraps and hard-to-recycle materials to keep them out of our home trash cans.
Arapahoe Basin's award-winning Sustainability Sunday video series has re-launched as a collection of 4-part mini series that dive deeply into one specific topic each month. We kicked it off by going behind the scenes of our snowmaking system, which you can check out here. Below is our series on waste reduction and diversion. Each episode of the series airs, first, on our social media channels.