image1Yellowstone General Stores is bringing waste management to a new level in 2014 by launching a Zero Waste Campaign at their main warehouse located in West Yellowstone, Montana.

Currently, Delaware North diverts an impressive 62% of their solid waste from the landfill annually at Yellowstone, but according to their Environmental Director, Justin Cook, there’s more to do. “Yellowstone General Stores have done a tremendous job diverting waste from the landfill through recycling and composting over the years, now we need to bring things to a new level and push some boundaries. We’re stepping up our efforts by making a commitment to pilot this campaign in a controlled environment like the warehouse location.”

The campaign kicked off in February with a managers meeting where Cook presented a roadmap for success towards zero waste.  The goal of the campaign is to bring the warehouse facility, including all staff offices, to a 90% diversion rate by 2016.  The steps towards zero waste include an environmental preferable purchasing program, extensive staff training, new recycling centers, improved messaging, post sorting, and continual tracking.

image2To start, approximately 25 trash cans were removed from the facility to avoid the convenience of tossing of items. These were replaced with new ClearStream recycling and composting stations that are strategically located throughout the facility.  The other key component to the program’s success is purchasing.  “What you bring into an operation from a purchasing and packaging standpoint directly affects the results of your waste stream,” says Cook. “With extraordinary help from our retail and warehouse staff, we have greatly minimized the amount of packaging we need to deal with on the other end.” 

Although it is early on in the campaign, Yellowstone’s warehouse collected 784 pounds of recycling in the first round of pickups and is looking forward to receiving a new waste trailer that will allow them to collect and haul compostable materials. The location certainly looks as though it is on the right path toward becoming a Zero Waste facility.