Due to the nature of their business, a typical ski resort generates large volumes of waste. Sugarbush Resort in Vermont has developed several initiatives to deal with that problem. The resort's success has made it a model of waste reduction in the industry.
Increasing Waste Reduction
For many years, Sugarbush Resort has run a recycling program. Its recycling bins are located in staff areas, guest rooms, and in public areas throughout the resort. To increase the waste reduction rate, Sugarbush put the resort's first four-stream public waste receptacle in its Gate House Lodge in 2016. The four streams are recyclables, liquids, food scraps, and trash.
"Trash Talkers" Educate Guests
Sugarbush developed a plan to ensure guests would use the new four-stream receptacle properly. During times of peak traffic, the resort posted "Trash Talkers" near the receptacle. The "Trash Talkers" are employees and volunteers who coach guests on the proper use of the four-stream receptacle. Sugarbush has placed a four-stream waste receptacle in another lodge and plans to have such receptacles in all of its base lodges.
Additional Waste Reduction Initiatives
Composting in select resort kitchens started in 2010. Today all of the resort's kitchens participate. Guest composting launched in 2014. Also, the ski resort has stopped using plastic straws. Paper straws are available, but they're only given to guests upon request.
The ski resort has taken measures to decrease the onsite use of plastic water bottles. Sugarbush issues reusable water pouches to employees. In addition, the resort has a water bottle filling station.
Recognition of Successful Sustainability Efforts
For recycling 33.3% of its total waste and composting 12.8 tons, Sugarbush
received the Green Mountain Award for Environmental Excellence from the Vermont Ski Areas Association. In 2019, the National Ski Areas Association recognized Sugarbush with a Climate Change Impact Award for all of the resort's environmental initiatives.