Initiative part of Vail’s Commitment to Zero
[ By Kendra Walker ]
As part of Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s (CBMR) goal to expand its composting practices to help increase the resort’s waste diversion, the mountain has teamed up with 3XM Grinding and Compost in Olathe to generate approximately 16,000 pounds of compost this winter season.
The compost includes pre- and post-consumer food waste, green waste, Eco-Products and shredded paper, which is hauled to 3XM’s facility to mix and sell. Previous composting efforts were limited to pre-consumer food waste.
Since November, 3XM has picked up about 12,000 pounds of compost from CBMR to date. “By the end of this season, we anticipate that we will have generated more than 16,000 pounds of compost, including compostable packaging and food waste, as part of our partnership with 3XM,” said CBMR senior communications specialist Will Shoemaker. “Combined with our strong focus on safety this season, the composting partnership has resulted in a significant shift at CBMR in how refuse is handled.”
Shoemaker explained the process, “When a guest finishes their meal, they’re asked to leave empty containers, packaging and food scraps at their table. A staff member then retrieves those items and, after disinfecting the space, meticulously sorts them into compost, recyclables and waste. Our employees from across the resort have volunteered during busy times to help with this initiative – sorting these items to ensure that the compost 3XM receives is not contaminated.”
And while the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new wave of single-use container use to prevent contamination, CBMR has done its best to maintain its sustainable focus.
“This season, we’ve adapted to navigate challenges presented by the pandemic in light of our company’s Commitment to Zero goals,” said Shoemaker. “For example, while our commitment to the safety of guests and employees has required greater utilization of single-use containers, we’ve sourced more compostable food and beverage containers from our partner Eco-Products. Through this partnership, [Vail Resorts] is working to eliminate all single-use, guest-facing conventional plastic products, such as cups, straws, beverage lids, plates, bowls and cutlery, and replacing them with compostable or recycled-content products.”
Shoemaker noted that CBMR plans to continue expanding the composting program into other aspects of the resort in the future, with the intent of increasing CBMR’s waste diversion numbers. “Also, during the warmer months, we plan to collect green waste such as yard clippings and leaves that will be picked up by 3XM for compost,” he said.
CBMR’s composting initiative began in summer 2019 as part of Vail Resorts’ Commitment to Zero, a pledge to prioritize efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to reach a zero net operating footprint by 2030. Commitment to Zero includes initiatives around achieving zero net emissions, zero waste to landfills and a zero net operating impact on forests and habitat. Last March, the company hit its subgoal to reach 50 percent waste diversion from landfills by the end of 2020 en route to its 2030 goal, through reducing landfill waste and increasing composing and recycling for the resorts in its portfolio.