Yosemite composting program receives environmental award

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts has received a top 2011 environmental achievement award from the National Park Service (NPS) for initiating a comprehensive composting program for Yosemite National Park.

Delaware North operates Yosemite’s visitor services, including lodging, dining, recreation, retail and transportation services as a national park concessioner. The global hospitality management and food service provider launched the composting program in August 2009 to expand its longstanding recycling efforts at the park.

Through November 2010, Delaware North’s composting initiative diverted 216 tons of organic waste – including food waste and paper products – from Yosemite’s kitchens and restaurants to Mariposa County’s composting facility. That represents about 10 percent of the 2,100 tons of solid waste from Yosemite sent to the landfill during the same period.

The composting program began with four locations – The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, Degnan’s Deli and The Loft – and was subsequently expanded to include the kitchens at Curry Village, Village Grill, White Wolf Lodge, Tuolumne Meadows Lodge and the High Sierra Camps. In each kitchen, Delaware North placed separate “trash” containers for organics with liners made of compostable materials.

NPS at Yosemite joined the composting initiative in October 2010 by collecting organic waste at its housing complex in Yosemite Valley. Delaware North expanded the program to its housing facilities this past spring.