Yellowstone National Park Lodges Environmental Initiatives

Solid Waste Management & Recycling

  • In 2012, Xanterra diverted more than 70 percent of its waste from disposal in landfill by composting, reuse, and recycling programs.
  • Sorts refuse for processing at the West Yellowstone Compost Facility, where all park waste is processed into a marketable soil amendment. Approximately two million pounds of our waste was turned into compost.
  • Manages a comprehensive recycling program for all operations. In 2012, recycled or reused nearly two million pounds of waste.
  • Recycles all used automotive batteries, tires, Freon, antifreeze and paint solvents in vehicle and building maintenance operations.
  • Recycles all electronic waste; 2012 amount was nearly 6,000 pounds. In 2008, we also instituted a consumer-electronics recycling program for employees.
  • Burns used engine oil for heat in the transportation center.
  • Reuses cardboard boxes and packing materials for mail orders and deliveries whenever possible.
  • Reuses old laundry bins for transporting recycling materials at locations.
  • Recycles batteries and print cartridges from office operations.
  • Provides bulk dispensers in all fast-food operations instead of (or in addition to) individually packaged condiments.
  • Reuses worn terry cloth as cleaning towels and creates laundry bags from worn aprons and shower curtains.
  • Utilizes bulk soap dispensers in guest rooms, public restrooms and showers, and campground services. The in-room bulk dispensers reduce room waste by around 90% when compared to traditional in-room amenities.
  • Installed recycling receptacles in guest rooms and in guest areas to encourage recycling.
  • Retired the dry cleaning machine in the Gardiner Laundry, which eliminated the use of perchloroethylene in the Park. The dry cleaning machine was even recycled for scrap metal.
  • Recycles all fluorescent bulbs from our operations.
  • Assisted with the funding and development of an award-winning propane-canister recycling trailer that converts canisters into scrap metal. In Yellowstone, more than 25,000 canisters were processed (and diverted from the landfill) in 2010.
  • Recovers buttons and zippers from uniforms.
  • Reuses guest information materials at campgrounds.
  • Recycles all packaging and materials from mattress orders on almost 1,000 items annually.
  • Recycles all manure from stable operations and provides to local agricultural businesses. In 2012, over 600,000 pounds were recycled.
  • In 2012, we were able to donate 57,000 pounds of used mattresses and 29,000 pounds in linens to non-profits and businesses.
  • Donates unclaimed lost and found items to charity.
  • In 2012, nearly 400,000 pounds of construction waste was diverted, including more than 30,000 pounds of carpet.
  • Bought new recycling receptacles in 2009 for all employee dorms in the park to increase recycling program participation.
  • Developed new recycling and waste sorting center for Mammoth Hot Spring Hotel lobby that will be installed in the spring of 2011 that allows guests to sort recycling, landfill, and compost. This center includes a concrete top with embedded glass recycled from Yellowstone. Additionally, the hotel rooms are undergoing a waste sorting pilot which allows guests to sort recycling, compost, and landfill.
  • Purchased new custom S-way recycling centers for guest areas from Back Alley Metals in Red Lodge, MT to encourage more participation in the recycling program.
  • Collecting used bear spray repellent for recycling program beginning in 2011.

Energy & Water Conservation

  • Through a partnership with NPS and Kohler, Xanterra was able to upgrade the public restrooms in the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in 2012. This project incorporated top of the line fixtures from Kohler including .125 gallon/flush urinals, 1.28 gallon/flush toilets, and touch less faucets. In addition to these water-saving measures, the project incorporated recycled Paperstone partitions and energy efficient Dyson Airblade hand dryers.
  • Installed a “tunnel washer” in the laundry and employs a water recovery system that saves 3,500 gallons of water daily for the 2.2 million pounds of laundry we wash annually.
  • In 2011, the Mammoth Hotel Dining Room became certified as a Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association, a non-profit organization that provides a way for restaurants to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability. The Mammoth Dining Room is Xanterra’s first certified green restaurant, and with a 3-Star rating, it’s the FIRST 3-Star certified restaurant in Wyoming, and one of only 71 in the country. To achieve its 3-Star Green Restaurant certification, the Mammoth Hotel Dining Room installed waterless urinals, high-efficiency hand dryers, dual-flush toilets, and super energy efficient LED lamps, and sources of local, organic, and sustainable cuisine, including Marine Stewardship Council certified salmon.
  • During the fall of 2011, several large-scale lighting retrofits occurred in our General Accounting Office and all of the facilities in Gardiner, MT. This project involved the retrofitting of all existing T- 12 fluorescent lighting to more energy efficient T-8 bulbs and electronic ballasts. These T-8 bulbs not only consume less electricity, but have a higher light output.
  • Replaces towels and linens in guest rooms after three days to reduce water and detergent use unless visitors request more frequent replacement.
  • Replaced tens of thousands of incandescent bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL’s) and LED lighting. CFLs are 75% more efficient and last 10 times longer than incandescents.
  • Rebuilds vehicles, thereby reducing the need for natural resources and energy to generate new vehicles.
  • Implemented an aggressive energy management program in Food & Beverage focusing on managing and minimizing energy use including water, electricity, and propane. We distribute posters, stickers, and checklists that make managing the program straightforward and user friendly.
  • Housekeeping has created an energy conservation program that includes unplugging appliances (hair dryers and fans) in vacant/due-out guestrooms to conserve energy.
  • Replaced 20 watt halogen bulbs with 3 watt LEOs in the gift shop at the Old Faithful Lodge-this reduces greenhouse gas emissions by over 6 tons a year!
  • Upgraded over 500 light fixtures at Mammoth from T-12 to T-8 lamps (which use on average 35% less energy), and reduced number of existing lamps by half.
  • Because on-site generation of renewable energy can be quite challenging within the boundaries of a National Park, Yellowstone has included the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) in our environmental portfolio. For 2012, we purchased 5,300,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of American Wind from Renewable Choice Energy.
  • Utilizes vendor misers-a power saving device-on most of the parks vending machines.
  • Replaced old coffee makers with Keurig® brewers. On average, the machines save 16 oz of water per day and reduce energy use by 90 percent.
  • Upgraded Mammoth Dining room lights with 330 LED lights from Eco-Story, which will save 86,000 kwh and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 67 tons annually.

Green Building

  • Published a handbook for architects and contractors on “Guidelines for Environmentally Sustainable Design & Construction” to inject environmental aspects into new builds and renovation projects.
  • Built two LEED certified houses that produce more than 7 million btu of electricity from solar arrays.
  • Requires contractors for all remodeling and new construction projects to divert, at minimum, at least SO% of resulting waste from landfill disposal through reuse or recycling. They must also complete a Waste Reduction Plan prior to contract approval, and submit a quarterly project report detailing all activities related to waste minimization and recycling.
  • Upgraded Mammoth Hotel Dining Room bathroom in a sustainable remodel that includes dual-flush toilets, high efficiency hand-dryers, low-flow faucets, waterless urinals, and partitions made from recycled pressed paper.


  • Replaced two-stroke engines with cleaner-burning and more efficient four-stroke engines on all rental boats.
  • Utilizes new four-stroke snowmobiles that are 65 percent more fuel-efficient, result in reduced hydrocarbon emissions and are much quieter than two-stroke engines.
  • Operates 5 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles.
  • To assist with conserving fuel and transportation management, employees now complete a mileage log for all trips in company vehicles.
  • Purchases new vehicles at the most fuel-efficient in their category. Retires older vehicles with poor mpg during annual fleet purchase.
  • Uses five electric Sanyo Eneloop bikes at various locations to help reduce vehicle use.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

  • Uses laundry bins made out of post-consumer plastic products
  • Purchases recycled paper and use soy-based inks in our printing operations. We have removed all non-recyclable paper (neon colors) from our print shop.
  • Purchases environmentally sensitive paper products that use 100% post-consumer content and are bleach free. Includes all toilet tissue for more than 2,200 guest rooms, campgrounds and RV parks; towels for dispensers at all properties and restrooms; and, napkins in employee dining rooms and cafeterias.
  • Switched all of its pens in lodging services to Bic Ecolutions that are made from 75 percent preconsumer plastic.
  • Reviews all new chemicals introduced into our park operations for environmental attributes through our Chemical Review Committee.
  • Utilizes non-hazardous water-based solvents for parts and brake cleaning in the Service Center. Mechanics also use non-chlorinated and refillable spray bottles instead of aerosol cans for brake and carburetor cleaner, and recap old truck tires to extend their life.
  • Purchases Green Seal eco-friendly cleaning chemicals.
  • Converted vehicles to propylene glycol motor coolant (from ethylene glycol) to reduce potential toxicity to wildlife.
  • Purchases used books and research materials for training programs wherever possible.
  • Eliminated all Styrofoam drinking cups from operations.
  • In 2009, began purchasing compostable disposal utensils, cups, and to-go containers for our restaurants. This helps to divert 12 tons of material from the landfill annually.
  • New in-room guest services directories are made from recycled craft paper, the quarterbind spine is recycled leather, the laminate is an environmentally responsible laminate, and the screened decoration is an eco-friendly ink.
  • Replaced most canned air with electronic dusters, eliminating a frequent waste.
  • Replaced disinfectants for most departments with Pure Green 24, a product that contains no alcohol, bleach or other toxic ingredients and its manufacturing process produces zero discharge with no waste or byproducts. PureGreen 24 is manufactured from Silver Ions, Citric Acid and Purified Water.
    Green Retail
  • Opened “For Future Generations: Yellowstone Gifts” in 2009-a store focused on sustainable products and educating the visitor on climate change in the parks. Green remodel of store includes Northslooe Treadlight flooring from sustainably managed forest in Montana; fixtures from reclaimed wood (some from the old floor and the Old Faithful Inn remodel) made by Ecowood and Rich ‘s Rustic Frame Art; and LED lights from Eco-Story. The educational component of the store connects the need to make sustainable consumer choices with helping to protect the parks.
  • The store also features an innovative first-of-its-kind “sustainability scorecard” for a retail operation.Products in the facility are accompanied by a display that provides comprehensive information on the impact the retail items have on the environment. This transparency allows consumers to better quantify the product’s environmental impact and to make informed choices when purchasing items.
  • In 2012, 31% of retail product purchases in the park were sustainable.

Sustainable Cuisine

  • Offers sustainable cuisine to guests and employees. Items include local and Montana farm-raised trout, wi ld Alaska salmon, Rainforest Alliance Coffee, Timeless Farms legumes, Amaltheia Dairy goat cheese, Wolf Ridge Lamb, farm-raised game, sustainable and natural beef, Gran Prairie Ranch burger, Wheat Montana bakery items, Montana and Idaho grown potatoes, Montana dairy products, sustainable wines and locally brewed beer.
  • Works with local agricultural vendors to incorporate local foods into menus wherever possible.
  • Logos on menus highlight sustainable choices in the restaurants.
  • Teaches sustainable cuisine in the Chef’s Apprenticeship Program, where students in and around the Yellowstone region are introduced to its advantages and message.
  • In 2012, 33% of food purchases were sustainable.
  • Participated in the development of the Food for Parks initiative and resulting reports with the Institute at the Golden Gate.

Guest and Employee Education

  • Implemented ongoing sustainability training for all employees, including general orientation and environmental tailgates.
  • In 2011, the Xanterra Sustainability office launched SustainaBits, a weekly dispatch highlighting environmental programs, information, opportunities that is distributed to all employees. SustainaBits topics range from sustainable cuisine menu items, environmental volunteer opportunities, and updated information on park-wide environmental programs.
  • Assembled a very active “Green Team” (called the Yellowstone Environmental Stewardship Council) to encourage employee participation in environmental initiatives and to develop new and innovative ways to move forward toward environmental sustainability.
  • Publishes a biennial Sustainability Report demonstrating our continued commitment to environmental stewardship throughout Xanterra.
  • Instituted a “Help Protect Yellowstone” campaign to increase environmental awareness of employees.
  • A new employee training program, “Keeping Yellowstone Green: A Guide for Xanterra Employees” was introduced in 2009.
  • Features articles in the park newsletter and Xanterra’s email newsletter about green travel tips, and on our Facebook page, we have created a message called “Ecologix Mondays” where the topics of note are centered around our environmental programs.
  • Developed a new in-room environmental education display that features a plush animal, a brochure on being a green guest, and information on the Yellowstone Association and Yellowstone Park Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the plush animal benefit the Foundation.
  • Created a website, For Future Generations, that educates visitors on climate change in parks and traveling green.
  • Developed new employee environmental awards program, which recognize excellence in two areas: Green Leader: An employee nominated by their peers who displays a demonstrated and ongoing commitment to the environment Green Star: An idea proposed by an employee with tangible environmental benefits that is accepted for implementation by the company.

About Yellowstone National Park Lodges

Xanterra-operated lodging includes the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins, Old Faithful Inn, Grant Village, Canyon Lodge and Cabins (including the Dunraven and Cascade Lodges), Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Lake Lodge, Roosevelt Lodge and Cabins, Old Faithful Lodge and Cabins and Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins. Restaurants and gift shops are located in most hotels. Among the most popular dining experiences is the Cowboy Cuisine Old West-Style cookout, accessible only by horseback or wagon. In addition to lodging offerings, Xanterra operates a full-service recreational vehicle park, four campgrounds, guided horseback riding excursions, guided fishing and a marina.