Reduce the impact: Composting

Reduce the impact: Composting

As stewards of the land, Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA) members take a serious responsibility to protect the biodiversity in each area, minimizing pollution and reducing their impact on the land, wildlife, air and water. Throughout the winter, we are highlighting leading examples from various resorts and the steps they are taking to reduce their impact on the environment.

There is a shift taking place across western Canada as resort areas are taking steps to reduce waste from on-hill restaurants and cafeterias. It starts with single use plastics.

Many resorts in western Canada have removed plastic straws from their dining establishments. Some resorts are recycling used cooking oil and have brought in bamboo cutlery. When used, grab-and-go food is more often found in compostable and biodegradable containers. Others such as Mt. Washington have completely removed disposable utensils and tableware.  These are efforts that will continue to grow.

There are also larger plans in the works.

“We are in the initial stages of working with our partners on a recycling and composting program,” says Veronica Whitney-Crosland, Manager of Environmental Compliance at Lake Louise Ski Area.

Over another mountain range, Whistler Blackcomb has made monumental strides in their waste reduction efforts. At some of their larger restaurants in the mid-1990s, there were typically 125 bags of garbage tossed out at the end of the day. Today, there are six bags or less and business has grown by 30 per cent.

As Allana Williams, Regional Sustainability Manager at Whistler Blackcomb explains, a part of the shift is about processes and reorganization. By taking the sorting out of the hands of guests and collecting trays for sorting by staff, Whistler is able to correctly sort recycling and composting. Through simple operational efficiencies, they haven’t had to hire more staff, but have rejigged the flow.

“We are looking at changing behaviours beyond our employees,” explains Williams,. “By creating an environmentally friendly culture, our guests will hopefully take that experience home with them and implement some of these actions into their daily lives.”

Find out more about Responsible Stewardship in the Ski Industry.