Thursday, February 27, 2014

Super Green Your Business


Zion Visitor Center

When you have millions of visitors from around the world come to a concentrated space, you need to think Super Green!

This was reinforced during a recent trip to one of my favorite National Parks, Zion in SW Utah. Zion is where you will find the largest sandstone cliffs in the world! I have traveled to most of the National and State parks in the West, and have been to Zion many times in the past. Why is it a favorite? It's beautiful, has great interpretive exhibits, awesome trails, and a shuttle system that minimizes the automobile smog and congestion found in so many of the national parks. Years ago I almost quit visiting the popular parks because the congestion, trash and smog from auto and tour bus exhausts were ruining the experience. Then I visited Zion after they converted to their propane shuttle system and kicked cars out of the park during the busy season. WOW !!! What a difference. Now I can park my rig at the Watchman campground, and walk to the Visitor Center where I hop on the super green propane powered shuttle system.
Zion Shuttle Bus

The free shuttles take you anywhere you need to go in a much more efficient and earth friendly manner than allowing automobiles into the canyon. It's also safer since tourists tend to be oggling the cliffs and not paying nearly enough attention to the roads. I love bicycling the park and shuttle drivers respect bicyclists far better than the tourists do. Zion is a real leader in being gentle to the planet. Their Shuttle Buses allow you to park your car and enjoy the park without the hassles of watching the road and finding parking spaces. Watch out in the winter though. Zion's shuttles are parked from October through February so this trip we had to actually drive once to reach the far end. Most days we just walked from the campground using the trails and a few miles along the road. Traffic this time of year is pretty minimal so no problem at all. I walk facing traffic so can easily step to the side as they drive by.
It was fun to see the wildlife enjoying some shelter around the parked shuttles. Here is a shot of a few of the dozen or so deer we walked next to along the Archaeology trail that goes beside the lot where the buses are parked. Those are the shuttle buses on the left. By standing still, a dozen deer soon moved along the trail and contently munched the spring grass as we strolled by. We also saw a gray fox wander through a parking lot.
Another nice feature at Zion is the way they handle trash. Old style metal trash bins are found most everywhere people congregate (exhibits, buildings, parking, rest rooms, trail-heads, etc.) so people have no reason to toss trash on the ground. Most of the trash bins in high traffic areas also have recycling bins. Although I would like to see more options than just plastic and metal, it's a start. If you take the effort to look around, you will find more options for recycling paper, cardboard, and glass. I found them at the campground trash dumpsters. Follow this link to find out more about Zion's recycling efforts. Did you know the Zion Lodge composts all of its food wastes, lawn clippings, and shredded paper! They use the Green Mountain Technologies Earth Tub system. Follow the link above to find out how much waste their two tub systems divert from land fills every day.
Zion Trash Containers
Are you doing all that you can to encourage your customers to reduce, reuse, recycle in your business? Have you started composting yet? For more info on greening your business try our Guides to Green My Business. I'm going to see if I can get Zion (and the other Parks) to switch to using Compostable Trash Bags and liners to reduce their plastics and carbon foot print. How about you? Let us know what ideas you have for going Super Green with your business.