Want to help save our national Parks? Subaru is with ya.
If you’re one of the lucky 273 million people who will visit a national park this year, you may also be one of the millions of tiny knife cuts that are slowly damaging our national treasures.
But what if your visit could actually help our parks to be more resilient?
Showing love for the National Parks by reducing waste
Subaru, the car brand that has adopted ‘love’ as its marketing message is taking the term to heart when it comes to America’s National Parks. In addition to renewing its million dollar annual financial commitment to the National Park Service, Subaru is bringing its Zero Landfill initiative to three national parks in a pilot program they hope will eventually expand to all national parks.
The program is being tested at Yosemite, Grand Teton and Denali, where the parks’ collective 7 million visitors deposited 16.6 million pounds of waste last year. While an admirable 6.9 million pounds were diverted from landfill last year, imagine if the number of pounds of waste left behind was zero?
That’s what Subaru thought. So, they decided to try.
Bringing zero landfill expertise to our national treasures
In 2000, Subaru engineered a program to recycle all its assembly plant waste; by 2005 the Zero Landfill program had the company recycling 99.99% of waste generated at its plants, as well as implementing other sustainability initiatives. The initiative was affected by understanding how to ‘stream’ waste by sorting, repurposing and proper disposal. In addition to designated collection bins, the company maintains an education, collection and sorting process that keeps the stream moving.
Digging through garbage to better understand the issues
For the National Parks pilot program, the goal was to understand what visitors brought to the parks, what was discarded, how to create disposal streams and to engage park visitors to carry most waste out themselves.
Subaru started by paying people to dig through the garbage and find out what people threw away. According to Subaru’s Michael McHale, the biggest challenges are plastic and glass bottles, which made up half of the waste Subaru discovered. Natural and organic food waste is an issue, too, as is the waste that concessioners are responsible for. Subaru will focus on messaging, packaging solutions and sorting as ways to help park managers, visitors and concessioners to leave nothing but a beautiful vista in their wakes.
Can’t visit a park this summer? Subaru’s got ya there, too
For those of us for whom a visit to Grand Teton isn’t in the cards this summer—or any of the other stunning natural parks— Subaru partnered with film maker Greg MacGillivray and MacGillivray Freeman films to produce National Parks Adventure, an IMAX movie. Narrated by Robert Redford and shot in 40 national parks, the movie lets you soar above the peaks, dazzle under the stars and hang from massive icicles, all in an air-conditioned theater while enjoying freshly popped popcorn and a cool beverage. Just be sure to carry out those containers and dispose of them properly when you leave.