Almost 331 million people visited America’s National Parks in 2017, and they left behind more than footprints.
Each summer, more than half a million people visit Denali National Park and Preserve. During the tourism season, large amounts of trash are generated and unique challenges are created for park managers and nearby communities.
When Denali celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2017, a record number of people (more than 640,000) visited the park. Yet, 24% less trash was sent to the landfill than the year before! How is this possible? It’s thanks to the Denali Zero-Landfill Project, a catalyst for innovative solutions to the park’s seasonal waste management challenges.
Today, visitors to Denali will find recycling bins throughout the park for aluminum, glass and plastic #1, #2, and #5. Reusable bags, mugs, and water bottles are available to purchase in gift shops. Many boxed lunches are now fully recyclable. Behind the scenes, new equipment and partnerships are making operations more efficient and sustainable.
These changes are making a big difference and it’s easy to help! Visitors are an important part of the solution. By recycling properly and reducing waste, visitors help conserve resources and protect parks. Explore the links below to learn more about the project and the simple ways that you can help.
Denali Zero-Landfill Project Goals
The National Parks Zero-Landfill Initiative was created to find better ways to manage the 100 million pounds of trash produced when nearly 331 million people visit America’s national parks each year. And we are. Yosemite National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Denali are pilot parks on the leading edge of an exciting movement toward more sustainable tourism.
This project was made possible in part by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of Subaru of America, Inc. Thanks to the additional support of the National Parks Conservation Association, Doyon/Aramark Joint Venture, Denali Education Center, park stakeholders, local youth, and Denali community partners, we’re being responsible stewards because who we are is what we leave behind.
Learn more, watch videos, see photos, and read the latest news on our Media page.
Travel Tips and Recycling Resources
Remember: Denali is remote. A plastic bottle that is recycled at the park is transported over 200 miles to a recycling center, then shipped 2,000 miles or more to processing facilities outside of Alaska.
Plan ahead with our easy travel tips to help reduce waste when you visit national parks and special places.
Are there actions you take to minimize your footprint when you travel? Share your story on social media and tag #DontFeedTheLandfills
Denali Zero-Landfill Youth Ambassadors Program
Students in local schools are embracing the Denali Zero-Landfill Project and making positive changes in our communities. Leading by example, Denali Zero-Landfill Ambassadors are creating recycling programs, managing compost processes, talking with business leaders, and inspiring others to make more sustainable choices.
“One thing I would ask people to do to help reduce waste while visiting Denali is to understand that we have limited recycling and how hard it is to take it away. So they should help by sorting into the right bins and have respect for recycling, for the park, and for this community.” – Ayla W.
Media: Videos, Photos, and News
Learn more about the Denali Zero-Landfill Project’s progress and how you can help!
Visit the National Park Service’s site http://go.nps.gov/denalizerolandfill for more info.
Share Your Story And Stay Connected!
How do you reduce waste and minimize your footprint when you visit national parks?
Share your story on social media and tag #DontFeedTheLandfills
Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Together, we can preserve special places, like Denali, and ensure that future generations of visitors will be able to experience the natural beauty we enjoy today!