Bloomberg Businessweek shines a light on the positive impact that the National Park Foundation (NPF), NPS, and Subaru are making together to reduce waste in national parks, enhance the sustainability of parks, and improve the visitor experience. Read an excerpt from the piece, “The Best Friend of U.S. National Parks Is ... a Car Company?” below.
“In 2004 [Subaru] turned its Lafayette, Ind., assembly facility into the country’s first zero-landfill auto plant by persuading suppliers to ship materials in Earth-friendly packaging and finding ways to recycle everything from Styrofoam to dinged bumpers.
Since 2015 the company has been applying what it learned from that effort to help the National Park Foundation manage its dirtiest problem. The program, Don’t Feed the Landfills, has so far reduced landfill waste by half through recycling, composting, and educational initiatives. It has successfully eliminated 16 million pounds of refuse across the three pilot locations in the Denali, Yosemite, and Grand Teton parks.
The initiative does more than dispatch trash pickers or write checks, though Subaru has given more than $35 million to the National Park Service’s charitable arm since 2013. Even Denise Coogan, Subaru’s manager of environmental partnerships and the initiative’s director, has rolled up her sleeves for “waste characterization studies”—dumpster dives, in other words.
‘We’re trying to help the park service prepare for the future,’ says Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation.”