The National Park Foundation’s (NPF) support of waste reduction projects in parks, from recycling efforts to improving water use efficiency, help parks improve sustainability and limit waste generation to continue preserving these treasured landscapes and places. The National Park Service manages nearly 70 million pounds of waste annually – enough to fill nearly 600 dump trucks. From plastic to food waste to discarded clothing, the waste brought into our national parks can pollute our nation’s most pristine wilderness and wildlife.  

For decades, NPF's support of waste reduction in parks has helped parks in developing and maintaining more environmentally friendly ways to dispose of waste, as well as providing the necessary education and outreach to visitors to ensure they do their part in making our parks greener.  

Highlights & Projects

Recycling receptacles at the base of Yosemite

Don't Feed the Landfills

A multi-year waste reduction initiative funded by NPF and its partners, including Subaru of America, Inc., at three national parks – Yosemite, Grand Teton, and Denali – led to new recycling and composting infrastructure, dedicated staff for educational outreach, and marketing and labeling efforts to decrease contamination in recycling bins. Since its 2015 launch, there has been a 32% reduction in waste sent to landfills, keeping 16 million pounds of waste out of landfills while increasing recycling best practices among visitors.

The Washington Monument on the National Mall in the distance under blue skies

Recycling in America's Front Yard

Since 2009, NPF and our partner Coca-Cola have supported recycling efforts at the National Mall and Memorial Parks. From the placement of recycling bins throughout the Mall and education programs on the importance of recycling, to a waste stream analysis that kicked off in 2019, NPF has worked with NPS and partners to improve recycling across the Mall. 

A hand reaches out to refill a waterbottle at a bottle refill station in a park

Water Bottle Refilling Stations

NPS manages nearly 70 million pounds of waste across the country annually. As part of our waste reduction strategy, NPF has focused on increased access to water bottle refilling stations. In 2021, NPF is funding the installation of water bottle refill stations in parks across the country to support the joint NPF and NPS goal of waste reduction, specifically around plastics.