Colorado is a state that is diligent about protecting its natural resources. While some green meetings components have become a given over the past five to 10 years, it’s always refreshing to attend or receive information about meetings and conferences in the state that are very deliberate about sustainability.
Delaware North purchased Ridgeline Hotel Estes Park, previously known as Rocky Mountain Park Inn, in late 2016 and reopened the property after extensive interior renovations in May 2017. Located near Rocky Mountain National Park and featuring more than 20,000 square feet of function space, in addition to additional options in the attached Estes Park Conference Center, Ridgeline recently introduced a green meetings initiative to give planners the option of making their Estes Park meetings and events more environmentally conscious.
Ridgeline’s Green Meetings Initiatives
- Groups have sustainable food and beverage options, including reusable, compostable or recyclable serviceware, reusable glassware for refreshment stations, and straws made available only when asked for.
- All food waste is composted in an onsite food digester, and a waste station is provided to assist attendees in sorting recyclable and compostable materials.
- Groups are encouraged to use the hotel’s audio-visual equipment rather than print paper copies of presentations
- Attendees who choose to opt out of housekeeping services receive a free drink at the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Latitude 105 Alehouse.
- Guest rooms at The Ridgeline feature bulk soap, shampoo and conditioner, instead of the mini sizes.
- Staff members assist groups in securing carpool shuttles to minimize impact of traveling to and from Denver International Airport and are knowledgeable about local and sustainable food options.
First Zero Waste Event
The 2018 Delaware North Parks and Resorts Leadership Conference held Feb. 26-March 1 at Ridgeline brought GreenPath efforts to the next level through the “Striving to be Zero” campaign. The goal was to create a Zero Waste event, a concept based around diverting at least 90 percent of waste away from the landfill through reducing, reusing, composting and recycling.
Jacob Tew, executive chef of Latitude 105 Alehouse, and his team led the way by selecting all reusable, compostable or recyclable serviceware used throughout the conference. Waste collection bins featuring graphics to help participants sort waste were purchased and strategically placed around the event, and the Zero Waste team collaborated with marketing to create the “Striving to be Zero” checklist of ways participants could take part such as opting out of housekeeping. Also, all Ridgeline employees were trained on Zero Waste and how to sort and weigh waste.
During the Event
The hotel’s new Biotech Digester processed more than 950 pounds of food scraps during the event, and the kitchen and housekeeping staff proved to be the Zero Waste champions of the event. Back-of-house staff sorted waste from all the meals and in the rooms, and all waste (compost, recycling and trash) had to be weighed and tracked before disposal to measure progress.
The Striving to be Zero campaign was advertised via digital monitors, pre-arrival emails, in-room guest news and posters that included tips such as refilling reusable water bottles, saying no to straws and using reusable bags.
“The Zero Waste event at Ridgeline Hotel was the first in Delaware North. All participants accepted the challenge and owned the experience by engaging in activities to reduce their impact individually and collectively as a group. This real-life example provides an opportunity to share an approach and best practices across the company in support of achieving zero waste,” says Deb Friedel, the company’s director of sustainability.
- 5,600+ pounds of waste diverted from the landfill
- Overall diversion rate of 90 percent, with diversion rate increasing each day of the conference as the team learned more about managing waste
- 1,500+ pounds of waste composted (1,380 pounds in the digester and 200 pounds to a local compost facility)
- Diversion of 600 pounds of food waste through donation and employee consumption
- 1,000+ pounds of recycling (aluminum, plastic, cardboard, paper, glass)
- More than four dumpster loads diverted from the landfill