About 150 million Disney park guests each year generate more than 441 tons of garbage each day (only at Disney World, according to the 2018 Reedy Creek Improvement District).
Disney staff can recycle up to 22 pounds every day, and Disneyland alone diverts 30 million pounds of material from landfills each year, but they go beyond basic recycling to further reduce the excess. and very creative in reusing them. There is much that can be learned from these initiatives and replicated at home.
In addition to diverting guest waste from landfills, we may also recycle it. Visitors to Disney parks often say that park design is just as compelling as the rides and thrills, including the set designs and elaborate landscaping customized for each park and ride. If any of his 16,000-plus trees on the property die, staff landscapers can quickly cut them down so they can be reused for mulch. But now you can buy a tree decorated with your favorite Disney rides.
A new recycling project, announced at the D23 conference, will recycle historic trees on the park grounds into memorabilia highlighting the history of the ride. To start a project tree from the entrance of a Pirates of the Caribbean ride, a timeline plaque calling out a specific date associated with the rings of the tree, as well as a collector plaque will be created.
The idea of recycling wood came from Disneyland’s Urban Forester, Rhonda Wood, who debuted a limited-edition medallion for guests at D23. Of course, these plaques don’t come cheap. In the current Pirates of the Caribbean set he starts at $6,500.
It’s part of a larger program to reduce waste, including:
- Reusing cooking oil from restaurants to power steam locomotives and boats saves approximately 200,000 gallons of petroleum diesel annually.
- Tote bags and accessories made from the tarp used around Disneyland Paris.
- Regularly release ladybugs to control aphid and other mollusk populations.
- Save holiday gingerbread decorations, like the giant gingerbread house at Walt Disney World Resort, as a winter treat for bees when flowers aren’t so abundant.
Past programs have recycled guest soap scraps into new bars. This was part of a system to eliminate single-use toiletries at resort hotels.
What can we learn from these initiatives?
- Reuse your own water for your plants by cooking pasta or boiling vegetables.
- Connect with your neighbors and share herb seeds and other gardening supplies such as pollinating plants that make your local bees happy.
- Check with your local government for services that pick up public deadwood and reuse it for park mulch, or offer take-back.
- Research neighborhood compost programs that control the loading and unloading of compost bins.
- Remaining soap bars are heated and molded into new bars.
OC Register: How Disneyland Reduced its Ecological Footprint by Conserving and Recycling Water
Disney Parks Blog: I can’t believe how Disneyland Resort recycles used trees
Southern Living: Disney World Recycles Giant Gingerbread Display…to Feed Wild Bees
Travel pulse: What happens to leftover food at Disney parks?
Pop sugar: Waste less during your next Disney vacation with these 9 easy tips
LA Times: Letter to the Editor: Hate the Fourth of July Fireworks Pollution? Try Living Near Disneyland
Street: Popular Disney hotel to close
CNBC: Everything You Learned at the Disney Parks Panel at the 2022 D23 Expo
Forbes: Disney Releases Corporate Social Responsibility Report for Fiscal Year 2021
Benefits of Recycling: Sustainability at Disney
Halfway down Main Street: How Much Garbage Does Walt Disney World Produce?
good housekeeping: 10 easy ways to recycle soap crumbs into useful things