We're looking at the whole lifecycle of items to reduce our waste - beyond recycling.
Reducing Single-Use Items
In the Winter of 2018-2019, Big Sky Resort dropped straw usage by 97%. In Winter 2023, any Food and Beverage outlets that still use straws only source straws that are marine biodegradable and home- and industrially compostable. The Exchange and all sit-down restaurants prioritize the use of reusable/washable dishes and cutlery. Bulk, refillable guest personal care amenities are replacing individual mini toiletries in Huntley Lodge, Village Center, Summit Hotel, and Shoshone Hotel.
Beginning in 2020, Big Sky Resort piloted a composting program in the Vista Hall kitchen via YES Compost, diverting 17,000 pounds of food waste.
In 2021, this program expanded to other back-of-house Food and Beverage outlets, including Westward Social, Montana Jacks, and Mocha in the Huntley.
Further expansions in 2022 now allow all kitchens to participate in the composting program (Chet’s, Conference Kitchen, Bunker, Carabiner, Whitewater Inn). In 2022, an estimated 20 tons of food waste was diverted from the landfill.
Repurposing and Donating
There are ongoing efforts to create new partnerships for the donation of items that are in good condition.
In 2019, we partnered with Clean the World, a social enterprise that collects, sanitizes, and distributes recycled soap to children and families in countries facing high rates of hygiene-related illnesses. Our individual bars of soap will continue to be donated to this organization.
In the fall of 2021, Big Sky Resort participated in the Sharing Warmth Around the Globe (S.W.A.G.) program facilitated by NSAA to donate gently-used uniforms. Over 800 jackets, vests, and pants were donated to those in need via the S.W.A.G. program in 2023.
In 2021, the Summit Home Owner’s Association donated furniture, televisions, artwork, appliances, and mattresses to fully furnish 29 new apartments being constructed by the Montana Rescue Mission in Billings to help house families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
In 2022, 70 snowmaking hoses were donated to the Yellowstone Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center to be used as enrichment items and for the caretaking of habitat enclosures.
Due to the fact that Montana is predominantly rural, the recycling system lacks the economies of scale to make recycling as efficient as it may be in other states. Montana recycles limited plastics and requires the sorting of recyclables rather than a single-stream system.
Big Sky Resort recycles metal, aluminum and tin, plastics 1 and 2 (bottles and jugs only), paper, and cardboard via Full Circle Recycling. Additionally, 406 Recycling periodically collects and recycles electronic waste from the resort.
Since Montana does not have glass recycling facilities, Big Sky Resort does its best to source items in other types of containers, such as aluminum or bulk plastic.
Multiple departments have gone paper-free, including Human Resources and Ski Patrol.