The Grand Canyon is easily one of the most beautiful places on earth. As you drive up the highway to the South Rim, you begin to see glimpses of the red, brown and green hues of the canyon walls and you quickly realize that this is why you are making eco-friendly choices in your life — to preserve nature. The National Park Service is doing its part to help keep the Grand Canyon a beautiful place and has instituted a comprehensive recycling program. Park visitors are greeted with recycling stations along the trails, lookout points, hotels and other areas throughout the park. The Grand Canyon hosts millions of visitors each year, and with millions of visitors comes millions of pounds of waste. Thankfully, the recycling program is diverting some of this waste from landfills and even putting it to good use within the park itself. The Grand Canyon recycling program includes waste from park visitors as well as waste generated through park operations. The program recycles a variety of products, including glass, aluminum, cardboard, paper, plastic, motor oil and even antifreeze. Some of the collected material is sent to external recycling centers, while other material is recycled and reused on site. One example is glass; glass that is collected in Grand Canyon recycling bins is crushed up, combined with other ingredients and turned into asphalt. While the National Park Service has led the recycling drive within the park, Grand Canyon Village residents also have a say. The recycling program at the Grand Canyon Post Office came about after an area resident chimed in on the facility’s lack of one. Rosie McGee works in the park and noticed postal patrons carelessly throwing away envelopes and junk mail. This inspired her to do something, so she began a letter-writing campaign. McGee soon learned that there was a recycling pilot program within the U.S. Postal Service but the Grand Canyon branch wasn’t a part of this pilot program. After discovering this, McGee began a second campaign encouraging those in power to put the National Park Service locations, including the Grand Canyon, at the top of the pilot program list. Within three days, recycling boxes showed up inside the Grand Canyon’s post office. Park visitors, the National Park Service, employees within the park and even local residents embrace the Grand Canyon recycling program. With this many people behind the program, it has no choice but to succeed and grow, and that is exactly what it is doing.
Recycling at the Grand Canyon
A simple push to recycle more was all it took for Grand Canyon National Park and its surrounding village.