Park City welcomes visitors from all over the world to our beautiful town. According to the Sundance Institute 2016 press release, the festival alone brings $143.3 million in economic activity to the state of Utah and supports over 1,400 jobs. Most recently, Park City Municipal has released a “Community Guide to Sundance” and in it, has encouraged residents to help reduce Park City’s carbon footprint during this busy period. Yet it is inevitable to ask, what are businesses, nonprofits, second home owners, and tourists doing to minimize environmental impact in our community? We’ve all experienced the impacts first hand: Overflown waste containers, lights on in vacant properties, excess traffic etc… In order to reduce Park City’s carbon footprint, we must all come together to educate, enforce, and evaluate sustainability efforts that work and those that can be improved. It ‘s important to support our tourism based economy with mindfulness as many organizations are doing already.
Treasure Mountain Inn – A locally owned hotel, adopts extensive recycling and conservation practices such as: The reduction of water consumption with efficient bathroom fixtures; and reduction in waste by placing recycling centers at each entry point, in the lobby and in every room.
Similarly, Park City Lodging is helping second home owners reduce their carbon footprint. In 2015 their staff gifted all property owners LED energy efficient light bulbs which decreases their energy consumption, improves Park City’s air quality and reduces landfill waste. Nonprofit Recycle Utah, has added additional glass recycling bins at the Jeremy Ranch Park and Ride lot to keep up with residential recycling demands. Lastly, nonprofit Summit Community Power Works, works with the community to reduce our carbon footprint and has already taken away 50 tons of CO2. Park City municipal recently announced their goals to switch to an electric bus system and Park City Council approved an option agreement to purchase 1,350 acres of open land. These collective efforts are just the beginning of our journey to meet the city wide 2032 net zero goals.
The steps the community has taken to minimize the impact of high season traffic is recognized and is a great foundation to build upon. Aside from learning from local efforts, we can also look into projects adopted in other communities. For example, Aco Recycling (a company headquartered in Europe and operating all over the world) has adopted advanced technologies to make recycling and waste pick up more efficient. Their low cost sensors monitors every bin’s flow levels so that collection trucks adjust pick up locations according to demand. This way, costs (like gas, and labor) are reduced by up to 52% and no bin goes unemptied during peak demand. Similarly, towns in California have adopted simple but impactful water conservation practices. For example, restaurants in the area refrain from serving water unless requested. There are 113 restaurants listed in Park City’s Business Directory and an estimated 46,660 people attended the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. With these numbers in mind this simple rule would save at least 3,000 gallons from local water resources throughout a 10 day period.