Subaru Wants to Help the National Parks Eliminate Landfill Waste

Yosemite will be one of three pilot parks to use Subaru's zero-landfill strategy. Credit: tiffanynguyen / RooM / Getty

For over a decade, Subaru has overseen a zero-landfill assembly plant in the U.S. — and now the Japanese car company is sharing its green techniques with the National Park System. On Monday, in an extension of its corporate responsibility initiatives, Subaru announced a partnership with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and National Park Foundation (NPF) to implement its zero landfill practices in three national parks (Yosemite, Grand Teton, and Denali) with an eye toward eventually eliminating landfill waste from all the country's parks.

"If Subaru can build cars without contributing to landfills, how might that translate to our national parks?" says Clark Bunting, CEO of the NPCA. Subaru's plan to help the parks reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste could soon make a huge impact. In 2013, the National Park Service had 273 million visitors and created over 100 million pounds of trash — enough to fill 20 million household trash bags that could stretch from New York to Los Angeles.

Starting with its three pilot parks, Subaru will assess current waste management practices (composting, recycling, hazardous waste disposal) to create scalable implementation that can then be applied to fit any park. Although the plan won't take into account waste created through park concessioners (lodging, transportation, retail) it's a good start — and the timing couldn't be better. Next year, the National Park Service celebrates its 100-year anniversary. "It can be a very powerful model," Bunting says, "not just for the centennial but for decades to come."