Disposable to Reusable at Park City

Park City on 8/15/2018 4:14:24 PM

In the 2017-18 season, Park City guests purchased close to 90,000 fountain drinks. Historically this meant the use of an equal number of disposable wax-coated cups which cannot be composted, recycled or otherwise repurposed. The Park City Mountain Dining team saw an opportunity to eliminate these cups from the landfill and take the Company one step closer to meeting the Zero Waste to Landfill goal, part of  Vail Resorts’ Commitment to Zero.

Six out of seven on-mountain quick service dining locations at Park City Mountain switched to reusable plastic cups prior to the 2017-18 season, decreasing the amount of waste diverted to a landfill – over 3,240 pounds of waste – all while improving guests’ and employees’ experiences. Making a switch in products is not as simple as it sounds – often times, the seemingly “greener” replacement can have a similar or even larger footprint than the item they are intended to replace.  We have to be sure to consider

  • Usability for guests and employees
  • Cost of labor to process the new cups and haul waste
  • Amount of water needed to wash reusable cups
  • Overall environmental impact
  • Cost of the reusable cups


When it came to replacing the traditional wax-lined paper cups, reusable hard plastic cups were the clear environmental and business winner for Park City Mountain. They provided:

  • Guests with an alternative that was easy to drink from and more visually appealing
  • The resort with financial savings and a return on investment within two years
  • Employees with a decrease in labor time spent processing one-time-use cups
  • The environment with less waste in landfills and an overall better environmental impact when cups are used at least 17 times


This program proved successful for both guest service and the impact to the environment. The grassroots effort that started with Park City’s Mountain Dining team is going to inform similar initiatives across our resorts for the 2018-19 season.  Most importantly, it represents what our Commitment to Zero is at its very core – our employees taking it upon themselves to spark meaningful change within their teams, departments, and resorts.