LAS VEGAS—The Venetian Resort expands Sands ECO360 recycling efforts as the first Las Vegas-based property, and one of the first in the nation, to develop an innovative program to recycle surgical face masks, which are being used by guests and Team Members as part of the resort’s Venetian Clean initiatives.
As part of this pilot project, in partnership with TerraCycle, the discarded masks are collected on-site at The Venetian Resort and sent to a recycling facility where they are separated, shredded and densified into a crumb-like raw material. This material will be used to make repurposed products such as composite lumber for shipping pallets, railroad ties and composite decking.
“Our responsibility to the planet is one of our company’s core values,” stated George Markantonis, President and COO of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas. “Our Sands ECO360 global sustainability initiative was designed to help minimize our environmental impact, and it reflects our vision as a leader in sustainable resort operations. We continue our journey to a more sustainable future as we seek innovative environmental solutions.”
“At TerraCycle, our mission has always been to eliminate waste, recycle the unrecyclable and use our innovative business solutions to minimize human impact on the planet,” said TerraCycle Founder and CEO Tom Szaky. “It’s through partnerships like the one we enjoy with The Venetian Resort that allows us to fulfill our objective and help preserve the environment for future generations.”
Surgical Face Masks Diverted from Landfills
Since re-opening in June, The Venetian Resort began diverting discarded surgical face masks from other waste being sent to landfills, through an industry-leading trash-sorting initiative that takes place on property.
In addition to this program, the resort actively sorts its trash, diverting 27 types of items that would otherwise be sent to landfills. Through this program, between 55 to 60 percent of waste is diverted from local landfills, a number that far surpasses the national average of 32 percent, or the state average of 23 percent.
“As a company that has put sustainability in the forefront of our operation, it was important to find a recycling solution for this PPE, to avoid sending them to our landfills,” continued Markantonis.
This project, part of the company’s Sands ECO360 initiative, will help provide “proof of concept” for such recycling, to encourage others to replicate the program. Currently, consumer masks are not recycled through main-stream or curbside recycling programs, due to the complexity of the recycling process. Surgical face masks are made of a multitude of materials and need to be sorted and separated before recycling. In addition, a magnet is used to separate the metal nose strips, which can be melted and utilized in other recycled materials.
Sustainability at The Venetian Resort
Through the Sands ECO360 global sustainability strategy, The Venetian Resort leads the hospitality industry in a movement to actively minimize the environmental impact of its resort operations on our planet. Using a science-based approach, the strategy focuses on areas with the greatest environmental impact and opportunity, each aligned with a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. Recent highlights include:
- Energy: Las Vegas Sands and NV Energy recently signed an agreement to source 100 percent renewable electricity for The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, through Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), annually taking approximately 225 million kWh “off the grid,” or the equivalent of almost 28,000 single-family houses.
- Energy: U.S. Department of Energy recognized The Venetian Resort Las Vegas for surpassing a 20 percent energy reduction goal as a partner in the Better Buildings Challenge. In the fall, it was reported that The Venetian had achieved a 24 percent reduction in energy since the program began.
- Food/Procurement: To better understand its seafood supply chain and increase its percentage of spend on sustainable seafood, the resort has embarked on a multi-year project with FishWise, a seafood sustainability consultant.
- Water Conservation: With the expansion of its innovative nano-filtration system, the resort can purify and reuse non-potable water for irrigation, fountains, and HVAC cooling tower needs. Overall, this system replaces 22 million gallons of municipal water each year with non-potable water, allowing the company to reduce its reliance on fresh water. Beginning in August 2019, the property HVAC cooling tower is now using filtered non-municipal water, saving an additional 175 million gallons of water a year.
- Water Conservation: In 2020, Las Vegas Sands officially launched The Drop by Drop Project, a new collaborative water stewardship initiative that invests in regional resiliency, ecosystem, technology, and educational water projects. The initiative will further incentivize conservation while helping protect water supplies and watersheds in each of our regions.
- Waste: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that The Venetian is a U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champion. As a champion the resort is joining an exclusive list of American businesses and organizations in a pledge to reduce food waste in operations by 50 percent before the year 2030.
- Double Honor: Las Vegas Sands was once again named to the exclusive Climate Change A-List by CDP, an international nonprofit environmental organization. This is the company’s fifth year in a row to attain a leadership position for Climate Change, a distinction shared by only 2 percent of companies that have active programs to disclose their global sustainability data. In addition, Las Vegas Sands was again named to the exclusive Water Conservation A-List by CDP. Further, it is one of 10 American companies to attain double A-List status. These CDP lists are widely recognized as the gold standard for corporate environmental transparency.