From Ashes to Benches

The Chumash Casino Resort has set a big goal – to become a zero-waste facility in the next five years. That means that all the trash generated by the Resort will be recycled instead of going into a landfill.

The Resort recently became one step closer to this goal by implementing a cigarette-recycling program through TerraCycle’s Cigarette Brigade. TerraCycle provides waste collection programs for hard-to-recycle materials. It then converts the waste into new products, ranging from recycled park benches to up-cycled backpacks.

The Resort’s custodians are in charge of cleaning the ashtrays on the gaming floor and sorting the cigarette butts from the main waste stream. When the cigarette butts cool, they are moved into fireproof drums for safe storage. Once a week they are scooped into smell-proof bags and shipped to TerraCycle for recycling.

TerraCycle offers a donation program for recycled waste. The funds generated by the cigarette-recycling program at the Resort are allocated to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation. The Foundation offers donations and grants to local nonprofit organizations.

“I’m excited that the cigarette-recycling program is so successful,” says Mark Funkhouser, the Chumash Casino Resort’s custodial services manager. “Not only are we continuing to decrease our impact on the environment, but we are contributing to our local community through the Foundation.”

The Resort features an extensive catalog of environmental programs and initiatives addressing energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling.

– Written byTeresa Sat 

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