“Conservation is not just a matter of a few people, it’s an issue that worries us all.”
Walt Disney’s words are still valid for members of the cast of Disney parks, experiences and products, working together on our journey to a more sustainable future. And for many, the passion is personal.
“A few years ago I took a trip to the Maldives. I was in paradise, but there was a floating plastic island, “recalled Heather Sylvester, a Sous Chef at Golden Oak, a complex-style residential community located at Walt Disney World.” That’s when I realized the global impact of our recycling, or lack thereof, and I began to look for more sustainable ways to work and live. ”
So how do cast members like Chef Heather make a difference? These are some of the ways Disney cast members are reducing, reusing, and recycling every day.
We need passionate crew members like Ace Barcelona, who is part of our environmental team aboard the Disney Dream. Helps crew members separate products and identify recyclable waste. His hard work has contributed to the diversion of more than 2,500 tons of metals, glass, plastic and paper annually through recycling efforts at Disney Cruise Line.
“I take home the knowledge and experience I’ve gained at Disney Cruise Line and share it with my family to educate and inspire my children,” Ace shared. “Now, my youngest daughter and my teenage son are the pioneers of recycling at home, and I feel very proud as a father. At an early age, they have a good understanding of how they can have an impact on the environment and make a difference. ”
Whether it’s recycling glass, paper or even used cooking oil (yes, more than 1,000 gallons of cooking oil are recycled from ships every week), Disney Cruise Line is committed to reducing waste. You may have heard the news that we have recently reduced the number of disposable plastics on board. An example of this is Disney Cruise Line’s decision to eliminate the use of plastic straws, eliminating an annual volume of more than 14.7 million. We also switched to refillable bath product dispensers in all guest rooms, eliminating an annual distribution of more than 2.2 million plastic containers throughout our fleet, a total of 18 tonnes of plastic waste. Other measures include stopping the use of plastic bags, cutlery, stirrers and condiment packs on board.
Want to take part in your next Disney cruise? Add a reusable water bottle to your packing list! Our boats have bottle filling stations and canned water, which help remove thousands of plastic bottles each week. You can find recycling bins on all four ships and at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island.
At Disneyland Resort, the resort’s improvement team has proven that recycling can be out of this world! Phil Rahn, the resort’s improvement manager, revealed that when it came time for his team to make space-age accessories for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, literally became their own garbage!
The team scoured old equipment that had been replaced during repairs, transforming used circuit boards, cables and other electronic components into the intergalactic ornaments you see as you visit Batuu’s remote outpost.
“That was a big win,” Phil recalls. “We’ve saved money by not buying new equipment, we’ve saved time by not having to fear accessories, but most importantly, we’ve played a role in saving the land by preventing used equipment from going to landfill.”
The next time you visit Disneyland Resort, look for hidden objects in the accessory and decor. “As decorators, we love the challenge of creating something fantastic and unique, with what others would call rubbish, and we’re always looking for ways to reuse everyday objects in our history,” Phil said.
Beyond Batuu, Disneyland Resort teams promote practices that reduce our environmental impact. For example, the Disneyland Resort and Mark Twain Riverboat steam trains use biodiesel made from used cooking oil from our kitchens. This process removes ~ 200,000 gallons of petroleum diesel per year.
Walt Disney World Resort has taken continuous steps to reduce our environmental footprint, and cast members like Jan McMichael, senior manager of ESPN Wide World of Sports, are getting creative. Recognizing that about 300,000 plastic wraps were used each year to secure banners, hang the fence and tie the seats of the premises, Jan’s team made a passion project to collect used plastic wrap to be recycled. They are also replacing plastic ties with reusable items, such as elastic cords.
On your next visit to Walt Disney World, Chef Heather will give you some tips. “Bring your own thermos of water and fill it all day,” he explained. “Bring a reusable bag that you can use for any gift purchase. And ask cast members about our recycling efforts to see how you can help.”
Even at home, you can participate. “Learn as much as you can about what can be recycled, so you know what can be put in the household recycling bins or what should be sent to the landfill,” Jan recommended. “Pack your lunch in reusable containers, bring your utensils home and don’t forget a reusable cup.”
If you’re looking for sustainable crafts this holiday season, Phil challenges you to create a special holiday ornament or piece of decor with items you find in your home. “Create something unique, as you celebrate the season and leave the planet better than you’ve found it,” he said.
Thanks to our amazing cast members and guests for helping protect the planet. When you visit or browse with us, we invite you to participate to reduce your carbon footprint, save energy, and protect natural resources. Remember that the journey begins with a small step!